Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ex-Husband Drama

Just when I think that I've moved past the drama of my marriage, I crash right into it unexpectedly. I rarely think about Angus anymore. I genuinely feel like I have forgiven him and moved on. He's not a happy person and my anger has been replaced by pity on the rare occasions when I have to interact with him.

Anyway, we're bumping into each other again because the kids want to do events where we are both participants. Angus just won't do it. He says it's too stressful to be in sustained interactions with me. I'm so frustrated that he can't get over things. Our children deserve to have two deeply, actively involved parents. I asked him to move to Eugene so that he could have more time with them/be more involved in their daily lives, and I accept that he has decided that he would rather keep his life the way it is. But I can't believe that he can't even bring himself to be at group events, etc. where he has to interact with me. Ridiculous. He's even twitchy at parent-teacher meetings!

I know there's nothing I can do about this. It really has nothing to do with me. He doesn't even know me anymore. He's dealing with a memory of me in a bad situation. I'm so different from that woman...

I wish we could move back into a working relationship for the sake of parenting two amazing children. Theoretically, I would be perfectly fine with never seeing him again. But his refusal to build a relationship upsets me. I'm bothered because I don't like it when someone that Griffin and Molly love disappoints them. And there's nothing that any of us can do about it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

If It's Too Good To Be True...

Something feels wrong here. I'm in a great mood. I'm losing weight by eating foods I like and playing games. I've got a great shot at this PhD thing. I just got a huge tax return. This is not how life works. Suspicion is creeping in. I'm holding my breath waiting for disaster.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Paleolithic State of Mind

I have become fascinated with paleo eating. There are two main books that describe the metabolic science behind eating paleo. The first one published was The Paleo Diet. Then came The Primal Blueprint. There are plenty of blogs and websites devoted to the subject if you want to explore further.

Basically, the theory posited is that our bodies have not evolved to digest the bulk of foods that we eat today, mainly grains and dairy. 10,000 years ago, paleolithic humans lived by hunting and gathering. Their diet consisted of animals they could catch and plants, berries, seeds, and nuts they could pick. With the development of agriculture and domestication of animals, grains and dairy were introduced to our diet. However, our bodies have difficulty processing these foods. For many of us, the symptoms are mild. For some the symptoms are more pronounced i.e. lactose intolerance and celiac disease. In all of us, these foods are the cause of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. etc. The leaders in paleo thinking claim that meat and natural fats are not the enemy. Grains, dairy, and processed foods are. Adopting a paleo diet means not eating anything that was created in the neolithic age.

I've been reading several blogs of people who have adopted this diet, as well as the scientific studies behind it. I gotta say, it's pretty compelling stuff. I have experienced the phenomenon of staying satisfied for longer by eating more protein and plants. Processed carbohydrates, bread, cereals, etc. just don't make me feel good. I'm currently attempting to eat paleo as much as possible. I would say I've managed to be successful 85-90% of the time. I won't give up soy milk even though it's a neolithic invention.

Last night I made a completely paleo dinner for my family: roast pork loin stuffed with fruit and nuts, topped with a cherry sauce, steamed broccoli, and roasted yams. No grains, no dairy, no processed foods. It was terrific. I've replaced my usual snack items like granola bars or fat free yogurt (with Splenda) with natural beef jerky, nuts, and fruit. I don't feel deprived at all. If anything, I feel like I'm getting more food. Whole food satisfies me so much more.

The Montessorian in me also feels the paleo diet is poetic. It makes sense to me in the Cosmic scheme of things. Learning the science of our biology, using our environment to our best advantage, and thinking about our primal ancestors, all could be lessons! :)

If you're interested in reading more, I would definitely say start here. Mark's Daily Apple is the best collection of information that I've found.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'Cause I Got A Golden Ticket

I have officially been hired by the Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE) on a 18+ month grant project. This is a sub-group in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. I was speaking to the leader of the project about the status of my PhD application and the fact that I want to apply for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, so I might not be able to stay on the project through completion. She said that when I get accepted into the program she will change my job classification and make me a GTF for CATE. That means I get free tuition and a small stipend! Hello, free ride! I won't need to compete for the GTF because I already have the job! I feel like I'm explaining this wrong because it doesn't sound as fantastic as it feels. This job is going to give me an advantage for getting into the PhD program and then it's going to pay for the freaking program!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh Smeg!

I killed the verbal portion of the GRE, I mean Kuh-Ill-Duh it! Then I went and screwed myself on the math portion. When I was doing my practicing, I never timed myself. Turns out I'm not so speedy when doing algebra long-hand. So I knew the majority of the material but then ran out of time during the actual test! ARGH! I barely squeaked by the minimum requirement for the graduate application. Hopefully, they will be so dazzled with my verbal and analytical scores that they won't notice my mediocrity in quantitative.

On a higher note, I achieved my first independent pull-up this week and passed the 25-pounds-lost milestone. Both are major accomplishments for this former fast-food lovin' couch potato!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Graduate Record Examinations

Tomorrow I take the GRE. I feel totally ambivalent about it. On one hand, I'm extremely nervous and want to score very high in order to look good on my grad school application. On the other hand, I haven't really done much prep because I'm not even sure I want to go to grad school. Whatever happens, happens.

I think grad school would make me the happiest. If I could pick any path it would be that one. I have always loved being a student for the myriad ways it stimulates me. Plus, let's face it, I would kill to work at the college level and this is the path to get there. However, I don't have much confidence in my ability to complete a PhD program. I watched first hand as my mom did it. It's an inhuman amount of work. Don't get me wrong; I know that I'm intelligent enough to do it. I don't know if I have the emotional stamina to run the academic gauntlet. I feel ambivalent about getting in because if I don't, it will take a whole lot of challenges out of my future.

