Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Random Review- #NRC Speed Run setting

I've been using the various incarnations of Nike + Running since 2012.  It has always been fairly easy to use and I like the tracker.  I run with my cellphone to track my runs and normally that works just fine.  Pick my run goal and go.  Pop my phone into my run belt and I don't worry about it again until I'm trying to stop my run.

I love love love the guided runs.  When I was working up to the half-mary distance I started using the guided speed runs and they were great.  The coach tells you when to go, how long you'll be at that pace, usually something motivational during the run, and then when to stop/recover.  Honestly do them; they are great.  The one from Kevin Hart had me laughing out loud as I ran and let me tell you it is hard to laugh in the middle of a speed interval!

Since Sharon over at Run Blog 365 is training for a marathon in March, I decided to try Nike's new training program to be a better athlete.  I'm backing off the miles and just want to feel more fit.  The plan is 9 weeks long and has runs plus cross training workout from the Nike Training Club app too.  I'm still learning to work with the app but so far I've really enjoyed the different workouts.  Now I'm still learning to use the workout plan and I've had some unpleasant surprises too.  Namely, the runs aren't guided workouts.  Because the guided runs are so good, I just figured they would be part of the workout plan but no.

I did a tempo run per my training program and there was zero warm up or speaking by the training program at all.  I hit start and bam I was supposed to just be in a 1-mile tempo run.  Again, the coaches in the guided runs are awesome, why didn't Nike pull them in for this?  So be warned, they expect you just to go for that tempo run.

Today I had a speed run scheduled.  Again, I wasn't too worried.  I had done the guided ones and they were awesome surely this is formatted the same way; nope.  I hit the button expecting a warm-up or quick reminder about the intervals we were running today or at least a quick tutorial on how to do a speed run using the app; nothing, just the timer going.

I looked all over youtube and google for how to actually use the speed run before going out today just to give myself a heads up since the tempo run had been kinda jarring.  I couldn't find anything!  So I'm telling you how it works:

1. You hit start and it starts measuring time and your distance in meters.
2.  It does have the number of intervals you should do at the top left corner of the app (1/6) or (1/4) how ever many you have.
3.  You have to remember the distance you are supposed to go and how long you should be giving yourself to recover.  It is not marked anywhere on the screen for you.
4.  Once you hit the pause button, it will mark 1 interval and then it is timing your recovery but you have to keep an eye on it since it won't tell you to start the next interval.
5.  You hit play and your next interval starts, again it doesn't tell you how far to go, you have to remember and you have to watch the phone/app for the distance.  The distance jumps about ever 10 meters but that changes too.  Sometimes it 10 meters, sometimes its 15 or 12 or 5.  It is pretty random.

If you run with a phone and use a belt, the I don't recommend the speed interval setting.  You have to hold your phone, watch it, and mark your intervals.  I find that stressful.  I run for stress relief not more stress!  If you need a speed workout use the guided runs.  Those are truly wonderful.  I started with Simone Biles and have used it several times.  You start it, put your phone in your belt, and go.  She tells you when to run, recover, stop, and the app marks all of the intervals for you.  I love the Kevin Hart speed run as well.  He's funny and it is a good speed run. 

Well there you have it.  Nike Run Club app is nice overall.  Definitely use the Guided Runs.  Avoid the speed intervals setting unless you have a smartwatch where you can mark your intervals because it is a pain in the ass to use with a cellphone.

Friday, December 14, 2018


Several years back I was talking with someone at the coffeeshop about needing to make some money but I'm too chunky to make any money as a hooker.  This person then told me that I would make an excellent escort.  According to him, the men who call escorts are generally lonely and looking for companionship not sex.  The guys after sex go to streetwalkers.  Escorts provide the girlfriend experience and that with my personality I would be perfect for that.  "All you have to do is talk, maybe shake your titties a little bit and come home with money."

Well I feel like I learned a lot in that conversation.  One that streetwalkers don't need to talk and two that my listening skills might in fact be profitable.  If you are a long time reader then you know that I'm a shy introvert with an energy that calls the hurting.  DH say I draw in the crazies.  I hate calling strangers crazies but they do tend to tell me all of their dark secrets so maybe crazy is the right name for them.  I tend to try to hide in a corner (everybody puts Martha in a corner) and yet somehow I will end up listening to the deep dark secrets of random strangers.  But that is the topic of many other blog posts back to this one.

So all of that to get to Friendscorts.  I was recently rewatching Pushing Daisies and I rediscovered the "Frescorts" episode.  Basically, the episode is centered around a rent-a-friend business.  I really like the idea.  I'm in a friendless era at the moment (okay I have friends they just all live 4+ hours away or are so busy being winner that I can't get facetime with them) and you can't make friends by staying in your house but I'm so shy I can't make myself go out by myself.  Well, I'm actually okay going to do something by myself but I'm not going to be out and about in a way that means I meet people.  I go to things like the movies or skating or running.  Basically, if I leave the house I'm doing so while actively avoiding meeting people.  With a "friend" I feel more open to meeting people.  Basically I need a friendscort so I can attempt to make friends.

If  I know I'm meeting someone then I go into places/events with a mind to meeting and talking to strangers.  People like to talk to me but I have to be in the right mindset to actually talk to them.  If I'm paying someone to hang out with me then I know they will show up.  No lame excuses or running so late I'm on my way back home and have to turn around.  If I'm paying then I expect you to be on time.  When would I call a friendscort?  These would be last minute calls.  I'm bored and have a free hour, time to call the Rent-A-Friend and go for a run.  I'm feeling sad and want to go dancing - call Rent-A-Friend!  I don't want people to mess with me while I am writing at the coffee shop, I need Rent-A-Friend! 

Friendship requires work and an investment of time.  Brene Brown writes about how important it is to respect people's time because it is our only personal non-renewable resource.  Time is something that is limited for all of us.  Because I'm shy and an introvert, I don't always have the energy for people at the right time.  I want to leave the house and go dancing, skating, running, rock climbing, drink coffee, have pizza, or go bar hopping but everyone I know locally and elsewhere is busy and working their asses off.  I don't have any loser friends that I can call at the last minute to do something.  The people I know require plans, dates, and appointments.  I don't think there is anything worse than forcing myself to go out on a planned date when I just want to sit and read.  Actually that's not true, it is worse to be sitting at home wishing someone would invite me to something at the last minute and instead spiralling into shame that I'm such an awful human being that no one even thinks to invite me to things. 

I need a Rent-A-Friend.  No long term commitments or investments just someone to hang with.  It sounds so easy.  Unlike real friends, with a Rent-A-Friend I know I have a "friend" for as long as I pay for.  No one telling me I suck because I cancel plans or I'm too mean or I don't have enough good points to make up for my bad ones.  The expectations are known and met.  The Rent-A-Friend contract spelled out clearly.  No expectations for band practice later, no feeling guilty for not attending some party the next day.  Rent-A-Friend is here and now.  Tomorrow is a different person, a different mood, a blank slate.  Okay, there is also no real connection, no real courage used, just empty conversation but sometimes you get to the point where an empty container still feel better than an empty hand.  The effect is the same but it does feel different.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Looking for experiences not stuff

For the last 5 years or so, I make a public list of things I would like for Christmas.  I call it "All I want for Christmas" and each day on my Facebook page I post something I would like.  I started doing this because I had a now no longer Facebook "friend" who was complaining about all of the Thanksgiving/Gratitude posts in November.  Now in November I do post something I am thankful for daily.  The ex-friend is bitter and in general a real downer so I had to cut them loose but that got me thinking that we do tend to only post things are a Thankful for in November and it can seem disingenuous.  So to be a bitch, I started the "All I want for Christmas" list.

