Wednesday, April 19, 2017

30 Minutes and 13 Reasons Why

4:48 p.m.

I read 13 Reasons Why...and loved it.
I've been a fan of YA Lit for a long while and even taught a class one summer, so I shouldn't really be surprised.  
I wanted to see if I felt at all like some of the complaints about glorifying suicide. 
I have to admit that I was a little nervous.
Once I got started reading, I got mad.
Mad at society.
Mad at mean kids.
Mad at parents who don't have these conversations with their kids.
Myself included.
We had that conversation and I gave the book to my 13 yr. old.  I think she was impressed that I finished the book in just a few hours.  
Her mom is an English teacher for goodness sake...not sure what she expected :p
Most of the people I've seen have issues with 13 Reasons Why actually have issues with the new Netflix series though, not the book.
I haven't tackled that yet.



4:53
The last week or so of the semester is in full swing.  
The final week always brings students out of the woodwork who all of a sudden have decided they might like to turn in an assignment or two.
They need a C.
They need their financial aid.
They can't fail this class.
I don't mind helping; I really don't.  But I'm not going to help somebody who refuses to help themselves.  The students at this point of the semester who are begging are usually the ones with averages in the 20s or 30s.  The only way to have an average that low in my class is to have racked up 0s all semester...not turning in assignments.

I know far too well that you can't fix things for people.
They have to at least want to work towards fixing it themselves. 
I'm all theirs is they'll meet me halfway.
I had a student today turn in an essay.
Most of our assignments are submitted electronically so they upload files.
The name of her file was: 
Wait for it...

holy shit this was dne fast.pdf

You think I'm kidding, don't you?
Here's your proof:




5:05 p.m. 
My friend Paula said good-bye to her father yesterday. 
She, her mother, and 3 brothers gathered in the small town church they grew up in and celebrated their father's final release.
Their father was the very example of grace in human form.
He was one of the smartest, realistic, humorous people I've ever met.
He will be missed.
He was very sick.  Cancer had ravaged his body over this last year...to the point of extreme suffering. I know that in some way, his peaceful return to Jesus had to be a relief.
That doesn't make losing him any easier.
When they left the cemetery, I wondered how they would fare upon returning to their childhood home...much changed since they left there that morning. 
Our church has a way of swooping in to save people...and the older ladies are professionals at this.  I imagine their house was clean and spotless as well as full of food for later.  The entire family would be fed a huge spread at our church after the services were over.  
I thought many times about my friend's mother.
They were one of those older couples who have been married for 56 years. 
He was her best friend.
When everyone else is gone, there will be much adjustment for Mrs. Lou Ann.
I've thought of her many times today.

I stood in the cemetery yesterday looking at headstones and watching the scene unfold.
It's a scene I've certainly been privy to before and the older I get, I'm sure will see more and more often.
But, I really drank it in yesterday.
I'm still processing it.



5:23 p.m. 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Still Here - 30 Minutes of Life - "Mom, I'm an Alcoholic."

10:20 a.m.
I'm not making any comments about how it's been over a month since my last post.
None.

I keep playing with my background...the icy blue and silver cold background was fitting for Winter.
It's Spring today.
I say today because I live in Mississippi.  It may be Summer tomorrow...or it may be Winter again.
Who knows.

I figure I'll figure out when I figure it out.

I wish somehow in Blogger the backgrounds over the years could be saved.
I think in my case especially it would show the progression of my thought process....and who I am.

I told my mama the other day that I'm an alcoholic.
It was a bad day that day, and I ended up hysterical.
The only way I knew to make it stop where she was concerned was to just spit it out.
I'm 11 months sober.
And I just told my mama.

I told my middle daughter too.
We were walking and she was talking about some really emotional things in her life.
Some things she blamed herself for.
I think she looks at me as perfect.
I have no idea why.
She struggles thinking that there is something wrong with her.
So I told her.

My mom blames alcohol.
My daughter understands a little better that the problem isn't so much the alcohol.
It's the anxiety and depression.
She feels it too.

In my mom's defense, she grew up in a family that was destroyed by alcohol after her mother died.
I figure her father turned to alcohol to cope with his grief just like I turned to it for relief from uncontrollable anxiety.

10:28 a.m.
I still need to see a therapist.
That much was clear the day I lost it and yelled at my mom (via text) that I was an alcoholic.
I did go so far as to start seriously looking for one.
I also actually made a phone call...but the one I wanted to see is moving to Jackson...and the 2nd one on my list is not taking new patients right now.
I told my husband that apparently we are most definitely not the only people with issues.

10:31 a.m.
I'm loving my little ladies groups.
I started out thinking I would be a Fitness Coach.
You know, coach myself along with some other ladies to get in shape.
That quickly escalated into a place for a small group of ladies to meet and discuss life.
I'm sharing what I'm reading there.
Some of them are following along, and others are just reading what I write.
I've been very honest with them as well.
It's freeing in a way to tell my truth.
I am who I am.
I can't change that.
So why try to hide it.

