Gonna keep it short this week since I'm sure no-one (least of all me) wants to read yet another post about how busy I am and how that prevented me from getting a lot done. So it goes.
As many of you may have noticed, this was a holiday weekend, so I was out of town Saturday morning
through mid-Monday. Had a great time visiting the mother-in-law (yes, really!), seeing my brand-new tiny niece (she looks JUST like an adorable little Yoda), then swinging over to the adjoining state to see my parents' new place (you can read about their travails of moving and country living here
on my Mom's hilarious and pithy blog). They're still in the middle of moving, so there was no internet, no TV, barely any phone, and it was so darn QUIET. And yet, we still had fun. Crazy, huh?
Maybe it's all the car trips we took when I was a kid, but I had a hard time doing
anything during the five hour trip (one way), even when not driving. I found myself mostly staring out the window and thinking. Like, what's that all about?? Eventually, on the way back, I did decide to turn this unusual pasttime into something productive and got out my notebook to jot down a few ideas for commercials. It worked... but then we
passed a tree or something and I got distracted.
Once back, I determined to make up for lost time and... unpacked the suitcase. Did the laundry. The dishes. Hung out outside...
Oh, making up lost time on the radio project! Hah, yes, that's... totally what I meant. Way-ull, I did set up a recording time for this Sunday! We are going to start recording! YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!! I just hope I hear back from the last two out of the four people I asked to come by! And that I can find a sitter for the kids on short notice!
So hopefully next week I'll have some actual news to relate. :D
"We all have our own journeys to make."
So... it's been kind of a ridiculous week. Like I don't even know. And this next one is looking equally ridiculous. Because of this maximum ridiculosity I don't have much of an update for this week, sorry.
You know when you're looking at pictures on Facebook and it just makes you miss something so much your heart breaks? That's been happening to me a lot this week. For example, Brazil photos. I just look at pictures of the beach, or of O Cristo Redentor, or all of the awesome people I got to know down there, and I just want to go back.
In happier news, my thesis is done. Like for real, one hundred percent done. But I don't even have any time to celebrate that until next week. But oh there will be celebrating. :)
But alas, I still have over forty pages of homework I need to write before this weekend. So I'm going to go do that. (BUT - last forty pages EVER!)
Pounds lost in March: 17.4
Pounds lost in April: 4.8
Pounds lost in May: 5.6
Another 2.2 lost this week, for a total of 27.8 pounds down since March 1st!
I’m feeling good this week. Food-wise, I seem to be in a groove where nothing’s too tempting. It was another week of no slip-ups, no foods-I-shouldn’t-have-had, portions under control and good decisions made.
For a little change of pace, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that I’m eating pretty regularly. I solemnly swear no one is paying me money to write this blog. (to view t
We’re going strong on our Couch to 5K plan… I’m enormously proud to say I jogged for thirteen minutes straight last night! (Remember my first week of this, when I described a two minute jog as torture?) Chris and I have adopted different approaches to the program… when our running period starts, I just start a fairly slow and steady jog that I maintain for the duration (Chris thinks I start slow and speed up, but I’m not sure). Chris will sprint ahead, going fast and hard until he has to slow down, and then he’ll walk for a minute or so until he falls behind me, then he’ll sprint ahead again. He covers the same ground during the same time period- he’s just alternating his speed. And both of us are raising our heart rates and pushing ourselves in our own way. Works for us!
A non-scale victory to share before I’m done! The last few times I’ve gone to Great America, by the middle of the day, I’ve been miserable. My feet ached, I was exhausted and longing for the park designers to finally take my advice and build the Napper- a climate controlled bed/ride that slowly circles the park and lets you nap for 30 minutes. (Would you pay $20 extra to ride the Napper? I would.) Anyway, we went to Great America last Saturday, and I was doing fine. I outlasted the seven-year-old! It could be that my current job keeps me on my feet all day so I’m just used to it now… but I’d like to think that I’m stronger and more physically fit. Making it possible for me to go on X-Flight... TWO times.
