About Me

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Year of Fun, 2012-2013

I have officially declared a year of fun for myself. For the past couple of years I've had some tough years at work and lately I've been searching for ways to relieve my stress. I've also been overworking myself ever since my mom broke her back when I was in the second grade. Now that I'm 36, I feel like I need a break. I've vowed to have as much fun as I can between June 1, 2012 to June 1, 2013. And if it works as well as I think that it's going to, I suspect that next year I will have to stick with the tradition and come up with another theme-filled year.

I kicked off my year of fun with a weekend trip to Las Vegas. My boyfriend and I went with four other couples and stayed outside the main Vegas strip near Lake Las Vegas. One of our friends took his boat and we spent a sun soaked day at Lake Mead. In the evening we headed in a limo over to the strip to have dinner and watch two shows. The weekend made me realize that I don't get out much because I tend to overwork myself. The weekend marked the first time that I've also ever formally gone away somewhere with other couples. It took my mind off of thinking about work all weekend long.

Declaring a year of fun has already proven itself to be super fun as I sit and think about ways to have fun. Thinking about ways to have fun takes my mind off of the negativity and burnout that I have been suffering due to work. As I brainstorm and plan, I feel like once again I am coming alive and connecting with the real me. I've lost myself somewhere along the way as I have tried to live a life serving others. I'm dedicated to beginning to walk the path of serving others while also nurturing myself and my needs.

Always the consummate strategic planner, I've been busy thinking about ways that I want to have fun over the next year. I'm just starting to brainstorm ideas and generate a list of fun goals that I would like to accomplish in the next eleven months. It just occurred to me that so many of my goals cost a bit of money to accomplish, so over the next week I'm going to also generate a list of free ways that I can also have fun. Just some of my 2012-2013 Year of Fun goals are:

  • Go to Cabo San Lucas with friends. All of my life, I've prided myself on "authentic travel". Well this time I want to just hedonistically spoil myself at a touristy beach resort. Cabo here I come! I am planning the trip for August. 
  • Swim with dolphins in Cabo. Well, only as long as they aren't in the ocean. Because I'm scared to death of the ocean. And sharks. 
  • See the show "Iris" by Cirque de Soleil. In fact, I should probably even read a summary of what it's even about. Buy hey, it's Cirque de Soleil so it's probable that I will enjoy it. 
  • Go back to Vegas soon with friends. The next time won't be a relaxing boating experience, but a party type of weekend. I'd love to have nice dinners, gamble a little (although I don't really even gamble) and see a few shows. 
  • Visit two of my girlfriends who moved to San Francisco at least two times. I'd like to go alone once and take my boyfriend another time. I haven't planned what I'd like to do in Frisco, but visiting Alcatraz is a must! 
  • Go to at least two murder mystery dinner shows! 
  • Go see the Book of Mormon when it comes to the Pantages Theatre in Las Angeles.
  • Go to the Madonna concert this year when it comes to Los Angeles.
  • Take my two nieces to Disneyland for the first time. Maybe I'll invite one of our other new couple friends who have three small children.
  • Also I'd love to take my nieces to Sea World. It helps that there is currently a deal on Expedia that adults can pay the same as a child and that children under the age of three are free. Seaworld, here we come! 
  • Go to New York or Europe with my honey. Or Brazil. In fifteen years that we've been together, we just barely started going away on getaways together! We have a lot of catching up to do! 
  • Go on at least six formal hikes somewhere away from my local neighborhood. They must be a minimum of one and half hours! I'd love to visit Runyon Canyon in LA. 
  • Go on a helicopter ride to the Hollywood sign or go on a hot air balloon over Temecula. Maybe. Did I mention that I am afraid of heights? 
  • Go on a walkathon. Or a marathon. 
For years I've been frugal and rarely spend any extra money. This year I am going to make an effort in not even flinching when I have to spend money on some of these items. I know that I am going to need to spend money if I want to relieve my stress. However, this week I am going to brainstorm a variety of free alternative fun activities that I can participate in. I'm so excited!

If you declared a Year of Fun, what are a few things that would be on your list? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Misadventures in Boating


A close friend of my boyfriend bought a new boat on Saturday and invited us out to the lake on Sunday. I found out about it at the last moment on Saturday and was irritated that my boyfriend begged that I go with them. I'd been having a rough couple of weeks at work and had to work six days this week. I felt like I needed to stay home and relax on Sunday, my only day off. I eventually caved in and decided to join them on their boat ride.

When I got into the boat, all of reservations about going just disappeared. For once I just sat, relaxed, talked with friends, drank beer and ate delicious barbecued food. I was living it up. I didn't even think once about work, or any other worries. I felt so happy and carefree--until the boat engine died, that is.

We were floating in the middle of the lake when the engine died. Soon we flagged down some people on jet skies and asked them to tell the park rangers that we were stuck on the lake. We settled in to wait for them to come help us. Hours passed and we floated closer and closer to an area of jagged rocks. We didn't have an anchor on board so we knew that it was inevitable that we were going to hit the rocks.

I started to panic. I panicked not because I thought that we would be hurt. I started to feel completely stressed over the fact that the boat was going to be damaged by the rocks. I voiced my panic to my boyfriend and friends and told them that I was starting to have a panic attack. Obviously none of them have had a real panic attack because they started to egg me on and tease me a bit. I told them repeatedly that a panic attack is a physical reaction and that it can escalate. They laughed and teased.

