Friday, February 04, 2011
Those of you who've followed my blogs know that this year has started roughly. Most of January was consumed by the cold that was more than a cold. That was followed by the organizational changes and the very strong hint that my job is less than secure.
Along with that have been my own issues and stresses.
I asked my boss late yesterday afternoon if I could take today off as a vacation day and conceded that, given the late hour, a half day might be fair. He left it up to me. After that, his boss asked me for something that I could not definitively answer until this morning because I needed confirmation from our Knoxville office or our Atlanta agent. So I came in this morning, got that information and did a few other things. Not many. Everything I touch this year seems to require more information than I have at hand, so it has been frustrating.
God / fate / whatever you call it works in mysterious ways. I was able to do something at the bank today that I would not have been able to do after hours, get a replacement ATM card. Then I did the grocery shopping. That means, for the weekend, there's nothing I must do except recharge and get in some exercise!
I am tired in every possible way except I am not sleepy. I have been eating right, taking vitamins and getting sleep, but I have been unable to function. I feel as if I am moving through concrete, I have had intermittent shortness of breath but I am physically fine.
Thank you, SparkFriends, for keeping in touch. You have helped me stay focused in at least this area of my life. Thank you is too small a word.
But one very cool thing happened! I am a member of the "Slowest Loser" team. The leader works for SparkPeople. In one of his recent blogs, he asked the team to share what the team means to us. A bunch of us weighed in, so many that he got his wife to select the few that he would share in the follow-up blog. One chosen is my SparkFriend Ishiigirl and another was mine! I did not know this until another SparkFriend mentioned it on my SparkPage. What a nice way to end a rough week!
Friday, February 04, 2011
Perhaps 54 minutes a day is beyond me. I missed it yesterday by 14, today by 12. Perhaps I should have set a lower monthly fitness minute goal. I have walked and not much else.
I am tired. Mentally, physically (not sleepy) and emotionally.
This morning, as usual, I started with songs as I drove to work. I sang some different songs and started the day on a better foot. Yes, I am still down, but not as low as yesterday.
Food was in range in all respects save calcium. Somene brought in cupcakes for a student's birthday. I did not partake, even though they were chocolate with lots of frosting. I took it because it felt awkward not to do so, but I gave it to someone else.
Yesterday's crisis resolved itself and today was another of those times when I could not finish anything because I needed more information than I had. I am overwhelmed!
It is in that backdrop that I think of drastic unhealthy measures to get this tonnage of. I have not taken any action, but that thought is indicative of my state of being.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
It's probably hormonal, but today I was very emotional. I was ok, for the most part, until the Toastmaster meeting. I was the grammarian/ah counter, which is my favorite role. I am known for my listening skills and for having very detailed reports. The meeting had started late, all the speeches had gone under time, so I launched into my lengthy report. This was after the GE had forgotten to call on me and had called the Toastmaster of the Day to adjourn the meeting. I was feeling really left out and jotted down every flaw in the General Evaluator's speech. After the meeting, the president of the club and one of the former presidents of the club both castigated me for going on so long. The president also found fautl with my meeting minutes, though she did praise me for my officer meeting notes. She said several times that I had gone on too long. I hate it when people say things to me more than once! I seriously thought about resigning as secretary of the club and dropping out, but decided to table that decision since I knew I was feeling very emotional.
With work, everything I touched required I ask a question. I could not finish anything! Frustrating. I emailed a contract negotiator and asked why a number on one page of the form did not match what she put in the summary email. She replied that she didn't see a problem and had attached the form to her reply. Belatedly, I realized she was teasing me. I thought I had screwed up and was just about in tears.
I could not start my online study due to some sort of computer problem. BF is in about the same mood as I am, so this evening at fun is not home.
I am so tired of the stress, of the fear, of the emotions, mine and others.
40 minutes walking today - 14 less than I should have done.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
February first. I have not been as happy to see a month end as I was this January. It was a very tough month on many levels. I did not make my fitness goal last month, so I just set the same goal for this month. THEN I remembered that February is shorter than January.
What's the big deal, you say? My February goal is 1500 fitness minutes. That means, with "only" 28 days, I must put in a hair over 53 minutes every day. If I don't, those minutes roll over until I catch up!
I got in 57 minutes today. Not much in the way of cardio, but I feel so good to have met this goal today.
My nutrition numbers are all over the map. Within range in most metrics, over on a few and under in a few.
Nothing else has changed. Fear of the future, of my financial situation, job, etc. But I can change none of those things tonight, so I will enjoy the feeling of this one success.
Monday, January 31, 2011
The speech I delivered today:
She Who Sings Prays Twice
Today, I invite you to step into my imaginary time machine for a short trip back to the early 1970s.
We are all teenagers for this journey and we are going to Albuquerque, New Mexico to a two-story red brick building built in the shape of an H with a rambling two story faux adobe building behind it. Together, these buildings comprise the campus of Harwood Girls School, a Board of Missions school for the Methodist church.
When I first arrived, I was chronologically 13 years old, but emotionally about 6. Who should I meet on that very first day of school but the music teacher, Winifred Wrisley. An older student introduced us and told me that Miss Wrisley could teach me to sing and to play the piano.
