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?

______________________

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.

________________________

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!

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.

__________________________

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.

___________________

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.

_______________________

I ask you –

How long have you been blogging?

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

Floss – yay or nay?

Talk It Out

“Because of grace, everything in your story has purpose. Even the dark parts. Especially the dark parts. Your brokenness is what allows the light to get in.” “Our lives are built by the voices we hear. It’s why they matter.”

Credit for the quotes above belong to separate devotionals. The intent is similar. What we hear, what we read, what we tell ourselves shapes the narrative in our minds. Our ‘self talk’ is perhaps even more important than what others tell us! Think about it. Haha no pun intended. Goals, dreams, aspirations begin in the mind. Ours!

The past two weeks have been particularly difficult in my own little world. For starters, I was completely out of commission one day for allergy-related breathing issues, then there was the seemingly neverending jaunt of dance performance rehearsals and end-of-year school activities. Then I accidentally took a double dose of daily medication which really made for an interesting day. I don’t remember most of it.

tea time

As hard as I’ve tried to be gentle with myself and manage my own expectations of what life should look like, my tank has been running on E. This is why… it’s called Running on Fumes. But I think I’m completely past E. There’s strangers pushing the truck from the intersection at this point. Beep, beep! My cycle is messed up, my hormones are out of whack, and I’m alternately exhausted or can’t asleep. Classic signs of burnout.

So how do we fix it? Maybe just by saying I’m done. The world with its political everything and life with its constant battles. I need some time to reset, recharge, relax. But not from blogging. It’s beyond time to fill up the tank. Side note: who can afford to do that now?! I can. You can. We all can. Sometimes we choose not to which sounds worse than paying for it.

I’m using this four-day weekend to catch up on things that make me happy – like Tom Cruise, long runs, and meal prepping. And muffins. aka cupcakes without icing

____________________

I ask you –

Are you on proverbial E?

What do you do to “fill your tank”?

Average gas prices where you live! $3.89

Noticeable Notables

Exhibit A

This standing desk contraption (Varidesk) has turned out to be a game changer in my life. For years, I would have digestive issues, presumably from sitting all day. Even the usual daily walking or exercise really didn’t alleviate all the symptoms. So I transitioned to standing. At first, my legs and feet didn’t enjoy the change, but I’ve now grown accustomed to standing for 7+ hrs. Don’t even notice anymore.

Exhibit B

As I am… how do you say it … directionally challenged, I downloaded this fancy tool called a compass. So now I’m 100% right when I give directions vs 1000% wrong. People seem to appreciate that. As a work colleague and I were discussing my propensity to be wrong all the time, I casually mentioned my dad worked for TXDoT for a billion years and knew every direction instantly. AND THEN the work colleague stated what if he was just telling you a direction the whole time because he really had no clue. What if?! To me this sounds like he’s the reason I can’t get directions correct and it’s not my fault at all! Seriously, if I give you directions using North, South, East, West, you should do exactly the opposite of what I’ve instructed you. 180°. Then I’m right.

app version

Exhibit C

Strength training is very much the piece I’ve been missing in my fitness life. Even though I dislike the word ‘balance’, I do feel balanced in my lifting/running routine. It’s nice to look forward to run days as well as strength days. Over the weekend, I ran my longest distance since December 2021…a whopping 5.71 miles. Granted it was a lovely 65° outside instead of the usual (lately) 105°. With this weather rollercoaster, I’ve been forced to stay indoors so I jumped at the opportunity to run outside. Then it was knee-icing time. I wouldn’t say it’s pain; maybe more of a higher level of uncomfortableness. I really have to focus on pushing my knee outward instead of letting it do what it wants to do which is collapse inward. Overall, I feel good.

ice time

Proper stretching, nutrition, sleep, and even ice/heat have found their place in my schedule. Not only do I not take for granted my ability to run, but I’m attempting to be a good example of what to do. And when I need extra rest, I don’t beat myself up over it. For the most part. I have missed a few speed/cadence/drill workouts this cycle. Funny thing is it really hasn’t impacted my running much. Again, not suggesting this is the way to go – simply saying it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. I’ll still make it to the 10k goal. Right now I think that distance is just right for me. Next December, though, well…all bets are off!

