Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Knowledge is Power

An interesting mix of emotions to close birthday month...

This morning as I approached my anatomy class, I found myself singing, "I just want to be okay". It's a message about being broken of sorts, and though I don't believe myself to be that (and am in a beautiful state of denial if so), I'm off kilter to say the very least...if only for the last couple of days.

I guess I'm closing birthday month in much the same way it began. In a quiet state of panic. Halfway through summer school, I'm no longer terrified of my educational goals. Quite the contrary, I'm elated. I cannot believe how excited I am to be learning. Every day I'm shoving new information into my head -- a lot of it interesting and pertinent to my future (and most certainly to late night bar conversations about bodily functions) and I'm remembering it. I'm gaining knowledge. I'm filing it away in places where I can access it. I'm embracing it. The shiny-new panic that has befallen me relates to just exactly how I'm going to finish this academic quest I've begun.

The plan I initially mapped out involved a year or so of prereqs at JCCC and then enrolling in distance learning classes at K-State to finish my dietetics degree. There are only a handful of programs in the US, and since none are in the KC area, this seemed a great solution. But a few weeks into school, I realize how much I value my classroom time and feel I will likely thrive in a brick-and-mortar establishment more so than an online program. So back to the ADA website to explore options.

A mere 60 miles away lies The University of Central Missouri (with mascots, the Mules and Jennies) where one of those few programs is offered. Yesterday I took the drive, talked to the dean and left all the more confused. Not the result I was going for, but the result nonetheless.

So Birthday Month ends and I have grown immensely, but am reminded that so much remains to be discovered, learned and acted upon. I wonder what I'll know (and not know) by the end of July...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Having My Cake and Eating It Too

My birthday consisted of much more than just the arrival of Vivianna. And though I'm unsure if I'm comfortable being the middle-aged woman who savors her birthday like a ten year old, that's apparently who I am (at least for the last couple of -- and probably the next few years). Looking for an excuse to treat myself well? Needing to be the center of attention? Just immature? Likely a rich combination of all of those.

It was, as expected, a glorious event. I truly enjoyed going to school for the first time ever on my big day. A couple of the gals in my study group greeted me immediately with a loud "Happy Birthday," and soon the rest of the anatomy class chimed in. Those 19 year-olds don't quite know what to think of someone like myself. I hope they don't have to reinvent themselves in 20 years, but if they do, I wish them all of the joy that I am experiencing as I do it.

School was followed by a delightful lunch with Tattoo Steve then the bulk of the afternoon with the infamous Mrs. Diggs, along with my Three Little Diggs and her two young 'uns. Drinks, pool time, drinks, dinner, drinks...delicious gluten-free cake. Her amazing husband, Jack, learned of Vivianna and generously gifted his father's motorcycle helmet to me. I hope he'll let me take him out for a spin next time he visits Casa Del Mar.

And though I'd hoped to take Viv out with The Sensational Sarah Sutherland and her scoot (I'm unsure if hers has a name), I had to return to my so-called-life and its responsibilities. An accounting test the following day called for at least a little studying. Ahhh, there's the disadvantage to going to school on your birthday!

As for my list, I did pretty well. Shortly after I posted my wishes, Beth in Cincinnati offered her mulching mower -- and an electric one at that -- for long term storage in my garage (and she delivers!) Mrs. Diggs covered the shovel and a portion of a deep freeze with a gift card. The good night's sleep? I think that one is on my shoulders.

All said, it was as wonderful a day as I could have envisioned. But it seems the passing of each 24 hour period brings a better one, so it was merely par for the course. And though I have yet to change my header to Exercise is a Delightful Compliment to Love, the last 12 months have brought me the astounding growth I promised myself...and then some.

Just wait until I turn 40...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scoot Over

Sorry...I made you wait an extra day for my big Birthday Gift to Me reveal. Though I tried to keep it under wraps for quite some time, I dropped a few hints to myself and wasn't completely surprised when I poked my head into the garage on Tuesday morning. This beauty awaited me. Meet Vivianna. She's a sassy Italian with a passion for fashion and a need for speed (not more than 100 kph, however). A series of serendipitous events led us to one another and I think she and I complement each other well (redheads tend to look good with green).I've never treated myself to such a generous gift. Many of the last 39 years have been spent sacrificing my time and soul for the gratification of others. And my birthday seemed as good a time as any to indulge a little. Had x, y & z all not lined up nicely, this would not have happened, so I consider Viv to be a message from the Universe to go out and enjoy myself -- using appropriate safety precautions and gear, of course.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Only Four Shopping Days Left...

