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Giddy Up Jingle Horse, Pick Up Your Feet

Monday, December 14, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=n50r-EwCuLw
www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRzyOSAJg94
www.youtube.com/watch?v=K164MKTMLVw

The first song is because yesterday I ran the Somerville Jingle Bell Run 5K. And then the second one always seems to go with the first. But, oops, it's Chanukah. Hence song #3.

Here are the results of the race:
www.coolrunning.com/results/09/ma/De
c13_Marath_set1.shtml


I came in as #4174. This was my second-best time ever, even though I was hot (note to self: Three layers, bad. Two layers, good) and felt like I'd eaten too much dried fruit before starting.

I had a blast, and the thing about this run is it must be what it's like to run on Halloween. Costumes EVERYWHERE. And I mean, everywhere. There were, to be sure, simple ones like striped socks, or antlers on the head, or candy cane barrettes, or little skater skirts over running tights.

Pshaw. There were HARD CORE costumes.

Like what, you ask?

Oh, there was the dude dressed as a Christmas tree, with gifts on his feet. I kept wondering if he was going to trip on them (these were empty boxes on top of his sneakers). Full Polar Bear outfits. A guy on what I believe were stilts. Elves, of course. Angels, too.

And, ho ho ho ....

Yeah, Santa.

Sure, there were Santas. But this one?

Omigod.

Santa, with a fake sleigh on each side of his hips, and, of course, a harness. Whaddaya put in the harness if you're Santa? Why, eight reindeer of course. The reindeer were eight other guys, all with fake reindeer heads on.

But wait, there's more!

This Santa plus sleigh plus reindeer had two elfin girls clearing the way ahead of him and a kid dressed as Rudolph up front (not in the harness). And he had bumper stickers on the back of his sleigh. One said, "How's my driving? Call 1-800-Go-Santa" and the other one said, "I brake for reindeer".

They were caroling, although I did hear Santa say at one point that things were going a tad fast for him.

So I wished Santa a Happy Chanukah.

This is my sixth and last 5K race of the year. I'll take some time off next year to recover from surgery, plus I don't want to run in ice competitively. But I want to do at least eight next year. And those times in the 40 minute range? I would like to get past them. I've only done that once this year.

But I have nothing to complain about in terms of times. For my first 5K, I took over an hour, and ran at an 18 minute-mile pace. But after that, I got into the 14 minute-mile pace and then 13 (like yesterday). My fastest pace was in November, a smokin' (for me) 12:19-mile pace. Going under 13 minutes for each mile guarantees that I'm out of the 40s. Hence that is a goal for next year.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue walking and running as much as I can (I have little things to put on my sneakers to give me more traction in the snow, plus I've still got a gym membership, which I'll hold onto as long as I can) and keep working on speed, endurance, jogging uphill and the final kick. Everything is a lesson and a goal, and I never knew that until this year when it came to running, so I am grateful that that perspective has crawled into my head.

Oh and I'm also going to enjoy my finisher medal/bottle opener. 3.bp.blogspot.com/_1qKg9LbFQlU/Su-xV
l-HlcI/AAAAAAAACPI/qtLKbCt-uq4/s320/JB
medal2009_353x600.jpg

You can't open bottles with an Olympic medal.

Onwards to next year and more great fun.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TELERIE 12/16/2009 5:33PM

    "Everything is a lesson and a goal, and I never knew that until this year when it came to running, so I am grateful that that perspective has crawled into my head." I hear you! It's so true. Such a great feeling to know that we have running and run/walking in our lives ...
Congratulations on your last race of 2009 and I'm aiming for a 10K in 2010 (and a couple of 5K's)

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ETAGGEL 12/15/2009 4:46PM

    sounds like you had a lot of fun! great when people participate in these events


Phyllis

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LAB-LOVER 12/15/2009 6:46AM

    You know it is SO demoralizing to be passed by Frosty the Snowman, like I was standing still. At least, I beat Santa and his inflatable reindeer!

Great to see you again and keep up that running! I'm just waiting for first light to get out the door today. It's the only time I can fit it in today!

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EMMASMART 12/14/2009 11:11PM

    You are still my hero... this qualifies as several quirks..


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MS.ELENI 12/14/2009 10:22PM

    Congrats on running the 5k. There is nothing you can't do. emoticon

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CAROLISCIOUS 12/14/2009 9:47PM

    That race sounds like a blast. How do they run in all that garb? I hope to do more runs next year, but just for fun and calories burning. I don't have any aspirations to get faster and faster. I just like to burn buttloads of calories!!!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 12/14/2009 8:23PM

    Well my friend. It sounds like you had a very good year. And they will just get better the way you are going. Congrats

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BAMAGIRL58 12/14/2009 6:24PM

    Sounds like the definition of a Fun Run - I would be happy to just drag my butt out there and finish - can't imagine dressing up like that. Especially like the Santa, Sleigh and 8 tiny? reindeer. WTG You!

emoticon emoticon emoticon
Hugs, Nancy

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FURBALLDTH 12/14/2009 2:07PM

    Nice job running. Can't say that I blame you for avoiding winter racing. Thanks for the music. Don't remember that dreidel song. We learned The Dreidel Song in 2nd grade. Dreide, dreidel ,dreidel made it out of clay....... I always liked Brenda Lee's voice. So powerful for 4'9". She's still married to her childhood sweetheart. She must tour quite a bit...lol. Have a great week. emoticon

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JLITT62 12/14/2009 1:50PM

    I really admire all you people willing to run in the cold & the snow! My first outside run was right before the first snow hit, and unless we get a major thaw at some point, I think it'll be my last outside run for a while. But that's ok -- I WILL get back out there again.

You're doing such a great job, and you're inspiring me. Thanks for sharing!

