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Charity Walk, Work Overload and Clothes

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Today was quite an interesting day. My supervising attorney was unhappy with me, but she did not rip into me as I feared she might. She was not feeling well and I very much appreciated the fact that she did not launch into a tirade. How many times have I spoken sharply and then apologized, offering the excuse that I was stressed/didn't feel well/whatever...I was humbled by her example and told her so.

I volunteered to be Toastmaster (emcee) for today's meeting at nearly the last minute. We had a guest speaker from the club next door and the other speaker was from our club. Both are not native English speakers, so it took intense listening to understand what they were saying. The same held true for our wordmaster of the day, both evaluators and the timer. We had several guests, one of whom was from our Knoxville office. I did not get a chance to meet her. She arrived late and left early. Another guest was a member years ago. He remembers me, but I did not think I had ever seen him before! Last was another guest: a man who's been newly prompted to the newly created position of Operations Director. He joined on the spot! He knew me, but I did not know him. That is to say, I have seen him from a distance but had never spoken with him before. What a gracious man he is! I was completely charmed! Before the meeting started, someone put up a picture of the two winners from the Area contest. Jean-Francois won the humorous speech contest and I came in second in the evaluation contest. It was kind of fun seeing the picture, but I was very leery of appearing to make the meeting all about me!

Every day, I get something more added to my workload. Most of the time I welcome it, but it is starting to wear me down! Some of the time, it's not more work, but is a rearrangement of priorities. When I was younger, I think I rolled with it more easily than I do now. But I was also a bit of an unpleasant person...Grouchy, moody, snappy...bleh! Today's was a call from a coworker who is a level above me in our group asking me about one of the spreadsheets I maintain. I told her quite honestly that I am a bit behind in updating and she seemed stunned. I can predict that I will get an email or call from our boss tomorrow with an email to his boss......sigh! My supervising attorney wants me to finish the overtime project ASAP and there is so much of it that I can't give her an ETA. It does not help that I keep asking her questions that, if I thought about it, I would have the answer. Maybe that's stress.

I wore size 14 slacks yesterday that I've had for a long time. They have never been right. Too narrow in the hip and the legs are too long. Supposedly Petite Short, but they are not. I put on a different same size pair today with some trepidation and discovered they are LOOSE! Wow! I will have to pull out the tape measure this weekend!

Signing up for the 5K charity walk was something of an impulse. I have a friend who, when she had her daughter 3 years ago, wanted me to make donations to this charity in lieu of gifts. I have done that for birthdays and Christmas. I decided a walk in her honor would be another gift I could give. Deanna does not have any childhood cancer, but her mom wanted this charity to benefit, so...that's how it started. After signing up, I remembered that I really hated being in sales. I hated it whether it was in person, door to door or over the phone. So how can I raise donations without giving email addresses to the charity or shamelessly metaphysically begging with my hand out.

SparkPeople's policies prevent me from naming the charity or posting anything specific on this site. It is a nationally known charity, I am walking a 5K on November 20. IF you are interested in helping fight childhood cancers, email me and I will send you the info and promise not to post your email address on my team page on the organization's site unless you say I may do so. If you cannot donate or don't choose to, wish me well anyway because it is for the next generation of children...This is my first time doing something like this...

As I sit, I am in the dark. Electrical problems at home. Blown fuses have been replaced and the living room is still dark. As if I needed anything else to worry about in terms of money...My mobile home is OLD and some of the elements are original. BF is trying to do some electrical work, but I don't know how much he knows about what he's doing...Yikes...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMRAND54 10/7/2010 10:24PM

    You look great in the photo. What a week you've had. Hang in there honey. You're doing great. Pants too loose is a good sign.

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JAKEANDNELLIE 10/7/2010 7:13PM

    Just keep pushing forward - one day at a time.
You will do all of what needs to be done!

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JHADZHIA 10/7/2010 1:01AM

    Lovely photo! You look great!
Sorry about your work overload. All you can do is get the most important projects done first.. Glad you didn't get the dressing down you feared..
I worry about your boyfriend digging around in the electrical if he is not trained. Could end up worse..
Hope you have a good and restful sleep. Have a good breakfast to get you through your long days. You need it..

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RJFERRARO315 10/6/2010 11:45PM

    Good luck managing it all. emoticon Just take a few deep breaths and one step at a time.