I think I can say that this has been the busiest last 6 weeks of my life. No exaggeration. There's this thing called the Holmes and Rahe stress scale and I've ticked off about 6 or so of their "most stressful life events" within this period of time.
And a few more are coming down the pike.
Within the last six weeks, we--
Had a baby.
Bought a house.
Got an offer on our current house.
They rescinded the offer on our house.
My father passed away.
I'm actually recovering from being super sick after the last several weeks. As Shay will point out, I have a pattern of running myself into the ground and then God will "enforce" a Sabbath time of rest :) And I'll get so sick that I have no choice but just to lay there. And I fight it. Hard. I'm not really good at being sick. I go back and forth between watching horrible kung-fu/explosion/ninja movies and fighting my desire to mow the lawn.
Now, there's so much good to so many of the above situations. Yes, even my dad. He was very ill and while we will miss him bunches, I'm really glad he's not suffering and frustrated anymore. And I can't imagine not having an Adessa to squirm around in her baby chair and dole out the rare, but promising to become more frequent, smiles.
And the house thing is HUGE. Shay and I have been married for almost five years (coming up in June!) and for almost all of those five years, we've essentially lived our daily lives in different towns. The first church I worked at was an hour away, and our current church is an hour and a half away. I have driven at least two hours (and now three) for every day that I've gone into work and back. That's two or three hours away from my kiddos and my wife, and I almost can't really grasp that that's actually about to stop.
We close on our house on Wednesday of next week, which will coincidentally be the first time Shay will see the house. She trusts me, what can I say? And she should...our new house is awesome.
But to get to the glory that will be living 15 minutes from my job. Being able to come home for lunch. And dinner! Not having to blow three hours in the car just to come in for a meeting on an off day. Being close to our community. Being close to the kids we take care of! Having people over for dinner! I'll have ten hours of my life back every week! My back won't hurt from being in the car for forever! I'll have a dishwasher!
What was I saying? Oh yeah, to get there, I have to move. Moving is exhausting.
Then we're going to try to sell our current place, or rent it out. (Know someone who wants a cute little house in Elgin? www.cute-elgin-house.com)
So life is officially bananas-crazy, and we need to make it through this next stretch AND...
everything will calm down (maybe?) Okay, probably not, but at least I'll be close to my little family.
But I'm dreaming of the day when I can do art again with some consistency. It's weird, I've toyed with the thought of pulling out of the Spire Challenge just because of the stress and busy and crazy, I feel like I haven't been doing a great job. I literally haven't been able to do art in weeks. It's this weird cycle of "should I be using this one tiny moment I have to relax to go slog out some art..." and I have to say that as of the last few weeks, the answer has been unequivocally "no."
It's easy to lose your perspective when several weeks are constructed of stress and you know that there will be more coming down the road. It's like when you go through a break up or something else awful, and the feeling is so pervasive that you can't ever imagine NOT feeling the way you do right then. It's like, right now, I feel stressed and feel like stress will be the overwhelming factor forever. But experience has told me that it will fade, and it will...probably around July. And then I would have been bummed to have no SpireSpire keeping me accountable to doing art and it would be easy to slip back into regular old life. So I have to agree to eek out what I can right now, and am going to apologize that I won't be overwhelming you with tons of art in the next few weeks and realize that Spire is a year-long thing for a reason...it can absorb weeks like this and you can still come out with your goal done in the end.
At least I'm not alone; I nearly all my fellow Spires have voiced how monkey freakin' BUSY they are at the mo. I just can't believe how full my schedule is for the next month. Weekends are pretty much the only time I can do recordings, yet I don't have a single weekend day free in June but one- and I intend to use it. Notice to my cast will be forthcoming.
No better example of Spire Choir solidarity than Christian's
post this week about guilt. This was very apropos to what I think we're all feeling right now, and leads into something that hit me a few days ago. It's not just guilt; not necessarily. It's guilt compounded by the feeling that: You. Are Not. Doing. ENOUGH.
This is more than just guilt. It's frustration. It's a realization that you have the ability to do this, and the
(perhaps) unrealistic expectation that you can do more, you can do better, if only you can break through that block, that indefinable wall (that just may keep moving). Well, you can always do better. You can. You can keep working at that one thing, tweaking it bit by bit, making it better... for the next seventy years. Or, at some point, you can let go. You can find the ability to say that enough... is, really, enough. And move on to the next
I'm trying to wrap my brain around this concept.
