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SPY 2; Day 19 Kettlebell!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today was our Toastmaster club-level International Speech and Table Topics contest. I was the Toastmaster of the Day (emcee). I have not performed that role in a really long time and never for a contest, so I felt pretty rusty!

One speech was a rather dry but interesting philosophical speech and I can't even report what it was about without my notes (which are at work). The other speech was also philosophical, but it was light and humorous. His was the winner.

We had three table topics contestants and none of them were very good, I thought. I was surprised and disappointed. Perhaps it was nerves or perhaps it was the topic. The Table Topics master chose a district level question from a couple of years ago and I think the language barrier did not help. The contestants had to speak extemporaneously for 2 minutes on "Enthusiasm is..."

I did not get to walk at lunch because of the meeting nor did I do any in the evening. I got only 7K steps in and that was 29 minutes. I did some light strength training and ended the evening with a short KB workout. My BF looked at the DVD during the day and picked out some beginner exercises for me. It was not a long workout, but I sure feel it. So far, I love kettlebells! Me! I could not wait to get home and do the workout.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAWNMARIEMOMOF9 2/19/2011 8:37AM

    I too love my kettlebells!! Congrats on finding something that you love doing.

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CARRAND 2/17/2011 9:12PM

    I'm so glad you found a workout routine you like. It makes such a difference.

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JHADZHIA 2/17/2011 8:54AM

    Sorry your toastmasters was rather dull and you didn't have time to get in much steps in, but walking 7K in only 29 steps is an awesome speed! At least you got the kettlebell in.
Keep up the great work!

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 2/17/2011 8:38AM

  Good to hear that you're enjoyin' your kettlebells & working out! :)

Have a great day!

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RWALTON730 2/17/2011 7:54AM

    I've never worked with a kettle bell, but have been giving it some thought lately. Do you workout with the KB at the gym or home and if at home what is your routine? DVD?


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LIBBYFITZ 2/17/2011 4:48AM

    Well done on the Kettle Bell workout!

The toastmasters session sounds like there were some interesting topics!

Have a great day.

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NONIE_C 2/17/2011 2:39AM

    I've never worked with Kettlebells..how fun!!!
Sorry the Toasmasters was a little lack-luster today, but it's great that you got to practice in the role of MC - that's exciting!
I hope tomorrow is great!!!

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SPY 2; Day 18: Review, Lunch with VP and a 10 Pound Kettlebell (I am so blessed!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thanks to all of you who commented on yesterday's blog. The way it works is that the employee is the last to see the review. By the time I saw it, my boss and his boss (my VP) had already finalized it. I start the process by writing my self-assessment based on the goals we established last year, but those are not really part of the review. When I turn in my self assessment, I also provide a list of people I've worked with through the year and my boss may or may not solicit feedback from them (I never know what they say unless they voluntarily share it with me.)

We had a good conversation and I did not get upset or become unprofessional. I let boss know I was unhappy with it, using the analogy that I felt as if were a child coming home with a bad report card. The good conversation did not change the review and it will be there next year. This was, sadly, the best conversation we've had...We both need to work on communicating with each other. It is so weird. We are both good communicators, but there is something that puts a barrier up.

Then I had lunch with my VP who just happens to be both my former direct boss and my current boss' direct boss. We went to the Fish Market - I have not been there in at least a decade. I had a wonderful salmon with steamed veggies and brown rice.

As I thought, the conversation was about my job application for the paralegal position. What I did not expect was how quickly that conversation got started and where it went. He told me he wants a paralegal who is very experienced in IP and can hit the ground running. I don't have that. In the same conversation, we talked about my review in a rather indirect way. Then he admitted something that astounded me. He said his idea of moving me into government contracts has to go down as a great idea that did not pan out.

Don't get me wrong. I like and respect my boss a lot, but that's as far as it goes. The rest of my team seems to be better disciples than I am.

