Reasons to get out of bed…

Archive for September, 2011

Anniversaries and Neurons

Today, I had the pleasure of visiting my neurologist. I have this pleasure every six months, so it’s nothing new (and I’m not being sarcastic, it’s really not that bad to see her). But today was my two year anniversary with her! Well… technically Wednesday was.

Now, I’ve mentioned my neurological issues before. But this is actually a different issue and a different doctor… because my surgery was done at children’s hospital and now I’m a grown up and needed to find someone else… and I don’t need a neurosurgeon for this, just a regular neurologist.

I always find it funny going to see her, because she always hates her diagnosis because I’m atypical with some of my symptoms, but by the end she ends up agreeing with her diagnosis. Today, not so! So I get to go have an MRI. I have an MRI taken about every 3 years, so nothing to worry about. Heck, in the month of February of 1999, I went for 3 different MRI sessions (and then one 6 months later… and then one 6 months after that). Personally, I find MRIs to be easy. The tube is womb-like and it’s just somewhere to nap for 45 minutes. Some people say they are loud, but at least it’s usually rhythmic.

MRI image of a brain... but not mine because I can't remember where I put my last MRI films...

So I guess in the next few weeks we’ll find out if my doctor still thinks I’m suffering from atypical trigeminal neuralgia or not. If you’re wondering what that is, it means that the muscles on the right side of my face go into spasm (the atypical part) and it’s a lot of fun. It gets worse if I have hot foods  (the typical part) and I’m a big fan of soup and tea so I like to keep this taken care of.

Two years and nine months ago, I hadn’t yet been diagnosed and I just suffered with half of my face, head, and neck in spasm. I was a horrible person to pretty much everyone, I didn’t leave my house except to go to work, and I gained 10 pounds (in those 9 months).

I should probably also publicly apologize to the HHS class of 2010. When I was directing their competitive play, I was a giant cranky face (literally). I still feel bad about not being able to give them my all (on a directing and a personal level).

So happy anniversary, doc!

Feelings on Grad School

Apparently someone landed on my blog because of a search for grad school and feelings. What a great writing prompt. So here are my feelings about grad school.

The first thing that comes to mind is a quote from the head of the Career Services department at my school. He said this to me and the rest of the group listening to his session during the open house for the grad school. This was of course when I was still a perspective student. He asked the group to consider “If I waived a magic wand and you already had your Master’s, what would it do for you?”

Now, he asked this question because an older woman in the crowd was basically hinting that she was interested in one of the programs because she was hoping having her Masters would help save her failing freelance business. However, I really think it’s a very important question everyone should ask themselves before going to grad school. If you’re going to invest all this time and money, what do you think it will do for you? What is your end game? If you can clearly see that road, absolutely apply!

Next, someone with their Masters is not smarter than anyone else, they are not a better person, and they don’t necessarily deserve more out of life. However, from what I’ve seen – someone working towards their Masters does need to be driven, goal oriented, and good at balancing time. Or they just graduated from undergrad and don’t want move into the “real world” yet. There are a lot of those. Oh, they also need to love what they are studying. If you don’t have a passion for what you’re learning, why are you there? It’s not worth it!

At some point while you’re there, grad school will make you feel dumb (at least dumber than everyone around you). Grad school will make you feel tired and overwhelmed. Grad school will make you cry (if you’re not a crier, it will bring you to however you release your stress). However, grad school should also excite you (see comment about passion above). Hopefully, you should also find some really awesome people (you’ll also find some douche bags and nincompoops too… but you’re there for the cool ones). I have personally found that I love a lot of the people in my classes. They inspire me, they understand me, they challenge me, and they make me laugh.

On a personal level, I also lucked out with having the most amazing professor on the planet and I adore her. Yes, I’ve had one I don’t like, and I’ve had a few ok ones as well. But my experience was mostly molded by Professor Awesome.

I first decided to apply to grad school because I realized that I wasn’t in love with my day job and I was living for the few hours per night where I got paid a few dollars for hobby. I realized I shouldn’t hate 50 hours per week and live for 10 hours. So I applied to grad school and put myself on a path towards “living the dream.” I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I love grad school and I’m very glad I chose to go. I’m tired and stressed and busy all the time. But I’m also loving it. I reference things that I’ve learned there all the time in my every day life.

It’s certainly not for everyone and you should strongly consider your goals before you start. But it can also be wonderful and life changing.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Wow… it’s been almost week since I’ve posted! Not cool on my part! I apologize.

I am feeling completely overwhelmed. Class started last Monday and it is an insane amount of work. Seriously, we went over the 9 page syllabus for 4 hours! But I’ve already talked about that a little bit.