10:33 a.m.
I woke up this morning looking for my laptop.
My youngest kid had stolen it in the night.
Oy.
Thankfully we have today off though so I didn't have to head to work with an uncharged laptop.
I did notice, however, that she had been watching a Netflix show.
She watches re-runs of Friends all the time so I assumed that was what she was watching.
I realized quickly that she was watching a new series.
13 Reasons Why.
She made it up to episode 5 last night.
My oldest daughter read this book after it was published.  I've never been one for book censoring and still am not.


My youngest is not an avid reader, however, and has grown up watching.
A couple of young women that I enjoy following into adulthood posted on social media this am. some concerns about the tv show.  They have read the book and were worried that media may have turned the book into a somewhat graphic exploitation of very serious issues from the book.
That means I get to read the book today :(
That was not my plan for the day.

10:38
I was getting a little disappointed with myself because I can't seem to get my back and hips to understand that we have a marathon to run in 7 months.
And then, out of nowhere, I saw a post about Jeff Galloway.
Lots on social media right now about The Boston Marathon.
I remembered that I bought his book The Run/Walk Method and had at one time considered using his method as a training tool.
Then, I got embarrassed that I would be willingly committing to "walking" some.
A cop-out right?
Last night I dug and found the book and sat down with it.


I added up the weeks to see if I had time to make this work.
I think I do.
I'm excited again!

10:42
The husband and I are contemplating moving.
We have been contemplating moving for some months now.
You should see us try to agree on a house.
I like old.
He likes new.
I don't notice price at all.
He keeps a close eye on price and knows exactly how much money he is willing to spend.
I know our realtor would like to smack us.
I really couldn't blame her.
Then, there's the exhausting idea of selling the house we're living in now.
We've been here for 12 years so we have a lot of stuff.
Our older daughters are at that age where they have actually moved out and then back in again...and back out again.
I don't have any problems with that.
I like to think of home as a safe harbor.
**That analogy is not mine btw...a therapist from some time ago gave that to one of our daughters.
But, when they come back home, they bring not only the stuff they left with but more stuff.
And then they leave the stuff they left with and the more stuff the brought home...in my house as they go back out into the world to gather even more stuff.
Oy.
The Salvation Army people run when they see me coming these days.
When nobody's looking, I fill up boxes and take a haul or two.
So far nobody's noticed.
I'm also trying out Thred Up.
That's been interesting so far.

10:48
I've been a little worried about not wanting to read.
But, I've noticed lately some little sparks.
Summer is on its way so I'm holding tightly to those little sparks and will see where they lead me.


What I'm Reading before Bed - She Reads Truth/Myers & Williams



What I Want to Read Next before I go See the Movie - The Zookeeper's Wife


Next Movie I Want to See - The Case for Christ



10:58
Just realized there was a book before the movie.
Oh boy.





Saturday, February 11, 2017

So much for writing 30 minutes each day.





6:44 a.m.

I'm struggling a little bit it seems. 

With the daily schedule as well as my brain.

I'm finally coming up for air after several days in a row of "just let me sleep."

Listening to a podcast yesterday called The Bubble Hour, I realized that even though I truly have no desire to drink, I probably do need to see a therapist.  Long term recovery is hard.  Not hard bc I battle wanting to drink but hard because I battle battling life's ups and downs and all the feelings I numbed for so long.  

When your anesthetic is gone, life's daily issues are still there...you just get to feel them full force.

Running saves me...but right now I haven't been able to run bc of a nagging back issue.  I'm also dealing with hot flashes like nobody's business.  And, Epstein Barr virus which every 10 years or so pops back up his sassy head.  Fantastic equation for depression.

Finding the right therapist is key.  I don't want to just be medicated.  I already take daily meds which apparently need to be revisited...I'm not looking for more and I don't want to be sedated.  How is that different from alcohol??

My funk was helped some by following through with a commitment I made to 5 other ladies to lead them through a bible study last week in an online group.  
The group gave me something to focus on and forced me to keep my brain busy at least for a bit each day...and to look forward to the next day.
I'm starting another one of these on Monday...this one is longer and called "Made to Crave"...

Today is a day of soccer. 
I love that.  I love being outside...and watching our youngest do something she loves makes me very happy.
Amazing how much my children's happiness can also make me happy :) 

I'm committing to loving my husband more purposefully too...we've been married for 28 years this year.
Whoa.

He has taught me over and over what true love and sacrifice really are.  I know that sometimes I don't give back all that I should.  
We have issues.  Who doesn't.
I love the song Broken Together...fits us pretty well.

My job wears me out.  I go each day with a semi positive outlook, but it doesn't take long for that to disappear.  
My upstairs colleagues keep me from completely going crazy at work.
How wonderful is it to work with friends :)

The idea of moving came up again this week.
I don't really want to move though.  I think that would be a huge decision too soon.
If we found a perfect house in the town where our youngest and oldest go to school, that would make sense and maybe not be quite so overwhelming...but I don't know.  
I cannot even imagine moving to a different part of the state or another state and starting completely over with a new job right now. 
I'm afraid that I would just have to ostrich it...dig a hole and put my head in there.