Then - the details still have to be worked out, but my VP is going to create a new position for me. This is not a promotion but is another lateral move. I will still support my current boss in government contracts part of the time, support the yet-to-be-hired paralegal and support one of the top attorneys. This attorney has been with the company a while and I have worked with him before. He is a great teacher, a really likeable guy and someone with whom I have a great rapport.

Yesterday evening, I stopped to look for a used DVD about kettlebells. The store had lots of DVDs but not one about kettlebells. I looked online and found there is a huge price range. Wal-Mart advertised some, so I stopped there on the way home this evening. I parked at one end of the the shopping center and walked to the other side to Wal-Mart. I hardly ever shop there and was surprised to see they had remodeled the store. It's a lot nicer inside. I did not mind walking throughout the store trying to find the fitness section. Fittingly, it was in one of the farthest corners from the entrance. Again, stacks of DVDs, some pulled off the hanging rods and stacked up behind small exercise equipment. No standalone DVDs for kettlebells, but I did see some interesting other ones. Eventually, I found a kettlebell packaged with a DVD. The one I bought the other day is a 5-lb and this is a 10. I bought it and walked back to my car. That was a workout!

I came home and went for a short walk with BF and filled him in on the events of the day. That short walk put me over 10K steps for the day. The day is ending with me at the low end of most nutrition metrics. Oddly, not hungry. And, after not sleeping well last night, I am ready to sleep now!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NADJAZZ 2/17/2011 12:29AM

    You are obviously a valued employee. How wonderful that your VP recognizes that, and accepts accountability for fixing his bad idea. Good job on hauling the kettlebell and getting in your 10k steps!

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CARRAND 2/16/2011 9:57PM

    I would call your luncheon a great success. Your VP is obviously interested in your progress with the company and is going out of his way to communicate with you. This wasn't something he had to do.

I like your kettle bell story, too. Things are looking up!

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LIBBYFITZ 2/16/2011 6:43PM

    Thank you for taking the time to explain your "review" process. I am pleased that you are staying with the company and hopefully this new position is more like what you are after! emoticon
Well done on all the walking!

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MYSTERY4EVER 2/16/2011 1:43PM

    Job: Clearly they want to keep you. You are being given a great opportunity to expand your knowledge. Look for the positives. (Your lunch food sounds great too.)

Kettleballs: I have been looking in to this. One thing a number of people have told me is that it is important to learn to do these correctly from the very beginning by having a lesson with someone who is qualified to teach you. These can do harm if you do them incorrectly. I am going to try to find time to take a lesson at a kettleball studio.

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JHADZHIA 2/16/2011 10:31AM

    Sorry the position didn't work out for you. Interesting they are creating another position for you, it suggests they don't want to lose you, so your job security should be more assured and you don't have to worry as much about it..
Well done with your exercise! Have read Spark's articles on kettlebell? One of them had a link to someone's blog video on the proper way to get started with them..
Keep up the great work!!

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SHERRYJVP 2/16/2011 10:09AM

    You sound so much better, mentally, than you did yesterday. I am so glad. A new challenge at work and a new challenge in your work out. What a great lift!

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 2/16/2011 10:03AM

  I want kettlebells. Maybe that will be my *next* purchase. :) Congrats on getting the kettlebell workout dvd. And, congrats on getting over 10k steps for the day too!!

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SPY 2; Day 17 Tomorrow is Going to Be a Challenge

Monday, February 14, 2011

This is shaping up to be a roller coaster week. But before I detail that, emoticon to all of you who commented, sent SparkGoodies and offered support yesterday, the 6th anniversary of my Dad's death. It was not gut-wrenchingly painful as some of the anniversaries have been. I did go off-plan and ate what I wanted, not as gluttony nor as feeling comfort from the food.

When I ran errands yesterday, I went to Marshalls and got a 5 lb kettlebell. I did a couple of exercises last night and, while sore, it really felt good! I was amazed! I woke up still a bit sore, but excited. I have the thought that I have finally found something physical at which I can succeed! I looked online last night for some dvds and then decided to stop at a discount store on my way home tonight. They did not have any...