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BSTAKINGACTION 12/14/2009 1:34PM

    LOL! This was great. Wish I could've been there to see the whole North Pole at the race. Sounds like you've got a great plan set. Congrats! And thanks for sharing. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! emoticon

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ADAMM9 12/14/2009 1:24PM

    Awesome work! Glad you had such a great time. Sounds like the costumes were a blast. I love it when people get creative for these popular 5k events.

Keep up the great work!

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SWEETZMIX 12/14/2009 1:14PM

    JANET!! You are rocking these 5K's before I know it, you will be running a marathon!!

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I'm Swimming in a Circle

Monday, December 07, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al9WmowJ3bQ&
feature=fvw


After such an enormous blog entry last week, I'm afraid this one is going to be shorter.

I am swimming in a circle. Part of this is because I ended up with a cold after last weekend's frenzied rush. And another part is because I'm just floundering with my job search. I have -- let's just say -- been doing other things. Fun things. Spark. Facebook. Managing my site.

Avoiding looking for work.

Oh yeah.

That's not good.

Today I met with my employment counselor. He said I was making good progress, and I have to agree, but I also have to say, wait a second, I can be doing more. And I should be.

But I am in avoidance mode because I'm still not really that settled on what I want to do. Hence he gave me a few assignments. And one of them (I actually asked to do this) is the Myers-Briggs self-assessment.

Hence I'd better go and take it.

I need to straighten out my swim lane and make some real progress on this front.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/9/2009 3:26PM

    I always get ISTJ when I do those assessments, for my professional working style.

But how I feel about my music and other personal pursuits is more INFP.

I have no idea if I'm doing the "right" thing, or not.

I think it's funny (and probably makes sense) that most of us are "I". We ARE all communicating via computer with each other right now, rather than gadding about with people IRL. LOL

Comment edited on: 12/9/2009 3:26:44 PM

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EMMASMART 12/9/2009 1:25AM

    I'm INFJ except 1/2 of the time I test ENFJ. Finally found out that there are Ambiverts... (both, neither) so I'd actually be ANFJ.

I suspect you will come out like me. Because we have stuff in common.



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BAMAGIRL58 12/8/2009 10:17PM

    I think I was INTJ - I still have a copy of it somewhere so I should pull it out for kicks & grins. Nobody could believe I was introverted since the title is misleading - but I am. It does give some interesting insights and maybe it will help your employment counselor help you.

I like your analogy to swimming. If you swim in a straight line you will certainly get there faster. Hope your cold is getting better!
emoticon
Nancy

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LAB-LOVER 12/8/2009 7:08AM

    Oopps... gotta stay away from those mayoral duties!
I just took a different test called DiSC -- you can find it on managertools.com. Very interesting results. Still trying to think about what it all means!
See you Sunday? Should we meet somewhere? We won't find each other if we don't have a plan cuz there are a zillion people there!

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CAROLISCIOUS 12/7/2009 10:48PM

    Hope you feel better..no china pattern shopping until your MB is done. I am INSJ...I think.

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VEEJAY3 12/7/2009 8:35PM

    Myers Briggs! I'm an ENFP.
I LOVE taking personality tests. And quizzes of all sorts. Tell me what you are when you get your "results."

And it's hard to put into high gear with a job search right now. Most businesses don't get serious about hiring until after the holidays anyway -- right? So this is the perfect time to think. Think.

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MS.ELENI 12/7/2009 8:13PM

    You need to take time to take a breath and decide what you want to do.

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MARCHMAID 12/7/2009 7:30PM

    I dunno. Swimming in a circle for a little while is comforting and restful. You deserve a little lag time. Still, it won't do to loaf too long and if you're feeling you can and should do more, well, I've seen you demonstrate that you are a can do person par excellence!

Best to the emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/7/2009 7:30:51 PM

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FIT_TERI 12/7/2009 6:02PM

    I hope you kick your cold!! emoticon

I think the counselor's advice is good. I took the Myers-Briggs assessment more than 10 years ago, but I doubt I've changed very much. Due to my own job dissatisfaction, I recently looked at some sites that told you what types of careers were good for different M-B types. Let's just say I'm in the wrong job. I hope you find the exercise helpful.

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ONLYTEMPORARY 12/7/2009 5:29PM

    emoticon a cup of chicken soup to get you going.

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TELERIE 12/7/2009 5:22PM

    emoticon pretend that this is chicken soup and feel better soon!
Take the steps you need to take towards finding work - it's always good to avoid procrastination (says a master procrastinator!) Hope this week hold lots of happiness for you! Hugs, Marit

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GEE-KNEE 12/7/2009 4:42PM

    It's probably good to gather your thoughts and figure out what you want before jumping into another position.

Hope you feel better soon.

Best,
Jeannie

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 12/7/2009 4:40PM

    This little complication is exactly what you need. Myers Briggs is excellent. If you got into another job without looking at what you want out of a career it would be too danged bad. Not to nag (well ok I am a nag) this is precious time and you have important work to do, hard as it is. No FB or games till you have started your career exercises.
Love
Your nosy buddy

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SWEETZMIX 12/7/2009 3:42PM

    Sorry to hear you are sick. It just makes things worse b/c you are not up for much. You know what Janet, you seem pretty together to me. We are always harder on ourselves. Do the stuff he asked you to do. Keep looking, keep networking and get some fresh air!

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Nowhere is the Dreamer or the Misfit so Alone

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu9Ycq64Gy4

Over the long holiday weekend, my husband and I went to NYC to visit his parents and then I traveled, alone, to LI, to see mine.

This was planned -- it was not my husband dissing my parents or anything. I'll explain in a moment. One warning, though, this is going to be a long, long entry because there has been so much going on.

NYC

The actual day of Thanksgiving was spent here, and my mother in law made turkey meatloaf. I was thrilled as I knew my own mother would be making roasted turkey so this way I wouldn't have so much repetition. The meal was quiet and we talked and laughed.