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In the Hot Seat and Other Musings

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The last few days, I have been HUNGRY! Yesterday, I ate way above my calorie range and still went to bed hungry. At lunch yesterday, I got my seasonal flu shot. My toe caught on a crack in the sidewalk and I landed on my left side. Not much except skin left on the scene. My balance is always precarious, but I notice when I lose weight, I have balance issues until things sort of reset about 5 pounds later. This happens every 10-15 pounds.

Today was more on track as far as food goes, but I did not get as much exercise in. I know I need to do more, but I can't seem to make myself do it.

And I will probably get chewed out by my supervising attorney tomorrow. What a lovely thing to be anicipating. She asked me to do something last week and I did not realize we could do it inhouse, so I was going to send it to the contractor that we use. I have taken on some new tasks and had not gotten around to it until today, a week later. When she asked me for a status report, I learned that it could be done inhouse. I got it done, but she is probably going to bend my ear about it tomorrow. The delay is my fault, but.........

The company newsletter next week will have my picture in it with my Toastmaster 2nd place trophy. The new CEO is a huge supporter of Toastmasters, so that bodes well for the stability of the club.

I had thought I would reach my halfway goal at New Years, but that is highly unlikely. That will mean that it will probably take more than 2 years for me to lose the total 80 pounds. If I look at it like that, it's very discouraging. So I will focus on closer, more attainable goals.

I love my new fit and healthy food containers! I am trying to get to the point where I don't have to put my food in the fridge in the coffee bar. Every time I do, I miss something, it gets moved, I can't find it or....frustrating. Besides, I am using these containers to teach my BF about portion control. He laughs when he sees how small a serving of cereal is!

I signed up for the charity walk, but haven't sent emails yet. I'm a bit nervous about it. Will my friends resent the emails? What about the rejection? What if I cannot raise the minimum $250?

There is more I could say, but it is very late and I'd better get some sleep! Good night, Spark Friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAKEANDNELLIE 10/7/2010 2:02PM

    emoticonJust keep pushing forward, no matter how slow it seems. My losing has really slowed down, but my consistency has not been what it should be!
I'm glad you're okay from the fall. I took one while out walking Tuesday and am just now able to walk around the house again. I think it was just bruising and a strains, but I landed on the hip and knee that were injured before so it has been really painful. I hope to get outside to walk a couple of miles tomorrow, but not if I'm in pain in the morning!

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CMRAND54 10/6/2010 9:51PM

    Hang in there. You can do it. I lost 65 pounds in a year. I'll bet you can do as well.

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LIBBYFITZ 10/6/2010 9:52AM

    emoticonSend out the e-mail. You will get support. more than you realize! emoticon

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JHADZHIA 10/6/2010 1:24AM

    It took me two years to lose 65 lbs, so I don't see 80 lbs in two years being that bad, its all in the perspective. We both have physical obstacles to overcome. That makes it far harder..
Congrats on the Toastmasters success!!
I have a Spark buddy already soliciting funds for her charity walk. I said I am Canadian and support my own charities for people in my own country, as others not from the US have also commented. I have been involved with charities, but have never used my e-mail lists for it. I only ask people in person that I know. I feel its nicer that way and I am not spamming anyone who may resent it. But I have found most people on Sparks to be nice and fairly tolerant. I think very few would mind..
A better way is to blog about it and have anyone e-mail you if interested.. This friend gave her Facebook address.
Hope you get a good sleep!

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Yvonne was hired to take a position I was vacating 4 years ago. I trained her for the job she does now and, in that process, we became friends. Over the years, we got closer and even went on weekend trips together. Through this time, she has had times when she's been moody and full of self-pity. There have been times when I have been prickly and not nice to be with. We have worked through our communication difficulties, but are seemingly now at an impasse.

She has a lot of health problems and is on a ton of medications. I know some of what is going on, but not all. She has put on a lot of weight, some of it from her meds and some not. She spends thousands of dollars on dream vacations but never has money otherwise. Her parents are elderly and not in good health. She has a love/hate relationship with them, but I think she is now realizing what I have been saying for 4 years - that she will miss them when they are gone. They help her a lot financially and she stands to inherit a lot of money and two homes when they die. Therefore, she does not save for retirement.

