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Archive for October, 2007

As much as I wish this was gonna be a sexy entry about “earth shaking,” but, alas, it’s not.

Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 30) around 8pm I was watching t.v., when I suddenly felt the earth move. Literally. We had a 5.6 earthquake that was centered in my city! Scary doesn’t begin to describe the feeling. Your heart pounds and your body reacts to this major force going on around you. At first you don’t know what’s going on, but then suddenly you realize it and just hope it doesn’t last too long and nothing terrible happens.

This earthquake lasted quite a while, actually. Most quakes are pretty quick, but this one was hard and strong and lasted for what seemed like 3-4 minutes. It was probably much less than that, but when an earthquake hits, time seems to stand still.

My immediate concern was my t.v., which almost hit the floor. The entertainment center literally rocked back and forth two times and I ran to hold the t.v. Luckily, nothing fell, broke, or was damaged in any way. I know this makes me sound totally vapid, but when you see a major piece of technology about to hit the floor in a million tiny pieces, it becomes your most immediate concern. If I was in the kitchen, I might’ve been most concerned about the stove or the fridge. If I had kids, I would’ve obviously been grabbing them and doing the “duck and cover” maneuver we learned so many times in school.

I tried to call my parents right away to make sure they were ok, but my cell phone service was out for at least 30 minutes. I don’t have a land line, so there was no way for me to communicate with them. If it had been a real emergency that I was worried about, I would’ve asked the neighbors if I could use their phone. In this case, I was able to call after about half an hour, and all was well with everyone.

The most frightening thing about earthquakes is their unpredictability. Just like life, I guess. You never really know when something is going to strike, and to what degree it will affect you. I’m just glad that everyone I love is safe and sound.

I know I wanted a bit of excitement in my life, but this was ridiculous!!

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I’ve been feeling like I needed to change my hairstyle for a while now, so about a month ago I went to my regularly scheduled styling appointment. I knew that I wanted her to cut my hair, but I was completely open to how much and in what style.

After talking, my stylist suggested we cut all of my hair to the the first layer, making it all one length. This would mean that over 7 1/2 inches was coming off the back! I was ready for something drastic, and having complete faith in my hairstylist, I told her to go for it.

When I gazed at myself in the mirror, freshly blown out, I was so happy! My hair looked completely healthy and full of life. It was bouncy. Not that my hair was in bad condition before, but now at this shorter length, it seemed fresher, somehow.

My hair is extremely thick and curly, but it straightens up pretty well (after about 45 minutes of blowing and flat-ironing). I’ve been wearing it straight a lot more often these days, because I love how sleek and sophisticated it looks. I have also done it curly, though, and it looks cute, too. Not quite as polished, but still fun and lively.

I’ve gotten tons of compliments on my new ‘do, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Sometimes all it takes is a snip here or there to change your whole attitude.

Since this blog is anonymous, I don’t want to post a picture (even though it looks so cute, if I do say so myself). So, I thought I’d post a pic of my Yahoo avatar, which has hair that looks quite a bit the way mine does. 1owvqaq7oaaqc-igqvkg3ca.jpg


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I was reading Single in the City’s blog the other day where she mentioned Post Secret. I had no idea what it was, but thought I’d Google it to find out. The project that was started is so cool — a sort of sociology experiment/anonymous group psychology. I love it! I’m going to buy the books as soon as I get paid on Thursday. What great coffee table books they’d make — real conversation starters. I was telling BeachGirl about the books last night while she and I were perusing Barnes & Noble looking up guide books for our Boston trip. We found the Post Secret books and realized how beautiful, touching, gross, haunting, sad, funny, sexy, and weird they are. Pretty cool that you can get all of that from a book of people’s postcard secrets, huh? I could relate to so many of the secrets, and I think that’s why this project resonates so much with people — we all have secrets that we need to let go of.  I know that I have plenty of secrets that would be post-able. Hmmm…. maybe.  The beauty is, if I do send one in, you’ll never know if it’s mine.

PostSecret


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I normally love spirals — the swirling, whirling shapes are beautiful to me. I often choose jewelry, home accents, and even wrapping paper in this lovable pattern. Spirals are almost like a signature item for me.

The current spirals I’m dealing with aren’t pleasant shapes, however. These spirals are of the downward variety. My life has become so busy, so chaotic even, that I feel like much of it is spiraling out of control.

Before you get too worried and call some hotline about me, let me explain.