Now this list has been going for 5 years so obviously I like posting it.  Not only did I start posting it because I am a bitch but also to shut DH up.  He loves to say I'm hard to shop for.  Now yes, if you ask me directly what I want I do usually say nothing.  Really, I'm blessed and my needs are met.  As far as wants, I have tons but I always feel so selfish asking for anything for myself.  Spend the money on the poor, spend it on someone in need, don't worry about me.  But anyways, this way everyone had access to a list of about 23 things I want.

For the most part my list focuses on things.  I do end up getting several things off my list each year.  I make sure my list covers items that are from a variety of price ranges from like $500 to free.  I want to create a list that makes life for others easy.  If you want to buy me something, here is the list.  I also pick things that I want not really need.  That was DH's other complaint, I'm too practical with my list.  I usually want a new vacuum cleaner or some other appliance.  What can I say I'm practical. 

This last year has been rough.  I have learned a good bit about myself in the process of surviving 2018.  One of those lessons has been that I don't self-care enough.  I have neglected myself so much that I don't even know where to start to repair and rejuvenate.  My soul is weary.  So as part of that idea, I'm putting more experiences on my list.  I want coffee-dates.  I want to go out dancing.  I want to share my wheel of brie with friends.  I want to leave the house with a purpose that isn't work or doing for the kids.  I want to get my hair done (which I haven't had done since February!).  I want to go get a mani/pedi.  I want to try new food.  I want to learn how to play and not feel guilty. 

I doubt I do anything from that list above.  I will hopefully get my hair done soon or I'll just take scissors to it myself.  I have to chop off like 4 inches.  It is just too long.  I'll probably just keep taking myself for coffee.  Really, I don't ever expect anyone to do for me and so I'm never disappointed.  Maybe I should be disappointed.  Maybe that is my problem.  Anyways . . .

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Damn it Brene!

I just started listening to Brene Brown's Dare to Lead.  I bought Rising Strong but managed to lose my copy before ever reading it and I restarted Daring Greatly but now that I'm commuting daily, I decided to listen to Brene.  She is already making me rethink and re-evaluate my last few blogs.  Damn it Brene!

So Brene teaches about vulnerability.  She is amazing and if you haven't read her work, do it!  I know I struggle with connection.  I live in a pit of shame and hustling for worthiness.  I try not to.  I really do until it is just too hard or life is too busy and then I give up and fall down the shame spiral. 

Dare to Lead is focused on being a leader.  I left my last position because I had honestly lead that organization as far as I could with my skills as the time.  I wanted to dare greatly and lead with my whole heart and I did for awhile.  Then I stopped having boundaries and then I got in over my head.  I can see that now.  I can see when I stopped being a leader and started hustling for worthiness.  I know I can do and be better because it is already inside of me. 

Part of this dare to lead thing and wholehearted living is connection.  I want to connect to and with people.  As a shy introvert, I already feel like I am at a disadvantage because I struggle to just speak to new people.  After these last few months, I had decided to give up on making new friends, new connections and just focus on me and then Damn it Brene! 

As I was listening to Brene as I drove home and she mentioned connections and connecting to people.  We have to be open to connection if we are going to live courageously.  I feel like all of my attempts at connection over the last five years have been nothing but me being open and then getting slapped.  Now that isn't true of everyone I've met over the last five years but enough to make me want to give up on the whole connecting thing.  Part of me wants to just focus on reconnecting with old friends and rebuilding those friendships; I miss my marble jar peeps.  But those are all people who live far away.  Now that I'm in a new job, I need to be open to new people and new connections, which means new failures. 

I know I can do it.  I know that I can be open.  I know that stepping into the arena means being open to failure.  Okay, Brene, let's do this.  Let's get the shit kicked out of us by connection.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Dad's surgery

On Wednesday, my dad had his major surgery to remove cancer.  It seems like anytime he had surgery it is last minute.  While we knew this was coming up, we had been told it would be this week and we all made plans, took days off, and in general prepared for this week.  When they offered to move the surgery up a week, dad jumped at the chance which meant we had to jump to get ready to be there.

To say I was unprepared is an understatement.  They moved surgery up a week so I and DH had to quickly change our days off at work and figure out how to pay for a hotel room when payday wasn't until Friday.  I was expecting him to be in surgery at 1:30pm so we could leave later in the day and instead they move his time up to 11 am so we had to scramble to leave earlier.  I was expecting a 2-3 hour surgery, like the surgeries before.  Once I was in the room waiting for them to take dad back, we were informed that it would be 4-5 hours and about 7 hours until we would see him again.

Once they took him back, we had to wait.  Baylor, Scott, & White - Temple did have this cool system were you could basically watch a screen for updates on your loved-one's surgery but it was not working so the waiting room lady would call up families with updates about every 60-90 minutes depending on when the surgery team would update the system.  At one point the lady came over to find us with an update and I nearly came unglued.  They usually only go to the families that are about to get bad news.  In those milliseconds, I just knew my dad was in trouble.  Thankfully, I was mostly wrong.  They extended his time in surgery.  In the end, instead of seeing at about 8pm, it was nearly midnight before I saw my dad again.

He stayed in the hospital until yesterday and as with any surgery, we are watching him for infection and other complications related to  his surgery.  I'm back at work after missing the last 3 days of last week.  I honestly can't focus on anything.  I'm blogging, listening to Christmas music, and in general keeping my mind busy but not on anything heavy.  Honestly, I'm just trying to be ready to hop in the car and rush home in case they suddenly need me.  What I can really do from 2 hours away, I'm not sure but I'm sure there is something!

So dad is recovering.  I pray he continues to get stronger everyday and soon enough he'll start another round of chemo.  In case you need to hear it: Do not ignore changes in your intestinal track or bowel movements.  I've lost 2 friends my age to colon cancer.  My dad is fighting and my father-in-law is 2 years from being declared cancer-free.  People don't ignore your body.  Get your year check-up.  Get your pooper checked. 

Dad with Baby Lala practicing gun safety.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Running goals

I am a very goal oriented person.  I like having something I am working towards.  In theory, my running goal was to run a marathon by the time I turn 40.  I have about 5 months to go and I can totally do it but my question to myself is why?  It seems pretty arbitrary.  I am a runner.  The distance, time, pace, none of that determines my runner status.  I get off my ass and run. 

I wanted to run the NacHalf about 2 week ago.  I trained for it.  I got injured.  I sat out.  I'm slowly going back to running.  I'm covering a 5k a week.  Way less than the 10 or miles a week I was running before.  5k seems to be just long enough for a workout and to clear my headspace.  Which makes me question running a marathon, if 5k clears my head, what are the other 23 miles for?

I could train for a faster mile time.  Maybe aim for a sub 10 min mile?  Work my way back up to running a 10k without intervals, which I was doing before switching to intervals to help me get through 13-miles.  Maybe after my dad's surgery, I'll get my head back around to the marathon.  5 months is a long time and I'm not just sitting on my ass.  I am still running and moving.  If I can run 13-miles, then with some training I know I can cover 26.  We'll see. . .

