Category Archives: Literary Genius

Equinox

And just like that, it’s fall. I find myself restarting my fitness plan for the third time in as many weeks. I started to feel bad about that, until I took a hard look at the last three weeks. More workouts, less crappy food, more produce, less stomach issues. So even if I never “follow through”, even if I never finish this the way it was intended to be done, I’m still doing awesome things and maintaining a significantly better lifestyle, much closer to my ideal health and wellness goals.

And what’s better? I’ve got the kid working out with me. She’s six, and she’s happily sweating and stretching and lifting at my side. She likes it. She asks when we’ll do it again. It’s awesome. Although I do, now, feel pressure to make sure she’s not hearing body shame in these videos, which is surprisingly (maybe not?) pervasive. I don’t want her hearing that you need to sweat off the pounds or work off the donut. That’s crap. We move because we’re meant to. We sweat because it helps us live and work and study in better moods, with more energy to give to the tasks at hand. I’m hoping that’s the lesson she’s learning, at least mostly. I know I can’t control outside influences forever, but I can try.

Speaking of the kid, she’s two weeks into the new school year at a new school, and overall she seems to be doing really well, which makes me happy. We really struggled with the decision to take her out of private school, but the cost was breaking us and it meant never being able to do other things–everything from buying much needed new mattresses and school clothes to seeing movies or going on vacation–without guilt and/or further financial distress. So we moved her to a public school…and she’s doing just fine. She’s bored in class, but she was bored at the private school too, so atleast we aren’t paying for her to be bored. And she’s getting the chance to meet a much more diverse group of kids, which can only be good for her. And seriously, the joy this kid finds in buying hot lunch from the cafeteria every day is amazing.

The husband, as always, is traveling a lot for work. He hates being away, but it comes with the job, so we spend a lot of time on Skype and phone calls and email to stay connected, and then we celebrate his very existence every weekend and on the ocassional day that he’s home during the week. It happens now and again.

So we’re doing well, all told. I’m stupid excited for pumpkin season. The kid and I are both looking forward to a repeat of our ComicCon costumes for Halloween, and we’re in the process of researching all sorts of cool after school options for her now that we actually have a tiny bit of money to put toward enrichment programs, karate class, swim lessons, or whatever else strikes her fancy this year.

I’m really glad it’s fall. I’m yearning for the Mid-Atlantic fall weather, with cool breezes and crisp leaves and that smell in the air. Instead, I get more muggy Florida days for at least another month, but I can still enjoy the fall. I know it makes no sense, but it has always felt like a time of renewal for me, and this year it feels particularly apt that it’s happening…because it’s time. It’s time for a sloughing off of old habits and old thoughts, and turning toward some shiny new ones. It’s time to recommit myself to all the love I have around me, to giving and receiving it, to being grateful for it on a regular basis. When I focus on love–for myself, for others…it hardly matters which–everything else tends to fall more simply into place, and the world seems gentler around me. And that’s what I’m aiming for in the end. A life that feels at times thrilling, but more often than not just gentle. At ease with it’s own existence. Full of possibilities but striving for nothing more than simply being in the moment, the here and now.

Writing feels good, particularly now. I’m determined, among the swim lessons and school events and work crazies, to start making a little more time to write again. I have a partially finished, potentially wonderful story sitting on my computer breathlessly awaiting completion, and I have this blog, that has been the portal to so many meaningful connections in my life.

Thanks for being here.

Share

Classical education: making old into new

Recycling some of my favorite old posts from a forgotten group blog…

A recent New York Times opinion article touched on the potential advantages of high school curriculum focusing on a “classical education,” which usually means a concentration on Latin and classical literature along with course offerings in reasoning, rhetoric, and philosophy.

In the Times article, the author was fortunate enough to attend a classics high school and remembered his time there as among the most challenging of his intellectual pursuits, despite going on to attend Ivy League colleges.

