Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#271: Being held accountable

I met with my trainer today. I didn't want to go, but I went! [I paid for the session, after all!]

I was scared to go because I didn't want to admit to him that I hadn't been logging my food, have been eating a lot, missed two workouts and generally feel blah.

When I found him at the gym I asked if we were going to take measurements, to which he replied that we should. This was the part I was dreading the most. My measurements were mostly up over last month, which I had know was going to happen, as I ate my own personal version of the "Last Supper" yesterday [read: I just kept eating regardless of the consequences].

A warm wash of shame came over me as I listened to his report of the numbers. He didn't actually say anything mean or critical, he just stated facts. But then, after a pause, he said it looks like this could be because you aren't logging your food like I asked you to. He then said a few more things that were direct hits:
  • The weight goal is mine, not his
  • Achieving a lower weight, whatever my goal number is, will help achieve the goal of running faster
  • If I weigh less, it is free speed. I don't have to cart the extra weight up the hill [there followed a spewing of numbers and statistics illustrating how must faster people run per pound lost]
  • He can help me get faster with workouts, etc., but the food is all up to me. He's got basically nothing to do with that part. Up. To. Me.
  • I look fine; whatever number I want to get down to is totally up to me
When he stopped talking I heard myself say something like It's so much harder to change how I eat than I thought it would be. I hate seeing how much one little thing affects me [Uhg. I heard it and it sounded so self pity-ish].

The next thing he said made it all worth while. My trainer said that it's probably more like you've gone over a few hundred calories for a few days but then have a day where you go out to eat or just blow it and go over by like 1000 calories—those are the days you are probably feeling.

Wow! I was stunned that he knew. He knew! He gets it. I'd been afraid to be honest because I thought I would be berated and criticized; but really I was met with understanding and therefore a brand of compassion. I was reminded [yet again] that I tend to think I know everything and that I'm right all the time. He showed me that what I thought was right wasn't, and what a good thing it was that I was wrong!

Needless to say I've logged my food today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#270: Early morning grading

My dad used to drag me out of my bed by my right leg long after I was supposed to be up. Me + early mornings used to = grumpy/nasty/run away from me now. 

And now I get up at 5 to get stuff done! 

It only took me 4 years, 5 weeks and a day or so to figure out that 1.5 hours at 5 in the morning is more productive than 40 hours spent at school all week. 

At home at 5 a.m.:
  • I can work in my pajamas
  • I can drink as much tea as I want
  • I don't have to supervise anybody while I grade
  • I can listen to NPR while I work
  • No one asks me what they missed yesterday
  • I don't have to get up if I don't want to
  • I don't have to stay seated if I don't want to
  • I can eat my breakfast while I work
  • I can take a shower in between papers
  • I can use my Mac instead of my less-than-stellar desktop at school  
  • Grade one class all in one sitting and not lose my chain of thought

Monday, September 28, 2015

#269: Blood moon lunar eclipse

It only happens every 30 years!!!  I hiked to the top of Table Rock and got these "beauties" with the "camera" on my phone. Luckily my friend Ray took good pictures in Michigan and gave me permission to post them here!
Photo by Ray Stuckey
Photo by Ray Stuckey

Sunday, September 27, 2015

#268: Sailtoad Outing

6 Sailtoads participated in the inaugural running of the Equinox Trail Run at Avimor. It was a beautiful, fun 8ish mile race in the Boise foothills.

I'm so honored to get to work with these amazing people!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

#267: These days I care about my community

One of the many reasons I love living in Boise is that it is where I finally realized that I am not the only person who goes through hard times; that I am not the only person who ever feels isolated or alone; and where I discovered that my small contributions are not only valuable to my community, but at the heart of my self-esteem and well being.

That is all to say that I finally figured out that I'm not the only person here on this planet.

At the beginning of September, the Boise International Market was destroyed by fire. Within a week, a funding campaign (Go Fund Me) had raise $37,000 to help the mostly refugee vendors. I had never been to the market and didn't pay much attention, quite honesty.

Tonight, though, a friend invited me to go to a fundraising event for the Market in the parking lot of where the market was. I didn't really want to go, and I had several good reasons:

  1. I was tired
  2. It was hot
  3. I had worked all week [see #1]
  4. I thought not many people would be there
  5. I would have to spend money
  6. I don't like crowds
  7. I might see people I know and I was crabby
 So I went, and I'm glad I did!