I walked over 11K steps today, over an hour. So far, I feel good.

Work is very hectic, worse than I anticipated. On top of that, tomorrow is going to be a challenge. I have lunch with the legal department vp and I had hopes that it would be an interview for the paralegal job. Then, today. I will be having my personnel review tomorrow. Those things have historically made me nervous, but I have not been nervous for this one until I saw it today. My overall evaluation is really low. I don't quite know how to react. Some of the criticism is just, but some is unfounded and is a suprise. There are not suppsed to be surprises on a review, but I was surprised. Do I buy into the attitude that circulates all the time at work - that they always downgrade someone in every department because of a) the idea that no one is perfect and b) this way they have more $ to give to someone who got a higher rating. I have not been graded this harshly before and, while I am often in the midrange, I am usually in the high end. This one is so low that I suspect the VP will tell me he cannot consider me for the paralegal job. The corporate rule is that you have to be rated above X to be considered for another position within the company. Since the VP is my boss' boss, he has to have signed off on and shaved the numbers on the score. I feel like a child coming home from school with a bad report card. This has really taken the wind out of my sails. I honestly dont know how to move forward...Part of me feels like venting and letting my boss know exactly how I feel, but that could very well be a career limiting move. I am back to full-on fear about keeping a paycheck!

I have not bored y'all, I hope, and have left out a lot of the "back story" and the office politics....Being given my review is really a moot point. It is already signed by my boss, his boss and filed with HR. The low score means that my bonus is going to be miniscule! And this was going to be the best bonus in all of the 10 years I've worked here. It is very likely there will be no bonus next year at all. I can hear a lot of you say I'm lucky to have a bonus and that is true. What is also true is that I make a poverty level wage. (Yes, even in Northern California).

I was already financially scared. I almost cannot breathe right now! ACK!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 2/15/2011 9:54PM

    I can really sympathize with you. I had a distinguished or outstanding rating for 18 years, then I got my current boss and she has rated me "met" 3 years in a row. I'm doing the same job I always have, but my rating dropped. I got no raise at all this year because of my rating. There is nothing I can do about it. Fortunately I am eligible to retire, and that is my plan for next year. But I know you are a long way from retirement. I also know you work very hard and keep a good attitude, and I hope you'll get better news tomorrow. Someone should recognize what an asset you are to your company.

You'll have to tell us more about the kettle bell. That's something I'm not familiar with at all.

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LIBBYFITZ 2/15/2011 12:10PM

    It seems a bit weird that your review is not in collaboration with you. How can you get feedback etc? Do you have any chance of discussing it with anyone or is it all set in stone? emoticon

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BIKERBABE2BE 2/15/2011 9:44AM

    Good luck today! Do you get the chance to talk to whomever did your review before it is final? You might want to do this to find out why you were given the review you were, especially on the items you thought weren't justified. I hope things work out. Keeping my fingers crossed!


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SHERRYJVP 2/15/2011 8:42AM

    Bless you heart. Some people look at reviews as a time to only point out the negative in order to show that areas that need imporvement. You said you agreed with some of them so I guess I would just say..really work on those areas. It will pay off. ALso, maybe your boss's boss, knows how he/she reveiws and it won't really affect your possible promotion. Good luck.

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JHADZHIA 2/15/2011 12:25AM

    So sorry about that bad review :(( Was this due to the time you were away sick do you think? I can't imagine someone who works as hard as you getting a low score. I think if you don't agree with some of it, maybe you need to speak up about it as being unjust.
This mulit state huge company seems to be very unstable to work for. That you have lasted 10 years should count for something..
Well done with your fitness!
Good luck tomorrow, my thoughts are with you..