The three things I was worried about, not just there or for that meal but in general for the weekend were carbs, salt and exercise. Too much of the former two and too little of the latter. As a result, I kept strictly and did my best not to deviate, and also did whatever I could to work out. Since I can do situps and Pilates on my own, and mild weight training (I only brought the really small weights and the resistance bands), I did all of that every single day, even though under normal circumstances I change it up. That was just not possible. I needed to get something done, anything.

My husband and I did spend a good chunk of Thanksgiving walking along Riverside Drive. That was pleasant although you can see the tail end of Autumn is just about upon us, even there, where it's a good three weeks behind Boston. Trees are getting barer. Remaining leaves have turned brown. Little dogs are wearing sweaters and humans are wearing gloves. It's dry and raw, and the heat (which is very drying) is on constantly at my inlaws' apartment. There was no problem getting the water drunk. It was all I seemed to want.

On Friday morning, early, Mr. J took me to Penn Station and I got onto a Long Island Rail Road train to my parents. He stayed behind, and I know he went to the Y one day and also helped out around the apartment (he's taller than his parents, so he was getting things off shelves or something like that).

LI

My parents had planned for Friday to be our Thanksgiving, and had invited more people, for a total of nine of us. I had to get laundry done so that was one of the first things that happened -- me just getting it started. I helped out a bit and then just had to get outside, despite the nippy and now damp weather. My father offered to walk with me but I asked to be alone. Perhaps this is how Greta Garbo got in her cardio.

I walked for something like 50 minutes and, yes, this song was cranked in my iPod, along with a playlist of songs from my teen years (more on that later).

I got back maybe 20 minutes before the other guests began to arrive, one of whom was a woman I was friends with when I was ten or so years old. She came with her son; her parents also came (they are two of my parents' closest friends). There was much oohing and ahhing, apparently she and her folks spotted me walking around the area (she and her parents live just a block away). So I am recognizable, whereas last time I was on LI and walking with my father, someone wanted to know who the chippy was.

The dinner was all right but man, was it LONG. I immediately rocketed into "dutiful daughter" mode, clearing plates, filling and emptying the dishwasher, arranging serving dishes, putting food in the fridge, making coffee, etc. etc. etc. My mother is 76 years old and my father is older. Part of this was, certainly, to help them out. But another part was to not have to look at the food any more than the minimum amount of time and, frankly, to not have to listen to too much conversation. These are lovely people but the relationships are frozen in time. I just don't know how to relate. Not really.

The worst thing, I think, is the good-byes. They take longer than the meal, or at least it feels that way, and everyone keeps dragging them out, over and over again. See you, I'll talk to you, no, we'll email, wait, did I tell you, hang on I have something for you, oops I'll give you your serving dish the next time I see you, you looked so nice this evening, thanks for coming, I'll see you, I'll talk to you, we'll email, did I tell you .... And on and on, seemingly ad infinitum.

I do not begrudge my parents their friends or their entertaining. And it wasn't even that late. But I was getting tired and knew that the following day would contain very little rest. Plus I needed to get upstairs and get online. I was able to go online most days but I did nearly no Sparky socializing. Just food and exercise logging, mainly. Spun the wheel, of course.

The following day promised to be very full.

FAMILY GATHERING

The first item on the agenda was a family get together in Nassau County (my parents live just over the border into Suffolk County). This was for a cousin's 80th birthday. Here's the relationship: her husband is my mother's first cousin. Hence her daughters are my second cousins, and her granddaughters are third cousins to my nephew. And now there's a new generation being born. They will be fourth cousins to any kids my nephew has.

A lot of this family are the people I saw when I was on LI in March of this year. I'm friends with many of them on Facebook so they've seen photographs and read status updates. They've seen the numbers and read about my races. But I suppose nothing beats being in person. Again, oohing and ahhing. Of course I don't mind that. They also ask for weight loss advice, or at least some of them do. I dispense what I can but that's not really why I'm there so I don't want it to dominate the conversation. They are mainly teachers in the New York City school system and, as you might imagine, they have a great deal to say about No Child Left Behind. Or, as one cousin said, what got left behind was childhood.

We are family. We love each other. But we also let our guard down, so there was bickering at the table. All I'm trying to do is keep away from the pasta (it was a Northern Italian restaurant; I ended up skipping, I kid you not, three courses) and ignore the fighting. I do better at ignoring the food than ignoring the fighting these days. My parents and I don't butt in, of course, but all I want is to go out running there, too, and just get out of it. But it's my cousin's birthday. I'm not going to just bug out and insult her, of course.

I put my father to work taking pictures. This is not as mercenary as it sounds as my father, even though he will turn eighty in a couple of years, has more energy than anyone I know. Much like Cesar Milan the Dog Whisperer, I go with exercise with him as a means of creating, what is it, calm, assertive energy.

Dad takes pictures. These are not all of people I recognize, and he fails to get a picture of the new baby (the one who will be fourth cousin to any kids my nephew has -- that kid), but it gets Dad up and mingling and that's a good thing. Then the singing begins.

This is not your garden variety "Happy Birthday". Understand, this is the musical branch of my mother's family. First her husband sings "Embraceable You" to the birthday girl. He's 82 himself, and his voice quavers a bit, but he's still got it. She's over the moon. Then, oh man, there are calls for the cousin who is the new mother to sing. Now, I knew she sang, but I had never heard her (Mr. J and I didn't attend their wedding as it was too far from us).

Well.

She is amazing. She sang the old Etta James number, "At Last". You know, what Beyoncé sang at the Inaugural? Yeah. THAT ONE.

And this nice Jewish girl from Queens, who is a Microsoft Certified Engineer by day, opens her mouth and sounds like a professional soul singer.

Did she ever miss her calling!

The fights more or less patch up. The party ends.

But there is no time to rest and there is no time for more cardio.

I have to get ready.

