BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Goodbye 2021

It’s easy to turn on the news and reflect on all the negative things happening in the world. Illness, violence, deceit, discrimination, poverty. These are all too real, and devastating. Then there’s the flip-side. When I scroll through my social media I see loving happy families, dream vacations, marvelous feasts, milestone achievements, and joyous events. What’s the reality? All of the above, I’d say. Each life is a mixture of positive and negative experiences and emotions. I’ve been so fortunate to have my personal mix heavily skewed to the positive side of life. I know others aren’t so fortunate. I also know that things can change in an instant.

As 2021 draws to a close, it’s easy to find the things that didn’t work. The political divide, the ongoing Covid pandemic, and the spate of mass shootings instantly come to mind. But what about the things that did work? The past year has given me a lot to be grateful for. For one, I’ve rediscovered the joy I get from sewing and quilting. I’ve finished a few long-term projects, and knocked off a brand new quilt from some old and well loved fabrics. Even better, I’ve reconnected with my friend who is a master long arm quilter, and we managed to get together a few times in 2021, and not just to have her work her magic on my quilts.

I’ve also found time to read for pleasure. I’ve discovered three middle-grade series that I’ve been enjoying tremendously. The Front Desk series by Kelly Yang, Tuesdays at the Castle series by Jessica Day George, and the Endling series by Katherine Applegate are all terrific reads. I also thoroughly enjoyed the young adult serial mystery, Murder by Milkshake by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. It’s on Amazon’s Vella platform, which I was unfamiliar with, but actually liked.

In the summer of 2021 I was able to travel to visit my family and friends in my hometown. It seemed like a break from the pandemic, and it was a long overdue reset. Getting together with others was such a treat, and my friends even surprised me with a birthday cake. It was definitely memorable (and so thoughtful). A few fancy dinners, a few evenings on porches and patios, and hours and hours of conversation made the long wait worthwhile.

In terms of my professional life, I couldn’t be happier to be back in person with students. I’m hopeful that we won’t have to return to online learning, since I truly believe that my students do so much better in the classroom. My fantastic teammates are with me again this year, and they make all the difference. I’m also continuing to work on my National Board certification. I recently received my score from one of the four components, so now I have two down and two to go (and one is about halfway done, so that’s a plus).

My home is warm, thanks to a long anticipated upgrade to our heating/cooling system, and as of tomorrow I’ll once again be able to do laundry, thanks to an emergency upgrade to my laundry room. My dog is recovering from surgery, and she seems quite comfortable, so I’m happy with that too. Did all those things add up? Yes, but we’re able to handle them, so that’s something else to be thankful for.

And of course there’s my family. My son started grad school in 2021, and he’s doing really well. He also landed an internship that begins next week, so his 2022 is off to a great start. We have all managed to stay reasonably healthy (knock on wood), and I even learned to love exercise last summer. I can’t wait to get back into the pool and start again.

I may not live a fairy tale life, but I’ve got it pretty good. Everyday I wake up with a roof over my head, clean water and indoor plumbing in my home, and a good job to go to. I have people in my world who I love, and who love me. I have an education, a voice, and the ability to apply both. I have food in the fridge, money in the bank, and access to good healthcare. I have a television, computer, and phone to keep me connected to the world outside my home. All things considered, I have a lot to look forward to in 2022 and the future. I hope you do as well, and that your 2022 is healthy, safe, and rewarding.


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I’m Worried About This Weather

Don’t get me wrong… it’s gorgeous. It’s finally starting to get a bit cooler in my area (no more heat advisories at school, so kids can have outdoor recess at last). I’m happy about not feeling like my skin is frying and my lungs are shriveling up after a few minutes outside. A whole new section of my wardrobe is becoming accessible with the cooler weather, and I can wear my favorite NFL team’s shirt (which happens to be long sleeved) without completely roasting. These are all excellent developments. So what’s the issue? The pool.

You see, everyday for the past four months I have put on my swimsuit and gotten in the pool to exercise. Okay, not everyday. I missed ONE day when I was out of town and the weather was bad, but every OTHER day I’ve done it. Not only that, but I’ve really enjoyed it. AND, as an added bonus, my current lab work showed that it has made a positive impact on my health (as well as helping me painlessly shed a few pounds). My doctor’s parting words were something to the effect of, “Keep it up!” Gulp.

I want to keep it up. I really do. I actually enjoy this time to myself in my backyard. I look forward to it each day. But over the past few days I’ve notice the water getting increasingly cooler. My pool doesn’t have a heater. What was really enjoyable is becoming more difficult to do. Pretty soon that water is going to be too cold to enter. Then what?