Eventually I went crazy. I had a complete fit, screamed at my boyfriend and jumped fully clothed into the water. I had tight fitting yoga pants on and as soon as I hit the water my pants immediately became large and loose. My pants fell down around my ankles and I could barely swim because my feet were tangled. I struggled to pull up my pants because I was afraid that everyone would see that I had thong underwear on. Finally I pulled up my pants and someone pulled me into the boat.

As soon as I got out of the water, the shock of jumping into cold water and having my pants fall off just shocked me back into reality and the panic attack was gone. I laid out in the sun and just watched the boat float into the rocks. My boyfriend and his friend jumped out and stood in the water for hours, trying to keep the boat away from the rocks. And then lo and behold the engine eventually turned on and we headed back home. What a day!

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for...F**kin' Perfect

I super love the lyrics to this song. I can really relate:

F is for....Facebook Manners

I'm participating in the Blogging A-Z April Challenge where I blog about a topic associated with a certain letter each day. Yesterday was my birthday and I skipped the letter E. Today I'm still feeling festive with little drive to write, but I thought I'd upload a funny video about Facebook manners for the letter F. Sadly all the rules are true in this video and some people really do some dumb things on Facebook. I think that the video really is cute and funny:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Dress


Today I bought a dress for the first time in over a decade. Once I started gaining weight about ten or eleven years ago, I stopped wearing dresses. I never wore a lot of dresses, but back in the day I used to like to wear dresses out to dance clubs or special occasions. I haven't felt good enough about my weight or body to even try one on in years.

Saturday I am going to the wedding of my boyfriend's friend and I am really excited about it. It will be the first gay wedding that I have ever been to, and it will be on a yacht that floats around the bay. For a week my boyfriend has been excited and asked me to go and get something nice to wear, get some makeup and fix my hair up. Usually he is pretty supportive of my weight or me dressing down. I think it's finally starting to be apparent to him that perhaps I haven't been taking the best care of myself lately.

At first I felt a lot of stress about the event. I know that many of the other skinny wives are going to get all dolled up with hair, makeup, heels and jewelry. I've never cared for jewelry and am sort of a minimalist lately in the makeup department due to allergies. I just hate comparing myself to the other women. I don't feel good about myself.

Tonight I went shopping and I just bought a dress. I am nervous, but excited. Tomorrow is my birthday and tomorrow I am going to mark the day as the first day of my new life, a life where I start caring more again about my appearance, health and weight. In a way I feel like I have low self esteem and am scared to death to wear the dress on Saturday, but at this point if I don't start trying then I never will begin to feel better. It all starts with the first foot forward. And a new dress.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Chloe

I am participating in the Blogging A-Z April Challenge, a challenge where bloggers write about a topic associated with a certain letter each day. Today is the third day of the challenge and the letter is C.

A year ago my boyfriend brought home a small black dog that he rescued from his father's house. His father had an uncanny knack for acquiring dogs that he wouldn't really take care of. He would lock them up with cats in cluttered rooms, or in a yard where they would escape. Eventually my boyfriend would bring the dogs over to his house to take care of.

In the backyard of my boyfriend's house there was already a large great dane that he had rescued from his father. There was also an old yellow chihuahua. And a young female boxer. And then one day a little black dog named Baby showed up. I was irate.

I yelled, whined and stomped my feet. "Your father is so irresponsible!" I complained. "I'm tired of him getting dogs and not taking care of them. That dog needs to go!" I demanded.

"He bought the dog for my niece," he explained. "It won't be here for very long".

I hated little Baby. For the first couple of days and nights she barked incessantly and I wanted to rip my hair out. I plotted and planned that I was going to give her away to people at work and tell my boyfriend's father that she had ran away. One sleep-deprived evening I even lay on the couch and thought about killing her if she wouldn't stop barking.

At the time I had recently lost two of my dogs that I had owned for twelve years. Within a four month period they both got sick and died, one basically getting sick as soon as the other died. I was absolutely heartbroken. I just couldn't find it in myself to bond with any of the four dogs in the backyard, although I had agreed to adopt the Boxer. I didn't pay any of them much attention.

One day I brought the Boxer and the little black dog home to my house. I stayed alone with them for about three weeks without taking them to my boyfriend's house because the little black dog Baby was in heat. Days passed and suddenly Baby started to crawl into my bed and snuggle with me at night. And then suddenly I decided to rename her Chloe.

Now I am really starting to love Chloe. I can still feel myself being detached from her because I am afraid to have my heart broken over a dog again. But each night that she crawls into my bed to sleep at my feet, I get a warm fuzzy feeling of love all over again. Hopefully one day Chloe will mend my broken heart.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Baby Fever. Or, Biological Clock

I am participating in the Blogging A-Z April Challenge, a challenge where bloggers write about a topic associated with a certain letter each day. Today is the second day of the challenge and the letter is B.
baby bentrup

There once was a time when I had a major aversion to babies. Strangers' babies, friends' babies, any baby-I didn't care for them. They never looked cute to me; in fact, they looked red, slimy, and sticky. I thought they were smelly and loud. I never felt the urge to hold them. I used to feel irritated by sitting next to them in restaurants. And, I certainly never wanted one of my own.

I've always had a pet peeve with babies in my work space. I have never really understood women who have a baby and bring them into the office. Everyone stands around, cooing and ahhing, competing with one another to hold the baby. As a manager, I always pop myself out of the office, force myself to look at the baby, say "Oh, how cute" and then go back to work. I swore up and down that I would never! bring one of my future babies into the office. For years I even swore that I wouldn't be caught dead having a baby.