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

My father set up the GPS in their Toyota and off I went. This was my 30th reunion and it was being held in a hotel several towns over. My father took this photo before I left.


My graduating class had had about 400 people in it. I was not expecting anywhere near that many and I did not expect any truly close friends to attend. All weekend I kept wondering why I had bothered. It was not cheap and I was not going to be eating the dinner anyway, or even drinking much (as I was driving, of course, plus it's a carbs issue). Why was I bothering? It felt odd.

I got in early and sat in the car, listening to more of my playlist, including The Ramones' "Rock 'n Roll Radio" (with it's line, "it's the end, the end of the seventies, it's the end, the end of the century"). Lab Lover will be happy to read that I listened to Bruce Springsteen's "Growing Up" while waiting. Then I repeated today's blog song. It was time to go in, ready or not.

I got into the bar area and saw a few people milling around. Hugging was happening. It had that dread feeling of, oh God, is that all there is? W___ spotted me and hugged me. I was not close to her in school but we are Facebook pals and she has followed my weight loss saga closely. She was always lovely and kind and has not changed. Beautiful inside and out, still. I saw another gal I'd known, well, had known of. From the title of this blog and the line I selected, and the song, I think it should be obvious -- I was somewhat of an outsider.

I was not popular. I was not surrounded by boyfriends, even though I did have three (two were over Summers) while in High School. I was an Honor Student. I was not an athlete. I kept quiet and withdrawn.

The second woman I saw mentioned to me that we were actually supposed to go downstairs to a private room. Ah, so we were not just going to stay at the bar? Already a good thing. I followed her down the stairs.

There I came face to face with a gal who I'd been friends with, but, frankly, she was closer to me than I had been to her (B___). She hugged me tightly, told me she'd missed me and was SO thrilled I was there. Whoa. I had not expected that. Then she asked me for a ride back as her car had died. Ai yi yi. Sure. Egad, what am I getting myself into here?

There were photo albums out. It turned out they were the photographic proofs from when we had all graduated from Junior High School. There were pictures of teachers, too. Everyone was so young, so fresh-faced, so short! How could they possibly be related to the middle-aged people in the room.

Then I saw Z___. Now, Z____ was not her name in High School. Apparently, yes, folks, it's her real name but it's also her professional name. Yep. It's a stage name. Fire engine red dress with matching pumps. Slim, blonde (she was both of those things in High School). After greeting me, the first words out of her mouth were: "Oh my God, you have no wrinkles!" That made me laugh.

W___ came back. "The cosmos are great!" I thanked her for the report and also hugged K___, who has also acted (off-Broadway). How the heck did I get such famed classmates? Then it was time for the bar. I had room for a 12-ounce light beer. Miller Lite or Bud Lite. Eek. I mentally flipped a coin and went with Miller.

"Jes, it's me, A___!" said this man. I've seen him on Facebook, too. We hugged and he introduced me to -- eek, I can't recall if he said friend or girlfriend. Girlfriend, I hope, she's so sweet and pretty and they seem to suit each other. I remembered B___ had had a crush on him. I said to the girlfriend, "My strategy for the day is to tell every guy I see that I had the biggest crush on him in High School." She laughed and then proceeded to tell A___ that I'd had the biggest crush on him in High School. "Really?" He totally believed her. I went with it and said, yes, I did. And then I felt myself getting red and he got red and I tell you, suddenly it didn't matter at all that I hadn't. But I did make a mental note: that phrase is powerful, so use it sparingly.

I leaned over to the girlfriend. "You're a stinker." I said to her. "That's what I like about you." She replied: "You don't know the half of it." So all was well.

Then D__ and his wife came over. I remembered D__ as a shy, tall guy who rarely ran in the same circles as I did. He asked me, "Do you remember, you and I hung out together during a class trip during Senior year. You had a friend, she was tall with long, dark hair. Remember?" I confessed I didn't and I wasn't sure who the girl was, then realized it was someone who had not graduated with us.

We milled around. People talked about getting a table. B__ insisted I make sure she got to sit at the table with me. She kept telling me when she'd get up or whatever. There was no need whatsoever for her to check in with me, and I certainly did not feel the need to reciprocate. How very odd.

And then I saw ... hmmm ... how can I put this? J___ was a guy I really had had a crush on, but back in 6th grade. He was always funny, always nice. This year, he'd even seen my parents; they'd all gone to some library function (it was World War II reminiscences). He had recognized my mother because she had chaperoned a class trip when we were in 6th grade. Yes, folks, that was 36 years ago.

I touched his arm lightly and said, "I believe I may know you." Well, he knew ME. This was, suddenly, it was as if the years had melted off, and we spoke readily, zinging one-liners back and forth as if we were a rehearsed comedy team. "Wait, wait, wait there, hang on." I heard that a few times that night.

We sat down, all of us or most of us, not D__ and his wife, I don't think. We went to the buffet, J___ saw all I took (just a few vegetables): "Are you a vegan now?" See, I had been a vegetarian back in school. "No, just dieting." See, J___ is a big guy, and always has been.

J__ got up for some reason. I fished into my bag. I had brought business cards and wanted to hand them out to some people. Partly to give them my email address and partly to practice networking, a muscle I really need to use more and better.

I gave cards to A___ and B___, even though they both already had my email address. Hey, you've gotta start somewhere.

I got up (nature called). I did not feel the need to tell B___ where I was going (although she had been doing that all night). I also went to refresh my lipstick. I had forgotten -- I'd left the stack of cards on the table. I returned via the bar and got another drink. J___ came around: "I saw your cards and I took one. Hope you don't mind." Oh no, of course not. Someone called him away.