This struck me this weekend as I was wrestling with a bout of insecurity (which often rears its ugly head when I'm stressed). It's so true. I never feel that, whatever I am doing, that it's good enough. I can do more. I can write, sure; but what I write isn't literature. I can dance, but I'm horribly out of shape. I can act, but I can't project my voice, or loosen up completely, or stop shaking, or do it half as well as oh so many other people. I'm smart, but not enough. Funny, but not enough. Artistic, but...
You get the idea.
I am so grateful to have the support of my family, friends and fellow Spires. I appreciate their kind words, even if I never fully believe them (who really believes that they ever fully deserve a compliment?). Helps keep me going, helps me feel that perhaps ENOUGH might someday be attainable. On that note, thanks be to the two people who showed up on Sunday! We had a very brief meeting, rehearsal, and explanation of what was going to happen. Couldn't practice really because we were still setting up audio stuff, but it was there and we got to show it off. Didn't hear from anyone else, which always makes me nervous. Note to anyone who gets involved in a project, of any sort: if someone sends you a note and asks for your response, PLEASE make certain you respond. Just even a quick OK so they know you got it. I hate to crab, but it simply amazes me how difficult it seems to be, in this day and age, for people to do this. I have a phone number. There's e-mail. Texting. Facebook messaging. Carrier pigeons. Drive by my house and throw rocks at it. I mean, SOMETHING. It just doesn't seem like too much to ask.
Ok, maybe I am crabbing a little. :) I just instantly get nervous if I don't hear back within a day or so: why haven't they responded? Are they busy? Were they in an accident? Do they not want to do the project anymore? Do they suddenly hate me, probably because I'm bugging them too much???
Just a little paranoid. Hm.
...Ok, paranoia. ENOUGH with you.
...maybe I shouldn't have said that...
**"I shouldn't've said that. I should NOT have said that
Happy Tuesday! Today my blogging project with my IAU internship finally took off! We’ve been so incredibly busy with applications, post acceptance materials, brainstorming on how to make our website easier to use and in general being absolutely buried in paperwork the blog kind of had to take a back burner. But now that application deadlines have passed there is significantly more time to spend on something like that. I’m also really excited because as far as office is concerned the blog is my “baby” (as my boss says). Which is really kind of exciting! Pretty much what it will be is an IAU blog for current students so family, friends and other potential students can check it out. The summer term students who are leaving next week are our guinea pigs.
Today I created an agreement, basically covering rules (since they’re representing IAU, they need to keep all blogs appropriate, etc), general information and suggested blog topics. We also use this great website called Constant Contact that creates pretty emails (think columns, pictures, imbedded links, etc instead of just text), so I used that to create an email that will hopefully generate interest. I’m really hoping several students will apply to be featured bloggers (more or less that’s what we’re calling the program – IAU’s Featured Bloggers). I’m just super excited about this whole process in general. Like don’t get me wrong I love working at IAU, but last Thursday I spent over three hours sending about one hundred and fifty kids basically the same email. Yes, it needs to get done, and I don’t mind doing it, but planning a blogging program for the organization is infinitely times more fun.
Crossing my fingers that by next week I’ll be able to tell you that tons of students are as excited as I am and applied to blog about their abroad experience!
Yesterday I also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Hamalis, the Director of the Honors Program at NCC (cool enough, he’s actually the very first professor I had at NCC, back when I was a senior in high school taking college classes after school!) to talk about a Fulbright scholarship. He agrees with that me that given my limited Portuguese I won’t stand a very good chance of being sent to Brazil. And Fulbrights are pretty competitive: this year there are 2 open spots for Costa Rica (which is now where I’m tentatively thinking of applying) – and last year 27 students applied. If that’s not competitive, I don’t know what is. But I stand a way better chance of getting a Fulbright to somewhere like Costa Rica, A) because my Spanish is awesome and B) because I’ve lived there before. Also… just read this: “Candidates with degrees in English, Spanish, education or TEFL/applied linguistics with experience teaching or tutoring and who have an interest in working in an international educational environment are preferred.” Um, is that not straight up me?