Years ago my boyfriend used to tease me that we would have three babies. He came from a family of three boys and wanted three children himself. "Hell no!" I used to say. "I don't want a child at all, but you want three. Can we compromise on just one?" I asked. He agreed. That conversation persisted until I was about 33 years old. Then one day I just stopped all my protesting.

A year and a half ago I rescued a dog that I thought was pregnant. (She wasn't). I suddenly became so nurturing towards her and her future puppies. A couple of months later, while out walking with my boyfriend and the dog, I started pointing out everything baby-a puppy, a baby bird, even-shall I say it?? (gasp)- little human babies all over the neighborhood. Then I started to notice and look at babies everywhere and even found myself once saying, "Oh, how cute!"

Now my baby fever had morphed into something else. Now I am completely obsessed with giving life. I want to plant and grow flowers, herbs and plants-although all of my life I have effectively boycotted gardening. I wonder if little bugs I see are babies. I want to read about baby caterpillars, tadpoles and I even think little baby mice are oh so cute. I see flowers sprouting from plants and trees, and cute little baby grass, plants or weeds sprouting in dirt or through cracks in the pavement.

Now I want to quit my job and start popping out five or six babies, and then adopt even more! I want to give up my job so that I can run around in the park all day long with my little babies and dogs. In three days I will be turning 36 and I think that I'm almost ready to have a baby!

Babies here, babies there; babies, babies, everywhere! Babies! Babies! Babies! I have baby fever!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Birthdays

I am participating in the Blogging A-Z April Challenge, a challenge where bloggers write about a topic associated with a certain letter each day. Today is the first day of the challenge and the letter is A.

I'm suffering from writer's block, so I figured that I would write about April birthdays since April is the most jam packed month of birthdays in my life.

April 1st is a close friend's birthday.

April 2nd if my father's birthday.

April 4th is my step father's birthday.

April 5th is my birthday.

April 7th is my ex's birthday.

April 10th is another ex's birthday.

April 15th is my boyfriend's birthday.

April 17th is a close friend's birthday.

April 26th is my mom's birthday.

April 29th is my brother's birthday.

April 30th is my half brother's birthday.

Is April not a super birthday month for me, or what??

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giving "Weight Watchers" a Try

the weigh-in

Today I joined Weight Watchers online. I also joined it about seven years ago, and honestly it didn't help me much at the time, but I'm willing to try to give it another try. One thing that I like about it is that it will automatically adjust how many points I am able to eat each day as my weight changes. One thing that I don't like about it is counting all of those points though.

I'm going to try to use the points, but I have a feeling that I will use the online system more to read the weight loss blogs, to track my weight, and to also find healthy meals that fit into my point numbers. I really liked that they have suggestions for week one and beyond for meals to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, the same meal plans also overwhelmed me, because I'm not accustomed to planning out my meals and I'm also not a very good cook.

The first thing that I am going to commit to is to read the sample meal plans and to make a grocery shopping list for this weekend. Initially I was overwhelmed with all of the options for each day, but later I decided that instead of having seven different options that I will just start with two different breakfasts, lunches and dinners for next week that I will eat multiple times. Once I feel comfortable with those meals then I will add more to give more variety to my meals.

I've decided that every Wednesday I am going to start something on my blog called "Weigh In Wednesday" where I am going to weigh myself every Wednesday and post my weight on my blog. It will give me accountability to report my weight to someone. Maybe you can also weigh yourself on Wednesday too, if you are also trying to lose weight-so we can support one another on our journey!

In a way I feel sort of like a fraud, having said all of these same things over the past ten years that I have been overweight. I feel like I am just going to fail again. I feel overwhelmed with all of the new healthy habits that I have to acquire. I always have great plans and action steps that I plan out, but I am inconsistent on my follow through. But this time I'm going to try my best to keep my commitments!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Want a Baby

Baby Blues

I want a baby. The words have been coming out of my mouth for about the last year or so, but today is the first time that I actually mean it. Today it feels different though, because I can feel in my heart that I am ready to make the necessary lifestyle changes that I need to make in order to get pregnant. And I'm really excited about it!

Unfortunately, I have allowed myself to gain a pretty significant amount of weight for the last decade. I eat horribly and I never exercise. My stress is totally out of control, which has harmed my immune system and has resulted in frequent cold and other illness. I am extremely tired all of the time and have been starting to feel depressed. Because I am so tired all of the time, I am not the most organized or tidy person at home. I feel like I am in pretty bad shape.

About a year ago, my boyfriend and I decided that I better get my health and organization in order before getting pregnant. I obviously never did. I may have actually even gotten a little worse over the past year. I am on and off the healthy eating wagon and exercise train, often falling off and not really getting back on. I just couldn't get the motivation to lose the necessary weight, so we pushed back our family plans for another year-while I once again vowed to get my health back on track before. But I still haven't done anything about it.

Today I am going to commit to making changes in my life so that I can be a happy, healthy and good mother. I am really excited to change!

When Your Father is a Stranger


I can't remember how long it's been since I last spoke with my father. I know I last spoke with him over a year ago, but it may have been more like two years ago. At the time I hung up on him although we didn't really have a fight. I just got sick and tired of him asking me to visit him and complaining that I never made time for him. I'm honestly not even sure if I have missed him or felt guilty for avoiding him all this time.

Yesterday his wife sent me a text and invited me over to his house for my father's sixtieth birthday. The text was cordial and hopeful, and completely out of the blue. My initial reaction was to feel a strange sense of guilt and a brief thought that I should visit him. "You are going to regret it one day if he ever dies," I heard my boyfriend's voice in my head. Then I felt stressed out about going, and contemplated whether or not I should lie and text her back that I will be going out of town for the next couple of weeks. I still haven't responded.