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Running in silence

I got a new hydration backpack as part of a Black Friday sale and much to my delight it arrived yesterday.  Now, I've been resting my hip and ankle in hopes of restarting my running so I didn't have any miles this week at all.  I was excited to try out the new pack and to try out my hip so I got myself together and hit the trail at the local zoo.  It was awful!

So what makes a run awful?  It can be lots of different things and don't worry, you'll hear all about my run of suck.  Like a said before I had a new pack which should have been my first clue that this run was going to require patience but dummy me I totally thought this new piece of equipment would make the run better somehow. Filling the pack was easy and it fits great.  I really thought I was going to be too fat for it but it is fairly adjustable and I had plenty of room to spare. 

One of the things that is essential for a run for me is music.  The only time I don't need music is if I'm running with someone, otherwise music is a must.  I also use the Nike+ running app to track my miles and tell me my pace and distance as I run.  Along with those, I also an interval timer to help me stick to my Galloway running.  I know lots of people run/walk as their body tells them but my body always says let's sit on the couch and eat potato chips so I need the timer.

As is my custom, I start my interval timer and Nike.  Nike pulls music from my phone so I just zip up my belt and go.  Today for some reason I decided to turn off my WiFi, which I did not realize would affect my Nike app.  It was an outdoor run without any WiFi so why waste the battery power?  Well, that was a mistake.

I usually use a knock-off Flipbelt to hold my phone and keys as I run but today I had my new hydration pack!  So many pockets!  I was excited but it adds a complication, I can't just drop my phone into the pack, I have to put the phone in the pack and then strap the pack on.  Nike can be set to have a 9-second delay in beginning tracking on your run.  So I set myself up for a 9-second delay instead of my usual 3 and I quickly dropped my phone in the pack and off I go.  I put in my headphones and nothing.  I forgot to pull in the headphones in my rush to get going.  No biggy.  I stop the run.

Take 2 - I plug in the headphones.  I don't worry about restarting the timer.  I know the cues and I figured I was still in my warmup anyway.  Again I move quickly to put the phone in the pack and the pack on my back.  I can hear a cheer from the Nike app.  (If you don't use Nike+, you can add friends and those friends can be notified when you start a run and they can send you cheers along the way.)  Cool, so I'm good to go, I thought.  I run my first few intervals but I notice there is no music.  I knew I had gone about 1/2 miles bases on my intervals and yet no feedback from Nike.  FUCK!

So I stop and look.  Sure enough, Nike is on and is timing me but hasn't recorded any distance at all.  So I stop the app again.  Great 1/2 mile not recorded, no music, and I notice the GPS is red, in other words, it can't find a GPS signal.  I'm in the middle of the woods.  I've run this trail several times before so I know it is usually spotty there anyways.  I'm playing with the settings.  I need music.  I want to record my run.  What do I do?

Take 3 - I turn on the WiFi, suddenly red become green.  Okay, one thing is taken care of.  I look at all of the music settings within the app and I can see it has no music.  At some point, it lost access to my music files.  I'm not wasting more time.  I change the setting to no music and start Amazon music.  I have music. I have GPS.  I reset the timer.  I quickly start my run on Nike+.  I toss the phone in, again and again, the pack on my back.  Once I'm moving again, I put in my earphones and they are blasting!  I try to turn them down on the volume control on the earphones but nothing.  No change.  What to do?  I can stop again and risk losing all of the working settings or just deal with it too loud and try to be a bit more aware of my surroundings since I can't hear anything but my own thoughts.  Fuck it, just keep moving.

After about 1/2 miles, I have a true conversation with myself.  I'm out here alone.  No one to talk to.  Haven't been on a run with anyone in over a month.  Without music, I'm too aware of being alone.  Now, I've been struggling with being alone.  I'm an introvert and shy to boot.  I like being alone unless I don't.  With my dad's surgery/cancer, new job, DH's new job, and lack of self-care due to injury, I have really needed to reach out and talk to a friend.  Someone who knows me and what is going on or at least doesn't mind hearing about what is going on.  I've ended up pretty friend-less of late.  Everyone I know is so busy.  This is when hanging out with non-losers is an issue.  They are all too busy for me, right now.  So alone I am which in my mind turns into I'm not good enough for anyone to take time for me.  I'm alone and I deserved to be alone.  I don't have friends because I'm awful.  You know the dialog.

That dialog tends to quiet down during my runs.  The longer the run, the quieter the dialog.  I recenter.  I find those good parts of me to focus on.  I thought maybe it was the running itself but after today, I think it is the music.  When I hear Brandon Flowers singing about the crossfire, I feel like someone understands me.  When I don't feel like fighting the demons inside of me, Lilli Lewis reminds me to breathe for just a moment.  If I can put two moments together then I can start moving toward putting 13 miles of moments together.  I'm not as alone when I run Fitz and the Tantrums in my ears.  Music soothes my soul.  It becomes the voice of reason when my own voice says stop fighting and just drown, no one will notice see so and so won't answer your text, see so and so never invite you to the movies and they just went, you're not worth anyone's time so just accept it and disappear. 

I won't disappear.  I think I'm finally in a headspace where I have accepted that I'm great at helping people move on from me and that that means that yes I am alone.  People move in and out of my life pretty quickly and that isn't actually a bad thing.  It is hard to accept that I have let people get to know me and then they drop me but I would rather hurt than be numb.  Right now I'm in a hurt season.  Nothing to really do but breathe, run, and blog.  Oh and let Lilli keep me moving forward.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Curly Adventures - Week 1 - I'm the world's worst mom

So last week after many weeks of watching one of my Ringsister from Hollins document her hair transformation, I just asked, "What are you doing to your hair?  It looks amazing."

I think I need to back it up a minute.  Why did I care about her hair?  One it does look amazing but two, Gymgirl!  Gymgirl has hair that is a blend between "white" people hair and "black" people hair.  Mixed kids can just end up with all kinds of hair and hair combination.  Now, my family has lots of curly hair but the texture isn't something we are use to.  I've watched Gymgirl's hair get more and more dull and tangle like crazy no matter how much product I put in it.  See Baby Lala has my hair but with gorgeous curls.  I want Gymgirl to have beautiful hair and I know I see people with curls wear their hair loose and relatively tangle free.  I needed help so I reached out.

Back to the current hair adventure.  She has switched to the Curly Girl Method (CGM).  Which basically is no shampoo and lots of moisture.  So I was right about needing product but I was using the wrong stuff.  So I read everything I can, I'm ordering the book with my next check, and watch 100s of youtubes about the different steps.  Ringsister added me to a fab Facebook Group and I read everything there, twice. 

Saturday, I was ready to begin.  Gymgirl was not sold.  So I CGMed up my own head.  I use to back in the day have lots of loose curls to super wavy hair but many years of straightening it had left it pretty flat and dull.  I want my curls back!  So I did one last cleansing shampoo then put on a thick layer of coconut oil and waited an hour.  I rinsed that out, added some Suave conditioner, rinsed that out, squeezed and scrunched my hair then added some gel.  I'm not sure I'm actually do any of the CGM right but hey it was my first time!

My hair looked good.  Crunchy but good.  My waves looked nice.  I almost left the house but instead I put on some pjs and watched tv.  Gymgirl was still not convinced. 