I'm sure you've been wondering what on earth I'd like for my upcoming birthday. Though my charmed life has left me lacking, well, nothing, if you feel compelled to send a little something my way, I offer a few humble suggestions...
mulching mower
oven thermometer
shovel (you know, the kind used to dig burial plots)
heart rate monitor
gluten-free vegetable tempura
deep freezer (just a little one...)
a solid night's sleep
Talk amongst yourselves...it would seem a bit excessive that I might be gifted three mowers and zero oven thermometers. My present for moi...(oh yes, at 39, I am absolutely going to surprise myself with a little something), well, if I can wait until Tuesday, then you can wait until Tuesday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Resolution v. Creation

I've never taken New Year's Resolutions seriously. I mean, if you're going to make a change in your life, why not now? October, July, whatever... The fourth or the 16th, what's holding you back?

Inspired by nothing more than needing to update my blog, I jotted down a few aspirations for the year. Turns out, maybe those silly annual declarations can have quite a backbone. I'll be honest, just days after writing them, they were all but forgotten. But I held my first of two potlucks at Casa Del Mar within a couple of weeks, taking a great stride toward my promise to entertain more often. With little effort, I became engrossed in Facebook, allowing me to check off the little box for keeping in better touch with friends (though I'll continue to work toward writing more personal email). Then came the staffing crisis at work that put a fire under my arse to look into creating a greater future for myself and my children. Finally, by virtue of Casey's comment on the aforementioned post, I set my sites on the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, which I completed Saturday.

So just shy of mid-year, I'm done. Four resolutions written. Four accomplished. I suppose I should write down a few more goals to take me through the rest of 2009. And I'll most certainly blurt them out for all to hear. Accountability is a remarkable tool!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hit the Ground Running

Way back in the day before I used capital letters and titled my posts, I began making an attempt to [learn to] run. It was a time when I was talking to myself in my diary and running away from myself via exercise. My first chilly venture netted me less than two miles, but I knew I wished to pursue jogging as a hobby, if for no other reason than to save dollars at the gas pump and precious minutes lost driving to the gym.

As spring arrived, I enjoyed limited success, and with the advent of summer -- the most deliciously mild summer known to these parts of the Midwest -- I found my groove. I think I topped out at about eight miles which thrilled me to no end. As the fall approached, I realized myself to be a fair-weather runner and had come to despise the monotony of the treadmill. I continued my other exercise addictions, but most certainly lost my stride.

Wasabi surprised me by running a half-marathon last November and planted a seed of desire within me to tackle the same distance. Then in January, Casey suggested I shoot for Hospital Hill in June. A long way off, I put the date in my head and knew when the seasons turned friendlier, I'd dust off my running shoes and see how many miles they could take my legs.

So I hit the streets once again. And it felt great. I quickly upped my mileage and found myself in the nine mile range with little woe. About ten days ago, I did almost 11 and knew I was ready for my first official run.

So after juggling studying and kids and race prep yesterday, I woke early this morning, enjoyed my traditional pre-run breakfast of cappuccino, Greek yogurt and steel cut oats then drove to Crown Center where I meandered about, looking for a place to stretch (my home routine involves the sink -- don't ask). Never quite got that done...found some water and before I knew it, was herded into a corral where 2388 others and myself began our long morning run. I can't even begin to explain how exhilarating it was to see the mass of dedicated runners filling the downtown streets.

The morning was perfect. Mostly cloudy, a light breeze. The challenge was great at times and though I had declared my intentions to finish the run here and on Facebook, I more than once considered stopping and letting the goal pass. But my sweet friend Christine had driven into town from her country home, picked up my kids and the whole crew were waiting for me at the seven mile mark. By mile five, the notion of seeing those smiling faces really kept me moving (I was definitely starting to pay the price for not getting in a good stretch). I spotted them and caught a high-five from each of the kids and felt refreshed. Another mile or so down the road, they popped up again and much to my surprise, a third time somewhere around mile nine. Love goes a long way to fuel the soul when the body wishes to quit.