I do not have a lot of health problems and am on no medications. I don't even remember to take vitamins. I have lost some weight this year and Yvonne is quite jealous of that. My father is dead and my mother might as well be (she disowned me when I was 13). I have no financial safety cushon other than my retirement (and I borrowed against that this year...very reluctantly). I seldom take vacations and have had only 2 "dream" vacations - both were trips to Hawaii (one of which was after my dad's funeral, so it was not optimal).

There is a lot going on in my life, but they are things I cannot talk about. Yvonne knows my workload has exploded, that I have suffered some losses this year and...well, we all have troubles.

Yvonne is jealous because I have a boyfriend. She is very man-hungry and feels incomplete without someone. I don't know the whole story, but I know she is divorced. She brushes off the fact that my relationship is less than ideal. She even compares the number of friends we have on FB!

Like my friend Valerie, Yvonne seems to forget that other people have troubles that, for them, could be as all-encompassing as theirs. I have been learning how to do part of Yvonne's job (something that she has been doing for about a year, something I never had to do when I covered her desk). Yesterday, there was a flurry of emails about one of the transactions I did. The other person made a mistake, I made a mistake and a 3rd person made a mistake. Yvonne was copied on all the emails, but she did not read them. She sent me an email this morning asking what was going on and, at the moment she sent it, I was on major overload and did not respond in the most professional manner. I said, "If you read the emails..." Poor judgment on my part. It set her off into one of her feeling sorry for herself email tirades.

She said, among other things, that she thinks I have been angry with her about my graduation! I was floored. She won't tell me what I said or did (or did not say or do) that gives her that idea. Yvonne is a very generous soul. She came to my graduation and took pictures. She had her friend video my walk etc. We had lunch together and she gave me a very expensive (to me) gift. I had that Mahalo Party at work and she videotaped that and took pictures. She put all those pictures in a bound book that she designed with my school colors. She also had a custom frame made with my announcement (that she had designed for me) with my tassel. Then she burned the videos on DVDs so I could share with my family. As I said, incredibly generous. At my Mahalo Party, I gave thank you gifts to a number of people, the best of which was the gift for her. I was just nonplussed by her statement and she won't tell me why she feels that way. I don't know what to do.

The San Francisco Giants lost the game tonight and I ate more calories than I should have...I got some steps in, just under 3 miles, a tiny bit of strength training, but I need to do a lot more.

I am going in to work tomorrow to put in the OT hours that I could not do this week. I have been exhausted...!

I feel terrible that my thorny personality has hurt her and I just don't know how to change me in that regard.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NADJAZZ 10/4/2010 12:20PM

    I don't think you should be blaming yourself for having a "thorny" personality...Yvonne has some accountability in the all the events you described....she should have read the emails, or perhaps prefaced hers by saying "I'm having trouble following, can you just summarize the outcome". For your graduation, I think it's unfair of her to refuse giving you an explanation. You two have been friends long enough, I hope to eventually sort this out and put it behind you.

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CMRAND54 10/2/2010 10:28PM

    I have a friend at work who is not happy unless she is fighting with someone. I don't know why. Usually it's someone different every week. Sometimes she tries to fight with me, but I just ignore her for a while until she gets over it. I won't let her push me around, I don't fight back, I just walk away. We are never responsible for how others act. We can only control our own behavior. If you've done something you're sorry about, say you're sorry. Otherwise just live your own life and let your friend live hers.

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JHADZHIA 10/2/2010 9:42AM

    2nd what Libby says. Its her fault not reading the e-mails.. I really can't see why on earth she would think you blame her for your graduation!! That is just out there.. Unfortunately, you seem to have the misfortune to have had a lot of mentally unstable coworkers. Wish they would have gotten some help :(( Yvonne sounds like she could sure use some.
Sorry you have to work this weekend :(
Try to get some rest time in there somewhere.
emoticon emoticon

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LIBBYFITZ 10/2/2010 3:55AM

    If she won't open up and explain then there is no more you can do! just be you, it is OK to be a bit short at times , you are human, not a robot! emoticon

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I Came in Second!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My employer hosted the Area contest for humorous speech and evaluation contests. A coworker entered and won the humorous speech contest! I was thrilled!

I came in second in the evaluation contest and later learned that it was a tie. The speaker cast the tie breaking vote. I probably should not have told him that his topic made me feel squeamish! (he spoke about urinating)

The other day I blogged about the fact that pizza was going to be served at the contest. I bought a salad from the cafe at lunch time and saved it. To that, I added some imitation crab meat. The salad had a few grapes, walnut halves and mixed greens. I had my salad spray with me. It was very good! I had also filled up on water, though carefully because I knew it would be a long meeting.