I was walking back towards the table when D__ stopped me. He was alone; I don't know where his wife was. He said to me, "I want you to know why I asked you about that time during Senior Year." Oh? "I wasn't asking about that other girl." Oh? "I was asking because it was YOU I had had the crush on. I remembered that time because of YOU." "Oh D___", I said, and I hugged him and kissed his cheek. "I had no idea." He said, "But you weren't approachable." "I wasn't?" But I suppose I wasn't. It's funny; we had done different things but ended up in almost the same field. D__ has a lovely wife, I have a great husband. But it does make you wonder how things would have turned out. He told me of his life; he owns a glider and flies a bit. Funny how things turn out.

I went back to the table and this time I picked up a portion of my cards and my camera. B___ followed me and so instead of talking to J___ I talked to some other folks and took a bunch of rather badly posed shots. People were dancing and a woman was trying to get us all to do The Electric Slide. A___'s girlfriend gamely joined and so did Z____. Then another guy came in and he and Z___ danced together, very graceful. Don't forget -- we were in High School during the Disco Era.

It was J__, back again. We talked about the music. Score positive points for getting something within our era, negative points for too much Disco. He mentioned he'd been listening to the Frampton_Comes_Alive album in preparation, to get into the mood. I mentioned Springsteen, and this song. I had four different cards, two of the types had some of my own artwork on them. I had done some watercolors last week and scanned them and used them. They're small -- you can't really see that I'm not much of an artist. But it's unique and quirky and certainly a conversational prompt. I gave J___ one of the artwork cards, which he took in exchange for giving me his Doctor Evil impression. But his voice (and mine) was getting raspy. We'd been talking over the music for too long.

We got onto the topic of online friends, and he said he just can't get interested in anything like Facebook. "If I can't see you or touch you, I can't consider you a friend." he said. Well. I suppose I'm just the World's Biggest Flirt because I replied, "You never touched me in High School." This is when he grabbed me by the waist and hugged me, and kissed the top of my head. I guess in a way it was almost like D___'s confession. Crazy. I liked him. I (think) he liked me. We actually did run in similar circles, and we've known each other since 6th grade. So why was it impossible to connect in High School? I was, despite brief times with boyfriends, lonely. He was apparently lonelier still.

Why is it that people can't build a bridge when they need it the most?

He is married, I am married. I am not looking to make a change; it's nothing like that. But again, I saw a parallel line. What could have been? What were the possibilities? What would have happened? It is unknown, and always will be.

We took a group photo, and the evening began to wind down. B___ wanted to leave. Sheesh. No. Let's stay until the end. Then B___ wanted to just have a private conversation with me, kind of cut me out from the pack. Er, no, I want to see everyone. B___, I know, is, how can I put this? Less than perfectly socially aware.

J___ was asking me to hang out. Let's talk, let's catch up. I know, I want to, I'm saying. But B___. Well, I know her shtick, he says. She wants to play "oh poor me, no one remembers me." But that's not true; lots of people remember her. Don't go. Not yet, he says. Okay, I say.

But the evening winds down further, and I realize it's something like 12:40 and I am tired. And I know we are getting up SUPER early the following day, as my folks are driving me back to NYC and then they are going to a friend's in New Jersey. The plan is to be at my inlaws' at 11 AM. This means leaving at 9:30 or so. I do the math. I have to get back, whether I want to go or not.

I hug D__, in front of his wife, and he hugs me back and I wonder what he is thinking and all I can hope for is that I didn't cause him any pain or, if I did, that it was brief or at least forgotten or, at minimum, happened a long, long time ago. I hug J___ and I am reminded of the line from the Dan Fogelberg song, "Same Old Lang Syne":

"Just for a moment I was back in school
and felt that old familiar pain"

And I hope that I have never hurt J___, either, and I don't think he has ever hurt me or if it ever did happen that God knows it was not deliberate, it was the kinds of slights and disappointments that teenagers just get sometimes.

B__ and I leave, and I call my parents to tell them I'll be back as soon as I've dropped her off. She cannot stop talking. It is about the reunion, a little, but mainly it is all about directions, even though the GPS lady is cranking out instructions by the minute. It is as if B__ cannot leave a silent moment because then we'd be forced to actually think for a moment, muse and ponder. I take a wrong exit and we meander around some of Long Island as the GPS lady reorients herself and then I stop listening to B___ entirely and devote my energies to listening to the GPS lady and trying to ignore anything else I am feeling, for I am tired and it is pitch black and the island is no longer familiar and if I stop and think of what might've happened three decades ago I don't know what I would do and I just can't confront that, not now, not while B___ is there and babbling inanely and all I want is for her to just stop, stop, stop it already and leave me to my thoughts.

Finally the ride ends and I silently return to the house. My parents don't even hear me come in or hear me at all until I am up an hour later (nature again).

NYC, again

This time the visit is short but we have yet another obligation, it is to see an old High School friend of Mr. J's who was at our wedding. She is a pleasant woman and we are having lunch with her and her daughter. My parents drop me off and soon Mr. J and I are walking over to the Mexican restaurant. The lunch is mainly uneventful as there is more oohing and ahhhing and while it is pleasant enough I am tired and also a little tired of being so "on" for the last few days, nonstop.

Mercifully, lunch is fairly short and we walk back to the apartment, having refused a ride in favor of instead getting in some cardio. The following morning, early, we get on a train for home.

That was yesterday.

"(Subdivisions)
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
(Subdivisions)
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth the unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth"

Oh, and that group photograph? It's on Facebook. And D__ and J__ are both standing just behind me. I'm glad they've got my back.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NYAYNE 12/7/2009 7:45AM

    I read it all. Sounds like you were one busy gal over the holidays. Your reunion sounds like you not only had a blast but a real ego boost as well, a good thing. We all need those from time to time.

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4OURBOY 12/3/2009 6:23PM

    OK. I read it all, well I did a little skimming, but I've had a half a glass of wine and I'm late for work, but here's the thing... since I too am a SUFFOLK COUNTY native I expect you to email me with all the names (well, just the famous ones) and the town you're from please. Oh, and BRAVO! BRAV-THE-EFF-O WOMAN!

emoticon

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 12/2/2009 9:32AM

    Felt like I was there. What a memory lane you took. And it sounds like you managed to stay within ranges. Inspiring.