Remember this is only a few years after 1969, famously known as the summer of love. The teachers at Harwood have served in the Peace Corps, been missionaries around the world and have come to teach with a sense of mission. This is also a time when folk music was beginning to be used in youth church services and church sanctuaries began to reflect that influence. The music room at Harwood has burlap banners with words made from felt letters. One of them says “She who sings prays twice”.
Miss Wrisley had a rule and told us that we should leave our troubles at the door because the music room was for making music. Picture all your troubles in a backpack, she said, and leave that backpack outside the door. You can choose to pick it up when you leave.
She made the music room an oasis for me. I sang every day. Being in the choir meant traveling to churches all over the Land of Enchantment for Sunday performances. The school had 13 pianos and I played every one of them. I had my favorites, but I made sure each piano was played. Every morning, we gathered outside the dining hall for grace. I played the only song I knew every day until an older student said, I don’t know if I’m coming downstairs for breakfast or going to heaven. The song was “Jacobs Ladder”.
Three years later, Miss Wrisley sent me a letter over the summer with the sad news that she would not be returning to Harwood. She needed to stay in Vermont and take care of her mother. I was heartbroken and could not imagine the music room without her. But I continued the piano and voice lessons for the last two years of high school. We remained friends, exchanging letters full of music, often with church bulletins. Miss Wrisley was a lay minister for several small churches in rural Vermont and gave music lessons. I had the chance to visit her in Vermont. We visited Lake Champlain, Waterbury Circle (home of Ben and Jerrys), site of the Trapp Family resort (of “Sound of Music” fame), the church that sent missionaries to Kalaupapa leper colony. It had wood carvings on the outside of the church that told the story of Father Damien at the colony. I had the privilege to interview a friend of hers who told me about being at Hickam Field on the morning of December 7th, 1941. He gave me a picture that he took that morning of a plane flying overhead.
Miss Wrisley retired in Asheville, NC at the home that the Methodist Church ran for retired ministers and qualified laypeople. Through the years, our cards and letters continued. One year for her birthday, I cross-stitched a wall hanging with colorful wild flowers and the saying from her music room “She Who Sings Prays Twice”. I backed it with yellow fabric and trimmed it with red ribbon, the colors of the New Mexico flag. She told me that, when she died, it would come back to me. My Christmas letter for 2010 included the news about my summa cum laude AA in Paralegal Studies and a thank you for the music she had sent recently.
The response to that card was a letter from the property manager that Miss Wrisley died shortly before Thanksgiving. I could not sing for several days after that – my throat was choked with tears. We had known each other for nearly 40 years.
As we board my imaginary time machine and return to the present, the years creep back and we are here now. I hope you are now thinking of people who have had a profound impact on your life and are in touch with that inspiration. My talisman is a banner that says “She Who Sings Prays Twice”.
Yesterday, I hinted that tonight's blog would explain a comment a made about today being a date of great personal significance. My older brother would celebrate a birthday today were he still alive. He died when we were teens. He lived a hero and died a hero. We were the only children from our parents' marriage to each other. Shortly after I was born, Mother went home to New Mexico and Dad was in Europe fulfilling his US Army commitment. Mother married her high school sweetheart and they had four girls. I was at least 10 years old before I knew he was not my dad. When we were very little, my brother and I shared a room and were very close. I was Mother's outlet, her punching bag. My brother was the only one who could talk her down and stop or shorten the abuse.
At the end of my 8th grade year, circumstances sent me to live with my father and his new family in Alaska. I was not allowed to hug my brother or speak to him as I was hustled out the door. Two weeks later, while on a Boy Scout expedition, a rafting trip, he lost his life. The scouts encountered rough water and fallen trees and decided to leave the river, hike and get back in the water at a different point. My brother was already on shore and saw that a younger, smaller boy was still in the water. My brother went back into the water, gave the boy his life preserver and, as the current carried them downstream, both boys struggled with the water and hypothermia. Between the two of them, they had the strength to get the younger, smaller boy to safety but my brother drowned. A few days later, some campers came across some of the boys covered in campfire ash. That was the first that anyone knew there was a problem. Rangers rounded everyone up and that was how they discovered one boy was missing. They dragged the river and, days later, found my brother.
My brother had what they used to call traumatic autism. It was a miracle that he reached out and saved this boy, so they say. But he had always been my hero and always will be. Because he loved to play the guitar, my mother had this put on his marker: "Destiny asked will you be a hero? He answered singing gladly, yes."
I had fleeting thoughts of changing the speech I delivered today. I was unprepared for the emotional toll that giving that speech on my brother's birthday after the week I just had.
In terms of my SparkPeople journey, today was at least one step backwards. I had a healthy breakfast. Then came the announcement that a contractor was leaving at the end of the day. They had a going away soiree for her which meant homemade banana, cranberry and applesauce breads. I walked away from them at first, but they were there all day and I walked back. I tried most of them and skipped my healthy lunch. (I know!). I was really stressed with work so I was not hungry at lunch time, but I ate some of the breads in the afternoon. Small pieces, but, still. I am not so far along on my journey that I can flirt with that kind of food!
I am so scared that I will be laid off. I am so stressed about finances. I feel completely overwhelmed about everything! And, in the ironies of life, I found my lost glasses. I lost them a few weeks ago and have been using my old prescription. I spent the last of last year's FSA (flex spending account) dollars for the eye exam and, just this past Saturday, ordered and paid for my new glasses. That transaction ate up more than half of my FSA budget for this year! Yikes!
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