I’m in my 2nd to last semester of graduate school and my Action Research Project is really ramping up. Along with it, CTLB (my grad school partner) and I have to write pieces of what will eventually become our team portfolio (or thesis, if you will). It’s a lot of work, but I knew what I was in for when I signed up and since graduation in May is just around the corner I can hang in there.

The problem is becoming juggling the ARP work, the reading, the other papers, presentations, and the field work. I’m taking 12 units of grad school work and working as a teacher full time. It’s a lot.

The teacher thing is coming to a head for me because I’ve got tons and tons of papers to grade. Now I know that most people are thinking, well, don’t assign so many papers for the kids to write. But I just can’t do that. They need practice to improve their writing and they need my comments in order to see what they’ve done wrong (or right). It just adds up to a lot of time.

My house is fantastic, decorated so nicely, and I love it. Well, I used to. For the last two weeks (about the time the spiral started forming) it looks like a tornado hit the house. Clothes on the floor in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom floors not mopped, lots of laundry to catch up on, vacuuming that needs to be done, dishes in the sink, etc. I know that if I took one day, I could get it all back to its usual tidiness, but I can’t seem to find the day to do it. Even on the weekends, there is always something else going on. Plus, I need to make a promise to myself that once it is restored to the normal cleanliness I’m used to, I will keep it that way. Ugh.

Lastly is my weight. I’ve been eating some of the wrong things, definitely eating too much in terms of portions, not working out at all. I feel sickened by my sloth-like existence. The problem is that my grand plan of waking up early on the mornings when I have my prep period and going to work out and then starting my day with it all done already hasn’t quite worked out. It’s so hard to get out of bed now that it’s so dark outside in the mornings. Not to mention that I just feel so tired. I know that if I was working out on a consistent basis like I was just a month or so ago I would feel so much more energetic. It’s just getting my body to understand that at 5:30 am that has become the problem.

So, all of these spirals are adding up and building stress and causing me to feel badly about myself and all that I seem to be lacking — time management skills, organization, determination. The spirals continue and grow larger.

So, enough whining. Now I need to figure out what I’m going to do about these spirals in order to get them under control before I end up having a nervous breakdown.

Grad school is grad school. It’s going to continue to be a lot of work and time. I just have to set up a schedule for myself so that I get it done in little bits rather than trying to do it all in major chunks. Plus, I’m very lucky that CTLB is doing this with me because she is the voice of reason when I can’t see things clearly. I hope I can be that for her, as well.

Grading is something that I have to get a handle on. I’ve struggled with this my entire time as a teacher — 8 years. I really started out the year with great intentions — stay at school 2 hours each day and work on the grading little by little. The problem with that is that I’ve had meetings everyday after school for the last few weeks, and by the time the meetings are done I don’t want to stay at school any longer to get anything done. So I bring the papers home with me, but then they just sit there, untouched and ungraded. My solution to this is to grade them as I’m watching t.v. so at least I feel like I’m enjoying myself a little bit. And maybe I don’t need to go over every essay with a fine-tooth comb like I usually do. Maybe I can just look for one or two areas at a time to focus on, instead.

Cleaning up the house is something that I actually enjoy.  It’s oddly calming to have a task and after a bit of effort, complete it.  I wish all things in life were as easy as washing the dishes or mopping the floor.  My problem has been about finding the time to clean things up and then keeping them that way.  I read an idea in Real Simple magazine that makes a lot of sense.  They said to spend 20 minutes a night and focus on one area of the house.  You really can get quite a bit done in 20 minutes, and it sounds like a manageable plan for me.  No matter how tired I am when I get home, I know that I can give 20 minutes to make sure that my house stays neat and organized, because that really has a huge effect on my mood.

My weight is serious and my bad habits need to stop. I have decided to join Jenny Craig in January, because I know that it really helps take the pounds off. Plus, it’s mindless — pop this meal into the microwave and eat it. No thinking or cooking or portion control needed. They take all of the guesswork out of it. I think I’m going to need that my last semester of grad school. Plus, I am still going to CTLB’s wedding back east next summer and I want to look good while I’m there. But, in the mean time, I need to control my eating and exercise habits so that I don’t gain any more weight before January. Actually, I haven’t really gained too much weight — maybe 5 lbs. I’m just not losing the 8.3lbs per month that I said I needed to in order to have 100lbs off by next summer. Still, any major weightloss will be significant in the way I look and feel, so I’m happy to get back my weightloss regimen now. I think I’m going to have to start working out after school, even though it will be tough because I’m tired. At least during the fall and winter months when it’s dark in the morning. I just have to push myself to get there, because once I’m at the gym, I’m great. I enjoy working out. Also BFF and I are going to give each other trial memberships to this cool yoga studio for Christmas, so that will be one more outlet for living a healthier lifestyle.