7:02

While I was listening to The Bubble Hour yesterday, I also realized how freeing it has been to actually talk about some of my "stuff."
It's not all about me.
What about the young woman who sees me everyday and thinks I have it all together.
What about the young woman who is struggling herself and thinks that something is wrong with her because she is so different from anybody else?
What about the young woman who says, "Why can't I be happy??  I have nothing to be depressed about."
If making through another day and talking about it helps one quiet young woman who never even acknowledges she needs help, then it will all have been worth it.  

I can't save anyone.
Not even myself.
I'm leaning on God for that.

I know He's there.
At 4:30 every morning, He nudges me and says, "I'm waiting."
As difficult as it is for me to stay awake at times...and despite how many naps I take, I can somehow get up at 4:30 a.m.
It's actually not a "somehow."  I know how.
Him.

When I walked into my kitchen this morning, I saw some cake that had been mauled in the night after I went to bed.
After my quiet time, I took a picture of said cake and posted it to Instagram.
As I quickly scrolled the first few posts of the day, I ran across a post by another woman...someone I don't know personally but have come to know through social media communities.  
She's struggling too.

I didn't know she struggled at all.
I thought she had it all together.
She has everything to be happy about.
But, she struggles.

It's not that seeing someone else struggling makes us happy.
Seeing someone else struggling makes us feel that we aren't the only ones.
I'm not the only one.
I'm not so different.
I'm not so messed up.
My issues are real.
And other women struggle with them too.

I posted a little response to her to let her know she is not alone, she has my love, support, and prayers.
This support from other women in the online recovery community is what sustains me as well.
Holding each other up when we can't stand on our own.
Imagine if we all tried to do just that a little more often.

Just imagine.

7:14 a.m.








Saturday, January 28, 2017

St. Jude Marathon 2016 or "The Marathon Kicked My Butt"

8:36 a.m. 

I posted and talked a lot about the St. Jude Marathon before the race.
Not so much during or after the race.
There are a lot of reasons why.
To say that attempting to run my first marathon was an emotional experience would be an understatement.  
An understatement.
Period.
Talk about a game changer...for running, for wellness, for life.

I think I'm ready to talk about it some though...so here we go:




1.  I didn't train as I should.  I about half-heartedly tried.  There were days when I was "all-in"...but many more days when I wasn't.  No excuses here.

Here's the thing about marathons...you're either all in...or you're not.
There is no half-way.

2.  My oldest daughter Kendal and a friend Shannon were with me. 
I was at times more concerned about their experiences than I was my own.  
I don't have this analyzed completely in my head yet...and this was no fault of theirs.

3.  I didn't prepare myself emotionally.  I'm not sure I could have because I think St. Jude marathoners think they "know" what they've signed up for, but don't really know until they run it...or try to run it as was in my case.
I think this applies for seasoned marathoners as well as beginners.

4.  I didn't really have a purpose well defined.
Hear me out on this.
I had a jumble of purposes...all of them swirling around in my head...this, that, and the other thing. Influences from everywhere...trying to overlap anything and everything that I could in order to justify running.
That doesn't work for me.
My anxious brain does not need jumble.
My anxious brain needs a streamlined well-defined purpose to keep it busy.
So that it doesn't imagine all kinds of things along the way.

5.  I was injured.
I can tell you all day that I take care of myself physically...but I did not prioritize my physical needs before the marathon. 
I injured myself trying to do too much too soon (even though I know and have known for quite some time how stupid this is).  
After I injured myself, I was too stubborn or too "busy" to go to the doctor.
So the injury just festered instead of beginning to heal.
I was in pain by the end of mile 1 for a marathon I had waited 48 years to run.

6.  I didn't take the physical challenges of running a marathon seriously.
When Kendal and I stopped half way, we were taken to the medical tent to be checked out.  What we witnessed there shocked me.  
It was like watching MASH.
There is a fully functioning "hospital" at the St. Jude Marathon...medical personnel were attending to those who were on drips, wrapped up, heart monitors, and a few emergency situations...we watched the team work on a man who actually had a heart attack soon after he crossed the finish line. 
Others collapse as well.
I can't tell you what a humbling experience this was.

7.  I didn't enjoy it.
Kendal mentioned this after.
The last picture I took was at the starting line.  I was so consumed with worry about whether or not I would make it to the end, and whether or not I could keep up with my pace group, that I just stressed myself out even more than I was before the race.  I didn't take in my surroundings at all.  And there was so much to take in...the scenery, the families, the children, the signs...I missed a lot of it because I was freaking out.

8.  I was not dressed appropriately.
We stayed too far from the race site and had no clue...any of us...what exactly we were going to need nor the processes to follow before, during, and after the race.
I am already registered in a hotel right smack at the starting line for next year. 
Period.