Turns out they had sandwiches (halves) and cut veggies. I grabbed the only sandwhich made with wheat bread. It was a veggie sandwich. Not fresh because it was pretty wet. I ate it when I got home LATE! But I am ahead of myself.

Members of my Toastmaster club filled various roles. Toastmaster, judge, timer, registrar. And I knew that some had done the prep work - getting the signs up so no one would get lost, arranging for security so we could have the meeting at work after hours. They really made it happen!

It was really as if there were two meetings because they had a different Toastmaster (emcee of the meeting) for each contest. Same chief judge. The Area governor was there. He spoke so softly and with an accent that he was hard to hear and understand. I sat in the 2nd row, so, if I had trouble, certainly those in the back of the room were really lost. I did not know any of the Toastmasters from any of the other four clubs, even though two of them are company clubs on the same street.

This was my first time to attend an Area contest, much less compete in one. The order of speaking was determined by drawing lots. I was last, so I did not get to hear the other evaluators. I actually could hear #4 a tiny bit because the sergeant at arms left the doors open. He was a bit sloppy in his role and I tried to remind myself that he might be doing it for the first time or without sufficient instruction. I am really trying not to let my naturally critical self surface so much. Wanting to curb that trait was one of the reasons I decided to really focus on developing my skill as a speech evaluator.

For the uninitiated, the evaluator does not evaluate the person, merely the speech. They give feedback to the speaker. Did the speaker meet the goals of the speech project? Did they use the speaking skills learned/practiced in previous speeches? Those skills include: an organized speech (opening, body, conclusion), body language, vocal variety, using audio visual aids, persuasion, story telling, etc...

The evaluator should share observations about what the speaker did right and suggest some areas of improvement (with examples).

People at work asked me all day long if I felt nervous. I did not. Towards the end of the day, I was excited, but not nervous. When the sergeant at arms escorted s to the other room to write our evaluations, then, I felt a bit nervous. When I met the other contestants, I felt sized up and found wanting. Oddly, the guy who sized me up with that look is a very new Toastmaster but is in sales and does a lot of presentations. The guy who won apparently also won last year. He spoke for 3.29 and, had he gone on for 2 more seconds, I would have been the winner. I wish I could have heard his evaluation. Everyone was talking about it!

I got a lot of really good feedback. Apparently I made observations that no one else made and my evaluation was constructive and tactful. Interesting choice of words...

At the end, I hung around and helped take down the meeting room. The lady who had set out the food let me take home all the fresh veggies! I had 3 containers of carrots, broccoli, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce....

I brought one container to work today and a frozen dinner for lunch. I ended up deciding not to have the frozen dinner and walked to the cafe. I bought a bowl of lentil soup, large, and combined half of it with the fresh veggies. I microwaved that together and had an absolutely tasty lunch. I will do the same with the other half tomorrow.

A department had a meeting this morning and put leftover bagels in the coffee room. I grabbed the only wheat one and set it aside. I ate half of it with my soup with some peanut butter on it (I'm not wild about cream cheese). I won't mind having the same thing for lunch tomorrow! It might sound strange, but the veggies were still very crunchy and included the cucumber. It was a delightful taste!

I'm writing in a free association kind of way (fatigue, I guess). The meeting did not start on time, ran late and, when I got home, I still had to get my Spark points in. Short night. Work is very, very, very busy.

When they called my name, I walked in the room thinking to myself that I needed to walk in as if I owned the room. I walked in with confidence and I SOLD it! I am happy with my 2nd place silver trophy! Not bad for a first attempt!

And, as a PS. I put a new battery in my pedometer and my step count skyrocketed. I did almost 12K yesterday it said and I felt as if I had not walked much at all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NADJAZZ 10/4/2010 2:11PM

    Congratulations! 2nd place in your first contest is a wonderful accomplishment! I liked how you walked into the room with confidence and sold it!

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CMRAND54 10/1/2010 9:15PM


2nd place is great for your first try. And you made some great food choices, too.

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ACIMPEGGY 10/1/2010 8:10PM

    Wonderful, dear friend! I hope everyone on our Toastmasters SparkPeople team reads this!

You did great for the first time in an area contest!!!!