Eh. Who am I kidding? There's going to be challenges no matter what I do!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whine. Do I Have to Choose a Career?

Here's the thing: it's not like I want to do nothing with my life. I love the feeling of being good at something. It just so happens that I don't love anything that will translate into a successful career. I suppose it can be argued that a successful career is in the eye of the beholder, but that's bs. We all know what a successful career looks like. It's not a static job. It's upwardly mobile, with a salary, and conferences to attend. Where am I going with this?

The small private school that I started my teaching career at, has asked me to come and work with their elementary teacher as a consultant. The school's director envisions me working in the classroom, giving lessons, and being a mentor to their current elementary guide in order to shape the elementary program into a self-perpetuating success. It sounds like an interesting challenge. It definitely is my strength. I know Montessori pedagogy inside and out. Running a Montessori classroom is a skill I have complete self-confidence in. Why am I so reluctant to take the job?

First of all, I'm not sure that I want to be a classroom teacher anymore. Although I might be excellent at running a classroom and giving lessons, I am terrible with the work that is required outside the classroom. Diplomacy completely eludes me. I thought I was getting better at it. My fourth year of teaching was very successful and parents and administrators alike seemed to love me. The fifth year was a total disaster on the scale of Hindenburg. I went down in flames! I realize that being a consultant would not require as much parent interaction, but it would require diplomacy with the other guides and the director of the school. I am really afraid to repeat what happened to me last year. Once you've been on the Hindenburg, you're not eager to get on another dirigible. (Bonus points for using "dirigible" in a blog.)

The second reason is that the job is in Corvallis, the small town where I lived with my ex-husband for nearly a decade. It feels like a giant emotional step backward to go back to this school, which was what I was doing when the marriage fell apart. Corvallis is his turf. He got the town in the divorce. I feel reluctant to start this consulting job because what if it turns into a permanent offer? Will I be able to turn down gainful employment just because I don't want to live in the same town as my ex? I guess I could, but not without feeling pretty stupid and selfish.

Anyway, so back to the whole career thing. I feel compelled to do something productive with my life that earns money. I can't leach off my parents for long with any self-respect. So I guess I'm going to try out this consulting thing and see where it leads. In the meantime, there's also the possibility of grad school. But applying for the doctorate program is turning out to be more of an emotional land mine then I expected.

This post is long enough, so more on that tomorrow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where To Start?

It's been a tumultuous time here in Jen's world. I have a lot of things going on with my body, relationships, and work. I have many things to process that I need to break up into a few separate posts. I'll tackle the health stuff first because that's the one with the least emotional charge.

So I've been doing Crossfit, which is intense. Today was a fitness challenge test. 150 wall balls for time. Wall balls are really tough for me. You start in a squat position with a medicine ball on your chest. You drive yourself up into a standing position as you drive the ball up with your arms, attempting to hit an X on the wall that is 10 feet above the ground. The challenge is to be the most improved 10 weeks from now. So today I had to do the initial test to set my time to beat. It was brutal. Somewhere around 50, I started crying and pretty much blubbered my way through the rest of the 100. I could only do 4 or 5 at a time and then would have to stop and gasp for oxygen and wipe the tears away so I could see the damn X. It was bad; snot was running out of my nose and everything.

I wasn't really embarrassed because I was doing this in front of the coach. I was more humiliated with myself. I am ashamed that I have let my body get this bad. I am angry that I have never made my own body important. I strive to be the best at everything I do. I hate being 'average' or just 'ok' at something. I want to be outstanding. Why did I never have that kind of drive for taking care of myself? Why was I willing to be asleep at the wheel while I became obese and my cardiovascular system degenerated? I was humiliated alright, not to be crying in front of the coach, but because I had so completely let myself down.

Anyway, I finally finished all 150; it took me 19 minutes. Jeremy clapped me on the back and said, "I'm really proud of you, Jen. I thought you were going to quit." Amazingly, he never let on while I was doing it. He was patient and encouraging. He kept telling me, "You got this," and "Let's do 5 more." If he doubted I would finish, he hid it fabulously well the whole time. Weirdly, I never doubted I would finish. I was miserable and choking on my own facial fluids, but I knew I'd finish eventually. I'm really happy that it didn't take me all day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Choice Quotes

Two things I heard today:

"You're gonna be a monster lifter, Jen!"

"Your cervix looks lovely."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Becoming An Athlete

Today I started with my new fitness coach at Eugene Crossfit. The plan is to work with him 3-4 times a week. I am officially in training for the Eugene Half-Marathon in May, which is 13.1 miles. We worked on shoulders today with shoulder presses, pull-ups and push-ups. Plus, there were a lot of squats thrown in for good measure. I'm going to an early morning class, 7 am, so it's just me and a couple others. It's cool to get that much individual attention and also the tight camaraderie was almost instantaneous.

Today I also started on my checklist for the grad school application. I think there should be a degree given for anyone who can successfully jump through all the hoops required just to GET IN. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010: Bring It!

2009 sucked. Seriously, it was second in crappiness only to the year of the divorce/bankruptcy fiasco. I'm so optimistic and excited for 2010! It's such a relief to have the anvil of depression that has been pressing on my chest gone (or at least significantly shrunken.) I can breathe.

I stayed up late with the guys on New Year's Eve. We went up to the roof and watched the fireworks over the city! Then early the next morning I dragged myself out of bed and drove down to Palo Alto for a 5k race. It felt really good to make that choice on the first day of the year. I did pretty good too. I ran for more of it than last time, less walking, and I knocked a whole 59 seconds off of my personal record! :)