  1. There were tons of people there
  2. I got to eat Ethiopian food, which I'd never done
  3. I ran into a woman I haven't seen in a long time, and it was lovely to see her
  4. It was hot but we sat under a tarp
  5. We heard beautiful, fun, original music which was amazing
  6. I didn't know there are so many international people in Boise
  7. I was blown away by how many people support/supported the BIM.
The moral of the story for me today was: stop thinking, Joy, and look around. Amazing things are happening if you only stop to notice and are willing to participate!

Friday, September 25, 2015

#266: Pope Francis' visit to the States

I'm not even Catholic. But I was actually crying--crying--on the treadmill today. ON THE TREADMILL!!  AT THE GYM!!!

I was watching live as the Pope travel a few hundred yards down 5th Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC.  I almost never watch the TV on the treadmill, but I was glued to the screen this afternoon. I even crossed myself when he waved his arm in blessing in the direction of the camera. I was totally overwhelmed with emotion. It's as if his love came through the TV and hit me straight on.

Then I was amazed to find out the Pope had lunch today with poor and homeless people in New York.

He smiled the whole way down the street--and this guy has had a very, very long day. As I watched him walk into the Cathedral, he stopped a few times to [what I assume was] bless people. I kept thinking of what a snarky mood I was in today, and I found it so hard to be patient and kind to my students; this guy is The. Pope. and he is taking time to smile and be kind and present with and eat with people who are arguably more needy than many of us.

The feeling of "coming together" that I felt reminded me of how it felt in my world in the weeks after 9/11. Everyone came together for the mutual benefit of everyone else; we all let go of differences and and were especially kind to each other.

What a huge reality check/attitude adjustment/gratitude shot/perspective change today! If the Pope can be kind all day long to millions, I can probably find it in myself to be kind all day to my dozens.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#264: Finding my "ugly sweater" early this year!

[read: What a fantastic deal to actually have enough emotional energy available to notice ugly sweaters because I'm not busy trying to survive my circumstances or figure out why I'm not happy or trying to make people I think I care about want me around.]

Thank you, Idaho Mountain Touring!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Blessing #263: The unexpected

I heard someone say, "you don't have to go hunting up trouble, it has no problem finding you" (or something pretty close) and I've always remembered that in the positive: if I relax and take care of what's right in front of me, something I'm not on the lookout for will happen and I won't be forgotten and all will work out okay. But it's all contingent on this "relax and take it easy and mind my own business" thing.

So two hours ago I was so made I had written an entire whining blog post in my head. Instead of actually writing it, however, I ate an entire box of cereal [to be fair, it was Puffins with coconut milk.  I mean really, how bad can that be?] and watched football.

Then my phone blinked and it was a Facebook message from a friend's sister, whom I've never met but heard lots about. She's just begun her Master's degree in education and was looking for encouragement and support. We ended up talking on the phone for about an hour about all sorts of stuff; we laughed and told stories and laughed some more and talked about Master's degrees and talked about my friend [her brother] and laughed some more. It was really delightful.

Then when I hung up, I realized I wasn't angry anymore. Suddenly what I was mad at myself about just seemed like the price tag on another lesson in growing as a person. And it was the result of this unexpected encounter that got me out of myself.

Monday, September 21, 2015

#262: A change in position is all it takes

I love NCIS, and my favorite character is Abby, the quirky, unique, dresses-all-in-black, eccentric scientist. My favorite scene is an episode in season 3 where Abby has run out of new ideas and needs a change in perspective. I looked all over for a free clip to post here, but instead came up with just the script:

To get a new perspective she bends upside and looks up.

Isn't this so true? One of the synonyms for perspective is position, and I think that's perfect for not only my body but my mind as well. Lots of times I get new perspective by moving my body to a new location.

This weekend I changed my perspective by changing the position of my body--I went up into the mountains with some friends. Upon arrival, I was put to work burning pine needles in the fire pit. This became shockingly addictive. A couple of hours went by before I paused, but what I really noticed is this: to keep the fire going, it had to be tended. I put a couple of big logs on it, tee-pee style to let the air circulate, and once it got going I added pine needles. Those darn things didn't burn evenly and didn't burn all the way until I rearranged them and got air to them. Once the fire got going, it'd be great for a few minutes, then would peter out. I would then do something to it, we'll call it "tending" to the fire, and it would perk back up.