Sunday, Gymgirl's turn.  This child hates having her hair done.  That was my main reason for going to CGM.  They say once you get it down right, you can cut your hair time in half and kiss the tangles away.  I wash Gymgirl's hair.  I apply a thick layer of coconut oil and then let it sit of like 3 hrs.  Gymgirl hates coconut oil in her hair.  Apparently that was her number 1 issue the whole thing.  Rinse out the coconut oil, add in the Suave, finish with gel.  Her hair looked amazing.  Her curls were super bouncy and tangle free.  Success!

Not so fast.  You did read the title right.  So why am I so awful?  Well my hair is still looking good.  I've cowashed twice since Saturday and while I don't have the refresh routine down yet and my hair is still transitioning, seriously I'm very happy.  Gymgirl not so much.  You remember that Gymgirl has lots of allergies?  See I though since she had been using Johnson and Johnson Baby products without a breakout then we were good.  I was so wrong!  Tuesday, Gymgirl complained that her head was itchy.  She had a major breakout all on her scalp and  around her hair line.  Wednesday, the breakout had spread down her arms and back.  It wasn't worse yesterday but it won't better.  She won't let me touch her hair!  I know I need to wash out the products currently on it but she is fighting me.  So tomorrow, I'll wash it, then cowash it in not Suave, and use a curl souffle instead of a gel.  We'll see what happens!

You know I"ll give you a run down about how week 2 goes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lessons Learned on the side of the HWY 259

I was happily on my way to work this morning when disaster struck: flat tire!  This morning has been the coldest so far this season; I believe it was 31 or so.  I was not looking forward to getting out in the cold to fix a flat tire. 

As you know I commute almost 2 hours and at that point I was about halfway to work.  I wasn't sure how far from the next gas station was either which meant I needed to make a choice as I drove.  Initially I was planned to slow down and ride on to the gas station.  If my tire had suddenly gotten a nail the there was no reason not to push and get there.  Then my plan got blown when I noticed my PSI dropping very quickly.  I didn't want to chance ruining my wheel and wheel well and car in general for not stopping soon enough.  I've seen way too many people driving on sparks just trying to get to the next gas station.  Also playing this, my car alarm for the tire pressure went off as a had crested a hill and I noticed the quick down in PSI as I was going up the next one.  If I'm going to stop I need to do it before cresting because being on the downward side of a hill on the highway can be really dangerous.  As is people don't move over when they have plenty of space and warning, I can image it would worse if they don't see you til the last minute.

So I pull over.  It is freezing outside.  I don't want to step out of my car.  One is it cold and two 18-wheelers and cars are flying by next to me.  Once it is safe to step out, I assess the situation.  FUCK!  I can see a massive hole on the inside part of the wheel; the reason I was losing air so quickly.  I know how to change a tire.  I've done it before and way back when I was learning to drive my dad made sure I knew what to do.  I knew exactly where the jack was but the spare not so much.  Owners manual to the rescue!

I drive a Chrysler Town and Country mini-van; do you know where the spare is?  Well it is directly under the console of the car!  Which meant I had to clean out my console to even being searching for the spare release nut.  Seriously, Chrysler!  I'm a mom with a minivan.  My console is so full of crap!  Earrings, spare pens, change, a jump drive, nail clippers, and so much other crap all covered in a sticky semi-dry layer of I think Polynesian Sauce from Chick-fil-a.  All of that crap is now all over my floorboards.  Again, thank you Chrysler designer who is obviously either a man or a much better mom than me.

So I get the spare moving  down then I release I will need to lift the minivan to actually get the spare out.  Time to jack up the van!  See if you said hell yeah, you fail.  First you loosen the tire nuts.  YOu don't take them off, you loosen them before you lift so you have the ground to help you torque the nuts loose.  Well, you should be able to torque them loose but my very wonderful DH had a tire replaced for me and at the time they rotated all of the tire, and don't forget it is freezing, so the nuts won't move.  They don't give a millimeter!  FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I know I can't do this myself.  But I don't panic.  I don't even call my dad calling!  I was so good.  I called our Geico roadside assistance and like the miracle workers that they are, I'll have help in 90 minutes.  I'm not happy about the wait but hey at least I had a professional on the way!

Okay now I have 90 minutes to kill.  First things first, I pray.  One for safety cause people are driving crazy and two for some chill cause you know I wanted to freak out and cry.  Then I texted my boss at 7:15 am.  I don't talk about my work much but my boss is awesome!  She called me and wanted to know if I need to use her AAA.  I love that woman.  Next drop DH a text to call me so I can let me know that I"m about to kill our weekly budget.  Next I post on Instagram.  If you want to see my busted tire you can see it on my insta: latina_dr_of_ed

Since I knew I had to wait I turned the van off and just waited.  When everything seemed totally bleak Sharon Bruises suddenly appeared out of nowhere!  I forgot she was having to commute this week.  It was truly a nice surprise to see her face.  You know she was the only person to stop to offer to help me!  She couldn't get the nut to move either :(

Once the wrecker driver showed up things moved very quickly.  Turns out my spare was also flat.  To Geico's credit the upgraded me to a tow and covered that.  Shout to Geico Roadside Assistance!  Shout to Wayne Griffin's Towing in Henderson Texas! 

So as we were driving to the tire shop, Wayne told me why he didn't allow me to sit in his truck cab until he was done loading and securing my van: for my safety.  He proceeded to tell me stories about horrible wrecks and other dangers of being a wrecker driver.  If I am not in the cab then if someone were to hit the wrecker, I could possibly get of of the way but if I am in the cab basically the van will crash the cab killing me.  He also let me know that a wrecker driver is killed on average every 6 days! 

So major lesson:  GET OFF OF YOUR FUCKING PHONE WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING!  Don't kill someone cause you want to snapchat.  Don't kill someone cause you want to tweet your current location.  The wrecker driver is just trying to make a living and doesn't need your dumbass ending his life for a fucking filter. 

Minor lesson:  Check your spare tire.  Know where it is and make sure it has air in it.

General lesson: Learn how to change your own tire and/or get a roadside assistance service. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

to run or not to run, the NacHalf?

So yesterday I ran for the 1st time in 9 days.  I've been bad but I have a good excuse!  No excuse is good but here goes: my hip and left ankle have been killing me!  When I was working out with Run Life 365 a few times a week, we would make sure to stretch afterwards.  I believe it was that stretching routine that kept my hip doing well.  It had stopped crunching when I did squats and yes I would feel sore but not pain.  Well for the last few weeks, I'll workout but not stretch and now I'm paying the price.  The crunch is back in my hip so now I'm stopping myself and stretch randomly during the day.  I don't know if it my IT band or my bursitis is back, either way it hurts.

As to my left ankle, you know the drill.  Did everything but break it during derby practice back in September 2015 and so now it randomly hurts.  This time the pain isn't so random.  It is running on the street.  The NacHalf is a street/sidewalk race so I did some short runs about 2 weeks ago for a total of 5 miles over 2 days on the road.  I can normally handle short road runs without a problem but my ankle hasn't been happy since.

I did run last night with a brace on my ankle.  I can't tell if I had it on too tight or if I have the wrong type of brace on but by the time I finished my foot was numb.  Once I took the brace off my ankle felt naked and weak.  It was strange.  Maybe I just need to wear it more.  Also I was running indoors on a nice flat track so maybe the brace was overkill for the track.

