I Am Woman!

Not many might find it appropriate or desirable to discuss sensitive, personal topics in such a public forum as blogging. I’m not many though. As my gray hairs seem to be increasing and my realization that other bodily changes happen/will happen over time, why not go ahead and write about it now? Clearly rhetorical.

Photo by kat wilcox on Pexels.com; Anybody seen the movie “Bridesmaids”?

Warning: if you have no interest in feminine psyche or issues, you may close this post now. If still reading, you’re on your own.

I’ve had a menstrual cycle for over 25 years. It’s been a learning lesson, to say the least. Every few years, there are small changes but nothing dramatic. Yet, as I’ve aged, I’m able to recognize what I need during the different parts of my cycle. Of course I knew what the cycle names were and most of the symptoms (for me), but I didn’t fully embrace how to prepare for these changes especially in terms of exercise and “self care”. (I don’t love the words self care because, in my opinion, it’s just another buzzword.) Self love is nice though. Anyway, I’m fascinated by my mind and body and its capabilities.

I remember being a young girl who felt like all the responsibility of adulthood snuck up on me so quickly. The birds and the bees conversation never really happened so I was stuck figuring it out as I went. From cramps and tampons to reproduction and birth control and how this all tied into life – what a chore. But I owe it to my own daughter to help her navigate it all. In order to do so I must find what works best for me. Before she peppers me with questions.

Forgotten where I was going with this. Please hold.

Oh yes, exercise and cycle syncing. Thankfully, our bodies tend to follow some intrinsic patterns. For the most part. It does get a little wonky at times, as does most everything in life; however, I know when I feel my best, when I feel like something is “missing”, and when it’s time to throw in the towel. Kidding. I don’t know that. Learning to practice more self love during certain parts of the month is an endeavor I’m embarking on. There are many other athletes who practice nurturing themselves when the going gets tough and it has been a true eye awakening experience to watch it unfold. I love when women cheer on other women. So, for now, I intend to attempt a form of cycle syncing to see where it takes me. It can’t be too wrong because any opportunity to drink tea and take it easy when in the throes of the cramps from hell is my game.

As my best friend Sam says, “Throw chocolate at me and run!”

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I ask you –

Any insight into syncing the menstrual cycle with exercise or athletic goals?

Did you even know this was a thing?

Name the last thing you threw at someone! Socks at mini.

Tricky Conversations

“The start of doubt is the ending of trust.”

In financial terms, this means our generosity is directly linked to our ability to believe we have all we need. But money really isn’t ours anyway. Growing up extremely poor meant money was just a pipe dream. I learned its value very quickly. As a result, parts of my brain, I believe, are truly changed in response to a constant fear of living without. Money is a worrisome part of my life – even though I have no need to be worried. My needs are covered.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels.com

Recognizing these 36 years are all I know and I can’t compare it to something longer, the divisiveness in our country is saddening. There aren’t many people I know who can just “be” around others without talk of political affiliation, religion, or world news. I’m not saying these topics aren’t important; I am saying they don’t define a person and I don’t care to label someone because of it. As I recently sat in a room of people who “assumed” a few things about me, (more than assumed, it was crystal clear they intrinsically believed I was just by showing up) many words were being thrown around as commonplace.

My intent was to listen. But when I was referred to as “them”, my unapologetic voice made its presence known. I am a me. Sadly, the person who I was responding to wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Zero acknowledgement. What I believe is not an ideology, as it was stated. An ideology is a belief system that underpins a political or economic theory. Political or economic. Faith (or religion as some may say) is not an ideology. I can clearly state my belief system and why it’s there; therefore, moot point. I believe we were created to protect life, but I also served to protect one’s choice.

Disclaimer: Fully realizing my readers were not there and it’s hard to describe the room dynamics whilst being very protective of the participants, I do my best to be inclusive and respectful. I think my point in sharing this experience here is to say you don’t know what someone is going through or where they’ve been. Conversations in the workplace, especially in the federal government, are tricky right now. Everyone wants to be heard. But, at the end of the day, we all remove whatever uniform we wear and we’re simply us. I stand behind my statement ‘You don’t really know what you’ll do until you’re in that moment.’ Either way, it’s not my right to judge and I’m incredibly thankful for this truth.

Lastly, please do some research on which amendments are which before you embarrass yourself. And…vote! Change starts with you.

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I ask you –

Have you had tough conversations lately?

Are you registered to vote?

Hope you have had a safe and restful weekend!

Day in Photos, pt 6

The long weekend of mini’s return to midsummer Texas finally arrived! In probably not chronological order –

First, beautify the nails. Sure, ballet shoes cover her toes but it’s proven women who wake up and see their toenails painted experience higher levels of YAY hormones. Totally made that up, but it’s true for me so why not.