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SPY 2; Day 16: Six Years Ago Today

Sunday, February 13, 2011

As I write this, it is almost 1:00 in the morning. I am rarely up this late/early. I know it's because I am avoiding sleep. Six years ago at this time in the morning, I was in my Dad's hospital room. My brother had just arrived after flying all the way from Japan and driving from Indianapolis to Evansville. My sister could not travel because she was nearly 8 months pregnant.

The nurses at St Mary's were fabulous. They cared for my Dad with compassion and also cared for us, though not in the same way, of course. Dad was in kind of a suite, so there was a couch, microwave and other things that made staying with him for hours on end manageable.

Dad was originally diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had several careers in his life, ending with a return to a career of his youth, a long haul truck driver. He knew for two years that something was not right, but it took him that long to get to the doctor. Part of that is his generation, part of that was his stubbornness. Part of that was his unwillingness to take the time, spend the money to see the doctor (yes, I am that way, too). Anyway, he went through chemo and all the rest of it, beat that cancer into submission. Then, and I learned this was common, he was hit with bone cancer.

I was at work when I got "the call". I got that call the day after my coworker's boyfriend called in for her to say she had found her mom dead the night before. There were only 5 of us in the office when it was full-staffed (same company where I work now, but I was working a different job at a satellite office). At the time, we were not fully staffed. One lady had just retired (she would come back, but that's another story), another lady was on leave taking care of her mom in AZ with brain cancer. Then Cyndi found her mom dead and I got the call the next day.

I was stunned because I did not know he was that sick. I went to talk to my boss and she wisely asked me how I would feel if I were not there when he died. I said, "I have to be there."

My stepsister was the one who called me. I called the hospital and tried to talk to Dad's doctor. Eventually, he called me back. I explained that I was in CA and that I was scheduled to go on vacation in Hawaii a week from then, but needed to know the truth of my Dad's condition. He told me to go ahead and go on vacation and have a good time because he was the doctor and he could keep my Dad alive as long as he wanted to. (!)

I called my Dad's exwife, mother of my brother and sister, to tell her what the doc said in case she could stop my brother from coming from Japan unnecessarily. Several phone calls later, my sister called back and said she talked to the nurses on the floor. They could not give a medical opinion, but they gave their experienced observation that we should come if we wanted to say goodby.

I got delayed in Chicago and arrived in KY hours later than I should have. Dad was alert at the time I should have arrived and was asking for me. He recognized me when I finally arrived. Through my tears, I told him it was ok for him to go because, now that I saw him, I clearly saw the difference between existing and living. Exhausted, I reluctantly fell asleep on the couch. I woke up to hear my brother's voice! I did not know for sure he was coming, so we had a subdued reunion.

It was almost exactly this time of night when Dad pulled off his oxygen mask. His wife asked if he knew that he would die without the oxygen and Dad nodded affirmatively. Unbeknownst to me, my brother went to the nurses' station and asked about that, both for the time and whether they would kick us out of the room since they were no longer caring for someone on the road to recovery. They told him 8 hours and they would leave us there.

Fast forward. With my brother holding one hand and me the other, we spent hours with Dad. They increased his morphine when he got really agitated. Those sounds as he died are burned in my memory. A nurse came in and told us that the hearing is the last sense to go, which, in any other setting would have made me laugh. Dad had been hard of hearing (and in denial about it) for years. But, it did seem as if his hearing was sharp. I told him I loved him and I told him that my sister sent her love. That was the last thing he heard. He died at 7:55 local time Sunday morning. Yes, the exact time of the attack on Pearl Harbor 12-07-1941.

It was a blessing that my brother was there. I was on autopilot the entire week. The family was very concerned about me because I did not eat or sleep for most of the week. My brother is 12 years younger than I am, but he was not my little brother that week. We dealt with the funeral home (another experience I will never forget) and we drove to Indianapolis to fly to Albuquerque and then drive to the small town in the mountains where Dad would be laid to rest. His funeral was Friday morning at almost exactly the time I should have been boarding the plane in San Francisco bound for Honolulu.

