Monthly Archives: March 2010

Major life change

I have been contemplating leaving my job for awhile. Before the year’s out, I expect to be gone. There are good parts, but I just can’t handle it, so I need to get out.

I have been trying to figure out what to do next. My degrees aren’t good for much else, so it’s mostly jobs that don’t require degrees I’m contemplating. It’d be hard to go from making $25/hour to $10/hour..though I would for the ability to do more than get through life.

But I’ve also been thinking to my strengths. What should I do?

Work in a doggie daycare, vets office, or other dog-related location?

Work in a bookstore or library?

And then it came to me..something I’ve wanted to do for ages..something I really wanted to major in, but couldn’t work out with engineering at the same time..something I did in high school and then re-touched on in college a little..something I did in another capacity all through college..something I have loved every time I do it.

Teaching.

Much of why I love dog training is that it is, essentially, teaching.

I volunteered teaching deaf children part-time in high school, and then worked as a deaf-ed substitute in college. I also volunteered at a deaf-ed classroom in college.

I taught physics labs all through college. I also spent a lot of time tutoring people in the “math lab,” where students could go to get math help. I wasn’t one of the official tutors (a.k.a. I got no $$) but when I was in there doing my homework I’d take breaks to teach other people concepts.

All through my busy life, I have been happy to take time for teaching. It rejuvinates me.

I have always been complimented on my ability to explain things by people who I’m working with. And as I’ve said, I love aha moments.

There are teacher training programs that start this summer and end next summer. Under a year in length. And then I’m certified. To teach high school mathematics.

Shorter days. More turnover during the day. More work that is done at home at my own pace (grading, lesson planning). Summers off (or working less). When I have kids, if I go back to it, it works well.

And I love it. Every time I have done it, I love it.

It’s not perfect. There are lame things about it. The politics suck. Classes can be a giant pain. But I think I could be happy.

And in certain programs, the year-long program is paid for entirely by a loan, which I do not have to pay back if I teach for the state for two years.

So now I have to decide…quickly…am I going to pursue this?

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Pretty good day

Today was a generally happy day. Not much serious going on, some casual fun.

Started out by heading to the dog show. I got there just in time (thanks to my hubby driving me right to the door) to watch a former student compete in conformation with the dog who was in my class. She was so happy to have me there, she lives alone and I don’t think she usually has anyone rooting for her, and that just made it even MORE fun. Me being me, I was afraid of how she’d react to me showing up, if she thought I was just being pushy…because…you know…that makes sense… Her dog didn’t win, but he did well, and it was fun! Then I watched some agility and rally (which was a big confidence-booster, let me tell you!) and visited all the vendors. I learned from a free chiropractice let-us-find-something-wrong-so-you-will-come-buy-our-services back check that my spine leans a fair amount to the right, and that all of my body (shoulder, hips, wherever else they measured) are also slanted that way. When I first showed up and filled out their little form the guy looked at all the kinds of back/neck pain and dizziness I’d marked as experiencing in the last 6 months (6 months? Try 6 days!) and didn’t believe that I hadn’t had trauma in my past (Are you sure? Maybe when  you were a kid you fell off the monkey-bars?) Then he looked at my spine and was like..oh..ok..yeah, if you are so tense your body is twisted like this all the time, all those symptoms don’t surprise me anymore. Mmm, awesome. My hubby gave me a 1 hour massage for Christmas. I need to find the time to USE IT! Anyhoo, watched dogs compete, petted lots of puppies, had a good time.

Got home in the afternoon inspired to work with my puppy so we can actually compete in rally! I mean, if the people at the show were doing it, we can totally do it, with just a little more work. The novice class was..well..full of novices. Here, how ’bout I say it this way: I’m no longer afraid of making a fool of myself. So I found a place to download the rally signs for free and sent them to Kinkos to get printed up, grabbed my book of practice rally courses, and headed outside with the puppy! We walked one pattern repeatedly, worked on some basic skills, and I could see him improve a lot. Then I set up his agility jump and we practiced that awhile, with him getting really excited. I love seeing that :-) Later we headed out for another rally session.

This was huge for me. I usually don’t get off my butt to go outside and work with him..in fact..this is the first time I have. We’ve done some basic work in the hallway, but it’s not even comparable. I feel good when I do, but I never do. Now it’s getting light earlier (damn you, daylight savings time, for taking this away!!!), warming up, and being less rainy, so hopefully I’ll keep up the training.

