Saturday, May 09, 2009
The school semester has ended.
This past week I was in Reno, Nevada, at a business conference, haunted with the knowledge of two final projects, UNFINISHED, both due within HOURS of my return flight touching down.
I did a LITTLE homework on the trip, but not everything I needed could be carried easily in my luggage; so the deadline weighed on me with each passing day.
On Wednesday night, I caught the redeye out of Reno, and made it back to the east coast at 9am. I was a zombie. Although I had PLANNED to sleep on the long flight from LA to Washington DC, it didn't happen- I got two hours at best; and by the time I landed I was melting down with exhaustion. I gambled and decided to I could spare two more hours, and went to bed.
The pressure kept me from relaxing, and after two more fitful hours, I pulled myself together and finished my Botany paper, packed up my incomplete herbarium, and set out for the long drive to campus.
My Botany professor was alone in his office grading the papers. He seemed to welcome the interruption, and I sat on the floor beside him. He immediately began pouring over my seven-page final exam, smiling and nodding, interjecting enthusiastic praise, and making general small talk while he read.
When he finsihed the last page, he chuckled and said "I don't grade on a curve, but let me see... this is an A, and when we combine that with the scores on your previous three exams- what were they again- A, A, and A? Oh, I guess that means you're getting... an A." He was really laughing at his own joke, but it was clear that he was proud of me. Proud of me the way a teacher is proud of a model student, or the way a parent is proud of a good report card.
He is almost father-like to me. A big guy, with a big, booming voice, who really takes a personal interest in the lives of those around him... yeah, I think he also has a big heart. While I sat there beside his desk, he spoke freely about personal things in his life, and showed off photos of his family. He's just a very warm, affable guy; and when I rose to my feet, he did too, and shook my hand. I'm not sure if I'll have any more classes with him, but I'm sure I have a friend.
My other teacher is a bit harder to nail down. That classroom was dark and deserted. I stood outside the locked door, dejectedly wondering if I'd actually have an opportunity to turn in my herbarium, and take the final exam. I drove home and emailed the instructor, and went back to bed.
That night, I got the response I was looking for- the last class was cancelled, and since I'd been away the previous week and missed class, I never got word (he neglected to email or phone me, and didn't post the info on the school blackboard site). I lucked out, in that he is also an easygoing guy, and he emailed me his phone number and his home address, reassuring me I could drop it by his home on the weekend, which I did, and collected what I THINK will be an A, but he's being coy. Maybe that's because he plans on hitting me with a B. (grrrrrr) The good news is, the extra time allowed me to actually FINISH that incomplete project, and he DID say it was "good". Whew. We hung out for a while, I took my final exam sitting on his front stoop, next to his dog. While I was there, he delighted in showing me all around his garden, filled with rare and unusual plants. What can you expect of a total plant geek? Half of his tiny backyard is a propagation greenhouse.
And with that, and the fact that I have finished and sold all my pending designs, I have but TWO active jobs before the two major summer conferences. I have just about enough planting time left to finish both of those clients, and hopefully, scare up a few more to tide me over until fall. I don't think that digging holes and planting shrubs in the dog days of summer is anyone's idea of a great vacation. I plan to be at the beach at least half the time.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Let's say you want something. Let's say you NEED something.
Let's say you can't get it on your own; you will need help in aquiring it, or getting it done.
So, there's this obstacle between you and your goal, and overcoming it will require assistance and intervention of somebody else on your behalf.
It's actually a rather common situation, when you think about it. Kind of like needing a passing grade before you can proceed on to the next part of the journey toward your ultimate goal, and you can't give yourself the grade- you do your best, of course; but you can't actually write your own grade, or buy a vowel. Somebody else holds the strings. Ever been there?
I find myself here. In working toward my ultimate career goal, a wonderful opportunity became clear to me. Not only would achieving this goal-along-the-way look fantastic on my resume, it would actually be a shortcut to the bigger goal. I knew I had to go for it. I carefully scrutinized the requirements, and decided that I could meet them.
Not so fast, said the bureaucracy. We need documentation.
And there you have it- my word isn't good enough, no one's word is EVER good enough when dealing with a bureaucracy. You must be able to prove it. In this case, they want the verification of a third party, whose word WILL be good enough, apparently.
I started the search for that special someone who not only knew me in 2004, but also knew what I was up to, and would be willing to jump through this burning hoop for me. Yeah, that last part is tricky. People will agree to many things on the phone, but swearing out an affidavit, or just taking the time to put it in writing, is quite another matter. Oh, and did I mention the deadline? Yes, add that to the pressure I must place upon my benefactor: time sensitivity.
After two agonizingly long weeks, I got a glimmer of hope. There MAY be some of the much sought documentation coming. But it comes at a price.
Long story, condensed version: I am now the Treasurer of the organization providing me with the documentation I so desperately need. The organization I was affiliated with way back in '04.
