Saturday, February 14, 2009
What a milestone.
Sadly, participants in the "fun run" didn't get a timing chip, so I can only guess at my official time.
No matter though- I'm thrilled to have finally done this. I've been trying to become a runner for over two years, and have made barely a whisker of progress. My disappointment vanished when I rounded the last turn, and saw the finish line, and suddenly, felt energized- my strides became longer, faster, smoother... I crossed and felt so elated, I could have run more.
Afterwards, I went shopping, found nothing, and made my way back home, where my spouse was :::GASP::: cleaning the dining room!!! This is unprecedented! Haha, it MUST be Valentine's Day. I excitedly told him the news, he smiled and said we would have some extra special wine tonight. Yippee!
Moments later, a colleague phoned. He's a good friend of mine, pretty much of a mentor to me. I see both he and his wife regularly at business functions. He and I were at a conference together just yesterday, and I mentioned my upcoming race to him.
I was touched, not only that he remembered, but that he cared enough to call me and ask about the race. He suggested we get together for jogging. My gosh, am I really an athlete now??! Friends call me to set up jogging dates??
I didn't even know he ran, but I do know he's quite fit. So fit, I had to tell him I would probably slow him down, and he should think twice about inviting me along on his jaunts. It is, however, a very good excuse to build momentum- I have found a willing jogging partner, and that's pretty exciting. I encouraged him to register for the next two local races that I'd be in, so we'll see what comes to pass. There is so much to look forward to!
No matter what else happens tonight, no matter how good the wine is, today was a great day.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
We’ve lost the Battle of Flott Hill.
It’s been determined that the land was already heavily colonized, and unbeknownst to us, the indigenous people were not only deeply entrenched, but tenacious tacticians with no intent of admitting outsiders.
Additionally, our intelligence seems to have been intercepted and interpreted, and leaked to the most aggressive and hostile combatants- who currently hold dominion over the area. It goes without saying, that the lack of factual information about the situation left us ill-prepared to make informed decisions regarding the Hill.
Our command made every effort to secure a tiny, remote outpost in the heart of this rugged and beautiful parcel. We negotiated tirelessly whenever the rare and fleeting lines of communication were opened, and brought in truckloads of sugar, to the obvious delight of both sides; and by October the situation looked most promising. While contact with our Flott contingent was both receptive and friendly, the hostile elements had a stronger foothold, and eventually the complexities of these negotiations broke down the fragile partnership.
The recent surge (January of 2009) consisted of more peace offerings and shared maneuvers, during which our contingent displayed “remarkable” stamina; we dropped metric tons of sugar and provided urgent care; but ultimately, we proved unsuccessful in the achieving our objectives for any lasting trade agreement with our outpost.
As of this writing, the region remains a sovereign piece of territory, whose great beauty belies a history of our struggle with frustration and false hope.
*And if this entry leaves you scratching your head, believe me, you're not alone.
Friday, February 06, 2009
TWO business conferences in two weeks. January and February are rough for the business meetings. I could travel nonstop if I wanted to, there are conferences every week, so many they overlap each other; so I have to pick and choose where to go and what to spend.
And what is it with the men at these things? They just HATE taking "no" for an answer. I certainly don't mind male attention, but I can't exactly DO anything with it. It's no reason for a guy to pout or hold a grudge, is it?
Well, IS it??
Case in point- I ran into one of the speakers in the hotel hallway. I'd already met him at another conference, we'd been seated at the same dinner table. So, I stopped and shook hands with him. So far, so good, right?
Right before he gave his presentation, during a short break, he came over to my table and sat beside me. He said he might need some help pulling together a job assignment he had in my city. Well, FANTASTIC! I was all over it. Of course, it was an odd coincidence, but not entirely impossible; since this guy does work literally all over the world, and I know for a fact that my city has been trying for several YEARS to implement an urban forest plan... it just so happens that creating urban forest plans for municipalities is what he does for a living. Anyway, he said to me "We'll talk later, and I'll email you all the info".
Well, later on I bumped into him at the bar. He was with another guy I knew vaguely.
Another speaker came into the bar to ask Mr. Public Policy to join him for dinner, and Mr. Public Policy turned him down. Speaker 2 leaves the bar, leaving the three of still there: Mr. Public Policy, Mr. Vaguely Know'im, and me.
I announce that I'm going across the street for dinner, and sign my tab. Mr. Vaguely Know'im jumps to his feet and says "I'll leave you two alone". So, Mr. Public Policy and I go across the street for dinner.
We shared a bottle of wine and some exquisite seared Ahi. His company was delightful (even though he hogged the wine a bit). He struck me as a very down to earth guy with a charming, goofey sense of humor.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel; but in the lobby, we did not part ways, he kept walking with me. It was about then I started to wonder... but I assumed, since I bumped into him earlier, that we were booked in the same wing. No worries. I was further reassured, when I said I was eager to turn in for the night, when he said "I'll walk you there" in a very gentlemanly fashion. When we arrived at my door, we said goodnight, but he let it be known that he was available as long as I wanted, in ways I just will not recant. He whispered "What do you want to happen?" I shook my head, and whispered back "That's all".
Looking back, I know I mentioned my spouse at least four times.
Why make things awkward? And we're both grown ups, why not just let misunderstandings drift, and move forward? As far as I'm concerned, we can still be friends. Perhaps, to a man, this is considered a rejection? Needless to say, the email spelling out the details of my job assignment has not been forthcoming.