9.  I didn't connect with my team.
I'm on a team.
I really am.
It's called Run4theKids.
I was so consumed with making the race a special one for Kendal and Shannon, something we could share together, that I did not experience it myself. 
I am 48 years old. 
It's time for me to live my life and let others live theirs.  
When will I learn this?
I hope now.

10.  I beat myself up when I didn't finish the race.
This is a normal thing for me.
When I fail, my brain just bottoms out.  I've spent a lot of time and money trying to fix this...and one of the things I know about anxiety is that I have to prepare for it...but I didn't.
By the time we got back to our hotel, I was not only physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally exhausted as well.
I got a shower only bc I didn't want to get in the bed without one since I was sharing a bed with Kendal...see, even my shower was for someone else.
I slept for hours (Kendal and Shannon did as well, of course...1/2 marathons and marathons take everything out of you).

11.  I was ashamed.
But, it was pride more than anything else.
How would I tell everyone that I didn't finish the marathon.
Would I still get a medal even though I only finished half?
The answer to this is no.
When you make the cutoff to go half or full marathon, there is only one finish line, the finish line for the race you chose.  
Medals are only given out at the finish line, so if you don't make it to a finish line, you don't get a medal.
This hurt my feelings...but I do actually get it.
We emailed and asked if we could get 1/2 marathon medals since we technically finished the half, but we never received a response.
I'm not a fan of the trophy for everybody notion, so I'm ok with this.
It will make the medal I'm going to receive next year be that much more special. 

12.  I did not fundraise like I should.  
I committed to $500 and waited until the last month or so to find the money. 
My commitment was more of an emotional one rather than a realistic one. 
I'm pretty famous for that.

The one thing I did do right was sign up for the 2017 race at the Expo the night before the 2016 race. 
I'm locked in.
I have a plan.
I've learned a great many lessons.
And I'm taking steps already to make sure if at all possible, I won't have to learn those same lessons again.



9:16 a.m.















Thursday, January 26, 2017

Yoga with Dogs

5:31 a.m.

Yesterday I took a huge leap.
I have no idea why it's so hard for me to "put myself out there."
I have no idea why I doubt myself so much.
But, I did it.

I posted on social media (only on my personal Instagram page, people...don't push me ;) about deciding to become a coach and introduced my first challenge group month! 

I know.
I was pretty stunned myself.

It felt good.
It really did.

Several lady friends of mine responded positively and indicated that they wanted to know more...and of course, that validation felt good.  
I have long suspected there are other women out there in the world who feel like I do.
We're overwhelmed.
We're frustrated.
We're sad.
We suffer from anxiety and/or depression, either seasonally or constant.
We are addicted.
To something.
Or someone.
We may not even admit it to ourselves because we're scared to death of the word addicted.

Addicted.

But, we shouldn't be afraid.
Through recovery, we can connect with some of the most amazing women we'll ever meet.
Some of them we've followed before and wished we had a life like hers.
She's got it all together.
Her husband is perfect.
Her kids are perfect.
Her job is perfect.
She is happy.

Ha.

Many times, she wants to recover as well.
In fact, the truth is, we all are recovering from something.
Maybe things aren't as perfect as it seems.
And, even if it is, nobody's life is perfect all the time.
I have a hard time believing that anybody's life is ever perfect, but I can't speak for everybody else.

I was given a blessing 8 months ago.
A blessing that I am going to return 10 fold.

As I start my new fitness (body, mind, and soul) ministry, I will honor God in everything I do.  
That's a promise I made the first time I had a conversation with my support person.
And, it's a promise I intend to keep.

My faith is central to everything I do.
It has to be.
That's how I survive.

Running and yoga are my therapy.
And dogs.


Yoga in my p.j.s last night. 



 Layla hasn't noticed yet
Please don't judge the mismatched p.j./yoga attire.
That's just how I roll.



 Layla:  MOM!!! (notice the ears)


 Layla: "I'm here, Mom...I'm here...don't worry...I'll save you from this yogi!"
(at our house, each animal has a voice...Layla calls "yoga" "yogi").
Is that a problem?
;)


 Layla: "Is your leg hurt, Mom...what can I do??"



 Layla: "Mom, it will help if I lick you...I just know that it will. Licking helps everything."
Zeke: "Here we go again."


 Oy.




 Zeke: "Layla, leave Grandma alone...she's just doing her yogi.  My mom does her yogi too. Can't you feel the vibes?? (smh)"

Layla: "Where's the vibe??"


 Zeke: (whispering under his breath) "German Shepherds are so weird." 



 Layla: "What did you just call me?"




"Ima get in Grandma's chair now."

6:11 a.m.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trying to Mind My Own Business

6:11 a.m. 

On Sunday night, while minding my own business on Facebook...

yeah...you know where this is going right?