I realize I'm a bit old to be learning this, but better late than never, right? It occurred to me that as I sit on my couch or lay in my bed or wander around my kitchen being irritated that my house is a mess or that the garbage smells or that my yard is bringing down the property value of the neighborhood, that all of these things need tending. Maybe it's laziness or maybe it's tiredness or maybe being a spoiled brat, but some of this has not occurred to me before. Maybe it's growing up in America where everyone in the media looks beautiful while dust never settles in their house, they never sweat and they never age. I don't know.

It's akin to what a hairdresser told me once about my hair: "Joy, if you want your hair to look finished, you have to finish your hair."

While you mull on that piece of wisdom, I'm going to go work in the yard!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

#261: Giant Potatoes at the grocery store

No, seriously.

Out front of the Whole Foods in downtown Boise.

How can that not make you smile?

#260: Eva Kor Visits Boise

According to her foundation's website, Eva Kor is "a survivor of the Holocaust, forgiveness advocate, and public speaker." And she came to Boise to receive the Anne Frank Human Rights Award from the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. She was the keynote speaker at the Center's fundraiser last night.

You know how I heard about it? Because I had a silent disco birthday party!!

I was at Boise Fry Company buying thank you gift certificates for those that helped at my party, and there was a postcard there advertising this woman who survived the Holocaust, had begun the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and made a movie called Forgiving Dr. Mengele about using forgiveness as a way of self-healing.

I had to go. Holocaust survivors will not be around forever, and it is important to hear them while we have them. No one jumped at the chance to go with me (in fairness, it was kind of expensive), so I went by myself. I was nervous to go alone. In my mind I entertained a small fear that an event that cost so much, that was just a straight fundraiser, would be full of people so different than me I wouldn't know how to behave and would obviously stick out.

This is Boise. Of course that didn't happen.

I walked in and within about 3 minutes found people I know.

That's her sitting to the left of the orange podium.
Her story is incredible, and I won't even try to retell it here—please watch the movie or read one of her books or go hear her speak. Some of what I got from going:

  • Going alone was scary, but absolutely rewarding. I ended sitting with and talking to two people that I have known for a long time but not very well. Getting to know them was a great pleasure.
  • Eva said, "Don't ever give up. When you give up, nothing happens." It's not the 'don't give up' that got me, it's that nothing happens when we give up. Nothing. Happens. Nothing. I hadn't put words to it like that. This really hit me hard: if I want my world to be different, I am the one that has to do something about it. Waiting around for someone else to save me will get me nowhere. 
  • The power of the human will is...incredible? Maybe the most powerful force we have? I don't have the words but she said that in Auschwitz "hope was in short supply" and once someone had given up you could read it on their face. She decided when she got there that she and her sister were going to survive, and they did. 
  • She said that dying was easy in Auschwitz, it was living that was hard. I can't add to that. True in everyday life, too. 
  • Anyone can be forgiven. Really, anyone? Yes. If she can forgive Dr. Mengele and the Nazi's for what they did to her and her family, I can surely find it in myself to forgive the perpetrators in my own life. 
  • This terrible thing happened to her when she was 10ish, and it changed her life forever. Don't most of us have something awful that happened to us when we were young? That in itself was a revelation. I am not alone. The difference is that this woman has let go and some of us hold on, waiting for the other person/party to come around or see the light or apologize to us. It's not going to happen. I have a choice: stay angry and close that part of myself off from life or forgive and get on with it. Look at the amazing things she has done for good once she let go of her anger. 
I am going to focus my energy today on living.
P.S. I won the Boise Co-op package in the raffle!How good life is when I put in the effort to live!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Blessing #259 for 2015: Excruciatingly alone

I just looked. I've mentioned/written about/complained about being along a ton this year. There are times when I really really really dislike being.  A lot of times, actually. I am sometimes so uncomfortable when I'm alone I can barely stand it.

But with this last birthday I started to [finally] catch on that we only get to go forwards. There is no "do over" and that elusive "one day" when I was going to have it all together and not be afraid to be alone anymore has not come. The alone part has come, but the comfort with it is very slow in arriving.