There are three other things that I want to start to do that I think will help me keep the spirals from forming:

  1. Attend the weekly group meditation offered at the Dharma Center where I was taking the Buddhist classes over the summer.  I think that just going for 1 hour a week will help me feel centered and realize what’s important.  It will help me feel connected to the spiritual path that I started over the summer.  I’ve put all of my Buddhist classes on hold while grad school is in session, because I don’t feel like I have the time to be open enough to hear the meanings and the messages of the teaching at this point.  As soon as summer begins again, I’m definitely going to resume my Buddhist studies, because I enjoy them.  Plus, because these meditations are on Sunday, it’s a great way to begin the new week.
  2. Stop myself from falling asleep on the couch every night.  In order to do this, I think I need to set a “get ready for bed” time for myself.  Maybe 10pm.  That way I can make sure I wash my face, brush my teeth, and get ready for bed each night.  Even if I spend the next hour or so reading, at least I know I’ll get a good night’s sleep in my bed.
  3. Spend the last hour or so of my night reading the “getting your life in balance” books that I bought for part of my field work.  These books are wonderful, but I haven’t found/made the time to read much of them.  Not only is this an assignment for grad school, but I think that I can learn so much about leading a balanced life if I read the books.  Killing two birds with one stone, if you will.

I hope I can keep the spirals at bay for a while. Writing about it helped. Making a plan helps even more. Now all that’s left is for me to do it.

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It was about 9:30 on Friday night, and I was watching Grey’s Anatomy. (I had Tivo’d it). All of a sudden, I heard this horrible crash outside, and the strange thing was, it lasted a long time, and sounded so close.

I shot up and opened the front door to see a green Honda on the grass in front of my house!

Someone had been speeding (probably drunk) coming from the street that dead-ends into mine, whipped around the corner too fast, and hit this car that was parked in front of my house. The car not only jumped the curve, but went onto the grass mere feet from my front steps. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

The Honda was completely crushed on the driver’s side. Luckily no one was in the car, because they would’ve surely been dead if they had. Broken glass and pieces of the car were all over the sidewalk. It was a mess.

One of the neighbors said that he saw a white car plow into this Honda and then take off. I don’t think the white car could’ve gotten too far, though, judging from the damage it inflicted on this green Honda.

I am so grateful that Honda was parked in front, because I think that otherwise, the white car would’ve ended up plowing into the front of my house!!!

Finally the police came to take statements and sort things out. Then the tow truck came to get the car out of our front yard. They never found the owner of the Honda. Can you imagine getting a call telling you that your car was completely totaled?

The morals of the story are…
Don’t speed down a residential street while driving drunk. (Actually, never drive drunk).
I really need to update my renter’s insurance.
If you come over to my house NEVER park in front of the house!!!

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I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written!  There are two main reasons for this: 1.  life gets extremely hectic for me in the fall with the start of school and grad school.  2.  See #1 — not much time to go out and do fun stuff to later write about in the blog.

I have been continuing to pursue my quest towards achieving balance in life, and I must say, it’s been working.  I feel a lot less stressed out, pressured, and panicked, which is a good thing.  My mom commented the other day that I seem a lot happier and less stressed than I was last year.  I think I’ve really taken this new lifestyle to heart and really have tried to make some lasting, positive changes.  So far, so good.

Tomorrow I’m proctoring the SAT.  Big fun.  Nice weekend plans, eh?  The nice thing about it is that I get $98 and 3-4 hours of mostly uninterrupted time to sit and grade papers.  Not a bad deal.  This weekend is my big grading weekend because our progress reports are due on Monday at 8am.  I am happy to report that this is really the first weekend I’ll have spent grading.  I’ve been really good about not taking work home to grade and staying at school a couple of hours each day to work on grading.  The only problem comes in when I have meetings after school — after boring meetings where people drone on about something or other I never feel like staying and doing work.  Ah well, something’s gotta give.

The weather is turning colder and crisper, and it’s really beginning to feel like fall.  I love this time of year so much because the air smells fresher and just makes you feel more alive.  Plus, I love cold weather clothes, although being from CA, I guess many people would say that I don’t know from cold weather.  And that’s just fine by me.

Hopefully I’ll start getting out a bit more and doing things that are noteworthy enough to blog about.

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