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SWEETZMIX 12/2/2009 9:30AM

    I made it through your whole blog and now I see while you are tired! lol What a busy holiday weekend. Seems like your reunion wasn't too bad. And people always say things after the fact. haha And you are right, you weren't too far, but then again you didn't have time to sleep. Your friend B___ seemed like someone I could not deal with. You are a nice person, I tell ya! lol and you did awesome on the eating front!! Like seriously, most of us would of ate like no tomorrow. Or maybe that is just me :/



Comment edited on: 12/2/2009 9:31:42 AM

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DMPRIDER 12/2/2009 2:42AM

    Wow, you had a busy holiday! I love your story about your reunion. I haven't been to one of mine in a very long time. Reading about yours almost makes me want to attend one again. Thanks.

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TELERIE 12/2/2009 1:24AM

    Great read! I really enjoyed this War and Peace! I think you caught the flavor of reunions just perfectly. Not sure if I'm going no mine, I prefer smaller gatherings, but it might be fun just for the Oh-ing and Ah-ing.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/2/2009 12:01AM

    Wow. That was a busy holiday!

Thanks for the blow-by-blow description of the reunion; I've never been to any of mine (CA is a long way to go) and I kind of always wondered what they might be like. Now I can imagine how one of mine would go, too.

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EMMASMART 12/1/2009 11:02PM

    We get together every year at Thanksgiving My class and all the classes. I missed this year. Next year would be our 30 we had a class of 750 (the largest ever at my high school) I'd be happy to see 100 if anyone has energy enough to organize an event (outside of our regular get together last week .)

I am exhausted reading about all the people you saw. Are you not the cool kid in the class being all geeky and stuff? I'm like class geek. I love it.

Emma

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VEEJAY3 12/1/2009 10:49PM

    Awwwww ... I'm a child of the 70s, too. And Dan Fogelberg!!!! Oh yeah. Dan Fogelberg music and Tom Robbins novels. You are making me seriously sentimental here.
I know you were beyond busy ... but plenty of time to rest in the nursing home someday. You lived it up, and I loved the story!

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MS.ELENI 12/1/2009 10:24PM

    Wow I'm exhausted reading this.You were one busy gal. But it sounds like you had some good times.

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ETAGGEL 12/1/2009 9:43PM

    You have had a busy time but I bet you really enjoyed it!


Phyllis

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TRACYZABELLE 12/1/2009 9:38PM

    Sounds like you had a great time...you need to add me as a friend on facebook! I am tracy Kaiserian

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CAROLISCIOUS 12/1/2009 6:54PM

    Nice read. I'll be checking out those fb photos!

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MARCHMAID 12/1/2009 6:18PM

    Really nice, Jes. You caught the flavor of reunions perfectly. Ooooh. Aaaaaah! Fun to find out what others thought when you were thinking 30 years before, isn't it? I love those Fogelberg tunes. . .

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Lend Me Some Suga', I AM Your Neighbor

Monday, November 23, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGnYw-OuCnI

I urge you to check out the video. It's rather silly.

It's time for the Month in Review, plus I want to talk about my job search. And many other things. But first the numbaz.

Measurements

Bicep: 13.2" ORIGINAL #: 19" (down 5.75")
Bust: 36.25" new personal best! ORIGINAL #: 55" (down 18.75")
Band: 33.25" 1/4" more than personal best ORIGINAL #: 47.5" (down 14.25")
Waist: 33.5 1/2" more than personal best ORIGINAL #: 49" (down 15.5")
Belly: 37.5" ORIGINAL #: 59.5" (down 22")
Keister: 43" ORIGINAL #: 64" (down 21")
Hip: 40.75" 1/4" more than personal best ORIGINAL #: 54.5" (down 13.75")
Thigh: 20.25" ORIGINAL #: 32.5" (down 12.25")

Adding all 6 measurements together, I've lost, Good God, 123.25". To give you some perspective, I'm 5'6", AKA 66" tall. Yes, folks, I've lost almost twice my height in terms of inches. The averages are pretty spectacular as well. The average loss for all 8 measurements is 15.4". When you remove bicep and thigh (outlyers), the average is an even more staggering 17.5". As in, not much less than the current size of my left thigh.

Alli and food news

Because I'm out of work as of the 11th, I'm doing even more cooking. This coming week will be different because of the holiday, but for the most part I have been mixing things up. It's been enjoyable to get morning fat in the form of something like walnuts or peanut butter instead of tasteless fish oil capsules. I've been eating a lot more sandwiches; the portable soups are being saved for when I get a new job, although if they get close to expiring I will of course eat them. That won't happen for a while.

As for alli, the big news is that on Saturday the 21st, I took my last one.

Yes, folks, I am done with alli. I had been taking it almost nonstop for almost 2 years, which is the absolute limit off effectiveness, plus it's just not an expense I can condone right now, particularly as my weight loss has slowed down (this was a good week but those don't happen every single week, like they used to long ago). Plus I was just ... shh no one's supposed to know about this ... tired of them.

They fulfilled their purpose, BIG time. Now that chapter is closed.

Fitness

Oh boy. Ever since I was laid off, I've been really throwing myself into it. I need it in order to not feel antsy. Plus it's sociable and good for me and gets me AFK (away from the keyboard), so that when I return, my commitment to looking for work is strengthened. Otherwise hour upon hour online is, well, it's somewhat counterproductive after a while. I figure an hour a day looking is plenty, plus I add in little tidbits like updating social networking sites (including SP) with job search news. They say you should shout your need for a job from the rooftops, and so I am. But in the meantime I am hitting max Spark pernts for fitness, day in, day out.