A few weeks ago, however, someone told me that I have to change my thinking if I'd like to get past this; that this alone-phobia is really just anxiety in disguise. 

Which means, of course, that when I am alone, it is really an opportunity to practice spotting and changing my thinking about myself. I've been practicing these last few days and while it is hard to see when I'm in the middle of feeling sorry for myself or wallowing about feeling lonely, once I realize what I'm doing and consciously change my thinking, the feelings I don't like pass much faster.

Progress is happening.  

As I'm doing this, It's dawning on me that what my brain tells me is not always true. It tells me that being alone on a Thursday night watching football is dangerous because it means I will always be alone watching football on Thursday nights because I'm somehow less than other people. After I spot this flawed thinking and redirect myself, within a few hours [usually] I see how wrong that thought process was.

So what I have surmised is that when these uncomfortable feelings come up, it's a change to let whatever is inside of me causing this to come to the surface and be healed.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

#258: 4 nice things

4 lovely things happened today: 
  1. I continued the streak of going out after dark that began yesterday. I went to church to participate in a walk around downtown, and I again felt really great after socializing and participating with people instead of communing with the people in my tv and my head.
  2. We saw both ends of the rainbow while walking around.
  3. The birthday card I sent to my friend in Ireland arrived today, his actual birthday!
  4. Because I rode my bike to work today, I rode home. And because I was on my bike a friend of mine recognized me and I heard him when he called my name. I turned around and we got to talk for about 20 minutes. More rewards from riding the bike! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#257: Getting off the couch

It's come to my attention that I spend a lot of time on the couch. Since I hired a trainer, I've started looking at how active I really am.  Know what I found out?  Not so much.  I realized that while I feel very busy (so busy I feel like should be losing weight just by existing), I'm not nearly as active as I thought I was.

For example, it turns out that when I get home each day around 7 I make dinner and become part of the couch for the next two or three hours. And if I loved it, this wouldn't be a problem.  I don't love it, though. I don't like that a time vortex turns on when I sit down and suddenly three hours and 4 Downton Abbey episodes have gone by.

Tonight I broke the cycle [at least for a day]! I met friends at Table Rock and we hiked up. I got to catch up with a friend I haven't really seen since the spring; I ran into a friend I haven't seen in a long time who was on his way up when we were on our way down, and it felt terrific to be out, maximizing the daylight and beautiful weather!

Carolyn Myss says "Change one coordinate on your spiritual compass and you change your entire life's direction." 

View from the top of Table Rock

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blessing #256: Classrooms wired for sound

When i was a kid, I don't remember my classrooms having any sort of sound system. If we were to listen to a recording, it was on a TAPE RECORDER or a record, or on a really fun day we got to watch a film strip! Really lucky students got to turn the film strip handle when the beep on the audio sounded. [For the record, that was never me.]

Today, however, classrooms have better sound than I have at home! Where I student taught there was a microphone system wired into the classroom and it was awesome! The kids hated it because it felt like a teacher was always right behind them due to the surround sound effect of the audio system.

My new classroom is in a really old building (it has chalkboards behind the white boards) so the classroom itself doesn't have speakers, but there is a speaker connected to the projector that gets the job done.

And what do I use all of these audio devices for?

To play Katy Perry's "Roar" at the beginning of 1st period every day! This became the Year Two's theme song at MAET in Ireland this summer, and I have continued the tradition into the school year. The students may be tired of it, but I'm not yet!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015


It wasn't pretty, but they won!
Yes, this is a picture of my TV. Shut. Up.
And thanks to watching the Longhorn Network online, I could sing the school song with my team. This video isn't from yesterday's game, but it's the same song that I stood in my living room and sang all by myself yesterday before and after the game.

Judge me if you want. You'd do it to for your team.

#254: Doing things I don't want to do

I have volunteered at a jail or prison in most places I've lived,  Boise included.  However,  I did that when I was new to Boise 9ish years ago and when the bug bit me to start doing it again about a year ago, I was saddened to learn that I have to get to sit through 8 hours of orientation.

I showed up anyway, and when I got in line to go in, the woman behind me was a friend of mine! We used to work together and we sat together all day. Though the room was full, we got two seats in the front row [good for me, because if I sit in the back I do not pay attention and have a greater tendency to complain all day instead of learn].