_____________________

I ask you –

Which exhibit resonates more with you – A, B, or C?

Are you directionally challenged and/or do you own a compass?

Choose one: ice or heat! No context. Just choose one.

Summer Planning

With an impending TN summer on the horizon for mini, I need to find things to do with my time. Things that don’t include cleaning or working.

  1. Read all the books
  2. Create a photo album of mini’s 2021 summer vacation photos + kindergarten photos
  3. Organize mini’s massive amount of outgrown clothing
  4. Write copious amounts of blog posts to make up for all the times I’m scrambling on Sundays.
  5. Do nothing until approximately 24 hrs before mini returns, then frantically attempt to complete the above list.

All jokes aside. I sort of got a headstart on #1. Morgan from Oregon (soon to be known as just Morgan) gifted me this fantastic set of books by author Sarah Centrella. Her writing style is fun yet also very real. No spoilers from me. I love workbook-style books, too, so these are perfect for me. As I received my performance appraisal a short time ago, the final question was “What does Kelly see in her 10 year plan?” Can we just make it through today?! Luckily, I had already begun working through the guide for th we books so I was able to answer in the best way possible. “Let me get back to you!” No, I didn’t say that. For the most part.

a gift!

Broken record alert! Considering another run streak. Just to have a summer goal. Maybe June-July? One easy mile/day. More if I feel up to it. Obviously it would mostly all be treadmill miles because Texas summer is similar to the pits of hell. Pretty sure I’m right. The 5 day break we got from the heat was most appreciated, but don’t anticipate it happening again until…oh… probably November. Just something to consider. …the running. Not the heat. It stays. Moving on!

Short of registering for another degree and finishing up a book, I don’t know exactly what I want to accomplish this summer. Since those are revolving projects, best I stay the course. Hello, library!

______________________

I ask you –

What are your summer plans?

Do you like self-help type books? If not, what is your favorite genre?

Vote yes or absolutely not: 60 day running streak!

First Grade Draft

My boss is a fitness competitor. As I walked into his office recently, I was distracted by all the shiny trophies proudly displayed on a top shelf. There were 6, I think. As I stuttered for a second in what I was sharing with him, it made me take a quick look at my own accomplishments.

Memory Lane

When I notice the rack full of medals, I don’t see the end result. I do see the work I put into earning them. And they were earned, for sure. Granted, it’s nice to have them, but it’s what isn’t written on them that makes a difference. Which leads me to this point – you can’t make someone want something they don’t want for themselves. If you’re doing it because it’s another person’s dream for you, the value is minimal, if real at all. Not to say there isn’t value, but it probably isn’t the full value you would have instilled.

All this to say…I believe there’s a draft system in public schools. Very loaded statement, Kel. As mini goes to a small(ish) school – but certainly not as small as mine was – there are 4 kindergarten classes and, I presume, as many first grade classes. So as she has begun peppering me with questions like who will be her teacher next year, I gently remind her I don’t know and probably won’t until about a week before school returns in August. Then she asks who her classmates will be. Wash, rinse, repeat.

photo credit: pexels

Which got me thinking how are classes decided? Is it a drawing? A lottery? Do the teachers drink heavily one night and pick names from an empty wine glass? There’s an idea! My predominant belief is a draft system. As the school year goes on, their teachers are keeping score. Since kindergarten is a (typically) rookie year, they get a wild card pick. So when you see kids getting traded within the first week of school, it’s because a teacher has decided to use her wild card. For the remaining years, trades can only happen when the owner, ahem principal, deems it necessary. At the end of the year, by popular vote, the teacher with the worst class gets first pick in the new school year. Indeed there lives score sheets, mugshots…I mean school photos, and printouts on how annoying the student’s parents were. Sorry, Toots, I bugged the crap out of your teacher.

I’ve been assured the draft doesn’t really take place; it’s all up to chance, so they say. Can’t fool me. I’m convinced there’s a secret society of school personnel who wait all year to call dibs on the class that will rule the school. For one year, at least.

First rule of fight club…

_______________________

I ask you –

At what point should my boss stop bringing his big trophies to work?

How many kindergarten classes did your school have? Just one.

Draft: yay or nay?

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

________________________

I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.