So how does such an ancient plan for a child’s education stand to benefit the child? The classics help students understand what the great thinkers of the past have done to help shape and explain the world around them. The education system would focus on what classical students considered most important, which would move the focus away from modern class structure and toward a concentration on math, science, literature, and logic learned through memorization and repetition. This education provides students with the ability to communicate effectively in speaking and writing, and prepares them fully for further education at top schools, professional careers, and the successful navigation of the world at large.

Many supporters of the movement suggest that the current educational trends are shifted too much toward skill sets used in making money instead of the best possible educational platform. Experts in the field suggest that students be limited in their use of computers until the foundations of reading and writing are firmly established. Arts would remain an important part of the academic environment in order to produce well rounded students who are capable of applying their learning to any situation.

Unfortunately, this type of education is not easily quantifiable, making it difficult for educators, administrators, and parents to measure student performance. The current trend toward more and more easily measurable educational systems is narrowing the academic field and producing children who may test well, but are not necessarily prepared to function competitively in the higher academics and professional circles.

For me, it’s an easy choice. I’d much rather a child grow up with a balance view of the world based on an education that has carried great minds through centuries of top performance and thought. A classical education will give her the opportunity to learn more than basic facts, which the average school child currently remains ignorant of, and gives her the skills necessary to apply critical thinking throughout her life. It is here, in the realms of critical thinking and effective communication, that I think our current educational system falls behind.

(See the original post here)

Share

13 Questions for the New Year

I couldn’t resist the chance to reflect on some great questions that will help me focus on a singular purpose for the new year. LOVE. Love for myself above all. To help me focus on that goal, and to frame the ways in which I’ll be best able to keep that goal in mind when setting smaller or more ambiguous goals about food or health or personal time, I thought this was a perfect set of questions.

Light13 Questions for the New Year

1. Because I wanted to make 2013 count, I… am setting a specific goal to love myself more.

2. Because fear of failure was no longer a good enough reason to not do it, in 2013 I… pledged to run a marathon in November.

3. Because I listened to the whispers inside, in 2013 I… will focus more on what I really need.

4. Because the things that brought me joy in childhood still do, in 2013 I… will sing more, dance more, color more, move more.

5. Because simple pleasures are so rich, in 2013 I… will spend more time away from the computer.

6. Because my body has served me so beautifully all these years, in 2013 I… will find a way to save up for at least one Pilates reformer session with the incomparable Diane.

7. Because the world needs my service, in 2013 I… will volunteer, somewhere, somehow, to do something that helps others in need.

8. Because of the remarkable people who have loved me and made me who I am, in 2013 I… will promise to stay open and honest with the people I love, ask for help and support when I need it, and GIVE support at every opportunity.

9. Because I am willing to believe in the power of forgiveness, in 2013 I… will genuinely let go of grudges, big and small, and set free the bitterness that sometimes collects.

10. Because the silence has gone on long enough, in 2013 I….will be more active and vocal in supporting the humanitarian causes that matter to me.

11. Because I am so blessed, in 2013 I… will remember how much I have to be grateful for, particularly on the days when I feel like the Universe has forgotten or mistreated me.

12. Because I vowed to be more radical, in 2013 I… will give up desserts in January, and maybe beyond. I will submit my manuscripts to publishers again.

13. Because I wanted, in the last days of my life, to remember this year with tears of gratitude, in 2013 I… will take risks, speak truths, and hug more people. I will stop measuring my success in the opinions of others.

 

Share

Thoughts

I have a lot of disjointed thoughts today, so you get random paragraphs.

I finished the The Hunger Games series yesterday. I started out with not being terrible into the first book.

Honestly? I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. I bought it because we had a coupon and a lot of my friends had raved about it. I started reading it during my 10-15min bike warmups at the gym, and for the first while I was just not drawn in. Up until the last chapter or so, I only read it for that ten minute stretch every day and not at all on the weekends because I just felt like I could easily take it or leave it. Once I got to the last chapter or two, I was definitely more into it. I did like it, I just wasn’t as captivated by it as I’d hoped to be. It must not have been too bad though, since one of the first things I did this morning was get on Amazon and buy the next two books in the series.

Catching Fire was better, faster paced and easier for me to get into.