So as of right now, I'm iffy for the NacHalf.  I believe I could cover the distance but I'm not sure if the cost to my body is worth it for right now.  Maybe I need to back track a bit and train back up.  This is race season so there will be other races.  I know I can do it.  Just because I haven't done it in a race format doesn't mean I can't finish a half-marry but I do want a finisher medal so I'm going to have to just set my mind and money on a race.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Wetback American

So in 2011, I setup the Wetback American blog and never did anything with it.  Giving the state of the world today, Wetback American is now active and open for business so to speak.

I try to keep this blog light and fun or at least focused on me and my family.  Wetback American is focused on political dialog.  I hope to see you reading over there too.  Enjoy and dialog with me!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Celebrate good times . . .

Or rather, we never seem to take the time to celebrate.  I have a love hate relationship with celebrations.  See I tend to build things, events, moments up in my mind and then when they come to pass I'm almost always disappointed.  I'm not sure if it is function of being introverted that I mostly talk to myself rather than others or growing up poor so there really wasn't money for celebration.  We don't celebrate enough.

I have 100s of examples.  I defended my dissertation and nothing.  I graduated with my doctorate and nothing.  No cake, no eating out, no party, no coffee date, like nothing!

For Baby Lala's 1st birthday, DH and I just had her attack her cake at home, even Gymgirl wasn't at home for it.

I get this wonderful job that I love and again nothing.  No even ice cream.  What is wrong with us!?

I ran my first half-mary distance and barely got any likes from my friends on my post about it.  I had to post it to a running facebook group to get some praise.  Not that I run for praise but it is nice when people give you a high-five.

So we don't celebrate enough.  We need to change that in 2019.  Everyone more celebrations!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Rainy days and Mondays . . .

Actually I really like rainy day and I'm not a part of the all Monday's suck crew, unless I hate my job then Mondays are the worst.  So then what the hell am I trying to say here?  A friend posted the other day some meme about remembering that some people would kill for your bad days so watch yourself kinda thing and it got me thinking about bad days.

When it comes to social media, I try to keep it real.  If I have a "bad day" then I will post about it.  Not to get sympathy but to keep it real and to try to reach out and connect.  So many people post only about their wonderful lives and never about their dark days.  There are times that it makes me feel awful and jealous to see all the wonderfulness in everyone else's life and wonder what the hell I'm doing wrong that my life isn't like that.  That is when I have to check myself.  To remind myself that they are posting the good to celebrate and celebrate they should but also posting your dark days is considered a bad thing to do.  We are suppose to hide our bad day, our struggle, and be ashamed to need help.  When we only post the good stuff then those people who struggle fall deeper into the shame spiral.  What am I doing wrong because everyone I know is having a great life?  I must be broken because I have bad days.

Here is some truth from me.  I have bad days and I have every right to feel bad on those days.  Yes I am blessed.  Yes there are people who would love to have my bad days but guess what I still have the right to my bad days! 

I am blessed beyond measure.  I know this but I don't always feel this.  I have a good marriage.  I have two amazing children.  My parents are alive and supportive.  I have decent in-laws.  I have an amazing career.  I know I am blessed. 

I still get to have bad days.  You don't have the right to tell me to feel better now because your day was worse or you know someone who has it worse.  There are days when DH and I feel completely disconnected when it feels like the work of marriage is too much.  Or the days my children get me up at 4am for the umpteeth time in a row and I can't think straight.  I have had days when I'm stuck in one town 3 hours away from my dad while he is undergoing cancer treatment and I just want to go be supportive but I don't have either the time or the money to make the trip.  The two weeks dad was in the hospital and we weren't sure he was going to survive were bad days.  Just because you have to worse doesn't mean that I don't get to have bad days.

This is not a bad days competition.  You can ignore me or you can type something supportive but people don't tell me it could be worse.  Don't tell me about your other friend who is having a worse day so that I can feel better.  I will feel better.  I know I will but in that moment of struggle I am reaching out and trying to connect and let others know that while yes I am blessed, I too struggle.  We all struggle.  WE ALL STRUGGLE!  There is no shame in the struggle.  Don't be afraid to reach out.  Just because we all struggle doesn't mean your struggle is less than mine or that you should be ashamed that my struggle could be worse so you shouldn't say anything.  You have a right to your bad days.  You have a right to feel bad.  You have a right to reach out and post about it. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Half-Mary Done

Today I ran a half-mary.  Not a race but 13.1 miles and just a touch more since I had to walk back to my car so 13.31 total.  2 weeks ago I ran 12 miles with my friend from high school and it was a total disaster!  It took us over 3 and half hours and my ankle was killing me so I couldn't actually run after 7 miles.  It was so hot and I started off too fast.  It was also on the road, which really killed my ankle.

I gave myself last weekend off.  I started a new job and wasn't sure about barely being able to walk after trying to run a half-mary. 

Today I set myself for success.  I picked an outdoor track that would be nice to my ankle.  I ran in the morning so it wouldn't get too hot.  I got it all done in just under 3 hrs and 10 minutes.  I smashed that 12 mile time!  My ankle did well.  I'm tired and sore but not so much that I can't move, just moving a bit slow.
The Nac Half is in a few weeks Nd despite hearing it is super hilly, if time allows I want to run it.  But even if that doesn't happen I am still going to keep training up to a marathon.  I really believe I can get one done before my 40th birthday.  So onward and upward!

Friday, October 26, 2018

New job and less family time

I got a job.  Y'all not just a job but the opportunity of a lifetime!  I'm the director of library services at a HBCU!  I love it.  I'm only 5 days in and things are really falling into place.  I'm making callings getting services back online and feeling like I've been reborn in my career.  So far there is only one draw back: I'm commuting close to 2 hours.

I'm not a big fan of driving but it's not the first time I've had a long commute so I don't really mind.  The problem is the lack of family time.  DH also started a new full time job on Monday and he is working 3-11 daily with Thursday and Friday off.  I'm leaving the house around 6am to be at work by 8am and then not getting back until 7pm.  My off days are Saturdays and Sunday so as you can see that is not leaving anytime with DH and my time with my girls is down to about 2-3 hours per day since I have to head to bed around 9.  Of course Baby Lala is asleep at about that time but I'm down to 2 hours with her and Gymgirl where I had been home 24/7 for close to 3 months. 

We are all adjusting.  We all know it is a big sacrifice.  When I was offer the position, I really had to stop and think about it.  The salary is bit of bump from my last job but the opportunity is worth so much more.  It means jumping into the world of Academic Libraries, which I had been struggling to do.  Basically no one wanted to hire me with very little Academic Library experience but since I had lots of supervisory experience this college was excited to scoop me up.  I've gone from feeling like the ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.  Everyone is so supportive and really pushing to help students learn! 

Of course that means less time to blog but I'll do better about writing every few weeks unlike with the old job that didn't leave time or energy for anything.  I think that is one of the biggest differences.  I leave this job tired but energized.  I love what I do.  I'm confident in what I'm doing.  I don't second guess myself as much.  I'm making it home and I'm making a difference.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Miscarriage and Assigned Soul

October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Month.  I've written in a past blog post about losing a pregnancy about 2 years after Gymgirl was born.  If you do the math, there are almost exactly 7 years between my girls.  That was not my plan but that is what happened.  I love my rainbow baby, Baby Lala, but I still think about the one lost between.  To say I spent 9 months terrified I was going to lose the pregnancy is an understatement. 