I came across this:




I was born in Mississippi.
Hated Mississippi, was ashamed of my state and "couldn't wait to get out."
I didn't like telling people I met that I was from Mississippi because of the stereotypes and preconceived notions I felt people had about my home state.


When I got married at the naive young age of 20, I moved out of the town I grew up in and 3 years later moved to Tennessee...actually a town on the Tennessee/Kentucky line.  
Whew!  
Out of Mississippi.  
I raised two babies and started my fledgling teaching career outside of Mississippi and for 6 years worked for the Department of Defense Schools where I experienced diversity and progressive attitudes in bulk.  
I developed a very healthy appreciation for military families during this time.

6:18

My babies were young, and my husband was a football coach. 
Our 7th year of marriage was one of the toughest, and he was never around.
I wanted to go home.
So we did. (We actually went home because he got another coaching job...but that's another story for another day).

The move home was rough.
Much of what I had experienced professionally and personally in an area of diversity was squashed pretty quickly when I came home. 
This was probably my first bout with pretty serious depression.
I would go through the motions each day, trying to be happy, but would sit at night, just waiting for the next day to begin.  
I broke down in the kitchen of our new church one night, and my church family rescued me...literally and figuratively.

Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to do some serious traveling: Chicago, Boston, Oakland, CA, San Francisco, Washington D.C. ...
I spent 3 years traveling to Oakland every other month, working with other education professionals from all across the U.S. ...talk about diversity.
No place is perfect, however, and even though I enjoyed these travels, while appreciating other points of view and experiencing different cultures and lifestyles up front, I still developed an appreciation of home. 
When the plane would touch down and I would look out of the windows to see the familiar landscape, my heart would always feel warm.
There's no place like home.

I would return to my home state invigorated.
Invigorated and encouraged to make change.
To work within the system to offer our students a voice and the very best education available.

Fast forward again to ending projects, admin changes, and choices made on our campus that I didn't agree with...I pulled myself out of the professional ring.

I slipped back into somewhat of a depression here.
Why the heck was it so damn hard to get my state on board.

I know the answer now.
I suspected it before.
But, I know it without a shadow of a doubt now.

As long as we allow individuals who thrive on drama, outdated notions of equality, questionable ethics, and blind conformity, we will always be last.
I don't have the fight in me right now.
But my kid does.

I support her and all the other young women of my state who do indeed give a damn about progress.
They stand up and fight the old crotchity ways and are clawing at any way possible to find their voices.
I won't stop supporting them while trying to love everybody.
Even the fool in this FB post.

I unfollowed him by the way.
The Hide button wasn't enough for me.  

I probably shouldn't have because obviously he needs those of us who disagree with him to keep an eye on him.
I suspect he feels like he can use the drama to help get him elected to Washington since that strategy appears to be pretty successful in these here parts.





He blocked my kid though.
Good for her.
95% of his commenters are from outside the state...because he (or probably a staffer) deleted all the comments from outside the state and blocked those whose opinions he refuses to hear.

Mississippi is my state.
This man may technically be my state senator.
But he is not MY state senator.

6:46 a.m.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Facebook

5:49 a.m.

My post yesterday about Monday's schedule ended at 11:15 when I was scrolling through FB.

FB aggravates me, and sometimes I avoid it all together.
But, FB as a tool, or as something I design for myself to meet my individual needs...can actually be a pretty cool place.

At church last night while we waited for our kids to finish their youth session, 3 other ladies and I talked about FB.

One very specifically talked about how frustrated and angry she feels when she scrolls through her newsfeed...so angry and frustrated that she "just has to stay off there" sometimes.  
I feel this way too...a lot.

My tenure as president of a local animal rescue organization came to an end in December. 
When I scroll FB, I have so many contacts in the animal rescue world that my newsfeed is overcome by animal rescue photos, articles, rants, etc.
Not the positive kind.

I've been an animal rescuer since I was a little girl.
And I suspect I always will be.
But there is only so much that my heart can take...especially after the last 4 years of seeing the suffering up close and personal.

Someone along the way told me about the HIDE button on FB.
I don't want to "unfriend" my contacts...many of them I do indeed like and call them FRIENDS.
But my heart needs a break.
And that's not just with animal rescue stuff...

In recovery, I'm learning that guarding my sobriety is A#1 paramount important.
Anything that threatens my sobriety has to be put away.
(Obvious exceptions to the parts of my life that aren't going away and must be dealt with)

I'm "putting away" rescue.

I've hidden the posts that hurt me.
This is for me...I'm not trying to say that those posts that tear people's hearts out don't have a purpose.
But, for me, right now, in this season, they have to be hidden.

It took few days of hiding...but Tuesday when I was scrolling through  my newsfeed, I was actually laughing.
Laughing.
FB became a place to scroll quickly for a smile or two.
A place that offers encouragement.
A place that puts a smile on my face.
I found myself "liking" and "loving" other posts and even sharing some of the smiles I'd received. 