My feelings about my father are complex and confusing. I don't know if I love him or hate him. I don't know if I am hurt deep inside and pretend that I don't care about him or whether I just don't have any feelings whatsoever for him. The only time that I really miss him is when I want to ask him a question about money or investing, two of his favorite topics and the major focus of most of our conversations over the years. I don't know if I want to end or strengthen my relationship with him.

My father left home when I was three years old and my brother was two weeks old. I don't really know what happened, but my mother says that he didn't want to grow up and accept responsibilities while my aunt says that my father cheated on my mother. My younger brother and I stayed the night with my father every Wednesday night and every other weekend. I never really felt like my father was family and always felt uncomfortable in his house. He remarried twice, eventually settling down with his current wife, raising her daughter and becoming a member of his wife's close knit family.

When I was in the eighth grade and at the peak of rebelliousness, my mother sent me to live with my father and his wife for a year. At the end of the year, I chose to return to my mother's house, although my mother was verbally, emotionally and at times physically abusive. When I left his house, he said to me, "If you leave my house, you will never be able to return". I can't remember what I said to him, but I recall him crying and telling me that he didn't know how to be a father because his father had died when he was three years old.

After that incident, I rarely visited my father, only visiting once or twice a year during holidays whenever he insisted. I visited out of guilt that I had to visit. I remember sitting there feeling out of place while his wife, her daughter and her extended family celebrated as a family unit. My father would often sit to the side to talk to me, but I never felt comfortable. Every holiday I ping ponged back and forth between my mother and father's house. Eventually I started lying to my father and later to my mother, claiming that I would be out of town for the holidays or that I had the flu or a migraine. My holidays have been much happier to me as I have celebrated them alone, or with my boyfriend, cousin or friends.

About ten years ago, I told my mother that my father didn't mean anything to me. "Oh, you can't be serious. You are just hurt and think that you don't care because it's a defense mechanism. Just imagine if he died and you didn't have him around anymore. Your heart would be broken," she exclaimed. My mother didn't believe me when I said that he was more like an acquaintance to me and that it wouldn't affect me much if he died. I've always wondered if I really mean it or not. I sort of think I do.

The last time that I spoke to him, he was insistent that I visit soon. He complained that I never visited, although he frequently asked to see me. And I just completely snapped for some strange reason. I told him that he didn't worry about spending time with me all of his life. I informed him that I had better things to do than sit and pass time with someone who is practically a complete stranger to me, and then I hung up on him.

Every year he has sent me a Christmas gift, depositing a stock certificate in my bank account. One year he sent a birthday card, but last year he didn't. I haven't read the last couple of cards that he sent me, and they are all in a bag in my room. He has called a couple of times and last Christmas he texted me. On Christmas I responded "thank you" to him. I feel stress when I think about reading his cards, taking his calls or seeing him. I have no idea why.

I don't know if I should visit him for his sixtieth birthday. In one way, I feel that my life is happier without him in it, although he has really never done anything wrong to me. I feel pressured that I am supposed to like or love someone who seems like a stranger to me. But I also feel guilty because he is trying to reach out to me, and yet I am avoiding him and pushing him away. I am going to mull it over and hope that I will be able to figure it all out by tomorrow.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On Turning 36: Dreams, Premonition, or Paranoia?

Dream 365.65

For over twenty years I've had three reoccurring dreams that have haunted me. One dream is where I call 911 during an emergency and can't reach a dispatcher. The other dream is about all of my teeth falling out or being sharp, fragile and jagged. The third dream, that I can actually never remember even dreaming, has something to do with me dying a horrible death at the age of 36. I never seem to actually remember the death dream, but every once in a while I have a deep sense of dread and a feeling that I have dreamed about it. Most of the dreams stopped in my late 20s, although I had the 911 call dream again for the past two nights.

The dream about the 911 call began when I was in elementary school, not too long after the emergency number was established in our area. Sometimes I dreamed about men in the field next to my house who had robbed the local store and who were trying to kidnap me, but when I called 911 the phone rang and rang and no one answered. Or I would dream about calling 911 over a big fire down the street and the phone was constantly busy. On other occasions I dreamed that I called 911 when someone was breaking into my house, and I was placed on hold while I screamed in terror. I never was able to get a hold of a dispatcher in any of my dreams, and I never knew what happened with whatever emergency was happening. Last night I strangely had the dream again after not having it for many years.

I can't recollect when I first started dreaming about my teeth falling out or becoming jagged and pointy. I faintly remember having the dream in middle school and sporadically throughout high school. The dreams started frequently throughout college, and were frequent enough for me to visit a counselor. "Perhaps the dream symbolizes that you have no control over something in your life. Perhaps you are afraid of losing something that is special to you," the counselor suggested. I always suspected that it had something to do with me never having had a cavity in my life as well as dentists and people frequently commenting on how straight my teeth were. The teeth dreams ended abruptly about two years after I graduated from college. I always thought it was bizarre that five years after my dreams stopped that my father had gingivitis and most of his teeth fell out. Last night my dream consisted of me not being able to talk to the 911 dispatcher because my teeth were falling out.

The third dream, the one that I really never remember having but feel that I have had, started when I was in late elementary school and ended when I was almost thirty. I can actually never remember waking up and remembering having the dream; I've just always carried around a sense of dread, and sort of a memory like deja vu, of seeing my life flash before my eyes at the age of 36. Logically I assumed that I was having a memory of a dream that I had, but I could never pinpoint a time when I had the dream. In over five years I haven't had the sense of having the dream, although I carry around the dread of becoming 36 years old.