Maj Aaron Green & I

Prior to mini’s homecoming, I said see you later to someone with the biggest heart and passion for Airmen. It’s been an incredible few months working with Maj Green – I will miss him and his huge family. Key Spouse life.

Without further ado – I present to you my little ballerina. She rocked her performance and is such a helper to the other young ladies.

It wouldn’t be a weekend without my sister visiting. We have too much fun together.

see the little face?

Overall, the weekend was a success. Nevermind the outdoor temps of 112Β°. I believe mini had an incredible time. And I’m thankful mini’s dad made the very long trip to support her dance dreams. Everything went by so quickly; before you know it, school will be starting again and we’ll be in another loop of school, dance, repeat.

I feel the heart palpitations returning already.

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I ask you –

What plans do you have for the upcoming holiday weekend?

Do any ballerinas read my blog?

Large crowds: yay or nay? Mostly a nay for me.

Heat Wave

Change of plans. Nothing says get it together, Kel like a wake up call from your body, specifically when you’re too stubborn to acknowledge the signs before the fall. If that isn’t cryptic enough, let’s just say I got a little too close to the same experience nearly 4 yrs ago when I took an ambulance ride for suspected heat stroke. Coupled with poor fueling, I know better. And here we are. Unless the heat wave and triple digit temps break soon, the remainder of my summer will be spent on the treadmill. Surrounded by fans. Yay Texas.

I paused my training plan because I don’t desire to run 6 miles on the belt of doom. Possible, yes. Will… negative. However, I did see where there are a few upcoming breaks in the heat and MAYBE I can get outside one morning for a run. Perhaps I should have considered my running goals when considering Texas as a living option. I heard Utah was beautiful nearly year-round. Ehhh elevation isn’t my favorite either. I could use a summer home and a winter home. Let me get right on it.

My sister put it this way: “I have a few demands for going into the gates of hell this weekend! I need an ice pack, enough deodorant to bathe in and a fan!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ»” Don’t we all. On the bright side, it “should” only be low 90s for the first part of this week which means it “might” be upper 60s on the overnights soooooo maybe I can run in the early mornings. Maybe yes, maybe no.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything?

Do you have a seasonal home? Mind if I borrow it?

Tell me your essentials to surviving unbearable heat! Ice cream!

Box o’Books

I’m very sad to report it’s been months since I’ve been to the library. So when I realized I had a few extra minutes – aka town with trains – I detoured and made my way to the book haven. This time I was able to find a new book I’ve been eyeballing (no pun intended) for some time. What’s with these authors who only publish one book a year? Don’t they have jobs? Geez!

With the opening of our newest base coffee shop, Common Grounds, I find myself visiting about once a week. Sometimes it’s for solace, sometimes for coffee, sometimes just to sit amongst the books. As there’s a large, indoor playground, it has just the right amount of background noise and joy for me to write, read, or ponder life goals. But mostly for coffee drinking. Though lately my drink of choice is hot tea. Anyway.

My goal to read at least one book per month sort of floated away. Hello, distraction. I better get busy reading for pleasure because soon the only thing I’ll be reading is journals on research. And some topics are so flat out boring it can be hard to keep your eyes open. Remind me not to be a dull doctor. In the meantime, I’m going to spend my time reading Michael Connelly and books about overcoming anxiety.

This is fun, right?

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I ask you –

What are you reading lately?

Do you frequent public libraries or prefer to obtain your reading online?

Pick one: coffee or tea! Predominantly coffee, of course.

Pirouettes and Parking

Dentist appointment last week went well! Post-meal flossing albeit a dedicated task is worth it. As I’ve never had a cavity or filling, the nice dental hygienist told me I was 1 in 10,000. Nice as it sounds, I doubt I’m 1 in anything because…really.

I’ve been rewatching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was several years back when I started the show – I had no idea there are now 7 seasons. Clearly I don’t watch much television.

Not sure if I should put this on my blog, but I’m doing it anyway. Some weird things are happening at a neighbor’s house. Not the naked neighbor’s home. Cars without license plates, other random vehicles early in the mornings. This also happens to be the house I always find spare change near. One week I collected 31 cents. What a bargain for me!

task 1 is complete

Mini’s dance performance debut is at the end of the week which means…she’ll be home for a few days!!!!! I’m so excited to see her and hug her and kiss her and call her George – I mean mine. Jokes. We just have to make it through rehearsal, nail polish, lip gloss, hair buns, and other diva-ish things I know little about. I need coffee just contemplating it. Unfortunately, her dad’s family is unable to come like originally planned but thanks to technological advances I feel confident she can wow them with her abilities.

