Radio silence

June 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the months I’ve been absent from my blog, I have accomplished quite a lot of small personal goals, not the least of which has been conquering my health. I will come clean and admit that although my prospectus was finally approved in March, work on my first chapter has been slow and tedious. I have realized that my dissertation will attempt to demonstrate an expertise in a theory that I’ve never before studied nor utilized. To say that I am insecure is an understatement, and that insecurity has been crippling. In my academic life. My confidence has blossomed considerably in other portions of my life. With my weight loss has come a more positive attitude toward my own physical abilities (as well as an awareness of, and forgiveness for, my limitations), as well as eagerness to shop…although finances have prevented me from indulging. I’ve also felt a boost in my interest and willingness to revisit not only my curriculum but also my teaching philosophy. I have found myself looking forward to lesson planning and recommitting myself to my students’ education. Now that my summer curriculum is set in place (my class starts in late June), I feel more mentally calm and prepared to sit down and return to my dissertation’s first chapter. I have hope that I will strike the balance between writing the dissertation and improving my classroom techniques. (After all, both will be evaluated by future hiring committees.)

That is the most concise precis of these past few months that I can possibly give. There are some important details I’d like to explore deeper, though.

1. Yoga, RPM, and PT
Since February, I’ve been meeting a personal trainer every week for 30-minute strength-training sessions. In addition to these sessions, I’ve also attended yoga regularly. When I started going back to yoga in February, I was stunned to realize (and stunned that I was stunned) that after back surgery, even two years ago, I was not nearly as flexible as I had been before my disk herniated in the first place. Surprise of surprises, right? I left many classes nearly in tears not from pain but from frustration at my limitations. (I used to practice yoga with regularity and was fairly flexible, despite my size.) However, as the weeks have progressed, so have I. In addition to my yoga practice (complete with two wonderful yoga buddies, by the way), my personal trainer managed to convince me to attempt an RPM class (also called Spin or Cycling at other gyms). The catch with this recommendation, however, is that my trainer is one of the RPM instructors. So, once I told her I was going to try it, I had to sort of stick to it. The first two times I got off the bike, I was in a great deal of pain and not muscular pain. Bone pain. Bruise pain. But I’ve learned that with greater frequency comes decreased skeletal/epidermal pain. (And increased muscular pain!) I’ve been attending RPM classes since mid-April and might actually be close to saying that I enjoy it…one day.

I’ve lost 19 pounds. In February, my initial goal was to lose 20 pounds before June 12th, which is my sister’s wedding. Even if I don’t lose the last pound in the next 9 days (which I’m fairly certain I will do), I will not punish myself for coming just short. I am proud of my 19 pounds and am beginning to think about my next manageable goal.

2. Graduation, Trips, and Anniversary
Robert graduated with his Master of Arts in English Lit. last month. I couldn’t have been prouder–I was choking back tears while he walked across the stage (I was trying to take pictures!). The commencement address was delivered by Tim Cook (COO of Apple), and he spoke about triumph in the face of failure. Although the topic is an unexpected one at commencement (what graduate wants to hear of all the opportunities for failure that await?), Cook managed to inspire me in a deep way when he spoke of releasing the need for perfection. Perfection, of course, is the great disabler. I’m sure this will be a topic I’ll visit later.

Shortly after Robert’s graduation, we visited Las Vegas with his family. I’ve never been before, and I truly enjoyed myself. I learned how to play a few of the slot machines (Wizard of Oz was my friend) as well as a few video poker games. I lost money in the beginning of the trip, but slowly earned it back and stopped playing when I broke even. We also took in a couple of shows. Robert, his mother, and I went to see Jersey Boys at the Venetian, which was just incredible. She bought the soundtrack for us after the show, and it’s been in my car ever since. I’ve always loved Frankie Valli’s music. Robert and I also saw Penn & Teller’s magic show at the Rio. It was absolutely incredible–yes, they explain some of the tricks, but even then they end tricks with a twist. We even got their signatures and photos at the end of the show.

We returned home for a couple of days before driving back out for our anniversary trip. We visited Miramar Beach in Destin. Again, I had never been here before, but Robert practically grew up in Destin; I had a fabulous time there as well. We might try to return to Destin for future anniversaries…if the oil doesn’t destroy the beaches. Fortunately for us, we arrived just before Florida was on the radar for the oil spill, so we were able to enjoy the beach and water. One afternoon in the ocean, we watched a school of stingrays swim past three times! I was stunned–never had I been so close to marine life in its natural habitat. I wished for an underwater camera! For our anniversary, Robert made reservations at The Melting Pot in Destin. He told them it was our anniversary, and they put us in a secluded room with a two-seat booth, bottle of chilled champagne, and a rose. We were in our own private heaven. Best wedding anniversary ever! 😉

3. Wedding and Parties!
As I said, my sister’s wedding is on June 12th. 9 days away! I’m throwing her bachelorette party this Saturday, and in preparation for the party, Robert and I have been busting our asses cleaning. This afternoon, after we had both worked out and exhausted ourselves, I got it in my head to sweep up our carport. The leaves, twigs, and other debris have been annoying me over the past year. As I was sweeping the dry leaves, I hit mounds of packed dirt. And not just dirt–rich soil! On our carport! Earthworms had made a lovely home in those mounds of dirt; we saved as many of the little worms as we could (hey, we love our birds) and managed to wash the packed dirt away. After an hour of hard work, our carport now looks gorgeous. Sort of. Right after we finished, a brief storm came through…and knocked more leaves off of our tree onto the carport. We’ll sweep the carport one more time before the bachelorette party–I figure the hardest, most important work has been done.

Tomorrow we’ll focus our efforts on the interior of the house, and then I’ll feel absolutely ready for my guests. Robert will be away for the weekend, celebrating our future brother-in-law’s bachelor party; so, the girls will have the house to ourselves! I’m so looking forward to meeting my sister’s friends, as well as celebrating the last party before the wedding. We’re going to have a great time.

4. And Finally…Farewell Facebook
As many of my friends know, I’ve deleted my Facebook account. My reasons are many and varied (and not limited to concerns of privacy). I’m hoping to achieve more in my day-to-day life, including work on my dissertation. Now that my friends and family will no longer enjoy my Facebook profile to keep up with my life, I’ll likely update my blog more regularly. So, look forward to the more frequent updates! Until then, folks….

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