I've always wondered if my feeling of having the dream of dying signifies that I have actually had the dream, or if I am having a premonition of my death. My mother and aunt have always claimed that they can "sense things" that are going to happen, like when the time my mom wouldn't let me go to the movies because she had a "bad feeling" and we later found out that there was a drive-by shooting. Or the time that my aunt dreamed about my cousin's lost dog that was in a shelter on a street with a certain name, and the dog was found in a shelter on that street over 100 miles away from my cousin's house, and 600 miles away from my aunt. I've often wondered if it's just a coincidence or if they can really sense things.

When I was in high school, I started to think that I might possibly be able to sense things that were going to happen. It started when I used to sneak my boyfriend over to my house every once in a while and I would suddenly have a strange feeling that I needed to get him out of the house. All five times that it happened, my mother would abruptly show up after calling off sick from work. I always managed to barely escape getting caught with many things that I was doing because I always had a feeling at a certain time.

Over the years I have continued to have strange feelings or dreams. I can recall a time when I mentioned to my boyfriend that I felt a pending sense of dread for no reason, only later to find out that someone that I knew died around the time that I made that statement. I can immediately sense if a person is going to back stab or take advantage of a friend, and I'm typically correct about 90% of the time. I can go on and on with many examples, but when it all boils down to it I am still confused about whether I can sense something or whether it's all just a coincidence.

In my world there's a fine line between dreams, premonitions, coincidence and paranoia. About three years ago, when I was 33, I began to experience anxiety for the first time in my life to the point that I have had to temporarily take anxiety medication for a couple of weeks on two occasions. I wondered if the dream or feeling of dying at 36 was actually going to happen. Why else would the age of 36 be etched in my brain? Am I being paranoid, or am I having a premonition? Or am I just having a silly reoccurring dream that I really can't remember?

I will be turning 36 in a couple of weeks and I am experiencing anxiety about it. I'm at the point in my life where I am considering having a child, and I feel anxious about getting pregnant while I am 36 years old. What I haven't admitted to anyone, including my boyfriend, is that I have been at home alone for the past week organizing my house and have even thought about making a will, just in case it's not only paranoia that I am feeling and I suddenly fall over and pass away.

Another part of me feels that I am not going to die a tragic death, but that my life is going to completely change direction when I am 36. For the first time in my life, I am planning on having a child and getting pregnant when I am 36. I am contemplating whether or not I am in the right profession, or whether or not I should change careers or jobs-a consideration that I wouldn't even have thought about five years ago. Family is becoming more important to me, and I feel more in love and vulnerable with my boyfriend of almost 15 years. I am starting to purge toxic friends and people from my life. I am thinking of moving for the first time in my adult life and it's causing me a considerable amount of stress because I have always lived alone.

On Thursday I went to see a hypnotist, who suggested that perhaps I have always had a premonition that my life will change course at the age of 36. Perhaps my mind always secretly knew that I would want to have a child at the age of 36. Maybe my old life will die when I consciously decide to bring a child into this world-a feat that I thought I would never want or do because I was afraid that I would reinforce the cycle of abuse that I had faced as a child. Or maybe I have just subconsciously waited all of my life to make some serious changes in my life when I turn 36.

In order to curb the anxiety that I am feeling about turning 36, the hypnotist urged me to do something special to celebrate my upcoming birthday. She recommended that I mark the day as the first day of my new life, and celebrate it with something fun and positive to mark the day where I will become at peace with myself and my life. I am trying to reframe the day as the first day of my new life-the year where I will lose weight and be healthy, shake the anxiety and paranoia about becoming 36, and choose to have healthier relationships and work environments in my life.

It's really hard for me to shake the anxiety, but today I booked an appointment with a day long session at the spa to get a massage, body wrap, facial, and a mani/pedi. I also invited three of my closest friends who are supportive and bring absolutely no drama into my life to for a dinner birthday with my boyfriend and I. And, my boyfriend and I will spend a night at the beach the weekend after my birthday.

I'm really trying to be positive about my upcoming birthday. I'm really taking to heart the suggestion from the hypnotist that I choose to start my life anew on my 36th birthday, breaking bad habits that I have and changing what I really want to change in order to live a more full life. In the next upcoming days I am going to be reflecting and blogging on some of the steps and goals that I would like to set for myself, to change my mindset about turning 36. I am excited to start my new life=)

Friday, March 23, 2012

If I Were in Charge of the World

I love the poem "If I Were in Charge of the World". I've never really dabbled in creative writing, but the poem really makes me want to rewrite it into my own version. If I were in charge of the world, how would the world be?? I'm going to think about this for a bit; meanwhile, check out the original children's poem:

If I Were in Charge of the World

If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There'd be brighter nights lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn't have lonely.
You wouldn't have clean.
You wouldn't have bedtimes.
Or "Don't punch your sister."
You wouldn't even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable
All 007 movies would be G,
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.

I will be writing my own version soon. If you were in charge of the world, what would this world be like??

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ping Pong Balls in my Mind

Ping pong balls and binoral beats

My mind is like a ping pong ball. Well, maybe it's more like there are ping pong balls in my mind, constant thoughts swirling, twirling and crashing against one another in my mind. Or so the hypnotist says.

Tonight I went to see the hypnotist to see if she could help me learn some healthier eating and exercise habits. After speaking with her for about 15 minutes, she told me that it was as if I have ping pong balls bouncing around in my mind. "No wonder you can't focus enough to commit your mind to making you practice healthy habits," she said. "Living a healthy lifestyle is more about your mind than anything else. When you can't calm and focus your mind on a goal, you will fall flat on your face".