Anyway, there are a few things I can do to start this process. First of all, I’ll need three letters of recommendation. According to Dr. Hamalis, it would be best if I got one from an English professor, one from a Spanish professor, and one from one of my former Education professors. Of those three, the only one easily acquired will be my English one. Hopefully I can figure out a way to get the other two. Challenge accepted, right?
Also, I can actually start to work on the Fulbright application. For this the two main portions are a Statement of Grant Purpose and a Personal Statement. Each of these is exactly one page. What I’ve been told to do is just start a giant bullet pointed list of all the things I would want to include on either of these sheets – my majors, study abroad experiences, background in secondary education, clubs, activities, jobs (IAU, FMSC, teaching English as a second language, Writing Center) and any other applicable data, just so I have it all written down in one place. From there I can start to build how I want each of the sheets to look.
So I’ll just add that to my already massive to-do list…
I’ve got another update on TEFL. I discovered this great website that describes different TEFL courses so you can compare cost, class size, certification, etc. What I discovered is that there are much more affordable courses than the one I was planning on exploring further, so I’ll definitely check those out more extensively. This might be something that gets pushed back for awhile though, since I don’t have time really take to TEFL course until late summer or later.
Think that’s all I have for now, which is great because I have my work cut out for me tonight! As you all know I suffer chronically from procrastination, and I need to go memorize a poem that I’ll be presenting tomorrow morning (plus a mountain of homework, which, let’s be real, most of which probably won’t get done). Ciao!
Woo hoo! Finally hit the 25 pound mark. Sailed past it, actually- I lost 2.6 pounds this week for a total of 25.6 since March 1st!
3/3 241.8 (-5.4)
3/10 236.4 (-5.4)
3/17 234.8 (-1.6)
3/24 233.0 (-1.8)
3/31 229.8 (-3.2)
4/7 228.4 (-1.4)
4/14 226.2 (-2.2)
4/21 224.6 (-1.6)
4/28 225.0 (+0.4)
5/5 223.8 (-1.2)
5/12 224.2 (+0.4)
5/19 221.6 (-2.6)
What a good week! It felt great to make the right choices about food over and over again- it really was a flawless, focused week as far as my eating went. I really concentrated on portion control at dinner in particular. When I was filling my plate, instead of thinking “How much food am I allowed to eat?”, I tried to think about how much would satisfy me and weigh it against what was nutritionally reasonable… the whole “listening to your body” thing is actually clicking for me.
Every time I’ve ever quit a diet, I’ve justified it by saying to myself, “I don’t need to count points/calories/follow this particular program anymore… I know how to eat in order to lose weight.” I think most people do, actually. I followed Julie’s story on SpireSpire Round One, and I remember her comments after meeting with a nutritionist (I’m sure she won’t mind if I quote her): “While she was very sweet, she didn't tell me ANYTHING I didn't know already. Which is sorely disappointing. It's funny that she can take a look at me, see I'm overweight, and then automatically assume that I don't realize a fresh baked potato is better for me than a large french fries. Ha. Thanks lady. What invaluable insight.”
Yep, we all know that baked potatoes are better for us than french fries (and 75% of you probably just mentally added “Well, as long as you don’t pile on the butter, sour cream and cheese”- such smarties!), and that if you're at a cookout, one hot dog with some fresh vegetables is a better choice than two hot dogs with a bag of chips, and that dessert every single night is probably not wise, and that working up a sweat several times a week is a good idea. Why do we as a nation pump billions of dollars a year into the weight loss industry, so people or programs can tell us these things we already know?
I think what we’re really trying to buy is the willpower to put what we know into practice. And man, do I wish that was for sale. Some weeks, like this one, it comes easy. It was not a struggle to avoid the treats offered to me by the day care kids (monkey bread and cookies this week!), or to order to healthy soup and salad at Panera (Thai Chopped Chicken Salad and Broccoli Cheddar Soup, You Pick Two portions- sooooo good and less than 500 calories), or to resist seconds on Mother’s Day (even though Threasa made some really good bbq pulled pork, and I could’ve easily eaten another sandwich or two)… this week, it came easy. Next week, who knows? I wish I could bottle it up and sell it, or at the very least save it for myself to get through the rough patches.