I finally took a rest day yesterday, and was antsy and nuts. I know I still needed it, and I took it. Ai yi yi there are going to be rest days this week as it's a lot tougher to get fitness in when we're at the inlaws or my folks (both of whom will be visited) but I'll do what I can so that I'm not bouncing off the walls. Or failing to counteract what are probably going to be a lot of hidden calories.

Mood

Pretty good, all things considered. I was truly manic last week, and now I've come down off that and am getting more settled and centered. I am not devastated by any means and am still pretty glad to be away from a dull job, but am also pulling together the needs that I'm going to have for the next few weeks or months as I look, as in making sure I have business cards, that I get my resume out there, make sure my interviewing clothes are clean, etc. All of that activity helps me stay even-keeled and I am very focused right now. This also, undoubtedly, dovetails with all of those fitness minutes.

Okay, now that that's over with, what about the job search?

Welllll, it's pretty interesting. I had my resumes back out within 24 hours of being laid off and hit the ground running. I got a serious inquiry from, I kid you not, the parent corporation of a nationwide pastry company. That was, eek, that was skeery. It turned out to not be the kind of $$ that I'd like so I let it pass. It would have been hard to do, as of course the products are everywhere. I also received an inquiry from a company looking for temp work, and another too far away for me to commute to. So things are out there and people are interested in me, but so far it's not a fit yet.

But while that happens, I have employment counseling. The company that laid me off rather graciously has paid for 12 weeks of it and I am using it to the max. I've already met with my counselor twice (I'll get a total of seven sessions with him) and have been to a Networking workshop. There are three other workshops I'll be going to. Plus he's given me some homework, and plenty to think about.

New direction for me?

You betcha.

It's amorphous for now so I don't want to commit it to pixels just yet.

Stay tuned.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETZMIX 11/30/2009 11:05AM

    First I like to say Happy Thanksgiving. I know I am late, was off last week and wasn't online. Hope you enjoyed yourself. You are going in the right direction and you are right there are jobs out there. But you just haven't found the one you want right now. I am glad you are using this time to exercise and keep yourself sane! And the Alli, the time has come. It's not cheap and you can do it without it!! I know you can!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 11/30/2009 9:57AM

    What a wonderful upbeat blog. Jespah you are an inspiration in so many ways. Love the numbers. Love the awareness you have of your own need for workouts. Love the approach you are taking to job search. It is all great.

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JLITT62 11/29/2009 1:30PM

    Sounds like you're doing great! You sound so upbeat, plus I love to hear that you're throwing yourself into exercise. All too easy to let yourself become a couch potato when life doesn't quite go our way.

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TRACYZABELLE 11/27/2009 3:18AM

    You can do it!!

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KUNGFOOD 11/25/2009 8:16AM

    Now those are some BIG changes!
Exciting and scary... that's life, hm?!

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MS.ELENI 11/24/2009 10:37AM

    As usual I enjoyed your blog emoticon

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MARCHMAID 11/24/2009 5:59AM

    This one made me smile--upbeat, recharged, heading up up up! Take it and run! Whatever comes it'll be good 'cuz you seem to make it that way! emoticon

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EMMASMART 11/24/2009 2:02AM

    Thank you for keeping us updated.

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CJROMB 11/24/2009 12:29AM

    I love how positive you're staying. I like that...AFK. BRB. I'm AFK. Heehee.

You're gonna find something amazing I bet. Can't wait til I hear what you've got brewing...

And way to go keeping after working out. It's a big life change when we start working out because it makes us feel good, eh?

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GEE-KNEE 11/23/2009 5:09PM

    That is an amazing amount of inches that you have lost. You'll figure out a way to get some exercise in during the holidays, even with parents and in-laws. Hope it's a happy thanksgiving.

Best,
Jeann
ie

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TELERIE 11/23/2009 4:22PM

    Hey Ya! I love how happy and energetic and focused you sound now - and you ARE the incredible shrinking woman, no doubt about it. Congratulations on finishing alli!
You can go in so many directions it'll be exciting to follow your progress on the job front. I KNOW you'll do fine, and I'm staying tuned for amorphous updates when you wanna share!
Hugs, Marit

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/23/2009 3:10PM

    Wow, that *is* a lot of circumference you've removed! Way to go!

Glad you're pushing forward in a productive way - I hope you find JUST the right thing...

emoticon

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YOOVIE 11/23/2009 2:19PM

    "Yes, folks, I've lost almost twice my height in terms of inches."

HOLY CRAP! Thats ALOT to be DONE with! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!

Super super proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/23/2009 2:14PM

    Wow! You're making the most of the opportunities. Very smart not to jump too quickly into the next job.

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KARVY09 11/23/2009 2:03PM

    I love that song - the video is so cute!

Your inches lost is totally amazing, Jes. You should be SO proud of yourself!
emoticon

Glad you're keeping sane amid your layoff. It's true, it's time to make this time into something positive!

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I Could Swim Loch Lomond and be Home in Half an Hour

Monday, November 16, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux6-KcpjTF8&
feature=related


The above link is of Ella Fitzgerald, who is of course wonderful, but my recording is of Emilie-Claire Barlow but I can't find her recording on Youtube. However, here is a tiny clip of ECB singing the song: www.emusic.com/album/Emilie-Claire-B
arlow-The-Very-Thought-Of-You-MP3-Down
load/11044036.html


Anyway, I prefer a really uptempo version (you can also get an uptempo version of Nat King Cole singing this song).

Okay, enough complaining about the song!

It IS true.

I am unemployed. I've resume work to do and references to contact etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda and I am running around like a manic nut and all I can say is that I am, I kid you not, having a fabulous time.

Today's fabbishness comes from a lot of things, and from a lot things not happening, so here goes.