We have been watching Bones.  DH got GymGirl and I into it.  There was an episode with Cyndi Lauper as a psychic and she was helping a soul cross over.  In that episode, she mentioned to the soul, who was a young teen, all about the life he would have had including 2 children that will now have to find a new way here.  I asked DH if he thought that was the way it worked.  Do we get assigned our best life and then between free will and life itself it turns into other things?  He said yep something like that.  "Then what about the soul we lost?  Was it Lala or someone else? Will he find a new way here?"

Is that the way it works?  Was I tasked with bringing a certain number of souls across and failed at some point?  See the loss is great and doesn't go away.  So much potential, life changing, world saving energy just gone?  If energy isn't created or destroyed then that soul is still around and will find a new way here. 

I'm sure how souls work.  I just know I still the loss.  I have a couple of friends who in recent month have dealt with pregnancy loss.  They have been super open and honest on Facebook about it.  I'm so proud of then.  When I had my miscarriage, we didn't tell anyone for months and only because I had written the blog post.  There was so much shame, like I was a failure as a woman.  I know that wasn't and isn't true.  Only God knows the master plan and I'll just be patient and have faith. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Poverty Paradox

Have you ever looked into joining a "service organization"?  Around here we have Jr. League, Rotary, and Kiwanis, maybe others too but those are the big ones.  In high school, I was a member of Interact, the high school version of Rotary.  These organizations do great work for all types of people and places in our community.   This is not a knock against any of them just an interesting observation.

I recently pulled out of joining the Jr. League because I didn't have the money to join.   The fees were only $125 but that is actually a lot of money for some people,  like me.  Rotary was way more money,  something in the neighborhood of $1000. I have no clue about Kiwanis but im sure they have a membership fee as well.  Of course upit can't forget the required volunteer hours and fundraisers .which you will be expected to buy/spend money on as well. Again,  they do great work and that requires money.

Why join them?   Well it is for networking along with helping in your community.   If you are a new business person then you want/need those connections. Now think if you are a person trying to better your life,  ie get out of poverty, you need connections and networking opportunities. The people in leadership positions in those organizations basically get their businesses "free" press with each project.  They are in the newspaper or TV news all the time.   Think of all of that exposure!  Now think about the membership fee, can you drop that money? 

I honestly can't at the moment.   God willing I'll join Jr. League next year but what about other poor people who want and need the advantages of service organizations?   I find it ironic that the organizations work to end poverty or improve lives but de facto bar the people they claim to help by not having a scholarship or trading
volunteer hours for membership fees option.  

Those organizations don't advertise much as far as growing their numbers.  They are basically you gotta know someone type of thing.  You get invited or your job forces you to go.  Those of us who grew up in poverty didn't have parents running off to Rotary so it isn't really something we think to look for.  Let's be real, they are "White" savior organizations, or at least they were.  The branches around here are getting increasingly more diverse.  As younger generations take over leadership, they are pushing for diversity.  Maybe the scholarships exist if you know the right people.  You personally have a connection and they give you the secret scholarship or membership fee discount.   Again,  it is about who you know.  You have to be in the right crowd to get access to the right crowd,  not so helpful if you are just starting out.

Monday, October 1, 2018

10 miles later

So I did it; I ran 10 miles yesterday!  I felt so lonely, so worthless, so invisible; it was as either run or die.  
Not that I would have actually killed myself but I would have done something self destructive, like 
pull all of my applications or sent an ugly email to the job interview people.

Running is good therapy for me.  It takes a lot of energy to get started and crap-ton 
of will to keep going after the first interval.  But I don't know if it is a runner's high or just my body
 thinking it is closer to death about halfway thru I'll settle in and enjoy the run.

Yesterday miles 6, 7, 8 I actually had negative splits!  Meaning they were my fastest miles and honestly 
it is difficult to get faster in the middle of a long run,  for me anyway. The longer I run the better I feel 
until I'm pushing myself into a new longer distance. By the end of mile 8 (which was my previous 
longest distance) I really felt awesome. I was ready to grab life by the balls and be a total badass.  
Then my mood took a turn around 8.5 miles, I started feeling a tiredness in my legs that took over 
my thoughts. I tried breathing thru the pain. It took everything thing in me to finish. I had to give myself 
permission to slow down. I reminded myself that starting sub-13 min wasn't important,  I just needed to 
accomplish my goal and I could crawl if I needed to.

I didn't need to crawl.  I was hurting and unfortunately my mind had settled back into a negative 
state but at least I could shut that negative voice down a little easier; I mean I am a badass that 
ran 10 miles!  Surely a loser can't do that, right?

Anyways,  a half marathon is really well within my grasp. The race I'm targeting isn't until 
November so still a full month of training.  I'll keep adding miles and that change from awesome
 to suck will hopefully move out further and further so that I'm strong at mile 13.1.  
We'll see how it goes! 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Job searching when you aren't good enough

Let me start by saying, yes I love Brene Brown and yes I'm good enough.  Honestly whatever, this isn't a post about my worth but my job search.  So read or don't, this is a pity party. 

I'm about 6 weeks into my job search.  I've had a couple of interviews.  So far I haven't heard about moving to the 2nd round of anything.  Mostly the airwaves are silent.  They are silent and I'm stuck at home.  This is a horrible combination for me.  This is when self-doubt increases, self-worth decreases, mean as a snake self-talk takes over.

Last night DH had to spend a good two hours trying to convince me that my professional career hasn't been a waste or mistake.  He truly believes I haven't peaked yet that I have some good to do in the world.  See, I look at the past 21 years since high school graduation and see so much struggle.  So much work and swimming against the current that I think/feel maybe I've been wrong.  Maybe instead of college and graduate school and such, I was just supposed to be a maid.  Maybe what I need to do now is just wipe my resume to that one Christmas season at Old Navy and just work as a custodian. 

See, I have had like 50ish professors between all of my college and graduate school studies and I've never been encouraged to do research or write.  The fact is my classmates were and this evidence leads me to think that the professors, professional evaluators of our chances to add to the field, clearly see that I don't belong there.  These are the same type of people looking my work over saying "Nope, not her" when it comes to jobs in Academia that I am trying for.  I see and hear from other classmates amazing opportunities that pursue them, find them, invitations for conferences, prizes, research; me, nothing.  Last night I told DH that I am that person in the middle of the room covered in gold and no one sees me. 

Given the evidence, maybe I've been wrong this whole time.  I've been trying to live above my station.  Maybe my fate really is to be a maid and it is time to stop swimming so hard and just go with the flow.  Maybe being a high school librarian was my peak and now is the time to work some hourly job with no benefits, long hours, and zero responsibility.

DH says I'm just getting to the start line.  I need to be patient.  That just because no one has seen me yet doesn't mean I'm invisible.  He is a good guy.  He sees me as gold instead of pyrite. 

I don't mind working hard.  I don't mind waiting.  I'm just looking at the evidence before me. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Bodypump and getting off my ass

So the last 2 weeks I have been super lazy.  Just one excuse after another for not getting off my ass.  It makes me cranky.  My head gets foggy.  I can't sit still and be okay. 