While I was working on jumping with Toby, a new client called! This made me VERY happy, because if you remember, after a sudden spurt of business growth I have had noone call me in weeks. I postponed my new class from starting last Thursday to this Thursday..still no one is signed up. Trying to not worry and hope someone will come, if not, I’ll take these 6 weeks off! Well, from teaching that extra class. I still have 4 other group students, it will work out! So anyway, new client, meeting her Saturday, told me she’s going to buy the three sessions to start and possibly upgrade to six. Wahoo! Lots ‘o’ income!

Just got back from another evening walk with my hubby and puppy. Lovely. These crisp evenings with no rain have been so nice. Current step count: 5,513! And I’ll be up and moving around here, soon, because I’m actually going to cook dinner. This does not happen. I can’t remember how I was routed to the CrazyBeloved blog, but I came across this recipe there that I’m going to try out. I’m trying to cook more so that 1) I eat healthier (I don’t care if it has ground beef, sour cream, and cheese, it’s still healthier than ordering pizza or eating all pre-processed foods) and 2) I can save money by taking leftovers to lunch rather than buying at the obscene downtown Seattle prices. Usually, this means my hubby cooks (yes, ladies, I am that lucky) but tonight I volunteered.

Of course, he’s still going out and getting the ingredients while I blog.

All-in-all, good day. The only downside being the overriding exhaustion. I had another night when I could.not.sleep. It is so frustrating to lay down for the night, ready to take care of your body like you know it needs, and have it refuse to be taken care of. Wait…I think maybe my body is RAD! Defiant, refuses to listen to instruction, won’t accept comfort or do things it wants if I want them..yup…that describes my body!

Please, just let me sleep well tonight. I have now been chronically exhausted, barely able to talk, for 2.5 weeks. I was babbling on the phone with the client. I have made large mistakes at work. And it’s hard to enjoy anything when you just want to sleep.

Sleep, body, sleep.

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T-shirts *giggle*

I just came across Snorg Tees, and they are frikkin hilarious! I wish I still had time to wear t-shirts, but it is so rare I am not either 1) going to my day job, in slacks and heels, which a t-shirt would just clash with or 2) meeting with a training client..and trying to look LESS like a 16-year-old (people always tell me I’ll be grateful for this when I get older. Except that my mom tells me she looked like a teenager til all of a sudden she looked older than she was. So I hope that’s not the case. But hey, to me she still looks 30 (Love you, mom!)). So I simply cannot justify buying shirts I could almost never wear.

I can still laugh at them, though!

Disclaimer: Snorg Tees does not know I exist. I have received no swag for the free advertising I am doling out (hint, hint, if y’all ever find me).

To open with, AMEN:

Seriously, I thought learning cursive was the most pointless waste of time EVER. I have never used it. I resented it all through third grade. Yes, I hold grudges.

Some more random hilarity:

Essie, you with me?

These next two make me think of my bestest bud and engineering co-sufferer:

They sound much like conversations we often had…

This is how much I knew about sports before I met my hubby. In an interesting coincidence, this is how much I wish I still knew about sports! (Just kidding, love you, hubby!)

Now, I am a nerd, so I’ve gotta throw in some math love:

Is it just me, or does this look like a better premise for a movie?

This elicited a literal facepalm.

If you didn’t get those, don’t worry. I don’t get either of these last two:

*whistles*

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Um…excuse me?

I spend time in a lot of male-dominated areas. Engineering can be described as a measuring contest (pull down your pants and grab a ruler). All through college my bestest bud Erica and I got away with murder in our engineering classes and were often graded easier than the guys, because we were girls. At the same time, we couldn’t skip classes (too often) because we stuck out like sore thumbs, and we were constantly aware of an “Aaaaw, look at da cute wittle girls trying to do engineering” mentality. Some professors handled it subtly some..not so subtly. Same things happened at my internship at Boeing; there’s nothing quite like walking into a group meeting full of your coworkers and having the room fall silent because the stories “weren’t appropriate” to share in front of a girl *rolls eyes* We learned to milk the upsides since we were going to be subject to the downsides no matter what.

I’m lucky in that my current job I finally feel like an engineer..rather than a female engineer.

But I still run into guys being dumb, and now that I’m not surrounded by it all the time, it sticks out more. Yesterday I had several examples.

In the morning, I was talking with a supplier. He had called and left a message before I got in, asking me to call him. I did, and he opened with, “Hello, sunshine!” Um…what? I’m pretty sure I did NOT just hear you right. ’cause I can almost guarantee that if any of my male colleagues called, that would not have been the greeting they got. But OK, not going to make a stink (plus I’m in a bit of shock) we’ll go on. Then as we’re closing our short conversation, he says something like, “All right, sweetie, we’ll see how this works.” WHAT??? Sweetie? Really? This was while we were saying goodbye, so I was already kind of mid-closing statement, and then I hung up. And sat there in shock for a moment.