I'm in good shape. The company provided a decent separation package, including employment counseling. We will, of course, be practical and watch our dimes but no one will starve, no one will need to buy cheap food to get by, the mortgage will be paid, etc. I can say that, for a fact, those things will happen for quite a while before any serious dipping into savings needs to be done, and then savings can be dipped into for quite a while before it will run out. We are not wealthy people but we have always had contingency plans and now the plan is being implemented.

More good news is that I am in demand, just like I was last time (just under a year and a half ago, there's blogging on that search, too). Last time, it took me four months to find work. I suspect that this search will be comparable when it comes to length and intensity level. Even though I am interested in going in a new direction, I have options. I have already gotten three recruiter calls and a serious inquiry from a major employer.

As for intensity level, it is very, very high. I am throwing myself into this search, and into fitness activities as I believe the two go hand in hand. While time spent getting fitter does eat into time I could be spending looking for work, much of that time probably would have been spent taking breaks or the like as I'm already putting in 6 - 10 hours per day on searching and working on searching (e. g. resumes, getting organized and the like). Fitness is of paramount importance now, far more than even before. It is important to rack up the cardio minutes. I feel better, I have even more energy, and I burn off nervousness so that I can go out and do what needs to be done. Plus the gym (and, today, I walked around the Seaport area with my mentor) gives me socializing time. Preventing depression and inaction, e. g. hopping past inertia, is vital.

I am also in touch with my fellow laid off workers (there are over 20 of us). People are in various stages of pain. And some are projecting it onto others.

Oh, you must be so desperate.

No, I'm not, I say.

Oh, you must be so depressed.

Nope, I'm psyched, I say.

Oh, you must be so worried.

Nope, not really, although I know I might become worried later.

Now, keep in mind, my husband has a good job and has benefits, we don't have children, Christmas isn't our holiday, the car is paid for and we have no credit card debt. And, I've got mad skills.

We'll be fine. Heck, we'll be better than fine.

We'll be kick-bun AWESOME.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4OURBOY 11/18/2009 10:15AM

    Where are you so I can smack you?
:)

emoticon

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LAB-LOVER 11/18/2009 6:42AM

    Lookie, you got a cheering squad!
GO Janet GO
Go Janet GO.

Congrats on the PMA! (positive mental attitude!)

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MARCHMAID 11/17/2009 9:16PM

    Lots of folks in the same boat these days and not all of them put their time to anything approaching the good use you are! Congrats and enjoy to the fullest!

Cream rises, so I expect you'll get something more to your liking soon enough!
emoticon

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MALCONTENTION 11/17/2009 9:03PM

    You go, girl! I want to hear more about those mad skills. How do I get me some?

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 11/17/2009 8:23PM

    Well this is interesting You seem to be having a better time unemployed than you did employed. I am so glad to hear all that you have said here. You really sound great. Best of all you sound like you are having fun. I really really hope you are able to find something that challenges and stimulates you. Everything else in your life sounds like it is just what you want it to be.

Somehow I got unsubscribed to your blogs. Missed the last one entirely. Oh well. Now I get double Jespah.

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DMPRIDER 11/17/2009 1:32PM

    Wow, your attitude and energy are awesome! I know your next position will be something fulfilling that takes advantage of your mad skillz.

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SWEETZMIX 11/17/2009 8:36AM

    You are right, you will be fine. You guys planned and now that rainy day is upon y'all but it's not that rainy right.

I agree that exercise does help with the stress. I NEED to exercise more before I lose my mind. But rack of up those minutes my friend and go for those walks before the HAWK comes out and we have to limit out outside time.

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LIV2RIDE 11/17/2009 6:51AM

    emoticon emoticon Sounds like all of your previous planning has left you in a good position. That's awesome! Good luck with the new direction. I hope that you find something you love.

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ONECOOKIETWO 11/17/2009 1:44AM

    Yo dude. You are having fun and I can feel it. I bet yer working out way more than you used to when you had to work!

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CAROLISCIOUS 11/16/2009 9:59PM

    Good for you for planning for a rainy day. I'm excited about what the future holds for you!

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FIT_TERI 11/16/2009 8:49PM

    You've got a terrific attitude. Not that I am surprised emoticon.
I hope you thoroughly enjoy your time "off" and that you find something that you truly enjoy doing.


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JLITT62 11/16/2009 7:53PM

    I stopped working 4 years ago, for various reasons. Thankfully, my husband has a good job, we also don't have kids (just the furkids), and we've always lived within our means. I'm actually perfectly fine not working -- I have plenty that occupies my time -- but at some point in the future I'm sure I'll find something to do, at least part time.

May you find something even more fulfilling!

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NYAYNE 11/16/2009 7:45PM

    I'm glad to hear all is going well. I think you had out grown the old job in many ways. You were not content, but it was there, it was a job, it gave you a pay check.

Many years ago, in my early 20s, I had I job I was so done with. The day came that a number of us were let go. I was so happy while others were worried about what would be next or upset that the company would do that to them. In my early 30s I offer to be the one let go from a job. I had plans so asked management if they wanted to lay me off.

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MS.ELENI 11/16/2009 7:29PM

    It sounds like you have it all under control. Good for you. emoticon

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GEE-KNEE 11/16/2009 6:20PM

    It sounds like you are in a good place. I am sure you will be back working in no time, and until then, enjoy sleeping in and getting in some extra fitness minutes (not that you need any extra fitness minutes).

Hugs,
Jeannie

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/16/2009 5:03PM

    Awesome! You're in the right frame of mind. Go out there and do it! emoticon

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TELERIE 11/16/2009 4:55PM

    YOU already ARE kick-bun AWESOME!
I'm so inspired by you!! What a great attitude - don't listen to the co-workers projecting angst! Be JUST the way you are, my friend - you ROCK!

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4MYBOYSANDSELF 11/16/2009 4:49PM

    No no no... GENE KELLY!! One of my favorite songs from 'Brigadoon' - how could I not open this blog?! LOL!

It sounds like you're doing great and have a great attitude! Way to go!!

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