It's what I have to do to get what I want. Scratch the back that scratches mine.
Accepting this appointment was my dangling carrot, so I have been officially appointed by the City... by the very person I was HOPING I wouldn't have to tangle with over this issue, wanted to somehow circumvent, and sought to avoid at all costs in the accomplishment of this goal.
In the words of Margo Channing, "it's going to be a bumpy ride".
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Yesterday, somewhere between the two hours of sawing tree limbs in the morning, a long afternoon sitting at my desk, and my evening elliptical session, I threw out my back. Badly.
I don't know quite when or how it happened. I wasn't aware of it immediately, but it hurt so much that I was awakened by the pain of rolling over in my sleep, prodding me to get out of bed, stumble downstairs to the kitchen, and raid the cabinets for analgesics. The pain was shooting from the lower left part of my back, and my slow, cautious movements were punctuated by little groans.
This morning, while bent over the bathroom sink washing my face, nursing the injured area, an entirely new pain suddenly shot through another part of my back, on the upper right.
The pain relievers are barely making a dent, and the dog is staring plaintively at me, waiting to be leashed and taken outside. This is the first sunny day we've had since Monday, and the dog is quite aware of it.
My husband advised "You need to stay in bed." I reminded him that the pain does NOT disappear once you go horizontal.
And SO much work to do... my clients have been waiting for the rain to stop too.
An encouraging word would be nice about now.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
A team mate recently posed this question on one of my sparkteams, and I knew immediately what my answer would be. It's all about ACTION.
If you don't do the actions you know are necessary to achieve good health, you'll never get there; and if you stop doing the actions you know are necessary to maintain it, you backslide.
"The most difficult thing is not falling back into old habits of sloth and gluttony.
It's much easier to sit on the sofa and eat ice cream than it is to go running. It's much easier to drive up to a window for a big box of fried chicken, and eat 4 pieces of it, than it is to steam a bag of frozen vegetables and eat it (without salt).
Old habits die hard. That makes it very, very easy to regain what you've lost; I have always thought the hardest thing is staying focused on action, and DOING what you need to do every day, instead of just hoping for it, wishing for it, thinking about it, or talking about it."
Fitness doesn't just happen. A lean, muscular, attractive body isn't a biological default setting. Being healthy means making an ongoing effort. And I'm not just saying this because other people need reminders- I'm saying it because I do.
It's not a matter of motivation. Forget motivation. It's a matter of ACTION.
I know I've said it before, but motivation is NOT the answer. Every day I see posts on the message boards about lack of motivation, staying motivated, or motivating other people.
THIS JOURNEY IS NOT ABOUT MOTIVATION.
Let's imagine you are walking down the path of life, carrying a backpack filled with gear. You only have room for one more thing in your backpack, so you want to be sure it is essential. But two things are in front of you: on one side is motivation, and on the other side is action.
If you could chose between those two things to take with you on your journey, what do you think is more important? What would get you further? What would make the journey happen?
Think the answer is motivation? Think again.
If you choose motivation, and forget action, what happens to your journey?
You might be excited, have a positive attitude, and be filled with the best intentions, but without action, where will you go? Will you even START?
On the other hand, if you choose action, you will go further, FASTER, and reach your goal sooner, EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T REALLY FEEL LIKE IT, didn't much believe in yourself or your path, and weren't particularly excited about it. Big difference.
Motivation never melted a single pound off of anyone who did not take some kind of ACTION.
Action alone is the master of your journey.
Friday, April 03, 2009
For the past few weeks I've been doing much better. Winter always hits me hard, but this year was awful. I'm the kind of person who just has to get outside, and if the weather is miserable I am too... and I pack on the pounds. My battle isn't about getting below 200 anymore- it's about STAYING below 200.
Business has been booming the past few weeks, and I'm overworked and under calories most days. My whole body aches from the hard labor. I usually have no trouble getting enough protein, however- I eat plenty of meat and add whey to my yogurt.
I know I really need to start posting my numbers again, but there are so few hours in the day. Time to buckle down.
Being self employed means I have a lot less "me" time than I did in the past. Most of my thoughts revolve around my career goals and how to achieve them... I love taking care of my customers, building relationships with them, and picking up big fat checks from them. I never tire of coddling them and catering to their every need. It's been verrrrrrry rewarding. But back to the "me" time- I finally got a pedicure this week, and colored my hair (both long overdue). It felt fantastic to relax for a couple of hours and let someone wait on ME. I'm planning to gift myself with a new handbag... and am currently scouring websites for just the perfect leather clutch.
A word about Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits
These things are definitely addictive. I think they're laced with crack. I was turned on to them by a former coworker, about two years ago, and I could kill her. If I go anywhere near that aisle in the grocery store, I'm doomed.
A word of advice: keep away.
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