Now, I realize it’s not that big a deal, it’s not like he was making sexual reference or anything, but..still. It gets tiring constantly having your skills be put secondary to your genitals. And it was just so inappropriate!

Then, that evening, I headed out to a hockey game. My hubby officiates many sports, one being football. He and his football buddies were at a local hockey game, selling programs and chuck-a-pucks to fund-raise for youth sports (or something. I didn’t really care. I was just hanging out with the hubby). So, needless to say, football officials + hockey fans = male dominated crowd. As I’m standing at the front entrance, holding programs over my head and trying to sell them (which is difficult since I find programs stupid..then again…I find sports stupid..) a guy stops and buys one from me. Great! I smile, thank him, and tell him to have fun at the game. He starts to step away, and then stops, and with a greatly daring look on his face says, “I just want to tickle you!” and shoots me a grin. Um…excuse me? I wasn’t sure what to say. I kind of smiled, and then processed the words, and then stared at him like..huh??? as he walked away.

Again, I’m pretty sure that had he been buying a program from one of the balding, overweight male program sellers (somehow the other girls snagged the sit-at-a-table jobs) that comment would not have come out of his mouth.

I’m not super sensitive to such things. Really. The comment the head of the volunteers made to me about, “You can sell more! Just smile at the guys and they’ll come right over to you!” didn’t offend at all. I laughed. People blatently teasing me about being female doesn’t bother me. Someone making sexist jokes knowingly doesn’t bother me.

It’s the comments that guys would never make to another man, but find witty when made to a woman, that really get to me.

And any one of those comments by themselves I would probably have rolled my eyes at and shrugged off. But all three in one day? Just left me feeling a bit icky.

I had a really bad night (long time in bed, very little sleep) so I’ve been very lazy today. Currently my steps are at 885. But thanks to Corey’s prompting, I’m not just going to feel bad about it. I’m heading out to take a nice, long walk with the hubby and puppy! I might even have to carry the 10lb puppy much of the way..he’s been sleeping since his visit to the dog park this afternoon.

I shall report on how I do…

**********Edit**********

After about 40 minutes of aerobic walking in the beautiful, crisp outdoors:

5,394

And I feel GREAT!

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2010 A-Z Challenge

I’ve decided to participate in the 2010 A-Z Challenge. Basically, I’m going to try to read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet by the end of 2010. Insane, you ask? Why yes, say I. The “nice” thing is, though, that’s I’ve got a 1 hour commute each way to work via bus. Which gives me lots ‘o’ time to read. Probably only about 30-45 minutes of that can I read, but still, adds up. Also, I often read over my lunch break..it is my absolute favorite escape and one thing I really try to find time for.

I now have a page on my blog for the challenge, to list how I’m doing, and when I read a book I’ll be putting up a little review. Little! Promise! I’ll demonstrate:

The Pleasure Palace is a part of the Secrets of the Tudor Court group of books by Kate Emerson. I found it quite enjoyable to read, though definitely brain candy. I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with historical fiction from this period, so the book really appealed to me on that level. The author is careful to be almost entirely historically accurate (she made two small changes, which she points out at the end), and to fill in a possible story which connects all of the facts we know. The main character is a gentlewoman who is raised with Henry VIII and his sisters to be their “friend.” It goes through her life growing up in court. The writing is enjoyable, the story pulled me in, and it has a great strong female lead and a nice romance story. It was a bit predictable, but sometimes I’m OK with that. If you want a light but well-written read, I’d recommend this book.

See? Not so bad? And heck, if you don’t want to read it, you can just skip over the little paragraph!

A lot of times I’ll try to just fit the “review” into my other posts…but of course, that only works if I have something else to say :-)

For now, I must run off with Toby to our doggy playdate. Happy Saturday!

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Walking it off

One thing that can be good for people with chronic fatigue, including those with CFS, is to get exercise. Not a LOT of exercise, because that depletes the small energy reserve we have. But some. This isn’t that radical, for most people getting exercise is a good thing. But for someone with chronic fatigue, not exercising –> being more tired –> not wanting to exercise even more–> being even more tired –>… is an extra hard spiral to get out of. You are..well..chronically fatigued, so the thought of moving is rarely appealing. Even for ice cream. ICE CREAM. Doing it just because it will make you feel better over all (insert cynical “Suuuuuure it will” from brain here) in theory is, well, hard.

So I’ve been very, very bad about it.