Public service announcement: it costs nothing to be a decent human. All that’s required is don’t be an asshole. Believe it or not, there was a car parked to the truck’s right prior to this photo. If it had been my car, a photo might have not been my first choice. Decent humans can suffer from distress.

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I ask you –

What shows are you currently watching or rewatching?

Is the weirdness at that house illicit substance related or am I being paranoid?

Tell me your kindest words for people who park like I’ve shown!

Yes, I’m Still Thinking

As I continue to traverse the stages of shock within utter humility, my mind is blown that I’m attempting to get a doctorate. You know the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin”? Yeah, that’s me. Perhaps a doctorate isn’t the wildest idea in my history – I did join the military at age 28 which is still almost incomprehensible. But the smokescreen of doubt lingers. Do I have what it takes? Funny thing is I don’t worry about failure. Once I get started, I know I’ve got this. It’s the getting started part that worries me. When I look back on the moment I received the phone call stating I had passed my master’s capstone (essentially the final mountain), I was speechless. I looked around my big empty gym and took in the silence. Then I smiled the biggest smile I’d ever had until that point. I’d done it.

Shortly after I shared the good news with anyone who would listen, someone asked what’s next? I recall answering something to the affect of this is it for me. When the thought of a higher degree crossed my mind, I told myself ‘that’s not me’. Why not? Because it can be me. In time that passes so quickly, it will be me. In the meantime, much work remains.

I haven’t shared the news with mini yet. Perhaps the scope of it will be lost on her; that’s ok, too. But I did speak with her on the phone a few nights ago. Typically we video chat but she was with other relatives and it was late, etc. I had a tough time grasping how old she sounds on the phone. Not “age old” but “mature old”. She’s very matter of fact and wise in all her 6 years. She was also exhausted so anything she could do to stay awake was fair game. She had been struggling that night with a headache – when I asked questions related to how it came about, her answers were child-like, then I remembered she’s still my baby.

Proof

Me: Have you been drinking enough water?

Her: No, I haven’t drank any.

Me: Well, that may be part of the problem, honey. Did you hit your head on something while playing?

Her: Maybe!

Nothing like a conversation like that to bring life into perspective. I can hear the conversation in my head right now. “Mom, why is (this, this, and this) happening?” Me: I don’t know. “Well, you’re a doctor!” Leave it to a child (my child) to make you question your education.

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I ask you –

What song resonates with a journey (no pun intended) in your life?

Have you ever limited yourself with the phrase or mindset of ‘that’s not me’?

Share a moment where a child put you in your place. If you dare.

Connecting the Dots – Leadership + Training

Authoritative. That’s the name for my leadership style. I took a test. Understandably this makes me sound like a dictator without regard to the many nuances surrounding leadership and people. But I’m not. What I am is someone who typically sticks with a decision because I’ve already done my due diligence in gathering the facts and evaluating my/other’s opinion. Rarely do I question my “why” – I’m well aware of the reason I do things.

credit: Anna Tarazevich via Pexels

As my dad and I were recently talking on the phone, he mentioned speaking with a neighbor’s college-aged daughter who was struggling with sticking with her decisions to attend a university while working. He said she had a decision to make about accepting a job with higher pay and responsibility or remaining with a lower paying job/less responsibility. After we hung up, I started thinking back to times when I was in similar situations. My attitude has always been go after what you want. Sometimes to my detriment. The following day, before sunup, as my feet pounded the pavement, I wondered if I ever question why I run. When the internal answer was a solid no, I let my mind wander to other parts of my life and their respective why. Why do I subscribe to a certain faith? Why do I want to go back to college? Why is it important to have drive?

Only I can answer these questions. My why is just that – mine. Furthermore, I really can’t recall more than two times when I questioned my why. I know why I do the things I do and/or why I’ve made a certain decision. Mostly. But I’m committed to it.

All this to say my run streak lasted two weeks. It took a few days for me to realize (accept) the signs of overtraining. You know – resting heart rate in the sustained fight or flight stage, utter exhaustion, alternately feeling famished then zero appetite. I wanted to chalk it all up to a really terrible menstrual cycle, but it became clear there was more to it. Sadly, my stubbornness….read: authoritative…style just wouldn’t give up. I had a goal. I must reach goal. Nothing stands in my way. Until it does. Certainly this is the same mindset that kept me running last year past an injury. It has its moments. Nonetheless there’s always something new to be learned. Running is a privilege; I get to run. Tomorrow is not promised.

For now, I’ll continue chipping away at the 10k plan I’ve almost completed. With its manageable 3 runs/week, I’m able to strength train 4-5 days/week and I enjoy it. But two a days just weren’t in the cards for me. I must remember plans are in place to keep us on track; not necessarily to be capitalized upon. Just because we can make it better doesn’t mean we have to right then or at all.