Sadly, this incident was almost an exact repeat of the PREVIOUS weeks conference (minus the pawing), in which some big guy I met at the opening reception was sending me text messages for the next two days, suggesting we have some wine. Not that I'm opposed to having wine with conference folks, but my dance card was pretty full already, sooo... was THAT also a rejection? Haven't heard a word from him either.
Obviously I am missing something.
I asked my husband for some male perspective, and he too seemed annoyed.
"Just kick them in the balls!" he snorted.
I guess with guys, it's all-or-nothing?
Sunday, February 01, 2009
A fellow team member on one of my SparkTeams posted this thought-provoking question, and contemplated her own struggle:
"It never ceases to amaze me how many times I have done the diet thing, only to back off when I get too close to myself and the truth of what I think I can not handle."
Did it touch a nerve for you, too?
It did for me. I must admit, it is a subject I frequently ponder.
I think she summed it up well. In my case, the specifics are different, but the underlying current is the same: FEAR. Not only fear of failure, but fear of success! The self-defeating conviction that I don't have what it takes, I'm stupid, I'm not cut out for things I try, I'll never amount to anything, I'll never achieve or hold on to anything of lasting value, I'll have no legacy/money/fitness/recognition/you-name-
I tend to dwell on the notion that life isn't fair, because other people have advantages that I don't (people who help and support them in various ways). I also tell myself that people don't like me... or worse, they only pretend to.
There are a million ways the little voices inside me try to talk me out of persuing my dreams, and a million ways I convince myself not to risk the humiliation and embarrassment of what will eventually, inevitably, end in yet another failure. Overcoming this way of thinking is a never-ending struggle.
However, the relentless quest for excellence, and evidence that ANYONE can achieve greatness, propel me forward in my journey. NOW THAT I KNOW THIS, I know that whosoever shall embrace a goal, shall achieve that goal. And since I learned this, and came to believe it, my life has changed in ways I could not have imagined only three years ago, when I was a morbidly obese, chronically depressed person, full of self-loathing, who combatively pointed fingers of blame at everything and everybody but myself. I was even convinced that my multiple medical conditions forever prevented me from losing weight, and in fact, that they most likely CAUSED my obesity.
Well, I see NOW what rubbish THAT was.
The cruel fact is that my obesity caused my medical problems, NOT the other way around; and I alone caused my obesity.
That, my friends, is one huge demon to confront!
The moral of the story is, life ain't always what it seems. Think about your demons. What do you think they are?
What are your goals- where are you going in life? What demon is the reason for you not being there yet?
Would it help if you changed your attitude... about EVERYTHING?
Now, go forth, and slay dragons.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
It's winter- the time of defoliated dormancy for all deciduous flora.
That means PRUNING season... and I'm an Arborist.
Like most municipalities, my city has an extremely limited budget for Urban Forestry projects. One program we do have (like many other municipalities across the country) is a volunteer Tree Stewards program, which I've been part of since 2004. So, as part of my belief system, I tithe my services to my community by pruning trees in my neighborhood. There are hundreds of them.
Almost daily, I toil in the curbside planting strip and on the medians. I come armed with extendable pole saws and pruners, sawing and snipping for hours on end, and hauling away bushel after bushel of branches and twigs.
I'm always a bit concerned, when I start dropping large limbs from neighborhood trees, that people will become upset. I envision angry homeowners storming outside and demanding to know just WHO I am, and WHAT I'm doing to their cherished tree, as wood comes crashing down and possibly cracking concrete sidewalks. After all, none of these trees has EVER received maintenance pruning, and many of them are Maples (a high maintenance tree, if ever there was one) and the pruning I'm doing is drastic.
To my surprise and relief, this has never happened. Quite the contrary- one lady rounded the corner, and stopped in the middle of the street to ask me for a prognosis on a very small Zelkova, planted last year (it is already in distress). I guess she just ASSUMED I knew what I was doing, but I was very grateful at her concern for our neighborhood forest. As she leaned out the open car window, we chatted briefly about the tree, it's chances for survival, and my pruning strategy; then she thanked me profusely for my work. You could have knocked me down with a feather.
Today, a similar scenario unfolded, as I reduced the canopy on yet another out-of-control Sugar Maple, creating a massive tangle of branches in the center strip of the roadway. In my peripheral vision, I saw someone moving on the sidewalk. I try never to make eye contact or otherwise engage people while I prune trees. Not only for fear of hostility, but because it's just a matter of safety to keep my eyes skyward and my neck craned back while I work. However, whomever it was on the sidewalk started talking to me, so I looked.
I saw an old man. He looked to be well into his eighties, possibly his nineties. I could tell he had once been tall and well built, but time had left him thin and stooped. He was soft spoken and slow moving, but his smile was radiant. He kept repeating, over and over, "God Bless you, God Bless you". He was talking to me.
I take that language seriously, so I stopped what I was doing and walked over to him. He looked so grateful that I thought he might be slightly demented, but that wasn't the case. He told me that in all his years living on our street, he'd never witnessed such a sight. He said he'd asked his children to do such helpful tasks for years, but they never did, and nowadays they didn't even come around much. Sensing his loneliness and isolation, I quickly asked him what I could do to help him, but he assured me he was managing just fine. He clearly was of sound mind, so I relaxed; but resisted the urge to tell him Obama sent me. He went on to say he was grateful that I was healthy and strong, and told me again "God Bless you!". I was touched.
Indeed, God has Blessed me.
NEVER take your strength and health for granted. One day, you may find yourself old and feeble.
Work every day, work hard, and never complain about it. If you can DO it, YOU TOO have been BLESSED.
Look after old people, help those who are not as strong as you, and thank God for giving you such a huge gift.
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