Saturday, January 26, 2013

Personal Stuff

I've had a lot on my mind lately...which is why I haven't posted much personal "stuff."
I've started a couple of times to write about it here, but I really just don't have the words yet.  
I've dealt with anxiety issues for a long time.  
I haven't always handled it well, but sometimes I handle it really well. 
 I've been honest about them here,  and I've been honest about how really down I was over the Christmas holidays after the shooting in Newtown, CT.  Did the shooting of 20 innocent children and 7 adults make me depressed and anxious?  No, but I think the tragedy and the enormity of it as well as society's response to it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. 
 I was in a fog many days during the holidays.  
I didn't really want to go anywhere or see anyone outside of my family.  
I bought all Christmas presents online and read, read, read and read.  

Once we returned to work, I was busier, and one of the best places for me is in the classroom with my students.  
They are many times what pulls me forward.  They challenge me.  
They sit there, all 50 of them, looking at me, waiting on me to impart some knowledge upon them that is detrimental to their existence and future and for heaven's sake, to do it in a halfway entertaining way :) 

I stay in my classroom until I'm done teaching for the day and then return to my office to eat a quick lunch at my desk and catch up on all that's been going on in the faculty world while I've escaped. 
 I take care of the attendance and other daily tasks we all have to attend to and I watch the clock until time to pick up my youngest.  
I swoop through the pick-up line at the elementary school and am genuinely happy to see my girl's face...and she is happy to see me (unless of course, I'm the last person in line that day...then I'm in trouble.).  
We pull into our driveway, and before we can get the door to the house unlocked, we hear our German Shepherd Layla pawing at the door.  
She is beside herself that we have returned.  
And, we are beside ourselves to have returned to her.  

My girls slings her backpack onto the kitchen counter and begins rummaging for a snack while I take Layla out for a tinkle break. 
When we re-enter the house, I am barely settled with my afternoon bowl of granola before Layla is sitting on the couch, looking at me expectantly. 
"Let's go, Mom."  "It's naptime."  Those big brown eyes urge me to rest...and so I do.  

Rest and routine are good for has been running.  
Yes, running.  
I'm beginning Week 4 of the C2K program and my oldest daughter and I will be running in the Color Run in Nashville, TN on March 30.
Right now I'm running 3 days a week for 30 minutes.  I have been blown away at how absolutely wonderful running makes me feel.
Yes, my lungs burn and my thighs scream for mercy.  
Yes, there are times when I think I'll just stay on the couch.
But, once I head for my running shoes and Layla realizes what's up, it's one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done.
Our girl joins us many days on her bike and cheers me on when I get really tired.  She's also a big help if Layla gets distracted by the charging Chihuahua two streets over.  

We return home, I hose Layla off and shower myself.  Then, if I've remembered to load the crock-pot, we sit down to a home-cooked meal together.  There's only 3 of us at home now, and with my husband's schedule, sometimes it's just the two of us.
But, that's ok too.

After we've fed the other animals, we try to make it to bed by 9 p.m. so we can read together.  Sometimes we each read silently, sometimes we read aloud and sometimes the youngest plays a video game with earphones while I read.  
Layla curls up at our feet because she knows the day is ending, and there's nowhere else she'd rather be.
Me either.

I needed a nudge to get some of this out of my head.  Karen at This Old House 2 nudged me this afternoon with the following "I am poem"...thank-you, Karen :) 

I am: a mom, a woman, a daughter, a wife, a teacher, a feminist, an animal lover, a writer

I think:  ... way too much, way too deeply about way too many things
I know: ... a lot...but want to know more.
I want:  everyone to be happy and healthy  
I have:  ..everything I need
I dislike:  fake, dishonest people
I miss:  some of the traditions of my childhood

I fear:  not  much really...but lately I've begun to truly feel fear about the direction in which our country is going
I feel:  exasperated with all the bickering
I hear.. the soft hum of the washing machine as it washes the 85th load of clothes
I smell:  the Soft Scrub I just used to clean the gives me a headache but I love that clean, disinfected smell.
I crave: something sugary, doughy and chocolately

I search:  for meaning and peace all around me 
I wonder:  if I'll ever find it...and if I'm really supposed to find it
I regret: not much...I try not to look back too much...nothing I can do about the past  
I love:  my husband...
I care: about too much...but I care anyway.
I am always:  thinking
I worry:  that's an understatement
I remember:  what it was like to be 13 
I sing:  opera with my 8 year the car...on the way to school :)
I argue:   with my husband about gun control

I write: to save myself
I lose:  my keyes in the bottom of my purse every. damn. day
I wish: my 18 year old self had known my 40 year old self
I listen:  to all the sounds of nature
I don't understand:  why everybody wants to rush around all the time
I can usually be found:  on the couch, with my dog, or reading in my bed
I am scared:   when a phone call happens in the middle of the night
I need:  peace and quiet
I forget:   what I went to the other side of the house for :(
I am happy:    truly, truly happy


  1. Well done, friend. And oooh, I know your woe regarding anxiety. I have had bouts with it that have kept me home feeling crippled... but I have pulled myself out of it again, and I know it lingers, especially when horrible things like the Newtown tragedy happen. I find walking and yoga have helped me keep it at just a whisper.