As a result I am committing to pushing myself to move.  Thursday was HIIT.  Friday I skated a few hours, no skills just moving.  Today I attended a Les Mills Bodypump and CXWORX class.  My arms feel like jello.  I like it.  I need to feel like I am growing and getting stronger.  I spent so much time just surviving, barely keeping my head above water at my last job and in that I lost sight of me.  I got lazy.  I got soft.  I got fuzzy.  I'm done with that.  I need to move.

This is race season.  The problem I'm having with race season is a lack of funding.  Races cost money.  Once you pay to run then you have travel to the race.  Depending on race time you might have to spend the night before.  Universe, I need a job!  There is the Corkscrew Half in a couple of weeks and it is within a nice drive distance but $85 to run when I can use MapMyRun and create a route for myself around my house.  I do plan to run the NacHalf so I need to start putting the money together to pay for it.  Tomorrow I'm scheduled for 10 miles, my first double digit run.  After today's class, I'm not sure I can get up and do it but I'm setting my intention and route.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#wordlesswednesday: Gymgirl and Gymmom

Sugar, Sugar go away

One of the things you become more conscious of when someone close to you is sick is your own health.  Since my dad's diagnoses, I have been working out, running, in general staying in motion.  A few months ago, my dad actually said to me, you need to keep working out and work on your fitness, too many of the people in our family have diabetes.  So I'm working out.  Still training for the Houston Marathon and planning to run the Nac Half in November.

With all of the training you would think I would be getting skinny and losing tons of weight, well I'm not.  I have lost about 10 lbs with another 5 lbs fluctuation between water weight and such.  My waist and hips have lost about 4 inches each and my mommy tummy is flatter and tighter.  Honestly I'm not really super concerned with weight lose or inches.  I'm feeling better and more confident in my body and at the end of the day that is the important part.

Now if I wanted lose weight along with my workouts, I need to diet.  I'm anti-diet.  I'm already gluten-free and dealing with Gymgirl's egg allergy, I don't need more limitations.  However, I have noticed that my sugar intake has been increasing noticeably.  Like drinking a gallon of sweet tea a day.  I make it so I know the amount of sugar (1 cup).  I've also been craving cookies, cake, cereal.  All the sweet stuff I can find at the house.  Luckily, we don't keep much in the way of gluten-free baked goods at the house.  For my overall health, if not my waistline, I have to cut back on sugar.

In the past, when I have noticed my craving for sugar I have taken magnesium supplements.  I originally started magnesium as a way to help my fertility back when we were trying to conceive the now 8 year old Gymgirl.  While I was on it I noticed I wanted less and less sugary snacks.  So with that in mind, I started magnesium yesterday.  I have already noticed myself not reaching for extra snacks.  I have also been slowly adding less and less sugar to my morning coffee and sweet tea.  So far I'm down from 3 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons in my coffee and from 1 full cup of sugar in my tea to just under 3/4 of cup.  We'll see if that translates to any changes in my waistline or on the scale. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Training for a Half-Marathon

So a long time ago, I wrote about training for a 5k and then a 10k. I did run those races and finished them and then roller derby and a full-time job took my focus away from running.  Then I was going to start training again and I had a baby.  So I took another long break but now I'm back!

For the last few months, I have been working with runlife365.com to train for my first half marathon in November (the Nac Half).  Then to run the Houston Marathon in January.  The work out Sharon Mayes of RunLife365 created for me is a full body 16 week plan.  Today's 8 mile run was the completion of week 9. 

Back in the day, high school days, I use to run cross country and for that training we focused on running the whole race.  After some research and talks with Sharon, I decided to start using the Galloway method of training, a run/walk combination.  It really has made a huge difference in raising my confidence and allowing me to get past my 10k mental barrier. 

Sharon's plan includes my roller derby workout with a HIIT workout included and something that I absolutely hate - strength training.  She also has something that I had never done before - Fartleks.  For the non-runner readers, Fartlek is Swedish or Finnish for speed run.  Currently I rotate between a couple different Fartleks on the NikeRunClub app.  My favorite has been the one with Kevin Hart.  I actually laughted out loud in the middle of a run; Kevin is so funny.

Now I think when you say you are a runner people want to know that your time, pace, and weight are doing.  So here is what I've done and learned so far.
1 - Indoor runs are easy compared to running outside.  If you plan to run an outdoor race, you need to train outdoors.
2 - My pace fluctuates between 11 min miles and 15 min miles.  It completes depends on temperature, run surface, and if I actually remember to eat before hand.  As to my ultimate pace goal - keep it under 15 min per mile.  Any run I'm under that is gravy!
 3 - my weight and inches do not seem to care that I'm running and training all of the time.  Honestly, I haven't changed my eating habits so I eat anything and everything (gf of course) and manage to keep my curvy shape.  I could change my eating but one thing at a time.  Right now the focus is getting the miles not changing my shape.

So there you go.  I'm a runner again.  I'm a plus-size runner.  I'm a brown runner.  I'm a fairly slow runner.  I'm a runner!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Job searching from the heart

So about a month ago I came to the painful decision to leave my job as a school principal.  When people asked me why I left I had a canned answer ready, my dad's health requires me to be at home, but the real answer is I had done a lot of soulsearching and the Holy Spirit lead me to leave.  I was listening to the Spirit when I took the job and listening for when it was time to go.  Once I listened and turned in my resignation, the school spirit picked up, more students enrolled, and in general, things are looking up.  There are a couple of ways to look at that: 1 - people were hoping I was leaving and waiting until then to show up or 2 (my personal view) - my work for the last 3 years was bearing fruit and if you listen and do what the Holy Spirit asks then good things will come.

I listened and now I'm broke and jobless.  There are lots of jobs open in my field, library and higher education.  The problem for me is two-fold, timing and experience.  Since I hold a doctorate I am mostly "over-qualified" for a lot of entry positions in higher ed, like Academic Affairs or Student Affairs, but since I've never worked professionally in higher education I'm not really qualified for anything other than entry-level.  In the library field, I've worked in both school and public libraries but it is the beginning of the school year so school jobs are filled and with the economy, many cities are placing holds on open positions until after the new budget year.  I would love to move to into an Academic library but again without professional experience, I'm left a bit in nowhere's land, too educated to start but not experienced enough to fill a non-entry-level position.

I am also running up against something new with this job search: "We are waiting for a bigger candidate pool to start reviewing applications."  While I don't know if this is a real line or just something people are telling me to get me to stop calling I don't know but it is a line I'm getting quite a bit.  People with ALA-accredited Masters degrees in Library are few and far between.  It is a graying field with high demand.  If you aren't limited to where in the country you want to live ALA Joblist has over 4,000 openings!  If you are looking to go back to school I highly recommend looking into library studies but make sure the program is ALA-accredited!

So once I get a job I'll make sure and post about it.  I'm trying to keep my head up and understand that job searching takes time.  With children and bills, I am beyond stressed but I also believe, feel, and know God's timing is always right so I'll breathe deep and have faith. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

1st Roller Derby Bout

If you have stuck around my blog for the last 9 years then you know about 4 years ago I began attending practice with a local roller derby league.  It quickly went from I'm going to just see about this to Mission Pass Minimum Skills (MSTs) and actually roll in a bout (game) with the team.  Just as I was rolling into my 1st derby-versary and passing MSTs, I injured my left ankle.  It was one of those everything but break it things. A high ankle sprain that took months to heal and years to get over mentally.  Then the team I was practicing with imploded and part of the fall out was my ousting from the team.