I used to think that my mind was more like a chess board or a chess game. My mind is constantly running and playing out every possible scenario to everything in my life. "If you do x, then z will happen. In order to help you deal with z, then do y", it whispers to itself all day long. And it's not just about one topic. It's as if strategic plays for 25 different topics are constantly pinging around all day. No wonder why I feel so mentally exhausted by the end of evening.

About seven years ago a counselor told me something similar. He happened to mention that he thought perhaps I was a little bit bipolar, but without the depression and down time. He thought I had a slight bit of manic thinking. "But it's also what has made you professionally and financially successful. It's also what might make you sort of artistic and philosophical. I'd hate to give you medicine that might make you feel as if you're walking around in a fog". Instead, he recommended that I snap myself with a rubber band around my wrist if I noticed lots of thoughts in my mind. I never did it of course.

Tonight the hypnotist put me into a trance (I think). I'm trying to have an open mind, but I suppose that I have traditionally thought about a trance as if I am unconscious and easily suggestible. I just sat and listened to her. But then suddenly my mind started to calm the ping pong balls that I had etched into my mind and instead I just wanted to calm down and focus on tons of bright swirling lights that made me happy. Tonight my mind now feels more calm and centered.

Maybe it's the placebo effect. Maybe hypnotism does work. Or maybe it doesn't. All I know is that it forced me to sit in a chair, listening to a calm voice while I calmed and settled my mind. And that is all that really matters.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

April Challenge: Blogging from A-Z

Yesterday I found a blog online called Blogging from A-Z that has an April blogging challenge that I am really excited about. For the past couple of years I have been blogging professionally and I just recently started this blog so that I can blog about personal issues. It seems like both professionally and personally I have been suffering from writer's block since maybe September or so, and I definitely need a little inspiration.

From what I gather so far, blogs who choose to participate in the challenge are all linked together on a list. Starting on April 1st, everyone who is participating will begin to blog about topics that are associated with letters of the alphabet-for example, on day one-April 1st-bloggers should all blog about something that is associated with the letter A. All bloggers on the list then visit a number of blogs that are on the list next to their blog and leave comments. It seems like a fun way to encourage one another's writing as well as find some great blogs to read.

I've been wracking my brain all day to think of my first topic. It's so funny that I can immediately think of a topic for my professional blog, which would be "Affective Filter", a second language acquisition theoretical term. But being so work-centered is the reason that I've burned myself out in the first place and so I'm really trying to keep it to personal topics, or maybe professional topics that can be twisted around to my personal life.

I am really excited about this blogging challenge! My professional blogs have a community already established and so once I started this person blog, it made me a little sad because I feel like I don't have a community. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, reading new blogs, and finding a new community that doesn't necessarily revolve around my professional life.

If you are interested in participating in the blogging challenge, or want additional information, you can find more info here:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hypnosis and Weight Loss


Today I called my old yoga instructor and made an appointment for hypnosis. I don't know if I even believe in hypnosis, but I think that it's definitely worth a try. About seven years ago my father mentioned to me that he was hypnotized by her so that he could stop smoking, and that the method was very successful. So I am crossing my fingers that it will work to help me lose weight and make more healthy lifestyle decisions.

I suspect that if anything that it signifies that I really mean business this time. For me to shell out $250 for four hypnosis sessions shows how much I really want to help myself change. I have my first session this coming Thursday evening and I just can't wait to sit in that chair and experience whatever it is that I am going to experience.

Have you ever been hypnotized? How did it go? What were the results? If not, do you believe that hypnosis works??

Monday, March 19, 2012

Minimizing the Negativity

I'm at a point in my life where I just can't tolerate the negativity that is out there in the world. I go to work every day to work in a dysfunctional public school system with dysfunctional adults who all treat another like crap. My whole day consists of taking complaints and solving problems for parents, schools and adults.  There is rarely a day when there isn't some kind of crisis or negativity at work.

Lately I have noticed that when I come home I am assaulted with more negativity. I have family members who call me with a problem or a crisis, or even just to vent about something. Then I turn on the news only to see murder and mayhem, or some stupid politician saying something that really pisses me off. I've also gotten into a really bad habit of watching reality series like Housewives of X, Y, or Z-you name it. It just occurred to me that listening to women bickering on television is causing me more stress.

I feel that there is a lot that I can't control at work, but I do know that I can choose to react in a certain way. I am trying to not let the negativity get to me and I have been better at coping with it. My home life really needs to change, however. I need to somehow figure out a way to draw stricter boundaries with some of my negative family members or family members who just oh so love all the drama that they create for themselves. But how do I do that without being an insensitive bitch?

A huge problem that I know that I need to address are my internet habits. Twitter used to be a lifeline for me, a place where I connected with people who have similar interests. Lately it just seems like a lot of noise with constant updates of things that stress me out. It's a hard thing to balance because I am a political junkie. But at some point, it stops being about politics and it turns into just freaking craziness that I just don't want to deal with anymore. It makes me sad because I love politics.

I also know that I need to address my television habits. I used to hate reality shows, and then one day I decided that I needed to watch something on television that made my brain numb. I started watching the Housewives franchise, and then came Jersey Shore (wow, that's embarrassing to admit), the Kardashians and all their spin offs and other shows like Basketball Wives. This week I listened to women bickering and screaming at one another on television, and other women making excuses for their womanizing boyfriends...and I realized that something has to change with what I am watching on television.