I finished Catching Fire today, less than two days after I started it. It started off much better than Hunger Games for me, and I was intrigued throughout. As predicted by friends, I was frustrated with the ending, but I’m picking up Mockingjay this afternoon and reading it this week.

Mockingjay (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mockingjay)I was relatively excited about starting Mockingjay, in no small part because I love reading and often go through dry spells where I just don’t read for a while, and when I get back to a reading habit I remember how much I like it. I did enjoy the final book, but it still wasn’t world changing. Honestly, it left me feeling sort of sad. I mean, I know it’s a post-apocalyptic book, so how happy could it really end up? I guess there’s just something to those sorts of books. What constitutes a happy ending is that everyone goes back to living “normally” but there’s always a creepy sense for me that it’s just the beginning of the same cycle that led them to whatever horrific thing happened the first time around… which then leads to a consideration of the pitfalls of human nature and, frequently, feeling sort of bad about humanity.

So yeah, there’s that… Now I’ve picked up The Adrian Mole Diaries from one of those $1 bag-of-books sales at the local library. I chose it in the hopes of finding something lighter. I’ve also got Uglies on my to-be-read bookshelf, and one of the House of Night novels too, though I haven’t figured out where the one I have fits into the whole series. Any recommendations on books to read next? I think I’m going to start checking them out from the library instead of buying them.

—————————————————-

I also read Zoot’s post this morning, which got me thinking about the power of negativity. We all do it. We make fun of people, comment on their outfits or hair or speech. We gripe about our coworkers, kvetch about our spouses, and complain about our friends. I honestly believe that, to some degree, complaining is a necessary form of stress relief. If I didn’t spend some time venting about work frustrations to Aaron at night, I’d be a lot more unsettled after bad days. That being said, there are still some things I need to work on when it comes to negative thinking.

I can definitely see a difference in how I think of myself when I stop the negative talk about others, which is always the most powerful thing for me. When I stop talking about her hair or his pants or that woman’s shoes, I stop viewing myself as harshly. I want Evi to grow up in the most positive light she can, so I’m trying to call it quits when it comes to pointless judgements and poking fun. It’s just not worth it and it effects me in negative ways.

—————————————————-

Gluten Free (source: http://gfiowa.us)

Gluten Free (source: http://gfiowa.us)

My belly issues aren’t really getting better. The probiotics are helping, definitely, and I’ll continue taking them until the pills are gone, but I’m still having more issues than I’m comfortable with. My plan all along was to finish out the probiotic supplements, and then consider elimination diets once they were gone if I was still having issues.

After talking to several people about it, I’m seriously considering getting a Celiac panel done at the doctor’s office, and the results may be that I go gluten free at least for a while. I’m super skeptical about it, honestly, as I’m a big believer in the idea of everything in moderation and I’ve never been much for the idea of cutting out a whole category of foods. That being said… I’m exercising, trying to eat well, counting my calories, and I’m not seeing changes. I’m not losing weight. My belly issues aren’t improving enough that I’d classify myself as comfortable. Something has to give.

Other elimination options: caffeine (pls kill me), high fiber foods, high fat foods, dairy.

Share

Girl On Fire

I got my professional Warrior Dash pics today, and I finished the Hunger Games this morning too… so I chose my super witty title to tie them together. I’m so cool, right?

I’ll start with my Hunger Games review. Honestly? I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. I bought it because we had a coupon and a lot of my friends had raved about it. I started reading it during my 10-15min bike warmups at the gym, and for the first while I was just not drawn in. Up until the last chapter or so, I only read it for that ten minute stretch every day and not at all on the weekends because I just felt like I could easily take it or leave it.

Once I got to the last chapter or two, I was definitely more into it. I did like it, I just wasn’t as captivated by it as I’d hoped to be. It must not have been too bad though, since one of the first things I did this morning was get on Amazon and buy the next two books in the series. I totally should have checked them out from the library instead of buying them, but oh well. Sometimes it’s nice to just own a book. Once I’m done with each one in the series, I’ll be passing them on to a coworker who wants to read them too.