This week, I spent almost every free moment looking at websites for Polish theaters and freaking out because I couldn’t find the information I was looking for. Also, Google translate may have also brought me to the brink of tears when it was telling me a webpage was already translated. Here’s the thing, I CAN read English but I CANNOT read Polish… I could not read those webpages so I’m pretty sure Google translate was WRONG when it said it was already translated. Also as a fun fact if you google “polish dramaturg” my professor is Google’s 3rd and 4th response… so that wasn’t too intimidating. But, enough complaining! The project got finished and it’s fine.

At least this week’s (daunting) project is for an American theater… so that helps.

Here was my week last week that I had to motivate myself through:

Monday = class
Tuesday = working late, then running
Wednesday = end of softball party
Thursday = night o’ homework
Friday = co-worker’s good-bye party (he got a new job)
Saturday = running errands, visiting the school library, and a Grad Association drinking event
Sunday = at home with a stomach bug trying to finish my project (stomach bug isn’t entirely gone… but I have to get through life! I refuse to take a sick day unless I can’t get out of bed)

My week this week is almost as gruesome. And of course I mean fun, I just also mean busy to the hilt.

I’m feeling very unmotivated this week because one of my co-workers gave me flack about leaving the party on Friday night at 9:30 pm. He said “but you never go out!”

1) I know it’s stupid to be hurt by this
2) I know it’s not true (clearly I’m out 5-7 nights per week… it just isn’t always with coworkers)
3) I know he really meant that HE never goes out

So dear readers, do you have any suggestions on how I can avoid letting this get to me? I’m planning to jokingly say something to him tomorrow. I need to get it out of my head because I need to focus on getting through this week.

My motivation today comes from the immortal words of Dory the fish in Finding Nemo:

And even though I’m being good and motivating myself to go out and do everything I NEED to do this week, I just don’t have it in me to motivate myself to go running tonight.

Workin’ It Out!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s only Thursday!

Monday’s class was INTENSE! It will be a lot of work, and I’m really going to have to focus hard all semester to keep up. But, I think it’s also the kind of class where I will learn a ton and other people will recognise the types of information one would learn there. I mean I won’t have to explain what the class was about after I graduate. I can say “dramaturgy” and people (in theater) will go “gotcha!” So that’s a major plus!

Tuesday was a week all by itself! I worked 11 hours on Tuesday… which was fun. It was already dark when I got out of work so instead of going on my typical run, I decided to use the gym in the basement of my building. It’s just an office gym, not a membership-requiring, chain gym. So there are only 3 treadmills down there (and I bunch of other stuff but I only care about the treadmill). The best part of going to an office gym at 8 o’clock at night is that I’m the only person there!

Unfortunately, there were a lot of things I didn’t like about using the gym instead of running down my tree-laden path. For starters, across from the treadmill was a full length, floor to ceiling mirror. The last time I had to watch myself in one of those, I was 15. I probably weighed about 98 pounds. I hated it then because I had to watch that I have no sense of rhythm. This time I hated it because I got to watch my flabby knees in action! It was very distracting.

Plus, when I used to work out at the gym, those treadmills showed hundreths of a mile and for some reason, I found that more motivating because it always showed some movement. This treadmill only showed tenths of a mile and it felt like I was stuck in a tenth of a mile FOREVER! Oh, and it showed a little image of a track on the screen and showed progression around that. It would also tell you how many laps around the track you’ve done. I know it’s insane, but it reminded me of high school when I joined the indoor track team. In order to run a mile, we had to go around the track something like 12 or 13 times because our gym was so small. Ugh, it was painful and tedious. I’m surprised I ever went back to running.

Finally (this has nothing to do with the treadmill or the gym, but my own insanity) I always want the treadmill screen to be about an inch in front of my body… that leads to tripping on the front of the machine… which would have been embarrassing if anyone else was there.

Although I sort of fall forward over the machine...

If I get too far back, I’m afraid I’ll fall off. It’s nutty, I know.

Even with my miriad of complaints, I still ran 3.5 miles and walked another .5 because I like even numbers. The benefit to running on the treadmill is that I learned my average speed is about 11:15 per mile. I know it’s slow, but I’m ok with it. It’s actually faster than I thought! I thought I was running a 15 minute mile. I’m not sure if I was running faster or slower on the machine vs outside though.

After the run, I walked outside and was greeted with a lovely breeze and the air smelled so sweet. It would have been so much nicer running outside.

Last night, I went out for the end-of-season softball party!

After being social for 3 hours, I had to drive into Boston to get my professor to sign some paperwork for my second class. Oh, it was a busy night! But on my drive home, the radio played this:


And I certainly felt better!

First Day of School

It was particularly hard to get out of bed today for two reasons.