But this week, I feel good and solid and strong. Stuck to the Couch-to-5K running plan like a boss. And there were another couple of nights that I was scheduled to just relax, but found myself itching to put on my toe shoes and hit the road. One night, I started out intending to stop at eight minutes (which is the furthest I’d run on the program). But I got to that point and felt like I could do another minute. And then another one and another one and another one.
So I ran for twelve minutes straight, which is more than I thought I’d ever be capable of. Apart from the physical benefits, I find running to be incredibly empowering, such a mood-lifter and confidence builder. I find I like to go in the evenings much more than mornings or afternoons, after I’ve had a chance to relax after work. And browse the Pinterest fitness board for inspiration.
Well, this week didn't go quite as I had hoped. I started out with a cold that is still hanging on today, yet slowly getting better. Last night I had my official audition with the band I sang with last week. After auditioning a total of four singers, they chose to go with a lady who has fronted another local band for the past 16 years. She also lives in the same area as their rehearsal studio (40+ miles from my house) so this probably works out the best for all of us. Therefore, my search for a band continues. I do have a couple other prospects in the works.
On Wednesday, another set of tenants moved out which is good because I have some new tenants ready to move on June 1st. However, they left the home a mess and abandoned quite a few belongings INCLUDING A CAT!!! My 12yo cat passed away last week but I wasn't planning on adopting another cat quite this quickly. We shall see. If anyone knows of anyone looking for a cat, please let me know. He/She seems VERY friendly but also very large (one of the largest cats I have ever seen). It is orange in color with very soft hair and seems very healthy. Other than that, I know little to nothing about the cat.
This weekend I will spend most of my time emptying, cleaning, and preparing the home for new tenants. It's a good weekend to stay inside the A/C and away from the city of Chicago (NATO Summit). Hopefully, I can finish most everything so I can relax and enjoy my Memorial Day weekend in a few days.
Sorry for the short posts recently. Life is very very busy lately......
Draaaaaaaaagging myself slowly toward the finish line. It's in sight! Unless I need my glasses updated again.
Right! So! This week I... well, I didn't do a ton, to be honest. I laid out in the sun. I watched Food Network. I read a book (Yes!! Thank you kids, for leaving me alone for .2 seconds!). But this was all on Mother's Day so I feel I have an excuse. :)
As for the rest of the week, anything that really got done was done by my husband. What a great fella. Being the designated "audio guy", he went above and beyond, doing massive amounts of research, finally selecting the equipment he felt would do the job best and that he would be able to work with. Most is on order. One is already here:
Aaaaaand, while I was looking around the house for that, I also happened to check the front porch to see if anything else had come, and behold! Mike stands!
Double ooh. Mwahaha the fun we shall have.
The script is completely revised- just need to write those pesky commercials. But those are not part of the main script and can always be recorded at a later date- not that I'm going to let them go that long! I'm just not too concerned about them. What I am concerned about is a narrator- we need one now we're radio, so I'm racking my brains of who ELSE I know who would be good for that and might be able to do it... but if nothing else, the narrator does not directly interact with the rest of the cast and can also be recorded at another time. Whew.
I also (okay, I just now also) sent around e-mails to everyone attempting to set up a rehearsal time. This will take the place of the recording we were going to do Sunday (still won't have everything by that time and we still need to figure out our setup). It's very short notice (my bad, but I only just got the idea to replace it with a rehearsal today) so we'll see if anyone can make it.
And OH YES. Don't know how this slipped my mind:
Yes, ladies and gents, that is the OFFICI-ALE United States copyright notice for my script (the film version). I'm in the Library of Congress!
And upon opening the mail, like any professional in these situations, I immediately jumped up and down on the couch, squealing and doing air guitar.
Huh. Guess I didn't do too badly this week after all. :)