The first thing we did was go around the room and introduce ourselves, and this is when I totally bought in. The room was full of probably over 200 people who all donate their time to inmates in the Idaho Department of Corrections. I was overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness and service of people. Thus permanently ended my bad attitude for the day, and I really got a lot out of the training. 

I also found out that my friend was there working with a ministry to help prevent child sexual abuse, which I am now going to attend so I can one day take that program into the prisons.

All because I got over myself and showed up even though I didn't want to.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

#253: Park Ranger Joy

Since it is September 11, 2015, I've been thinking about what I was doing 14 years ago.

Here it is:

Yep, I was a Park Ranger in Zion National Park [if you haven't been there, you MUST see it before you die. It is a beautiful, magnificent place]. I collected fees at the entrance stations, worked in the campground and at the 1.1 mile-long tunnel. It was manned during business hours because it had to be reduced to one-way traffic when motorhomes or large cabovers came through.

September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday and I had the early shift at work. I listened to Morning Edition on NPR on my way to work and Bob Edwards reported on the 1st tower getting hit. Very strange, I thought. By the time my 45 minute drive was over I think both towers had been hit. By the time I got inside one was falling down, if I remember correctly. When I got inside headquarters people were huddled around the TV, and I watched the towers fall down for the first and only time in my life. All but "essential" personnel were sent home. As you can imagine, those of us collecting fees and manning the tunnel were not sent home. I had the tunnel during the first half of the day.

Anyone that remembers will recall that lots of news was coming out that morning. Not being by a television or a radio, I relied on the patrons through the park to tell me what was going on. Every time traffic was stopped on my side of the tunnel, I'd walk the line and ask people what was going on. As the morning wore on, I heard about the plane hitting the pentagon, the plane in Pennsylvania going down, and I remember some false information in there, too. One of our own staff members had previously been a flight attendant on the flight into Dulles and knew the crew on board. All air traffic was grounded for a week. There were no planes going across the sky; no loud noises every so often. No helicopters passing by.

What sticks with me the most is the how suddenly we all started being nice to each other. Suddenly, for about 2 weeks, we Americans had what I call perspective. Proper perspective. No one yelled at me about paying 20 dollars to go through the park; no one complained about sitting in line at the tunnel; no foreigners complained about the attitude of Americans. My ex-husband and I went camping that weekend in Bryce Canyon and we experienced more of the same kindness, patriotism and unity with, really, everyone.

I am so proud that I was a park ranger at all, but especially during that time. To see our country pull together and put our differences aside in one of our national treasures was a priceless gift.

As for being a park ranger at all, it was a dream come true. I always always always wanted to be a park ranger so I could wear the hat. And I thought it would be cool. It absolutely lived up to my expectations. I met incredible people. I got to ride in a helicopter over the Grand Tetons. I got to go to the Grand Canyon for two weeks of training for free. I got to go look for space shuttle pieces when another national tragedy happened: the Columbia tragedy. I got to write an article for Ranger Magazine, the Journal for the Association of National Park Rangers (page 7). When I left I received an Arrowhead, a gift bestowed on permanent employees who work for at least a year. The staff signs the back:

And then as a parting gift, my boss got me the Zion poster created by the WPA during the depression:

And, of course, I have two very cool hats.

Friday, September 11, 2015

#252: Sixteen Candles

Tonight I went to see Sixteen Candles (yes, the 1980's John Hughes movie) at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise.  Boise Classic Movies presents movies each month and it is an absolute blast to watch these in a theater full of people!

My friend and I went with her 13 year-old daughter whom I think we traumatized by bringing her along. Her eyes were as big as saucers the entire movie and when I asked her if she liked it she said, "it was okay."

Kids today.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

#251: Slime tires

I rode my bike to school today (yay!) and then back home  (yay!) And then to the gym (yay!). After my workout I rode my bike back (yay!) and on my way home as I swerved to go around some people walking on the greenbelt I about fell off my bike (boo!). I looked down and my stupid,  freshly-changed-last-week-all-by-myself-tire was flat again.

Luckily I've been carrying a bike pump around with me and I put slime tires on my bike last week,  so I said some curse words and got to work.

I picked out the goat head, pumped up the tire and have it a good spin.  It worked! I made it home just fine!