I also know what you mean by writing free association because of fatigue!

Kudos!!! emoticon

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LIBBYFITZ 10/1/2010 10:14AM

    That's what I could do with today, a new battery! emoticon

sounds like a great meeting. emoticonon 2nd prize and all your healthy food choices! emoticon emoticon

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MYSTERY4EVER 10/1/2010 9:41AM

    That is really an accomplishment. Congratulations. Also good work on sticking to healthy food. That is an even bigger accomplishment. I have been to too many Toastmasters events - contests, trainings, District meetings - where every single thing except the black coffee, was high fat and high calorie. I now always carry my own food.

I hope you will enter contests in the future. I learn from every one I attend. Also, volunteer to be Contest Master. It counts for one of the Competent Leader projects. I have learned a huge amount from that too.

Again, congratulations.

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 10/1/2010 9:01AM

  congrats on coming in 2nd. :) awesome stuff!! :) and, congrats on the walking part too. :)

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MISSY455 10/1/2010 2:38AM

    emoticon job!!! Congrats on the trophy! You should be really pleased and proud. I think coming in second on a first attempt is amazing :-)

I used to have a volunteer job years ago where I had to speak in front of new people to the area once a month. I would literally be sick before each presentation. Later, when I got to college, I had a professor who recognized this fear in me and forced me to talk in front of groups all the time. During college I thought it was so cruel of him, but it definitely helped me (not that I ever like it now I just don't get physically sick anymore.) I find it very humbling that people choose to get up in front of others like you do at Toastmasters and speak publicly. You deserve a big pat on the back! WTG!!!

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IXCHEL23 9/30/2010 10:22PM

    emoticon for coming in 2nd place and getting a trophy! emoticon

I wish I could be like you and not be afraid to speak in public. That's one of my greatest fears, I dreaded it in college, and was always sick with nerves. I have 2 interviews next week and I hope I can survive them!


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Tomorrow is the Area Evaluation Contest (Toastmasters)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My club is hosting the area contest tomorrow evening so our normal noon meeting has been cancelled. There are five clubs in the area, so there will be 5 contestants for the humorous speech contest. I hope my club entrant wins. He is a wonderful speaker! I am one of the four contestants for the evaluation contest. I've never been in an area contest, so this will be a new experience.

We are having pizza brought in. I have not been feeling well this week and, with nerves, I may not indulge. I do, however, need to have a backup plan in case the scent reawakens my appetite.

I have had an even harder time than usual getting work done. I find myself crying at odd moments, staring at the wall. One of my sparkfriends suggested I find time and place for a good cry. I have not been able to cry. I suppose that's why it seeps out at odd moments.

I am so tired, but it is too hot to sleep. The cycle continues!

Today was Yvonne's birthday and I brought in her favorite Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the team. I skipped the group lunch. I know she was disappointed, but we are having lunch tomorrow, so it will be ok. She did not want me to give her a gift and preferred I make a donation in her name to an animal charity. When I did that, I did order something for her. They did not send it and I learned today that it is still in the office! So her birthday celebration will continue.

Thanks, everyone, for the blog comments, the page comments and Spark Goodies. Your support really, truly, honestly helps!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMRAND54 9/29/2010 9:20PM

    If you give in to the pizza, just remember that two slices always has more calories than one. Practice portion control and you'll be fine.

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 9/29/2010 3:11PM

  good luck with the contest! love the idea that you had for yvonne's gift to an animal charity. :) oooh... pizza... i hope you can find a way to not give into the pizza... hopefully you'll take something that is equally delish. :)

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JAKEANDNELLIE 9/29/2010 7:46AM

    Good luck with the contest! Let us know how it went.
You will slowly get through these difficult times and return to normal. Just give yourself time and allow yourself to go through the grieving process.

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MRE1956 9/29/2010 4:45AM

    Good luck to you with your contest! (As a former Toastmaster this brings back some nice memories.....)

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JHADZHIA 9/29/2010 1:37AM

    All the best with the contest!
Love Yvonne's idea of no gift but a donation to an animal charity :)
Pizza will be very hard to resist when you are so down, its comfort food of the highest order -you should bring something similar, but way lower in calories for yourself to have if you get the growlies..
Good luck with it!
emoticon emoticon

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RNSHARON 9/29/2010 12:15AM

    I wish I had the courage to start a Toastmaster's group!

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