Details are hazy even now as to what was really going on verses what was being said.  In the end the team kicked me to the curb and then imploded and while still around I am not really welcomed to rejoin.  So that was St. Patrick's Day and one month later I found out I was pregnant!  I worked hard to finish my dissertation before the baby, Baby Lala, was born.  Then just took time in general to heal.  In that time my love for derby and my want to play did not go away.  It got stronger.  I couldn't let it go.

I turned to my derby wife, who had so suffered in the team implosion, and as luck would have it she hadn't been able to let derby go either.  We did reach out to try to rejoin our former team.  We were turned away.  What are a couple of strong leaders like us supposed to do?  Start our own league!  Thus was born the Lufkin Derby Dames!  While we work to build a team, we are fortunate enough to have kept old derby connections and were invited to bout with the Gulf Coast Roller Girls from Lake Charles, LA!  We missed the first bout of the season due my dad's cancer but yesterday we rolled out.

I played in my very first bout!  While my derby wife and I weren't out their together for my first jam, she was on the bench cheering me on.  DH was in the stands cheering and filming.  Baby Lala fell asleep pretty early on and GymGirl decided she wanted time with her cousin and stayed home.

It was fun.  It was hard.  I have skills to work on.  The team won a real nail biter against the Mobile Derby Darlings.  It was so much fun.  Teams were pretty evenly matched and all of the other players were so supportive.  We hit each other.  We threw some shady hits but everyone left smiling and ready to set up another game for next season.

Before we started warming up I was pretty sure it was a mistake to have me out there but as we warmed up and I didn't completely suck at it I relaxed.  There were other ladies playing that were really new too so I had equals to compare myself too rather than just vets to be in awe of.

If you are thinking of join a roller derby league for a practice I say do it.  Strap on some skates and try it.  I can't promise you will love it but I can promise you will have an experience to build on, a story to share. Do something that scares you.  Do something that helps you grow.  Do something that changes your life.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cancer surgery #1

About 3 weeks ago, my dad went in for a surgical consult and to meet with the rest of his cancer team.  The simple consult turned into emergency surgery.  There was a second mass that had suddenly become life threating between the weeks of transferring care from one hospital to the next. 

We had decided to spend the 2 nights between appointments in Temple to avoid having to drive the 6-hour round trip between home and the hospital 3 days back to back.  As a result, my mom was at the hotel with my girls, while DH and I took dad to meet the surgeon.

It was a very scary time for me.  We walked in expecting to just talk and it turned into being admitted into the hospital and signing consents for surgery the next day.  We asked lots of questions and then we waited for the room to be available for my dad.  We were in the doctor's office about 3 hours.  After the consent was signed, DH left to go inform my mom what was happening.  As he was leaving he asked me to walk with him.  It was the first time I was able to show just how scared I was.  I don't remember if I cried or not at that point.  He hugged me tightly.  He was in charge of explaining everything to my mom and then calling my brothers.  I was left with my dad trying to stay calm and asking questions.

The entire staff at the hospital was friendly, professional, and most importantly helpful.  No question too stupid to ask.  Nothing too small to be unimportant.  Once they got my dad in his room, they began the process of inserting an IV.  This was the only time I got pissed at the nurses.  I know we were at a teaching hospital but the nurse trainee made my daddy bleed all over his pillow as she inserted the IV.  I had to step out as they did a full body scan of my dad.  This was when I lost my shit.  I just started crying not uncontrollably.  I cried enough to calm myself and get my face straight.  They had made my daddy bleed.  He was in so much pain from the tumor.  We had to talk about the possibility that he didn't survive and what he wanted to happen.  It was not easy.

Because both of my brothers live about 4 hrs away from us, I am in charge of all of the care.  Each time the surgeon called to give us an update, I was the one who had to talk the call and then translate the information for my mom and grandmother, aunts, and uncles who all showed up to be there with my dad. 

I was on the phone with the surgeon hearing all about there being a 2nd cancerous mass.  How this was a very rare presentation.  How this might change the approach to treatment if this cancer mass is different from the other cancer mass.  I was scared.  I knew I had all eyes on me.  My family watching my face for clues until I got over to them with information.  I cried while on the phone.  I know being rare in the medical world isn't good.  I was praying for a fat lump but no it was cancer.

Things we know 3 weeks later:  Dad would not have survived much longer with that mass in place.  He pain was a sign it was getting ready to perforate his intestines.  Once that happens, we would have had hours.  The cancers are the same type of cancer but are two separate occasions of cancer.

I can see now just how close to losing my dad we were before the surgery.  The surgeon moving quickly saved his life.  It is still not easy.  Next week, we should have the start dates for treatment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

You don't fight to keep people

I have been told in the past that I let people go too easily.  I don't fight to keep people in my life, personally or professionally.  I usually just let people vent that feeling towards me but I don't usually have a response.  What am I supposed to say?

Do I let people go?  Absolutely.  If someone wants to boot me from his/her life, should I really be fighting to stay in his/her life?  The one time I did explore this issue with Soul-sister, my explanation was this:
     If someone is a friend, I have declared them my friend, then I am obligated to 
respect that this person thinks their life would be better without me. 
 If someone says they want to leave, should I make it harder on
 them to leave?  That doesn't seem fair.  Cutting a friend out of 
your life is not an easy decision, why would I want to cause
 the person more pain by demanding they stay?  

I guess there is a part of me that feels that if I beg someone to stay and they still leave then I would hurt even more than just accepting their good-bye.  There is, of course, a part of me that believes I deserved to left by all of my friends, that I am too awful to deserve friends.  

I don't know.  Maybe I should fight.  Maybe I should make promises and compromises.  Give up me in order to keep them.  Here are some of the problems I have with those ideas:
  1. If I make a promise, I plan to keep it.  Can I really change myself enough to keep the promises required?
  2. Is someone who wants me to change, worth keeping in my life?  If they don't want me as I am, do they really want me at all?
  3. If the road that brought us to this impasse in the first place comes up again, won't I just get dumped again?  Better to break it off now rather than later, no?

So anyways, I don't fight to keep people.  I will fight with people.  I will grow with people.  I'll learn from being left.

That does not mean that I don't feel the absence.  Even now losing Soul-sister hurts.  I run into former friends and it feels like I'm dying.  People who knew me.  I let them in.  They said you don't have enough good in you to keep you around.  People who were family who are now strangers.  People that I said "I love you" that now won't meet my eye.  It hurts.  I haven't heard from Soul-sister in about 4 years and even now I cry over the loss.   Did I let her go?  Yes.  Did I fight to keep her?  No.  Do I miss her?  Yes.  Can we ever reconcile?  I don't know.

There are times I describe being painted into a corner.  You make decisions that put you in a fight or flight position.  Once you lash out or leave, can you ever go back again?  Now that those "friends" have left can we ever find our way back to each other?  I guess only time will tell.  I know I have lost friends permanently so there is no chance to reconcile.  That makes me want to reach out.  Apologize.  Compromise.  Life is short and tomorrow is not promised.  Can I forgive the past?  Can I move past the pain?  Even if I can, would they be willing?  

I did reach out to Soul-sister when I finished my doctorate.  She was the most excited person when I started the program.  The response was cold.  It hurt to be dismissed but I respect that our lives simply do not intersect at this moment.  Maybe someday we'll run into each other in a coffee shop somewhere and the cold and pain will wash away and it will be like we were never apart.  Maybe . . .