Join a gym? No thank you. Walking around in a bathing suit in my own backyard is no problem, but in a public place? Nope. And sharing the pool with people who no doubt are there to actually swim can be problematic. I know. I used to be a lifeguard (you know, wearing a bathing suit in a public place).

Head up to mom’s condo? Their pool is heated, or at least it’s supposed to be. And in the 40 plus years that I’ve been visiting that place (including the two brief times when I lived there) the pool has been vastly underutilized. Really, it’s not the worst idea, but the distance, traffic, and horrible neighbor who has nothing better to do than harass people make this option less than ideal.

Use my friend’s community pool? It’s pretty close, and she says it’s heated, but I would have to get her scanning device to get in each time (I guess they’re pretty high tech over there) and the thought of driving home in a wet bathing suit is really unappealing. Brrrrr.

Get a wet suit? Don’t laugh. I’ve researched this option, and I know that they do make them for virtually every size and shape of body, but it’s a pretty big investment for something that I don’t really want to deal with. And apparently if you don’t get the right size it really doesn’t keep you warm. It’s supposed to be very snug when you first put it on. I imagine it’s like trying to squeeze a sausage into its casing. And do they dry in a day? I’m not sure. And where exactly do you keep it? I’m still on the fence with this one.

So there you have it. My dilemma. I know. I should just do a different kind of exercise. Of course. But this is the first time in my life (EVER) that I’ve found an exercise routine that I enjoy and that I’ve been able to stick with. So wish me luck, and a few more days of warm weather.


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Longest Movement Streak

That’s what my watch tells me every day after my workout. Wow, talk about a sentence I never thought I would write. It’s true though. I’m on a roll.

If you’ve been with me for any length of time at all, you know that exercise hasn’t exactly been something I’ve been keen on, but somehow that’s changed. Not ALL exercise. I haven’t completely changed my stripes. However, there’s a workout that I’ve been doing every day since May 27. Well, every day but one, and that couldn’t be helped. What is this magic workout, you ask. It’s jogging in the pool. Yes. Each day I put on my swimsuit and head out to the pool for at least 35 minutes of nonstop jogging. Occasionally I go twice in the same day.

I’ve always loved being in the water. I was once a lifeguard, and when I was little I swam like a fish. I have the faded construction paper “ribbons” from summer camp to prove it. One of my favorite baby pictures is of my mom standing over me, holding my hands up in the air while the rest of me is in the kiddie pool. I was clearly very happy at that moment.

This all came about entirely by accident. Let me explain. May 27, 2021 was the last day of the most challenging and exhausting school year I’ve ever experienced. I came home that afternoon tired. Not Friday tired. Not last day of school tired. More like relieved that I’d survived the school year tired. I sank into a chair, and promptly zoned out. I could have gone to sleep in a heartbeat. I would have slept for hours, maybe days, but I decided I didn’t want to do that.

I was on summer break, and I decided to reclaim my life. The 2020-2021 school year was not going to claim me as a casualty. I survived. I figured the best way to revive myself would be to jump into the pool. After all, late May in my part of the country is pretty warm, and a dip in the pool would be just the thing.

I hadn’t gotten into the pool yet this season, so I wasn’t even sure what the temperature would be, but it was terrific. I got in, I jumped around a little, I swam a few laps, and I felt great. That’s when I decided to challenge myself. I figured I have this pool (I insisted on it back when we were house hunting), so why not commit to using it each day of the summer? That’s how it started. Each day I got in, and when I did I spent some time jogging. It was all fun and games until I got my early birthday gift of an Apple Watch.

For at least 3 years my sweetheart has been wanting to gift me one, but I put him off and put him off. Then my supposedly waterproof Fitbit decided that it really wasn’t. Well, that watch has been a total game changer for me. It’s a game to me to “close my rings” each day (activity, exercise, and standing… which is a joke because it counts sleeping as standing). It also has pushed me to up my levels of activity and exercise.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but during the year of Covid (not that it’s gone, but I do mean last school year), my daily step count averaged somewhere between 2,000-3,000. I’ve heard that 10,000 should be the minimum for most adults. Well, right now I’m averaging between 11,000-12,000 daily. I’m interested to see what my lab results will be the next time I go for my routine check up. I’m sleeping better, my appetite is pretty under control, and I’m feeling good about this whole movement thing. On top of all that, the time spent in the pool is time to clear my head and enjoy the dragonflies and occasional hummingbirds that fly by. If only summer could last forever.