And as a bonus, two passing bikers turned around and stopped to check on me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#250: John O'Donohue

This Irish poet changed my life. I found his bestselling book, Anam Cara, at Christ Cathedral in Dublin last summer. I read it over the course of the entire last year and when I went back this past summer I bought 3 more of his books.

John O'Donohue was an Irishman, Catholic priest and poet with the typical Irish way with words. Reading his work is a treat in itself. The implications his work has for my life is really just a bonus.

I was going to list a bunch of quotes from both the books I have of his, but there are too many. This one from Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom From the Celtic World sums up beautifully what I learned deeply from this book:
Your soul alone knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of your self. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more importantly it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. There are no general principles for this art of being. Yet the signature of this unique journey is inscribed deeply in each soul. If you attend to your self and seek to come into your own presence, you will find exactly the right rhythm for your life. The senses are generous pathways which can bring you home. (p. 84)

This book came into my life while I was on an adventure all by myself--to Ireland alone to begin something new, difficult and unknown. I confronted lots of fears as I made my way over the ocean, and it was quite a "coincidence" that I found this book at the beginning of my trip. I found that the lessons I learned over the past year were all about learning that I am enough all by myself; that I am worth spending time with (by myself); that I do not need to apologize for the space I take up.
Whenever I picked up this book, whatever I read was always applicable to my life, RIGHT THEN. I find that amazing and take that as evidence that God hears my prayers.

The passage above is not only starred a bunch of times, but it is the only page that is dogeared in the book.

What I hear in this passage is validation. It assures me that:

  • I am worth trusting
  • I am worth spending time with (i.e. by myself)
  • My instincts can be trusted
  • Not only can I trust my instincts, but those instincts are how my soul leads me to fulfillment
  • Somewhere inside of me are the answers and my directions [as opposed to looking outside of myself for direction and validation]
  • Only MY soul knows MY destiny. 
  • Living someone else's life is no good. MY life is worth living and the key to my own happiness.

For more about John O'Donohue, you can listen to this podcast of On Being, a radio show on NPR, he was interviewed by Krista Tippitt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#249: Happy holidays

I'm so grateful for this weekend in McCall! To be included, to participate, to feel comfortable in my own skin, these are all new things.

I used to dread weekends and holidays because I was consumed with emptiness and loneliness. For the entire week before spring break, for example, I would be anxious about not having any plans for the week. I'm not saying that this was reality, but it really felt like reality.

This is perhaps why I like retail so much--I always had to work the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Labor Day and the 4th of July and every other long weekend--so I always had an excuse as to why I didn't have any plans. Hard to make plans when you have to work!  The truth was, however, I didn't make any plans because I didn't have [think I had] anyone to make plans with, at least since I've been divorced.

Being married was great for this particular fear: we were always busy doing stuff. We travelled all over the country and had cool jobs, so this loneliness inside of me rarely came out in this particular circumstance.

This all began to change about 3 years ago when a friend of mine who is also a teacher heard me complaining about feeling so lonely before spring break. She told me later: the reason people have stuff to do over spring break is because they make plans.

Since then I started making plans and it helped, though the loneliness didn't disappear completely. I think loneliness is mostly a God problem and over the last few years that part of me has filled up a lot.  So much, in fact, that I don't feel that loneliness every Friday afternoon like I used to.

Funny, as that has filled up over they years, I find myself more frequently having those types of experiences I always hoped for: fun, happy things to do with people over holiday weekends. I am able to be present for people and self-consciousness has slipped away. I feel good about who I am and love my life.  But that stuff didn't come to me when getting it was my goal. Isn't life funny?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

#248: 2nd Place in my age division!

WOO HOO!!  2nd in my age division!  Maybe 40 is gonna be even better than I thought....

Apparently doing what your trainer suggests pays off!!

#247: My vehicle is filthy!

My car is totally, utterly, dirty!  

Which means that I drove it in the mud. As a Grand Cherokee was made to do.
Which means I drove it on dirt roads.  As a Grand Cherokee was made to do.
Which means I was out of town (McCall) spending time with friends.  As we were all made to do.
Which means I have friends to spend time with on a holiday weekend.  As I always wanted to do.