Lord knows, we need to share the smiles.
We sure seem to share enough of the other stuff.

This one was one of my favorites and I'm still laughing as I struggle to upload the dang thing here.






These were my other favorites from Tuesday...


I have 3 daughters.  Need I say more.
(Full Disclosure: the Lucy in the bottom right corner is not me anymore ;) 




This one made me smile because I know this dog.  
He's one of the highest energy dogs I met over my tenure at the ARL.
Jubi was in danger of being euthanized for an adoption that wasn't well thought out in the first place.
Because we are small, our organization worked with other organizations in cases like Jubi's to make room for dogs like him...those who needed a little more one on one and a little more time...time to find the right owner.
Our shelter was just that...a shelter. 
I like that part of rescue.
I know that Jubi will not be adopted out again until the people are right. 
Period.
Big smile and feeling of comfort.
Deep breath.


Teacher humor, y'all.
After you've taught for 20+ years, I'm beginning to believe that a certain amount of madness (crazy madness, not anger) begins to set in. 

Remember that part of Willy Wonka where he's just spinning and spouting off nonsense?

That's a teacher.



Me, y'all.

6:28 a.m.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Daily Grind

5:12 am

I was thinking yesterday afternoon about my schedule.
I have always balked at structure...but apparently it is exactly what I need.
I feel better on the days that are "scheduled"...I think I sortof feel less like I'm flailing about if there is some sort of map to follow.
Of course that brings with it the very possible beating myself up if I don't follow the schedule...or if I don't get something checked off the list. 
But I'm working on that.

I've backed my wake-up time on work days to 4:30.  
I gave 5 a.m. a try but I still felt rushed.
My reality is that I'm better in the mornings for the sit down and think types of tasks.
When I try to sit down and think in the afternoons, I just sink and fall into a state of blah.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are especially blah because I have 4 classes in a row.
By the end of the 4th class, I'm pretty much a zombie.
So sitting at my desk or anywhere for that matter, to accomplish a reading or writing task is not happening.
My daily schedule on any given day looks similar but not the same bc of my class schedule, seasonal sports, workout routines, etc.
All the more reason to try and have a structure to follow.

This week Monday was a holiday so we began the week on Tuesday.

4:30 a.m. 
Get up, choose a coffee cup, start coffee, let the dog out...and wait for her.
Choosing the cup is paramount, people.
I've forgotten the dog a time or two...that's why I have to wait for her.


4:40
Quiet time begins

5:30  
Check teacher inbox and answer any messages that came in through the night.  Start the workday with a clean slate. 
Do not answer emails all throughout the day.  
Carve out times specifically for this purpose so that I don't feel connected to work 24/7.
I don't want work to define me.
My brain has a really hard time with that.

6:00
I hear Reagan's alarm clock go off.
We're testing using the cell phone as an alarm clock.
We shall see.

6:10
Tell Reagan to get up and that she won't be able to keep her cell phone in her room if she doesn't get up on time.

Reagan miraculously gets up.

I've been buying Reagan sandwich and snack supplies as she requested.  
But she makes her own lunch.  
I don't have time for that.

7:00
Leave the house.
Reagan's school is 30 minutes away.
I choose to take her myself instead of riding with a carpool because I just like it.  
I feel like with my older daughters I was very distracted...and missed out.
I don't want to miss out again :( 
Most of the time we listen to her music on the way to school...usually an education for me.

7:35ish
Reagan arrives at school.
We say our good-byes

I listen to my music on the way back home. 

On Tuesday mornings I'm testing out going to Wal-Mart in the am.
I hate Wal-Mart.
Hate.



I live in rural Mississippi so I don't have lots of options. 
Unfortunately, or fortunately...I don't know.
Wal-Mart does seem to have better prices than our community grocery store on some items.
That makes me sad...but we have to follow a budget...or attempt to anyway.

On this well-meaning Tuesday morning, I took my list (often forgotten)...and then pulled right into the track where I sometimes run.

Wait...what?

My brain did not want to go to Wal-Mart apparently so I started my day by re-arranging the structured schedule...before 8 a.m.


8ish
I ran my slow 2 mile workout with C210K
I've backed up to the basics to repair my form and breathing.
I have a marathon to run in Dec. and that's not going to happen if I don't get some things straightened out.

9:00
 back home for a shower only to realize my husband is in our shower and my oldest daughter is in her shower.
I stretched instead while trying to patiently wait for someone to get out of the shower.
Patience isn't a virtue of mine so I began to get a little testy.
While doing yoga.



9:20 a.m. 
I finally knocked on the door and said, "I've got class at 10:00 am.  When are you coming out of there?"

I made it to work at 9:55 a.m.
Ponytail day, no doubt.

I taught my class from 10-11:15
I'm struggling a bit with my students...and it's only the 2nd week of school.
They seem so needy.
Aren't they supposed to be college students?


11:15
I sat down at my desk, looked at my calendar, answered emails, and checked Facebook.