1) Today is the first day of class for me. (This is my second year of grad school)

I’ve done my pre-class homework. I bought my books. My bag is packed and I’m ready to go. Well… I’m a little nervous because I don’t know anything about this professor. I hope she’s not as intimidating as her syllabus makes her seem. Additionally, I’m super excited to go so that I can see a bunch of really awesome people tonight.

To be honest, I partially started writing this blog because I was so inspired and motivated by my classmates (from a class I was taking June). The people in that class were so open, emotionally giving, and inspiring. Being around them was fascinating. Even though I was constantly tired and people around me were asking “why are you in class, shouldn’t you be on summer break?” I simply loved going to class. It was the highlight of week. I very much hope this class feels that way too. That class required us to me more open with ourselves and our past as well as handing that over to the class. I’m thinking this semester will be much more academic. I’m ok with that, just as long as I still feel enriched by the end of the night.

Here’s hoping!

2) My body was aching!

Yesterday, I went with my boyfriend to his grandmother’s 90th birthday!

She’s a complete doll, super sweet, and totally on the ball. I adore her. It was an entire family gathering. The day was a lot of fun. At one point, a bunch of us adults ended up running around the front yard, giving the 5 kids piggy back rides (ages 9, 5, 3, 2, 2). Just running/spinning around, making noise, and pretending to run at each other. The kids started calling it bumper cars… although I have no idea why. Luckily, no one got hurt! It was a lot of silliness and kept the kids busy while the adults were taking pictures. Luckily, they weren’t taking video… no one will be able to hear the crazy background noise in the photos!

Overall, this game probably lasted about 30 minutes, but by the end of it, I had certainly worked up a sweat! My “driver” was my boyfriend’s 5-year-old nephew. He certainly wasn’t heavy at the time, and he was totally easy to give a piggy back ride to because he’s old enough to hold on. But man, my back, neck, and legs were on fire this morning from that unconventional work out!

 

Feeling Proud!

Thanks to the long, Labor Day weekend and a few days off, I ran the farthest that I’ve ever run!

I’m very excited about this. Last weekend, I ran 8 miles straight! (ok… I walked .2 of a mile while drinking water. I’m not counting it in the distance, but am confessing the bit of a break.) I know for many runners, 8 miles is nothing. However, I was struggling to finish one mile without walking back in June, so I’m pumped about this!

Including my warm-up, cool-down, and that water break, the total distance was 9.5 miles!

I’m still not a very fast runner, but I’ll take distance. And I have to admit that after running all summer, it was pretty sweet to be running in something easier than 85 degrees and 90% humidity.

I told a friend about my run and her response was “why?! Are you trying to run a marathon?!” No, I’m not. But I’ve started running in a different direction from my house and I just kept going instead of turning around where I normally do. And… well… I just kept running. I’m psyched that I was able to just keep pushing myself to continue on… which is also a nice metaphor for my crazy, packed life.

Of course, the slightly compulsive side of me is wondering how to make that a nice even 10 miles. Although, in reality, my actual next goal is to become a slightly faster runner.

Taking the Plunge!

I did it! I signed up for a 5k! Specifically, I signed up for this 5k:

I decided it was time to give myself a goal. Additionally, running a 5k is on my bucket list. I’ve spent the summer running, I may not be in this shape in the spring depending on how the school year goes, so I figured: let’s go for it now!

I’m really excited and really nervous.

Why did I choose this 5k?

1) It’s a 5 minute drive from my house (let’s be honest, this is my main reason…)
2) It’s for a cause I can totally support – more on that in a minute.
3) It’s at a pub and it’s taking place around lunch time! They also promise to have festivities.
4) The website plays celtic music and shows men in kilts! Hello! I’m so there!

My favorite man in a kilt is the one on the right.

The cause that attracted my attention:

Newton Special Athletes – programs are offered to provide and encourage physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. This year round program strives to meet the individuals needs and expand the independence of our participants through providing high quality recreation programming. Learn more on their website: http://www.newtonspecialathletes.com/

When I was high school teacher, I was put in charge of running an afterschool program to include the special needs students in the activities where they wanted to participate: sports, art club, etc. I spent every afternoon with some really awesome kids getting them to fit in with other kids their age.

I’m excited my first race will be doing the same thing. And it’s an “inclusive” race! I’m also completely confident that many of the special needs runners will be faster than me. I’m ok with that.

My goal here is not to win. First, I’m not a runner. Second, I’ll be the oldest in my age group. If the run was 9 days later, I’d be the youngest in the next group.

So my goal is not to win. My goal is to finish! My second goal, should I tackle the first one, would be to have run the entire race, no walking allowed! Now, I have a little more than 30 days to get ready!

Wish me luck!

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