Which means another one of my dreams has come true. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

#246: The Fantasticks

Tonight was the final play in our (my friend Meggan and I) 2015 volume of our annual Idaho Shakespeare Festival extravaganza.  It was a production of The Fantasticks and it was spectacular. As in my favorite show we've seen in the four years we've been going.

I went knowing absolutely nothing about the plot, which probably helped, but it was really outstanding. I don't want to tell you anything about it except GO SEE IT!!!  If you live in or near Boise, you have no excuse!  You are missing out if you don't go!
We are so lucky to have such a high quality production company here in Boise—take advantage of it!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#245: Selfie with the Bishop!

...and then sometimes you find yourself sitting next to the Bishop at a fundraiser at Grace Episcopal Church!

#244: Fixing my own flat

I have a list of things on my "husband" list that I used to not do. You know, things like mowing and trash putting-out and killing spiders and watering the yard and cooking and....well, you get the idea. I used to be pretty much useless in a relationship. I was really more decorative. But I digress.

Changing my flat bike tire was on that list, but today I finished changing my second one, all by myself!
It only took me 4 days, 8 hours and about 34 minutes!

I actually had 2 flats: one on my road bike, one on my mountain bike. Only the road bike is fixed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#243: Realizing I'M the problem

When I lived in Bozeman about a million years ago, a woman told me, "if I'm the problem then there's a solution." Totally right. I have proved over and over again that blaming other people then waiting for them to change does not work. For one, they never change. For second, if the do change, they mostly don't do it correctly. Thirdly, if they do change, and do it correctly, then I generally [read: never] feel better; the real problem, which is my own dissatisfaction, hasn't been addressed.

Here's how this has infiltrated my exercise life:

Me: Everyone gains weight as they get older and there's nothing I can do about it. It's genetics and called 'being human'.
Trainer: Most people gain weight as they get older not because of some ailment, etc., but because they get less active and eat more stuff [read: beer & wine].

Me: There is something genetically making me gain weight. It's because I was so bad at eating well growing up.
Trainer (upon looking at my food log): You ate too that today if you want to reach your goal.

Me:  I won't be able to run for very much longer because my bones are not cooperating and getting old.
Trainer:  Most running "injuries" (he said 80%, I think) are not true injuries but rather the result of tight muscles.

Me:  I should be able to eat more today because I ran 11 miles today.
Trainer:  Well, you probably run at a 9 1/2 mile pace which burns about 9 calories a minute so that's 81 calories per miles times about 6 miles an hour so on those days you can eat about maybe 400 calories more... 

Me:  I should be able to eat more today because I'm really hungry.  
Trainer (whilst talking about other stuff): might be hungry but you know that calorically you are fine because you know what you just ate...

It always comes back to me and my choices. Which really is great news, because I have control over me!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#242: The Rose of Tralee

A friend of mine in Ireland introduced me to this fantastic "pageant". I use quotes because it is nothing like an American beauty pageant. In the Rose of Tralee there is no swimsuit or evening gown competition or official talent section. It is, rather, women who look like you and me, dressed beautifully, who are interviewed for about 5 minutes or so by Dáithí Ó Sé (the host) after which they do something: sing a song, recite a poem, one woman jumped rope, Irish dancing, a science experiment.

My friend bugged me about watching it and I had no interest in a pageant. Although I understand that anything we do can either build us up or bring us down, for me pageants have always brought me down as I embark on a terrible journey of comparisons with women in which I always lost. Pageants just feed my insecurities that I was not good enough.

I opened my mind, however, and watched. I was AMAZED! "Roses" come together to compete from various geographic locations. There is a Dublin Rose, for example. A Mayo Rose, a Texas Rose, a Sydney [Australia] Rose, and so on. I was expecting something very American and what I got was truly wonderful. These women do not look like American super models, although they are all delightfully beautiful. They look like real women I know; they do real jobs and they have many wonderful dreams and ideas and creative things to share.

What [else] really struck me is that every Rose had a tremendous amount of family present. This is a really, really big deal and not to be missed by any members. It's taken me over a week to watch the two episodes on reply on the RTE Player because I found myself feeling deeply sad during some parts of the show. I think this is because I wish I was closer to my own family, and I have felt on the outside of almost everything every since I can remember. There is a deep desire in me to belong to something bigger than me, and the kinship of the whole of the Irish people is one of the main attractions to spending so much time there.