No, Facebook was not on the schedule.
I do have legitimate reasons for checking FB. 
I'm working with a group of ladies who use social media for business purposes.
I'm volunteering to help the animal rescue organization for which I was president keep up with their social media posts.
Etc.

But I get distracted.
Yesterday's distractions were good though and I was laughing before I knew it.

That does not always happen with Facebook.



5:51 a.m. - I'm over my 30 minute writing commitment...I think I've found something to write about :)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow Day in Mississippi

We're snowed in here.
About as snowed in as we get in Mississippi.
Snowed in means that after a Christmas monsoon season and tornado warnings, the temperature dropped below freezing over a 24 hour period and turned all that standing water into ice.
Mississippians don't know anything about how to survive on ice. 
We stay at home.



Mississippians have to be very flexible about the weather.
I kid you not that we were at 80 degrees the day before yesterday.
In shorts for Thanksgiving.

We have had a cold day or two before that, but pretty religiously we get up, step out onto the back porch to see how cold or hot it is and then decide what to wear to work.
All seasons of clothes are still in our closets.
Because I may need a turtleneck one day and need a tank top the next.
I'm not even playing.



Fortunately for me, the cold weather is just in time for a couple of rest days. 
What I thought was a sciatic nerve problem turned out to be a hip problem...just needed adjusting.
Since I have the very best chiropractor in the world, she fixed me this past week.
She's checking me again next week and then we're going to work out a maintenance plan of sorts to keep me in line...or aligned...whatever...before and during marathon training begins full force this summer.  

That means I don't even have to feel sad about staying in the house for a couple of days. 
This is exactly what I'm supposed to do :) 

I changed my blog up some...just needed to feel new.
I just have to play with things and see how it feels, but I think I'm settled in for a while with the new design.  

Peppermint Ph.D. is now officially Mississippi Running Mama.
My academic life is just about the smallest part of who I am.
It is my job.
I love my students and I am there for them...during working hours...but I'm taking back my life and taking care of me and mine.
Self-Care is my motto.
And LIVE is my word of the year! 

LIVE!

Do you have a word of the year?
How do you keep busy when you can't run for a while?
What do you think of my changes??  (Not sure anybody is around from the past but it's worth asking ;)



Monday, January 2, 2017

Ramblings

Monday, Jan. 2, 2017
9:32 p.m.

I saw a post today on Instagram that bothered me a little.
The person in the recovery community I follow was expressing negativity towards someone who had contacted her wanting to save her with Jesus.

The individual did not react positively to this offer (I'm rolling my eyes here because I can only imagine how the offer came about).
She then went on to mention her reasons for not needing to be saved.  She didn't have a problem with Jesus.  She just didn't need to be saved by him.

I need Jesus.
I cannot even begin to imagine how I would still be alive if I didn't know He was there.
Seriously.
The person on Instagram made me sad because I wish I could share the contentment I feel with her.
In all other seasons of my life...the ups and downs...I've known one thing for sure.
That Jesus would not turn me away.

How does a person keep moving forward if she doesn't know that?

9:36 p.m.

My Christmas tree is still up.
Oy.
More eye rolling.
Every year I've wanted to get some new organizing boxes and load all the Christmas stuff up appropriately.
You know the boxes with the ornament depressions or the cardboard dividers?
I don't trust the cardboard dividers by the way.
It's cardboard.
Usually by after Christmas I'm just done with it. 
I toss most of it in boxes and pretty much toss it all into the attic.
So you can imagine the mess now.
I didn't get half of my decorations down this year.
I have this weird desire to make everything new.
Obviously, the traditional ornaments and such that have sentimental value, I wouldn't want to lose, but there are a lot of ornaments and knick-knacks in the attic that I have no idea where they came from...they mean nothing to me. 
All the clutter clutters my mind I think.
It's one of those things where there's so much to do that you don't even know where to start.
So you just don't start.
You go sit down and rest.
And worry about it.
And then feel guilty because once again, you half-way put the Christmas tree, ornaments, and decorations up.


9:43

Today's run wasn't the best.  My legs and ankles are sore in places they are not normally. 
That soreness is from all the hillwork I did at my mom's.
It still slowed me down and I had to remind myself that I'm not in this for speed.
Anything worthwhile takes work and takes time.
I also met two new dogs in our neighborhood.
2 new dogs whose owners think it's ok for them to just roam the neighborhood.



9:49

9:51

I'm thinking about the show Breaking Bad...and Mad Men...the shows I loved but really don't think I would watch now. 
Too many triggers I think.
But very realistic portrayals of high functioning alcoholics (Mad Men) and meth addicts (Breaking Bad).  
I've never done meth or any other drugs by the way.  
I'm thankful for that.
Good grief.  I can't even imagine.
I do think some people have addictive personalities...those are the people who may be more inclined to become addicts. 
I don't know.
I'm just typing at this point. 
I'm certainly no expert.

