Friday, January 27, 2012

whew. this is a roller coaster.

The ups and downs of a possible bridge jumping are mind boggling!  What started so simply, grew wildly out of control, grew legs and turned itself into a whole new, much more interesting idea.  I’m ecstatic.  But.  I’m tired and a little out of control, too.

I might be addicted.

I’m pretty sure I am.

Is there a bridge jumping anonymous, for those of us determined to leave our meticulously-built, tight-rope-maintainted, comfortably-endurable lives in an effort to find the passion-filled one that we used to dream about.  I need that group.

Or maybe not.  Maybe my whole life has prepared me to jump, blindly, and trust that I will land on two feet (I’m pretty sure there’s no guarantee against bruises, scrapes, or broken bones, though).

Its a proven fact that people who exercise with a buddy are more likely to continue, so lets drum up some excitement about the what-ifs!  Help me out here … so what about you?  If you were going to join me on my bridge jumping extravaganza, what type of passion-filled life would soften the fall?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the possibilities are endless

“There is no living thing that isn’t inherently equipped with the skills and abilities it needs to secure it continued existence. … no lion or giraffe has ever had to go to trade school to learn what it needs to know to survive.” - Kimberly Seals-Allers 
I think too often we get caught up in doing what we are told to do, in following everyone else’s plan for success, and we forget that we have so much inside our selves.  Yesterday was turning point kind of day for me and I’ve decided to truly stop "measuring out my life in coffee spoons.”

And so for the great reveal.   I’ve decided to think seriously about selling my jellies and jams to people outside of my group of friends.  Can you feel my hands trembling thought the keyboard?

It’s one thing to imagine living out my dream of entrepreneurship in the shower and during my commute to and from my day jobS, while I weigh my purchases based on the predictable, bi-monthly paychecks.  And yet, I have always prided myself on the promise that I would stop teaching when the passion ceased to outweigh the drain.  That time has come.

I’ve dreamed of owning my own shop and being self-sufficient since I was a high school student myself.  I thrived on my Commercial Design and entrepreneurship classes, I was inspired by colors, words, tastes, and movement.  Today, a week before I turn 32, I am still dreaming and still inspired in these things.

In the next days and weeks, I will be making a concerted effort to move my life in the directions of my dreams.  I am learning, researching, connecting and praying.  I will be paring down on the unnecessary luxuries and exploring new possibilities.  And.  Through this blog, I will be taking you along for the ride. Buckle up!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

more to life than this

There comes a time in everyone's life, when they realize that what they've been doing just isn't working anymore; that it is time to jump off of the safety bridge and hope to God that the river underneath is deep and wide.

That time came this morning.

When I started teaching, statistics warned that the "good ones" left the profession after five years; I recently heard that it has been dropped to four.  Thanks to a tremendously supportive department, principal, and school district, I've managed to make it into my ninth year.

It has been creeping in on me; I've known it was coming.

Every year, it gets a little bit more frustrating to see kids more worried about Friday than their futures.  To see students preach about their desire for high grades and graduation and then sleep through the class.  To see them rendered helpless by their ADD labels and lack of understanding.  And yet, these things are not the hardest part of this job.  The hardest part is not the behavior, the fighting, or the pregnancies.

The hardest part of this job is looking into the eyes of my students and knowing that they are products of their environment; that our society, the one we, adults,  have all had a contribution in building and actively help to sustain, has done this to them.  We have raised them and we have taught them and we have rewarded them.


This isn't a post about what needs to change in education, though there is a lot.  This isn't a post about how kids are unempowered, uninspired, and unmotivated, though too many are.  This isn't even a post about how over-worked, under-appreciated, and scapegoated teachers are, we are not victims.

This is a post about my journey.  I knew what I was getting into when I graduated college armed with a degree in Education and started applying for teaching jobs.  My first full time job was at a drop-in youth center, my first teaching job an inner-city high school, my current is an alternative school.  I find "those" kids inspiring.  I find the challenges rewarding.  I find the objective worthwhile.

And yet, I am done.