I admit that it's going to be really hard to change my television and internet habits. I am going to have to dig deep into what I am watching and start little by little to watch other things. I really need to explore what I am watching and why I am watching it, and maybe I don't need to cut out all of my shows. For example, I watch Ice Loves Coco and it makes me so damn happy that they are such a cute couple who is so happy together! Regarding twitter, I started another twitter account where I am going to try to have a more positive dialogue and also monitor the time that I spend on twitter. I'm taking baby steps in the right direction. Something has got to change! =)

Sticking to My Goals

In my last post I blogged about how I have been suffering from burnout as a result of being overworked. I identified five simple things that I wanted to do over the weekend to try to take my mind off of work so that I can unwind and heal. I'm desperate to get my mojo back. The five goals were:

  • Take a nap each day and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Go to the gym if I wasn't feeling sick or take a walk if it wasn't raining.
  • Watch a silly movie on television.
  • Read a book for fun.
  • Talk on the phone to a friend that I haven't spoken with in a while. 
Unfortunately I didn't necessarily complete all of my goals, but I feel that I did make some progress towards meeting some. This is my progress:
  •  Each day I tried to have 8 hours of sleep, but I maybe slept for about six or seven hours. I didn't take a nap. 
  • I didn't go to the gym or walking. 
  • I watched a movie on television called "Young Adult". I didn't care for it much. But I also watched a television show that I like called "In Plain Site" and another called "The Good Wife". 
  • On Saturday I went to urgent care to get some treatment for a cold. I didn't necessarily read a book for fun, but I took a book with me to read in the waiting room. Perhaps I will dedicate at least 30 minutes tonight to read. What happened to those days when I used to be able to read for hours?
  • I did call a friend that I haven't spoken to in a while, but she wasn't home. However, I picked up another friend for lunch yesterday and then we drove around town in the rain and looked at houses for sale. It was so fun and I can't wait to do it again!
I feel like I want to add more goals, but something tells in me inside that I need to try to stick to the goals that I set and work towards meeting them over the rest of the week. Wish me luck! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kicking Burnout's Ass

I have always been a workaholic and to some extent I still am. I am currently suffering from extreme burnout. I try to hide and mask it because I feel that it's a sort of weakness, but deep inside I know how burned out I feel and I realize that I have lost some of my productivity. Over a decade of working twelve hours a day, six or seven days a week, and having my private life revolve around nothing but my work field has finally caught up to me.

The burnout manifests itself in a number of ways. Lately I have been sick all the time-since January I have suffered from three colds and I have currently relapsed with another. I am irritated, impatient, and constantly lose my temper. Sometimes I feel depressed, overwhelmed, and emotional. My body constantly aches and I always feel exhausted. I can't concentrate. Sometimes I want to change careers, although I adore my job. I know that something is just drastically wrong and something needs to change.

About four years ago, I went through an extremely hard time at work. I lost close friends and two mentors who I cherished and adored. People who I trusted turned on me. I became a manager and didn't have a secretary for the first year. I was forced to work overtime because I had no secretary, people turned on me, and one of my workers stole important content from me that I had to replace myself in order to save face. I had to work my ass off, and since then I have never felt the same.

Those who know me well also know that before I became a manager that I also overworked myself. It was in large part a defense mechanism of being in a relationship with someone who got himself into a little bit of trouble and served time in prison. In order for me to deal with the pain, humiliation, and loss, as well as coping with staying in a faithful relationship with someone who served a significant amount of time in prison, I turned to my work to maintain my sanity. I worked so that I wouldn't worry about him. I worked so that I wouldn't get lonely. I worked so that the time would pass by quickly, that I would become successful, and so that I wouldn't perceive the time that he was gone as being wasted time. And then I got slapped in the face when I became a manager with a tough year and a half of my life. And since then I have never been the same.

The habit of overworking myself has stuck with me and I even turn what should be relaxing into a chore. If I'm going on vacation, well, then I've got to start a blog about it. If I am reading a book then I feel like I have to blog about it. It's a hard habit to break. I'd even say that it is a severe addiction. Do they have a workaholics anonymous 12 step program??

Today on the positivity blog, I read the article 5 Simple Ways to Not Be Overwhelmed and Drained By Your Work. The article hit home to me and inspired me to set more boundaries in my life to come out of the rut that I am currently in. It reminds me that I need to take time out to take care of myself and sometimes rest is the best thing that we need to do. As I am at home sick this weekend, I am going to make sure that I:

  • Take a nap each day and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. 
  • Go to the gym tomorrow if I am not feeling too sick, or go for a walk if it isn't raining.
  • Watch a silly movie on television.
  • Read a book for fun.
  • Talk on the phone to a friend that I haven't spoken with for a while.
I feel like the first step that I must take is admitting that I have a problem. I also need to come up with action steps of things that I am going to do just for myself that aren't related to my profession. I'm going to try to blog about some tangible things that I am going to do, just for me, to make me happy and make me feel rested and at peace. I am going to kick burnout's ass, once and for all. I am taking my life and health back. I can do this!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reconnecting With Me

I am going through some major growing pains in my life. Perhaps I am even having a freaking mid life crisis. It sounds funny to say that, but sadly, I suspect that I am. I don't know where I belong anymore. What used to once be important to me is now maybe not so important. I am so confused about life lately. My life used to revolve around work and ambition, but now it just seems so much less important to me anymore.