My cousins built Dad's casket and we had a moment of consternation when we realized that the handles on the coffin sides would not allow it to go into the ground. Fittingly, it was pouring rain, freezing windy rain. I did not even have a jacket and I did not care. I was crying too hard. My cousins were in their best suits slipping in the mud sawing off the handles. We told stories later about the comments Dad would have said.

I wrote the basis for the eulogy, my sister gave the conclusion over the phone, my brother rewrote the whole thing and made it sound beautiful. Our cousin Karl read it for us during the service in NM (I don't remember much of the service in KY).

Karl and my brother were in the Navy, so they wore their uniforms for Dad's funeral. He would have been so proud!

(Three years ago, we all met in the same mountain town to bury my youngest girl cousin who was killed in a car accident. This time, it was our turn to stand up for Karl and the rest of our cousins as they buried their baby sister.)

From this story, the only tangential relationship to SP would be a caution. Guys, if not for yourself, for your loved ones, get screened for prostate and breast cancer. Ladies, get screened for breast cancer and reproductive cancers. Don't ignore something that you think is not right.

Dad met his first grandson, but missed out on the other three grandchildren. Gone too soon.

I did not meet Dad until I was a teen and, even then, did not live with him except in the summer (boarding school). So, I had far less time with Dad than my brother and sister did (from his second marriage - I am the leftover from the first marriage).

I knew as I watched him die that I was never going to be the same. Little did I know how true that thought was.

I will go to bed now but I know I will relive that tearful night.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ISHIIGIRL 2/14/2011 12:43PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CARRAND 2/13/2011 9:32PM

    emoticon At least you got to be there.

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POORGIRL_DIET 2/13/2011 7:45PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing with us

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 2/13/2011 7:41PM

  emoticon Thanks for sharing your story with us. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 2/13/2011 10:11AM

    Thanks for letting us know why that date has such significance for you.
Unfortunately, all too often, people ignore signs and symptoms of something wrong and don't seek help, thinking it will pass. Unfortunately, the menfolk in my family are those reluctant ones too. Can't remember the last time my brother got a check up and he is obese. My sister's husband has to wait until he is really uncomfortable before he goes in. He never even bothered to go in when he injured his arm and now the muscle doesn't work properly..My step dad nearly bled to death from a bad bleeding ulcer because he refused to get a tube down his throat for diagnosis and also refused a blood transfusion. Eventually, they had to operate the old way, slicing down the middle under anesthesia. He almost didn't make it. There is nothing you can do with stubborn people :((
I can't imagine being there watching your loved one dying. I don't know if I could take that. Then again, being able to say good bye and how much you love them is priceless.. So sorry you had to suffer through this :(
emoticon emoticon

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LIBBYFITZ 2/13/2011 7:25AM

    emoticonYou are having a hard time kiddo! I have no words except big hugs! Thank you for opening up and writing down your story. I almost felt like I was in the room with you and your dad. It may help if you wrote your dad a letter of how you are feeling, and how much you miss him. emoticon

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SPY 2, Day 15: Still Sore

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am getting tired of having nothing wonderful to report insofar as exercise is concerned. I hardly moved at all, not from laziness but from pain.

I am hungry, but it's the wanting-to-eat hunger, so I am ignoring it. Would that have happened a year ago? I don't think so. I could have told you that I knew I was thinking of eating food just because, but I would have either given in and eaten until I was stuffed or gone to bed without, feeling deprived and as if I were punishing me for something.

A year of reading Spark People articles about attitude...things are better. I am not there yet, but awareness and having time to make decisions before acting is progress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 2/13/2011 9:33PM

    I'm sorry to hear you have been in pain. I hope tomorrow will be better for you.

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JHADZHIA 2/13/2011 9:35AM

    I would say that is pretty good to be able to control the mindless eating. There is nothing you can do about the exercise if you are in pain. Just go on the lower end of your calorie range to compensate.. There is also upper body strength training you can do when the lower body refuses to cooperate..
Hope you have a good Sunday,

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