9:55
Going to bed on time is key for me.
For my health, for my brain, for me physically.
Mind, body, and spirit.
If I go to bed on time, then for some reason, waking up isn't so bad.
There's coffee too...and that's always good.

10:04

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

7:21 p.m.

Around 11:30 last night I realized I didn't write yesterday.
I was in the bed and very comfy.
Needless to say,  I didn't get up and write.

We are still at my mom's and will leave first thing in the morning to head home.
One of the things I like best about being at my mom's is the abundance of running choices. 

I can run on the Jemison Trail.
I can run in her old neighborhood.
I can run on the trails behind her current neighborhood.
Or I can run on 3 other trails that connect at the park where the trail from her neighborhood connects.

I've always loved running on trails.
I don't really know how to explain it.
I've long suspected it has something to do with the trees, flowers, softer running surface, scurrying animals, etc...I still suspect that.  But there's something more that I just recently discovered.

The day of the St. Jude's Marathon, I was a little panicky.  
I still like to run pretty much alone.  I don't care if someone else is with me technically, but I don't want to have to pace with someone else or worry about someone else.  I know that sounds selfish, but honestly, I'm doing good to keep my own self calm, much less having to worry with anyone else.  If anything, I'm sure I would slow someone else down.  I'm competing with myself if anyone...I don't want that to change.
For the St. Jude's Marathon, I had my oldest daughter and a friend with me. 
I was very worried that we would all get separated and by the time the races were over, no one would have phone power to contact each other.
I chose not to run with music the first 13 miles.  
I told myself that I would turn my music on and get lost in my head the 2nd 13 miles if I made it that far.

Running without my headphones ended up not being as big of a deal as I thought it would be.  
I was constantly surrounded by groups of people to see, scenery to keep my interest, and crowds along the way to communicate with.
I wouldn't have missed this for the world and will make sure I don't use my music during the first part of any future races.
Of course, I didn't make it the 2nd 13 miles so my phone was fine.
That's a story for another day...

After taking a week off from running to "lick my wounds," I ventured out to run a slow steady 3 miles.  
I looked everywhere in our house for headphones.
We have headphones in every drawer, in every vehicle, in every bedroom, attached to every phone...etc.
But I couldn't find one pair.
After threatening my youngest daughter, she finally produced a pair from the car that were the earphones with the flat heads that fall right back out of my ears.
The found earphones also were about as tangled as a "rat's nest."

I just said, "nevermind," and tossed them to the side.
I ran 3 miles that afternoon with no earphones.  
No music.
No distraction.
Just me and my thoughts.
And it wasn't that bad.
I did make a mental note to pick up more earphones since I didn't figure the gentleness of the night's run could be a norm.

The next night as I was getting ready to run I realized I still didn't have earphones.
Poop.
My dog Layla reminded me that she hadn't been for a walk in a while so I figured I'd take her since I obviously wasn't going to get in a very good run since I still didn't have earphones.
I fully expected to have a frustrating run where I had to focus on keeping Layla in line more than actually focusing on the run itself.
The run that night was probably the best run Layla and I have ever had.

The next night Layla went with me again.
After a couple of miles, I brought Layla home and swapped out for my daughter's dog Zeke and took him for the last mile.
He was a pest, but we still had a good time.

For short runs, I don't even look for earphones anymore.
Not really any need.
So, when we left for my mom's I didn't worry about whether or not I had earphones.

I pulled up to Jemison Trail that first morning and thought...well, no distractions...didn't think about that.
But, I just went.
Again, spectacular run...I even PRd the first mile.
WHAT?

The air felt so good, the sun was peeking through the trees, the water was high in the brook and running over the rocks...I could hear the water.  I could hear the wind in the trees and the sounds around me.  Some of the sounds were other people and many with their dogs.
I liked it.
I ran in the neighborhood without earphones.
I ran on the back trails without earphones.
I think I might be a no earphone runner.

I can see where I might want my earphones for longer runs, and I will definitely make sure I have them for the next half marathon and marathon.
But, for everyday, I kindof like just being in my own skin, being distracted by nature, and not trying to block everything out.

If you had told me 7 months ago, I would be at a place in my life where I didn't need to block everything out, I would have snorted sarcastically and probably even rolled my eyes.
7 months ago, I might have even cried because I knew my life had to change...but I wasn't sure how that was going to happen.

5 months of 2016 I drank.
7 months of 2016 I did not drink.

The 7 months have been much happier than any months I've had in a long time.
It hasn't been easy.
And the holidays have certainly been difficult.
But this decision probably saved my life.
It probably saved many relationships that are important to me as well.
There have been times where I would like to have a drink...times that most people say, "I need a drink."
But, I choose not to drink.
I wake up every day and choose not to drink.

I have a lot more trails to run.
See ya, 2016.


30 Minutes and 13 Reasons Why

4:48 p.m. I read 13 Reasons Why ...and loved it. I've been a fan of YA Lit for a long while and even taught a class one summer, s...