It's grown to be so confusing to me that I don't even know on which blog to write anymore. I have a number of blogs with various topics. I want a personal blog, but nothing seems to really fit me. I have always had compartmentalized blogs-one about feminism, another about health, another about education, another about books. I can go on and on. But lately I just can't seem to be compartmentalized anymore.

I am so confused because I have so many various perspectives and interests. I am afraid to write about all of the topics because I am afraid that I will turn off a reader who is interested in one topic when I am blogging about another. For example, do my educator friends want to hear about feminism? Or politics? Or books? Or walking? Or health? Or having a baby? Or activism?

For months, maybe even going on a year, I have been having this dilemma when it comes to blogging. Tonight I signed on to feminism and motherhood blog to blog about the process of getting ready to have a baby. I just sat and stared at the screen and realized that I don't consider my identity to be primarily dominated by motherhood, so I just don't feel like my femimommy.com blog is going to suffice. I then signed on to my feminism blog. But many of my feminism readers aren't educators, so why bore them with lots of information about education? And then it just occurred to me to throw it all away and start anew here. Here is a place where I will write for me, and write about topics that make me happy and interest me.

I've struggled with wondering if I should tell my close friends about my new blogging endeavor. I have always blogged anonymously and have loved the freedom. A couple of months ago, I felt that anonymous blogging isn't enough. But tonight as I sit here, I have decided that I will tell about five people about this blog, but I also won't hide who I am from this blog. And I plan on being open and honest on this blog-even if it means that there may one day be a backlash.

Well, I first started this blog post in angst and now I feel free. I am glad that you have made it this far through the post. I feel happy that I am finally doing something for myself, because lord knows that all I do all of my life is serve other people and am obligated to meeting the needs of others. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my old self and discovering the new self that I am transforming into. Welcome and thanks for joining me on my journey.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Dr. King Means to Me

Every year on Martin Luther King day, I always like to sit and reflect on the philosophy of Dr. King. It's really not much of a special day to me, honestly. I choose to live my life trying to aspire to many of the principles espoused by Dr. King, so I suppose every single day is Martin Luther King day to me. But every year I try to sit down and just reflect for a few moments on how I am doing on my journey to non-violent actions and thoughts.

I will be honest that I am frequently angry. I am angry as hell, to be exact. I harbor resentment and anger towards people who I feel are hateful, racist and mean-spirited. All year long I've been reading Dr. King's speeches about how we should not only try to participate in non-violent actions, but we should also attempt to not have violence of spirit by harboring hatred and resentment towards other people. I just wish I knew how to do it.

I just don't know how to love people who hurt other people. Because education is one of my passions, I find it hard to love people who think that certain groups of students such as English learners and African Americans, or even poor White students, can't learn. I don't even want to show love toward people at work who do everything in their power to undermine student and parents rights to be able to participate in quality bilingual education programs. I can't find any compassion in my heart for far too many people who seem to hate the kids that are in their schools, but seem to love the paychecks that they make off the backs of said children.

This week I have been reading "The Essential Gandhi", a collection of speeches, writings and biographical incidents of Mohandas Gandhi, a man whose philosophy greatly influenced that of Dr. King. In one of his essays, he wrote about how at one point in his life that he used to have a bad temper. According to Gandhi, the non-violent philosophy is a skill to be learned, just like other skills such as reading must be learned through practice. Apparently with enough practice and application, anger can be redirected and transformed into compassion towards those who have harmed us. I can only wish that one day I will get to that point.

The problem with all of this theory though is that I just can't figure out how to apply it. I find it extremely hard and even unrealistic to think that I will ever feel compassion and lack of anger towards certain people. How is it even possible to not feel anger when facing injustice or hatred? Logically injustice would compel someone to feel anger. How will it ever get to the point where my skin is thick enough for me to not let injustice or hatred bother me??

I will keep trying. And hopefully one day I will be able to get to the point where I feel compassion and love. I know that it will take time, practice and patience but one day I will get there.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

When Anonymous Blogging Isn't Enough

I once had an anonymous blog that I kept for many years. The blog was so fulfilling to me, and along the way I met many, many people who I felt very connected to. It was always a strange feeling to meet more kindred spirits online than I actually knew in my lifetime. I really miss it.

I stopped blogging because some of my readers wanted to begin to meet me.  I had fabricated an anonymous identity, writing little white lies here and there-enough to protect my true identity. I was always afraid that someone from my real life would find the blog, so I left fake little clues about my identity. And then when I started getting too close to people, I just couldn't stand the thought of having to admit that I had twisted the truth a bit. So I just stopped blogging.

I really miss the community that I had established on my blog. I came into contact with many strong, smart and sassy women and men. It was through that blogging community that I changed my views on having children when I met so many strong, independent women who were happy as mothers. And for the past year I feel as if I have lost a big part of my life, and I yearn to get it back.

I just can't go back to my old blogging persona because I can't face the fact that I told a few fibs. It makes me sad that I have to completely wipe the slate clean because I don't want my previous community to know who the real me is. I want to start fresh from the beginning by telling the truth about who I am to my readers and community, and letting them really get to know me both online and in person.

The process of unveiling myself to other people is intimidating-especially when I have blogged anonymously for years. It feels scary to me to write about what is deeply personal or important to me when I know that someone who I actually know might be able to read it. I need to learn to move past the fear because I really need to do what makes me happy. And having a personal blog used to make me really happy.

So here's to 2012 and starting my second journey towards having a personal blog. This time it's a little more scary than the first because in the back of my head I will always know that whatever  I write just might be read by someone who I personally know. All I know is that I want to start doing what makes me happy, and writing about personal stuff used to make me happy.   Cheers!!


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