I love what I've done for the last eight and half years.  I love the kids, each one for what they bring to the table.  I know that I make an impact and I hope that my student's lives are better because of something I've taught or the example I've set.  I've learned so much from my students, they have been tremendous teachers themselves.   My greatest wish for my students is that they realize the power inside of themselves, though them I have been able to realize mine.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

it's not a diet, it's a way of life

I took up cooking seriously when I got my first apartment.  My inspiration and teacher was Rachael Ray.  I remember vividly the epic Blackened Chicken Pizza fiasco of 2005.  I set my tiny apartment kitchen.on.FIRE.  No kidding.  Smoke everywhere.  Flames tangoing with the cabinets above the air-sucky thing.  The frantic moment that I remembered my 8th grade home ec teacher's lesson: a grease fire won't be put out with an extinguisher.  Um.  Not so fun.  Who knew it was a bad idea to add oil to a "screaming hot pan"?  I do now!

Currently, I love Paula Deen.  Surprisingly, with all of the frying and butter, I have managed to circum-cook my way around any more grease fires under her tutelage.

Houston, we have another problem.

I went to the local Supplement Superstore to find out what type of protein might be a better choice for my mix-with-coffee-and-drink weekday breakfast of champions.  The kind I've been sippin' on as of late is NOT good.

Oh, the things that stop being simple when questions start getting asked.

It turns out, if I'd like to get rid of the cellulite that keeps glaring at me every time I do a downward dog, I've got to do more than run and squat and lunge.  I've got to eat healthy and nutritionally.  Which I do.  Kinda.  I mean ever since I brought Paula into my life, I've been able to comfortably fire my personal chefs (you know, the ones who are really employed at places with arches, kings, and bells but are willing to make anything I want whenever I want it) and grocery shop on a pretty strict little budget.

The suggestions by my fabulously fit, perky, and knowledgeable salesman:
No more is dairy a protein.
No more does fruit count as a vegetable (or sweet potatoes either).
No more ginormous unbalanced meals that leave me stuffed for hours.
Six small meals a day composed of a protein, carbohydrate, and veggie
A multi-vitamin, where the daily dose is two gel pills, taken half in the morning and half at night
A better protein powder (at least I got what I went in for)

And really, that little adjustment didn't seem so bad.  But, you know, it was hard today to do it.  I was hungrier in the morning than normal and finding quick and easy protein, now that dairy doesn't count, is almost impossible in my kitchen's current condition.

I guess all I can really do is take baby steps, one at a time.  And I will.  Because the cellulite brutally stares at me and my arm mockingly continues to wave long after my hand has stopped (no matter how hard I try to flex my muscles in the process).  I will give it another go tomorrow, using what I have in the pantry and aiming to eat smaller portions when's Paula's helping with dinner.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


During the training for my first half-marathon, I was reeling from a bad break up and filled with rage at him, at the way it happened, and at being single.  AGAIN.  I remember wondering, as I pounded through the miles to angry music pumping through my earbuds, what would happen to my running when I was not so fueled by rage.

Over years that followed that race, the rage-fueled runs peaked and valleyed and I clung to any type of artificial adrenaline pumping I could find.  Please read: angry music.  I did not enjoy the running, but was in a way addicted to the anger and animosity; kind of like the gas tank of a car, I kept picking up more angst to keep me going.  I thought of myself as a positive person; but in hindsight, there was no peace for positivity to settle in -- not while I was filling up my tank with aggression anyway.  

The crazy thing about that time of my life is that I thought I was working hard, and I was, to a degree.  I did increase my endurance and conquered distances that I had previously thought impossible (when I started running at 18, I couldn't run the distance between two suburban driveways without a walk break), but I relied so much on the outside motivation that I sold myself out in way.  Just before I got injured, as I began working to increase my speed, I noticed how reliant I was on the music, how quick I was to ease off of a hard workout, and how the sound of my own heavy breathing brought on a walk-break-required anxiety attack.  

I learned a lot about life and running while I waited for and recovered from surgery.  I learned about pushing myself gently, about not giving in when things are tough, and about not shying away from my own inherent greatness.  I learned about using serenity and acceptance, instead of hostility and defiance, to move forward.  So far, I've carried these lessons with me in life and back into my runs.  I'm building my endurance base and will officially start training in the next couple of weeks for my 4th half-marathon.  I'm faster, stronger, and more at peace.

My resolution is the same this year as it was last, and probably will be again next year also: to leave the year better than it found me.  I was successful last year and plan on succeeding again and again, mostly because to live is to grow.  Just as equally (and maybe more), to grow is to truly live.