    1. Karen, I've just added a yoga app to my Iphone. I don't run everyday bc I don't want my old knees to give out on me before I ever get going well. So, my plan is to yoga on the no run days :) It is a constant battle...but it's one I'm willing to fight :)

  2. NIce post there. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts.

    1. Thanks :) Sometimes I need to just clean out all the rubble ;)

  3. I am with you on that late night phone call....

  4. I started to comment then got sidetracked [oh look a squirrel!] by your badge for Reading Education Assistance Dogs and now am back... an hour later with my head spinning with ideas. Thank you for sharing your day... and your thoughts.

    1. Ha! Happens to me too, Cindi...every day!

  5. Karen is such a sweet lady -- I'm glad that her poem helped you.

    1. I purposely look for blogs that bring me peaceful feelings...and hers is one of those I stumbled on that seems to do that for me quite often :)

  6. I came over from Karen's blog to meet some of her awesome peeps! I'm so glad to see so many loved the meme and took the time to participate in it. I'm an avid reader myself and am thrilled to see all your book references- will check them out! I'm going to sign up to follow!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Vicky! Isn't Karen's blog just one of the most peaceful places on the web? :)

  7. Thank you so much for this. I have borrowed the poem as well and discovered Karen's blog. I have been concentrating on my family and gratitude for a while which has brought much reflection, decluttering and contentment with my life.

    1. Decluttering, for me, is a much needed process. I feel the need right now to strip my life down to the necessities for a while, including throwing some stuff away...the literal as well as the figurative. I always value your input, Pam...being the professional that you are and all ;)

  8. Thanks for sharing this. I can surely relate to much of what you have to say (except for running … but I keep hearing people rave about what it can do for you so perhaps I shall buck up and give it a try). It is good that you are able to appreciate the simple and good things in life -- like a loving dog, a happy child, a warm meal.

    1. Jenners, please do not envision me as one of those empowered, sleek, and pony-tailed women with the shorty shorts, fancy shoes, and a gleam in her eye runners. I liken myself more to the basset hound style of running...droopy eyes, ears, moving slow with everything jiggling in my wake. I'm "running" technically but a turtle would not be worried about "beating" me. I don't even keep my time or know exactly how far I run yet...I just run to finish the workout and hope that I don't pass out before the app lady says, "Well done!" ;)

  9. Sending good thoughts and virtual hugs your way. I had so many thoughts and feelings and such a tangible reaction to the shooting, but oddly enough I could never figure out how to confront it in writing. So I went silent on that front and continue to deal with it internally.

    Good for you for finding solace in running, in family, in books, in work. It's so often all we can do.

    1. It was and still is incredibly difficult to talk about and to really wrap my brain and my words around it. My girls and I gave to some of the helping organizations immediately after the shooting, and this semester 4 classes of Comp II are researching Violence in America: What Can We Do About It? They are finding out quickly that there are no easy answers, and sometimes what they think are simple solutions are not quite so simple once you have to convince an audience who does not share your personal beliefs. I don't know if it will make any difference, but I have to try.

  10. I think it's wonderful that you've brought running into your life. I swear. I could never run, even when I WAS fit. Everything just hurts when I run. I think running will give you the balance you need right now. And you have the love of your family and your friends here to support you too. I felt blue too and have moments...usually a couple of times a year where I just get overwhelmed with it all. That moment you described of walking through your door? Yours sounded like bliss. Mine is me, trying to unlock the door with my numb hand (yep, still numb) while the Otter Pup yips and my daughter complains of the cold. I don't have that feeling of bliss when I enter and everything that I've been carrying falls to the ground, but I do appreciate that I have a home to come home to.

    1. I tend to hurt too, Ti. Right now I'm using an app that helps me pace myself and literally will not let me overdo. I've found that bc I feel so much better after I run, I tend to look out the window of my office and think, "Wow, this is a great day for a run!" However, if I ache at all, my app says don't run, so I don't. I've learned how important it is to give your muscles time to recover. I was supposed to run yesterday but my left knee ached so I postponed. We'll see how I feel this afternoon. I'm running with my Layla too...and she LOVES it. If I get out my running shoes, she goes crazy!! That's another incentive for me as well. My perspective on coming home changed quite a bit when my two older daughters moved out. It's just a quieter space now and little more controlled with less drama :p