Now I’m going to find someone to boss around…seeing as I have extra time on my hands.

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I ask you –

What is your leadership style?

How often do you reevaluate goals?

Overtraining: if you’ve experienced this, tell me what it looked like for you.

It Might Be That Time

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. A few weeks ago, I began the arduous task of searching online for colleges to make my doctorate degree dream a reality. Perhaps it was just an off day because the only thing it did was leave me frustrated and resigned to not fulfilling that dream. I kept finding programs with projected completion dates near the 8 year mark. And the cost? Guess again. Even with tuition assistance, etc., it was beyond me.

Chalkboard = Dinosaur

Fast forward to end of last week when I attended a brief on how to make civilian programs work for you. You, the commoner. 90 mins later, I returned to my office with motivation, a renewed purpose, and some homework. Operation phD! Using TA in conjunction with the GI Bill should result in a reasonably affordable degree in T-minus 3 years. Doable. I might even be able to maintain my sanity and a slight social life. As long as I can write papers while we talk. That’s normal, right?

I’ve chosen a school, a program, and am in the process of finagling funding. Making military service work for me. Honestly, when I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it would be useful for obtaining another degree. For some reason I was under the impression it wouldn’t pay for anything beyond a master’s and since I already had one it wouldn’t pay for a second either. During eval season it was difficult for me to show I was progressing professionally outside of the Navy because my points were already full. So I said I wanted to learn how to whistle. And it did not go over well. My goal is to finish in 3 years or less…I even timed it not to interfere with anyone else who may be graduating. No show-stealing. Even though I didn’t quite get going when I said I would (by the time mini is 5 – she’s now 6), this is a valid goal no matter her age. Or mine. She will still get to experience mommy’s rapidly increasing number of gray hairs. And long nights of writing. Welcome to adulthood, girlie!

school supplies

The last time I went to school was over 11 years ago. I’m one of those complete whackadoo’s who really miss school. I love it! My master’s program was fantastic. All we did was write so of course. The feeling of accomplishing a lengthy paper or assignment is like an adrenaline rush all over my body. It’s figuratively my drug of choice. Drugs are very expensive. So I’ve heard. Anyway. I remember switching careers a year into the master’s degree wondering why I thought that was a good idea. Not only did I have to learn a new job but I also had to find time to write double digit papers on a new schedule. No big moves on the horizon this time – in fact I’m hoping this is the final straw I need to progress in other places.

Alas, I still can’t whistle. But I’ll have “Dr.” before my name so who cares.

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I ask you –

Who wants on my commencement guest list? Location: TBD.

Anyone interested in volunteering to teach me how to whistle?

Tell me your highest level of education! I want to share in your accomplishments.

Creature of Habit

Quick catch up –

As I seem to enjoy doing everything obsessively and excessively, nearly one year ago I made a decision to floss my teeth after every meal. Honestly, it wasn’t to ensure oral hygiene but a test to find out if it really makes a difference. I understand I had no true scientific parameters – control group, etc. – but I did it my way anyway. At my last exam approximately 6 months ago, the dental hygienist assured me she could tell a huge difference. This week I have another dentist appt so we’ll see. You can always find out where I am or have been by the floss that follows me. There are no less than 2 floss packages everywhere I go.

3 years doing what I love! Cookies! But, really, I love writing so much. I wish this was my job. For now, though, this is a hobby and I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading!

Another example of obsessive and excessive – the run streak! Runner’s World hosts a run streak challenge each year immediately after Memorial Day and through July 4th. Since I’m a sucker for a good month of punishment, ta-da. Allow me to take it one step further. I’m mentally committed to running daily until August. It’s just a fun (my fun) way of filling the days until mini returns. So far, so good. Again, because I will never get tired of sharing this, the previous physical therapy sessions are my saving grace. My knee, hamstrings, and entire body feel incredibly strong. What a difference strength, flexibility, and mobility training can have when you’re expecting your body to “perform” every single day.

I’ll leave you with the above image. After posting it, I received some interesting feedback. The best was from my friend Jason who stated he thought my underwear were around my knees and I was peeing in the driveway. Other comments were unsure exactly what I was doing but it also looked questionable, as well as the thought maybe I was praying or having a moment of silence. To be clear, this is one of my many exercise bands I use for hip and knee strengthening. They’re amazing.

No word yet on what the neighbors might have been thinking. Hopefully everyone was still asleep.

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I ask you –

How long have you been blogging?

In what areas of your life are you obsessive and excessive?

Floss – yay or nay?