A few weeks ago I got myself one of these:

Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer

A little pedometer just like this that I can carry in my pocket to keep track of my steps (except mine has never had a number that high on the screen). Everyone is supposed to get 10,000 steps a day to be healthy. Back before I had CFS, way back, in high school, I had a pedometer for about a year. And I consistently got about 10,000 steps. Sometimes 8,000, sometimes 9,000, but often 10,000. Sometimes even 11,000 or 12,000! So I figured, hey, I must be pretty close from walking in everyday life, I’ll just bump it up a bit with some focus.

Not so much.

In the past week I have not had a single day out of 3,000. That’s 30% of what I should be getting. (As a side note, if I never move, why am I still so tired???)

Anyway, Corey challenged us to pick one way we would take care of ourselves in the upcoming week and share it with her.

I decided to focus on improving my steps. Nothing too crazy. Not going for 10,000. Don’t want to set myself up to fail.

I’m shooting for 5,000 steps a day.

Every day.

For a week.

Starting today.

And to keep myself honest, I am posting my steps on this here blog. Hopefully this will motivate me to get in the habit, and it will be easier to keep up, and maybe even *gasp* improve on, after the week is over.

Maybe it will also help me move down from being the heaviest I have ever been. Ever. Did I mention I’m at my highest weight ever? I’m not OK with this.

So, as I said, starting tonight. And now, excluding any getting-ready-to-go-to-bed walking, I have my step count to share with you:

5,279

It’s a start.

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A whole heap ‘o’ new memes

I recently discovered, through Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workship, an awesome new blog called My So Called Chaos. Last Friday Miss Angie participated in three different memes, all of which I thought were really cool, so this week I’m going to combine them into one awesome post!

First up: Happy hour!

As far as I can tell, this is just an opportunity to say what you’re happy about this week. Which is awesome. I can always use an excuse to focus on the positive!

I am happy that I made it through this week of exhaustion and stress!

I am happy that tomorrow I get to go on a doggy playdate with a new friend!

I am happy that I am married to the sweetest man on the planet, who takes such good care of me! (For more on why this is on my mind, read this post. Please do. It’s powerful. It’s OK, I’ll wait. *whistles* OK, back and feeling…well…feeling? Onward!)

I am happy that my puppy and I had one of our best weeks at agility! So fun to see a jump forward in progress after weeks of feeling stalled!

I am happy that my final class with three students went well. It was fun. The dogs were good. Everyone was happy. That’s how training should be!

I am happy that this weekend I can go to a dog show and not only see dogs compete in conformation, agility, rally, and formal obedience, but hopefully meet potential new clients! I want to wear a sign that says “Come here for dog training!” Think that would be tacky?

Hmm, as I look back through that’s a little skewed towards dog-oriented happies. Well…I guess that says something about me I already knew!

Next up: Dear So and So…

This just looks fun and therapeutic *rubs hands in glee*

Dear brain,

wtcrap?? I KNOW you’re tired. You tell me all day long. I’m listening. But you gotta work with me. You know those long stretches at night when I lie down and cuddle up to my hubby and puppy and don’t move for hours? That’s your chest to rest. Sleep. Recuperate. So if you could stop running and running and running during that time and just settle down, I think we’d both be happier.

OK?

OK.

Thanks,

your body

Dear office,

I appreciate you hiring me to do structural engineering when I only had a mechanical engineering degree (and a useless math one). It is what I wanted to do, and I still love the work. But I just cannot handle the stress and the time. I wish it were different. So I will be leaving within the year, to change my life and do more than just get through the days.

This is your heads up. I want to do right by you.

-an exhausted employee

Dear Toby,

I love you. You’re an awesome puppy. Really. But what is up with the last few nights? You know how we let you out right before bed to do your business? And then come up and settle in for the night? Where did the scratching to go back out 30 minutes later come from? Please take care of all your business before we go upstairs. And while I do love you licking me awake, please only do so after my alarm has gone off.

And thanks for your hard work in agility this week. It was noticed and appreciated.

Love you!

-your mama (woof!)

mmmmk, awesome. That is fun!

Last meme is pretty simple: Follow Me Fridays

You put up the link to your blog, and then click on the big ol’ listing of blogs and find some new ones to follow! Hopefully others will find yours and decide you’re awesome. If someone follows you, follow them back (just common politeness). The more you follow, the more followers you get! And we all know how obsessed with followers I am…

So that’s it! If you want to play along click on any of the pictures to go to headquarters. Add your story, add your link, and have some fun!

Just 5.5 hours to go til the weekend! Yee-haw!

**Edit**

I just found another meme…similar to “Follow me Friday” called…wait for it…Friday Follow!

If you hadn’t guessed the idea is basically the same. It’s simple, I’m finding lots of fun blogs through my other investigations, so I’m gonna play along with this one, too!

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