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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life Changes Are Good Even When They Scare The Bejesus Out of You

So....I am making a big change in my life.  It is a good, positive change.  It is a change that is clearly a move onto a new path, since every sign I've seen along this road has directed me onward in a new direction.  Now all that's left is getting past the "oh shit!" of it all, and embracing that fear, knowing I'll be okay and get through it.  I've had so many times in my life where I thought "I can't possibly do that!" and then I've done it, and wondered why I put up such a fuss.  Fear can do that to you.  It makes you doubt yourself.  

But fear can also be a kick in the pants, and make me angry for being afraid.  Over what?  Not much.  Afraid to fail, afraid I've made a bad choice.  At least I've made a choice, right?  And one that feels concrete, solid, and blessed.

I am starting Graduate school next month.  And continuing to work full-time.  I hope this can be done; it must be done financially.  This whirlwind started in March, and in June I was accepted to school.  I was waaaaay past the February deadline, but somehow a belief in it happening and some help along the way by fantastic people got me in the program.  Passing the GRE was the first step.  Can I just say my brain hurt afterwards?  And I still suck at math.  I wish I didn't.  I feel like there is some secret code to math that I haven't figured out yet, and if only I did, I would be good at it.  

I had wonderful people write me letters of recommendation; I don't know what they said, but whatever it was, it worked.  The School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa decided to take a chance on a 46 year old woman and take me into this program.  I haven't been to school in 19 years; last time I wrote a paper, it was on a typewriter.  I went to small colleges; the U of I is huge and requires me parking in a lot, and taking a bus to the library for my classes.  

I don't know how I will come out of this life change.  I expect I will learn some incredible things about life and myself while attending school.  I know it is never too late to try something new.  I have the unwavering support of my main cheerleader, Bud.  He is so happy I'm making a change.  That change will take a few years, so you'll be hearing about it all the time here on my blog.  It has given me a spark in my attitude, my job, and my life.  It has given me a goal to work towards.  My brain will be rattled, shaken, and stirred.  It's time to learn  something new and stretch my thinking muscles.  I didn't realize how bored I was with my life.  And quite frankly, until my sister Patti died last year, I was fairly content.  Not supremely happy, but okay with life.  

But now I know life can be too short, and I have more to do.  

My blog will be changing just a bit, as I will be writing about school, work, and life.  The challenges and surprises along this journey.  The sick feeling in my stomach as I go to school on my first day.  I never did like the first day of school--ever!  How will I balance school and work, and Bud?  And both my blogs?  I don't know.  All I do know is that I will come out the other end.  And I suspect I will have a lot of help along the way.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

If you've been reading my blog for a few years, you know I have been running for years.  Lately those running sessions have been few and far between, and as I've gotten older I've become slower and heavier.  

I found this book on Net Galley and just had to read it, and found someone who wrote a book just for me.  Running Like a Girl is Alexandra's true tale of how she got off her duff, started running, completed a marathon, and found herself sitting on the couch again and not running.

That is me.  Except I don't sit on the couch, I lay on it as I read books or take a nap.

What makes this book different from other running books is what really hit home for me while I was reading it last night.   I don't want to spend all of my runs thinking about how fast I have to run, negative splits, fartleks, or planning my meals for the next week around long runs.  I just want to enjoy the run, see the sights, and finish feeling tired and achy but knowing I just did my body and mind a world of good. 

 Alexandra readily admits to working her ass off to run a marathon (with the help of her dad and brother) and even raises money for a charity in order to feel good about her suffering through training for 6 months.  But after that triumph, the glow faded; she found herself running less and less until she stopped.  Somehow she did take up running again, and has run more marathons and half marathons since then.  Running is now part of her life.  What she found out about herself and running really hit a chord for me, and made me feel that I wasn't alone in the post-race let down and inability to keep running and being enthusiastic about it.  But you can always, always, put those shoes on and begin running again.  It is never too late, and you are never too out of shape or too anything to not try it again.  

The second half of the book is about some running advice she's learned over the years--simple stuff, but great for a novice or someone who doesn't know a lot of runners and is a bit intimidated about buying shoes or a running bra.  We all know when we're out running there is always someone who runs faster, looks fab in their work out clothes, and never seems to work hard while piling up the miles.  But for the rest of us who struggle through every run, want to give up, and can't afford to spend money on matchy matchy anything, this is a great uplifting book that will get you off the couch and out the door.

Rating:  7/10 for humor, brutal honesty, and an easy read.

Available in October in hardcover and e-book.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Flowers That Managed To Stay Alive In My Backyard & 4th of July

This summer has certainly been much more damp than last summer, when we didn't have rain for oh, around 6 weeks.  Now a week doesn't go by without some kind of storm, downpour, or flood warning.  

Somehow the native plants I have in my garden just keep on growing, taking their licks and ignoring the erratic weather and my lack of tender loving care.

I had family over for 4th of July and it was so wonderful to hold babies and have fun with my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews:
Me and my nephew Ryan

Sis Michelle and our nephew Henry:  what a doll!

Niece Miss Rose and Nephew Noah--best pals
The weather was perfect, the bugs behaved for most of the party, and I bribed the kids with sidewalk chalk and bubbles and they were all happy.  Bud was my grill master and I ate too much cake, but sweated out all the beer I drank.  All in all, a good day and my flowers provided a beautiful background to family chaos.  Once again, I am so appreciative of having such a large family!  Can't imagine life without all my brothers and sisters and their kiddies (and their kiddies' kiddies).