Homesick Shout Out!!

It happens to all of us at one time or another. It’s hit me over the last few days, and especially tonight. I miss my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in Washington, but I’m reminded every once in a while how far away my friends all are. They are spread out all over the U.S., with the closest being about a 19 hour drive away. So this is for all of my friends–to let you know that I’m thinking about you–love and MISS YOU!!

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Summer Reading

Summer is officially here and I’m about to head out on a 37 hour road trip. The best things that I enjoy about such a long journey is listening to audiobooks, and discovering camels in North Dakota-which I then create songs about to the theme of “Oklahoma.” So I’ve got my Iphone loaded and a few paperbacks I’ve been saving for just this reason.  I found this picture on Pintrest that says it all.

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A few books on my list are Ellen Degeneres’s “Seriously, I’m Kidding,”  Jon Stewarts “America,” Doyce Testerman’s “Hidden Things,” Jim Lynch’s “Border Songs,” Randall Platt’s “Hellie Johndoe,” and of course the customary pop fiction by Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Jim Butcher, and Dean Koontz. I’m always looking for new reads. What’s on your summer reading list?

Fad Diets, Medication, Stranger Danger and Other Motivations

Long, long ago in a state far, far away, I started my first year of college. Unbeknownst to me I would fall victim to the freshman 15, and the sophomore 15, and the junior 15 and the . . . well, you get my drift. At one point I was up to 260lb, and never realized I had gained quite that much. Once I did, I eventually lost 85lb and have kept the majority off ever since.

I have never been, nor do I think I will ever be, someone who is invited to the now trendy “skinny parties.” And believe me, I’m more than okay with that. I just want to be healthy and feel good about myself. But a couple of years ago due to a new medication, a seriously diminished appetite and psychological guilt my weight loss dreams came true. I was in the best shape of my life (lost 35lb), was the smallest I’d ever been and felt great. I swore then and there that I’d never let myself go back to where I was.

Let’s fast forward two years. This year, I moved to a new state, started a new job, and went back to school. Guess who came to visit . . . . Oh, you guessed it, that damn ‘freshman’ 15lb again. Well, I remember my declaration and I’m putting my right foot down, then my left, right, left, right, left, etc. until I get that 15lb back off!

I’m documenting it here because, making this public–even with the few people who will read this–will give me more motivation than just telling myself what I plan to do. So thank you for the peer pressure you are unknowingly providing. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten myself up and out, moving more and more. Tonight, I set the goal of running down the hill without stopping, then would walk back up. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a big-ass hill and from my apartment to the bottom is one and three quarter miles. Twenty minutes and twenty-two seconds later, with a distance of 1.78 miles-I did it–without stopping. Success, yahoo!

Here is where my litter excursion gets interesting. On my way back, just as I reached the top of the hill my energy was flagging and I was trying to push myself that last little distance. Then a truck slowed down and started driving next to me. And  this guy started hitting on me and offered me a ride. There are two ways I could have taken this. One: the neon STRANGER DANGER lights inside my head could have gone off because this guy was a freakin’ lunatic and I should start running. Or, Two: I could be flattered (despite the red face, baggy shirt, sweat and extreme fatigue), smile and wave with a polite ‘no thanks’ to the ride and start running. Either way it was one heck of a motivating moment. I chose the latter. I mean, what woman wouldn’t want a man to hit on her when she knows very well she looks like shit?

I know my story is nothing new, many people struggle with this same battle. I want to know what your motivation is. What gets you off the couch? What pushes you to take those first steps? Share your story and lets do this together.

The Blackbird Conspiracy

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In the last two months I have discovered that several of my personal items have disappeared. I have no roommate, except of course my cat, and since she has the ambition of a sloth, I seriously doubt she had anything to do with this conspiracy.

I had two complete pairs of socks when I started the laundry, now I have one mismatched pair and two missing socks.The cat brush was on the book shelf. My iPod was in my purse. The fancy-dancy spork was in my lunch bag. They were all here two months ago, then poof! Gone.

I have a theory. It has something to do with the sock gremlins, fried rice, and the little blackbird statue on my shelf. By day, it sits on my shelf, the little turquoise stone in its beak, with a virtuous smile on it’s face. But, by night, ah yes, by night there is a whole different story. I predict that at night, my little bird friend comes alive and guides the sock gremlins toward my possessions.

“She’ll never know” it whispers to the gremlins, enticing them to step beyond the boundaries of sock thievery. This  innocent looking bird has enabled the gremlins secret addiction to fried rice, leaving out grains here and there, enticing them to fall off that tiny wagon. That’s how the blackbird was able to convince the gremlins to do its bidding, stealing my iPod, spork, and cat brush.