As I crested the last big hill, Tina Turner belted out Proud Mary, providing yet another powerful surge of energy, and as that song ended, I could hear the loudspeaker from the finish line, took out my headphones and gave the last couple hundred yards my all. Official time 2:08:08 -- smidge better than my usual ten minute mile. But that really didn't matter. I did it. 13.1 miles.

Reflecting on today's accomplishment, I see it as an itty-bitty metaphor for the educational path upon which I've placed myself. It's easy enough to sign up, but when obstacles come along, there's nothing like knowing there are dear friends and family who are cheering me on and wishing me well. Two hours of running is a far cry from three years of schooling, but as long as the wind is occasionally at my back and there's a sweet smile handing me a cool beverage every few miles, I think...no, I'm sure I'll cross that finish line.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rest for the Weary

I have discovered the cure for [my] insomnia! College. I have not been this wiped out since, well, I don't ever recall being this tired. With all of the exercise hours I've logged in the last year, all of the looming divorce worries, all of the packing and moving across the country, all of the nursing-babies-through-the-night, never, NEVER have I felt this completely zapped.

On Wednesday I wasn't able to scrape myself out of bed to attend spinning class. Let me say that again...I missed spinning class. My greatest addiction lost out to the desperate need to rest my brain. Each subsequent night has been much the same. This morning (no school on Fridays) I slept past 7:30! Mind you, I was sound asleep well before 11:00 p.m.

This makes me realize just how lazy my brain has been for the last, well, several years. Though I've picked up on lots of new skills and facts and whatnot, I've not challenged myself to any real degree. I'm now in the process of retraining my brain to learn, and very much need to teach it to sort and file information for speedy retrieval. And it might just be the fatigue talking, but that seems pretty cool.

And on that note, I'm off to bed. I will rise early tomorrow...a little event I like to call a half-marathon awaits me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Break-down

Funny how three days of anatomy class has me confident that the half-marathon will be the easiest part of my week...heck, perhaps of the whole month!

I'm dizzy and tired and confused and filled with self-doubt and feeling as bi-polar as a reasonably sane girl could feel. Over the course of today I have considered dropping out of accounting, dropping out of anatomy, quitting everything, changing my major and then back to being optimistic and giddy, though not without a healthy dose of hesitation.

I've done virtually no accounting work. All of my minutes have been dedicated to anatomy. I've been hunched over the floor, scribbling on note cards and taking frequent mindless breaks. Get me on a roll, however, and I'm back to excited-ville, feeling like I have some kind of grasp on this maddening task I've tackled (or has it tackled me?) What I'm enjoying most about anatomy is a little book, my Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. Though I have a fair take on the English language, I've never studied Latin or Greek and this baby makes some of those silly anatomical [ana: up, throughout; tom: cut; -icul: small] terms make sense. Of course, I find myself digging through it more than I should, making me wonder why I'm majoring in what I'm majoring in. Oh, because if I were an English major, that last sentence I ended with a preposition would have cost me precious percentages.

So back to dietetics. And studying. For a mere three years. Maybe I should buy myself a desk. This week has been hell on my post: behind, after; -ure: tail.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The New College Try

Here I sit. In my Chair of Fabulosity. In a quiet state of panic.

This whole school thing is, well, quite the undertaking.

I really dig my Anatomy instructor. He has a strong appreciation for words and spelling and respect (something that wasn't really addressed when I was in college some time ago because it was more or less assumed). He prefaced the class with a lecture on why one might consider dropping the class. "If you can't go 90 minutes without texting, you shouldn't take this class." "If you can't dedicate FORTY HOURS A WEEK TO STUDYING, you might not be cut out for this class." Now, I'm all about being stubborn and crazy and bucking the norm....but really? Okay. I'll bite. I'm in. I'm staying. And I'll do well.

Did you know there are a batrillion bones in your skull? The flashcards strewn about my living room floor tell me so.

Accounting.....meh. Funny, both instructors compared to their classes to learning another language, sans conjugating verbs (hey, why am I not studying Spanish?) The second teacher seems a bit of a ding-dong. Tomorrow will tell more. The accounting is a requirement for my dietetics degree and I can't quite tell why, so I'm a bit less sold on its necessity. (I don't suppose my opinion makes it any less a prerequisite, huh?) But I'll read and study and in a mere eight weeks, I'll be on summer break.

Back to the bones, openings, protrusions and sinuses of the skull. Don't you wish you were here?