Now on to the Warrior Dash pics. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like any of them, though I knew I’d want to buy a few just to have them. When I went through, there were definitely a few I didn’t think were worth having, but in the end there were five pics I bought digital copies of. All of my WD pics are here, and the last five are the pro pics from SportPhoto. Here are my two favorites:

Girl of Mud -  MD WD 2012

Girl Over Fire-  MD WD 2012

Share

#13: Read

What article or book changed your outlook on an issue or life? (WEverb11)

NYC Book by ng.kelven”][91/365] NYC Book

Is it weird to say that my own book was a big changer for me this year? Writing another NaNoWriMo novel was a much more powerful process this year than it has been in the past. It made me really think hard about how much I love writing, how much I’d love to continue writing, and how important it is to me to make writing work somehow if I can.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Buy my books

In light of that, I’ve just had a phone interview for a vaguely writing related job and this afternoon will bring along another phone interview for a freelance job. So who knows… maybe my sister is right and what you put out there is what you get back.

🙂

Share

#11: Try

Joy

source: photographsandactions.tumblr.com/

What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012? (WEverb11)

  1. Finish a 10K
  2. Learn to ride my bike
  3. Finish my third novel and shop it to agents
  4. Make five new recipes from my Pinterest food board
  5. Take a crossfit class
  6. Conquer the Warrior Dash
  7. Try three new fruits/vegetables
  8. Volunteer for at least one event/charity
  9. Run an entire 5K, no walking
  10. Go on a vacation with Aaron
  11. Have at least two date nights with Aaron
  12. Reach my goal weight and stay there
Share

#10: Create

Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking, home decoration, crafts, photography … whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself? (WEverb11)

I wrote more than half of my third fiction novel. It was fun, therapeutic, and will hopefully turn into something bigger and better. When it’s finished, hopefully soon, I’ll be sending it out to agents like I have the last two books, although I’m really not getting any positive responses.

We also did DIY for most of our Christmas presents, and while I don’t quite yet want to reveal what we made, we had a really nice time and saved a ton of money too. I think we’ll be doing a lot more DIY holiday gifts from now on even once our financial situation improves.

Share

#9: Appreciate

IndividualityIn which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012? (WEverb11)

I am so lucky. I am so surrounded by gratitude. I’m not even sure how to narrow it down to the biggest moment(s) of gratitude.

  • I am grateful to the tiny handful of post-bacs at Georgetown who kept me sane through some of the hardest semesters of my existence, who encouraged me through the struggles, and supported me when I just couldn’t do it anymore.
  • I am HUGELY grateful to my parents, who spent a lot of money sending me to Georgetown in the first place, and yet were among the first to tell me it was time to quit.
  • I am endlessly grateful to my husband, who is just… incredible. He is supportive and loving and forgiving and hilarious. He makes me feel loved and cared for and appreciated every second.
  • I am grateful for my beautiful little girl, who makes me laugh, amazes me, and is generally perfect.
  • I am grateful for my health, which is improving as I struggle to reclaim it.
  • I am grateful for my job, which pays only a tiny bit… but at least it’s something, and I enjoy the work and love my boss.
Share

#1: Choose one word

Choose one word. Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you? (WEverb11)

Honestly, my first thought was FAILURE. I failed to get a job. I failed to stick it out at Georgetown. I failed to keep up my healthy habits in the beginning of the year, which led to the weight I’m fighting back off now. Instead, though, I want to choose something positive that reflects all of the good things this year has brought me.

Adventure

source: http://stereoheart07.tumblr.com

I choose ADVENTURE because this year has been nothing if not an adventure. I took risks, I took chances, I made big decisions, I made hard choices. I struggled and fought and learned and tried, and I’m a better me for it all.

I did the best I could with the information and resources I had at every step of the way.

I made wonderful, irreplaceable friends.

I saw Team Starkid in concert.

I learned a lot of weird and wonderful things about myself.

I reclaimed my hold on my health, and I’m fighting back to where I should be, going strong for almost 12 weeks now. I gave running another shot and I’m learning to like it. Food is no longer a source of guilt, most of the time.

I got a healthy start on my third novel, and I’m recommitting to shopping the first two when I can.

Share