But two days ago, I got rid of the last of the left over fried rice, took out the garbage and never gave it a thought, until now. This morning, I discovered the cat brush, which is habitually left on the book shelf, in the bin with my brushes, and the spork and my iPod miraculously reappeared as well. They were in the backpack that I had hanging on the back of my door. Without the control over their fried rice addiction, the little blackbird lost control over its gremlin minions and they rebelled, returning my belongings to random locations and whispering in my ear as I slept instructing me where to find them. So you see, it was clearly the little blackbird.

Sadly, the socks are the staple diet of those nocturnal gremlin creatures, so I fear I shall never see them again.

Warm Fuzzies

You know how you feel when you have to make the customer support calls? Something isn’t working like it should, but you put it off as long as possible because you really don’t want to be put on hold for two hours, there is no guarantee that you’ll speak to someone in the same state, let alone the same country, and let’s face it, you can tell 90% of the people you call really just don’t like their job.

Then of course there’s “slow technology silence.” Those several minutes when the support representative enters in information and you have to wait for it to load leaving you with that weird silence. They tell you it’s going to be a moment, but they don’t put you on hold; there is no music, you can’t hear them breathing, and you sort of wonder if they just hung up on you. Well, I like to make these silences as pleasant as possible, and 98% of the time the service providers on the other end are pretty receptive to it. So while we are waiting for information to load on the  computer I start chatting. Just about the basics; where do you live? how’s the weather? let’s go ‘Niner’s, what do you do? type stuff.

Today, I made such a call. When I told the woman I was a teacher there was this breathless pause and then . . .

“Oh, I’ve got a 12 year old son,” she said. “I am just so thankful for people like you. I couldn’t do it, I don’t know how you do. You have to have something very special to be a teacher. I hope you realize how much of an impact you have on the kids. Thank you.”

I was momentarily surprised, and not exactly sure what to say, but that’s when the warm fuzzies came.

As a teacher you hear a lot of negative comments from people; some who have students, some who don’t, some who are connected to the world of education, and some who aren’t, but feel like they could do a better job of it.

It is a rare thing to hear the positive comments. I love my job, working with the students makes me really happy and I get excited knowing that sometimes, just sometimes, they actually acknowledge that they’re interested in what they are learning about. (I work with middle school students, so trust me when I say if they show any emotion other than derision toward an assignment, I know I’ve hit a home run). But the little surprise thank you’s along the way help bolster the in-betweens and more than that, it is so nice to hear that another teacher is doing such a great job that a parent wants to thank a complete stranger who happens to be in the same profession. It’s an odd cycle, I know, but still so gratifying.

It’s often said that the impact a teacher makes on a student today won’t always be seen until tomorrow. Well, I just received the impact of someone’s tomorrow. And it was nice and I’d love to pass it on.

So thank you to teachers everywhere, at every age, and every level. You’re impact is being felt.

This was by far one of the best customer support calls I’ve made–and I’d love to hear your stories about the odd or interesting things that have happened to you. And don’t forget to thank your local teachers!

I used to think that I would be someone other than myself as an adult. I found out that I’m still me inside my head.

Let me preface this by saying that if you are who you thought you would be as child, there is no need to read any further–you just won’t understand. Let me also just say that if the first does not apply and you still don’t understand, I apologize, there is no excuse.

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re going through your work day like every other respectable adult and suddenly get the urge to get  up and run screaming through the room– like you did when you were a kid–just for the fun of it?

Or

You’re typing away at your computer, doing whatever it is that you do while actually being productive at work, and you wonder if this is what the adults in your life felt like when you were a kid? Or every generation of adults for that matter?

Or

You come home so exhausted from work that you order a pizza for delivery–because there is no possible way you have the energy to even consider the idea of cooking (and yes, according to those around me, if assembly is required it is still cooking, so that bowl of cereal you made last night–congratulations master chef!) and instead of enjoying the spicy sauce, gooey cheese, and vegetabely goodness you simply cut off and eat the cheese filled crust? No? So that was just me last night? Great.

Or

Chocolate cake and ice cream for breakfast anyone?

Okay admit it–you still get those childish or if you prefer child-like urges. What are yours? Don’t worry this is a completely safe place to post your most embarrassing thoughts. I promise (fingers crossed behind my back) your co-workers will never get wind of this, it’s the internet so if it’s private it stays private right? Tell  me yours!