Row, row, row your boat

I’m pretty proud of myself right now. I actually followed through on my promise to myself to check out the new Chico State gym today. It doesn’t open until noon, and as it got closer I felt more and more lazy. Since I didn’t really feel like riding the bus I made a compromise with myself: I went, but drove myself.

Not only did I go, but I worked out for a full hour. I’ve never been to a gym of any sort before, so I was pretty intimidated by some of the machines since not all of them have diagrams of how to work them. I got into it pretty quickly though, and ended up doing some rowing, lots of elliptical, and a couple miles on what was basically a cycling machine for arms.

More than coming through on goals, I’m mostly happy because…well, I’m happy! I must’ve released some serious endorphins – not only am I actually looking forward to going to work tonight and starting school on Monday, I’m excited to go back and work out again on Monday even though I hadn’t planned to before. Will wonders never cease?

I better put those endorphins to work while I’m still energetic – cleaning time!

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Post-birthday Recap

Ahhh, the day after my birthday. Yesterday was a great birthday, much better than I expected it to be. I started getting birthday wishes at 1:00 am, and that continued on (thankfully, mostly electronically) until about 10:00 pm. Since I’m low on money, and also because it’s more fun, I made my own cake and made pizza dough for each person to make their own smaller pizza.

For most of the day it didn’t feel much at all like anything, just any other day. Unfortunately, I severely underestimated how long it would take me to get everything ready, and with the added stress of needing to remake frosting and frost both cakes again (due to a cooking error, I might have accidentally essentially frosted the cake with fudge the first time…) and a less-than-awesome turn out of my first batch of pizza dough (which actually tasted fine when I cooked it) I was starting to stress out a lot.

It worked out fine though, Kim cleaned the kitchen for me without even being asked, and chopped up all of the pizza toppings for me, and Summer (and partially Karis) helped me decorate and picked up instant pizza dough for me.

It was great to see the people that came to my party – a lot of them I haven’t hung out with in awhile. Interestingly, the most popular thing to get me was chocolate (it’s pretty easy to understand that logic) but…well, I try to not have a lot of temptations stored around here. Now everywhere I look is chocolate!

Even Alex dropped by, even though we’d already made arrangements to go out to dinner since I know he’s not a huge fan of some of the people that were there. Since a lot of people hadn’t seen him in a long time and he’s gotten taller and more muscular, it was fun to show him off a bit 🙂

It was a great day, but seriously, it took half an hour to start herding people out. Someone would say they were leaving, hug everyone, and then get caught in conversation again and the whole process would repeat with the whole group slowly moving towards the door and repeating the process even outside. Finally, when they were all stuck in front of the office (so close!) I yelled “goodnight!” and went and got changed into my pjs and brought out my toothbrush and whatnot to go to the bathroom. I felt like that was a pretty good hint at “I’m glad to see you and happy you came but for God’s sake please leave already!” (even then, Kenny and I had to shoo off the last three or four people).

Part of the fun now is celebrating my birthday another 4 times – today with the Abbey, tonight with my parents and grandparents, this week with Alex, and next weekend with my sisters. The plus side of having my family kind of spread out? Any birthday gets stretched out to atleast Hanukkah length, even if mostly it’s just an excuse to get everyone together…

Summer’s ending soon =(

Well, today’s the big day. Last art class of summer! Okay, okay, I admit it – I’m still not sure what we’re doing today. We’ve been painting the last couple times, and I’d like to find a way to use the mass amounts of construction paper we had donated. I need to get on that.

This morning has been pretty well wasted. I went to a staff meeting where we got yelled at for about 2 1/2 hours – though I’d guess that only about 10-20% applied to any one person. Actually, about half of it wasn’t yelling, and was instead more similar to “disappointed with slightly raised voices”. Our cake decorator, however, actually did yell, pace, gesture angrily, etc. At least they bribed us with juice and donuts and they legally had to pay us to be there.

I came home and intended to work on my art class lesson plan to cheer me up, but I still had tabs up from my quest the night before to find a cake to bake for my birthday party. That led to cooking blogs and…well, it’s been 45 minutes now. I tried to resist, but the second I saw a category for scones, I was gone. With the end of summer looming, my need for quick breakfast foods is going to skyrocket. I really need to work on that this semester – packing lunches and eating good breakfasts –  as well as, as always, my study habits.

Speaking of blogs, Heather introduced me to an interesting one, 30 Bucks a Week, which is about a couple in New York who try to feed themselves with, as the name implies, $30 a week. It’s an interesting and timely concept, and I enjoy reading through their recipes and suggestions. It’s a good reminder that just because I’m short on money, it doesn’t mean I have to resort to junk food, especially since all of their meals are vegetarian. Obviously, a lot of the options at their disposal don’t apply around here, but some of it still carries over.

I just finished The Story We Find Ourselves In this morning, and I think I’ll start the last book, The Last Word, and the Word After That tomorrow. I had originally planned to skip the first book, but I’m glad I didn’t. It held a lot of background information and concepts that were only vaguely fleshed out, but it was what I needed to get the basic ideas. What I liked about the second book was that it dealt much more with application, and it was a conversation starter.

The conversations are what was really important to me; partially because I always feel intimidated and have trouble speaking up and also because it forced me to go further than simply restating an idea. Since I’m going back to school soon, I’ll use the example of Bloom’s Taxonomy (hey, I’m trying to remember what I’ve learned); for a few of the ideas, especially ones that I had read much earlier in the book, I could really only put them into my own words. But, especially as we kept talking about them, we started evaluating, comparing and contrasting, and some of the other higher levels. It boosts my confidence to have some of those higher level conversations 🙂

Anyway, I need to stop procrastinating. Art class lesson plan!

However…

I found this on our table this afternoon, with a huge and lovely decorated envelope from my sister. My memory card reader is MIA, so I can’t show you the actual card, but it basically looks like this:

And, for any of you cynics (like Kenny) whose first thought is "That's really not loving you all that much", the inside says "*Hug shown is smaller than actual size"

Inside was a note that generally said hello and reminded me that as much as I fight it, she believes that it’s her job as one of my older sisters to help me out. She included two hefty gift cards for groceries, which I actually didn’t find for a few minutes. What I realized was that in comparison to the happiness that I got from getting a random kind thought from someone I care about, the groceries didn’t add that much more to it. It’s incredibly sweet of her, certainly. But I’m starting to really concentrate on the things that make me happy in life, and very few of them have a large monetary value put on them. We all know that money doesn’t make us happy, but I’m just now starting to actually believe it.

This made my day, and I’ve been incredibly less grumpy since finding it. They drive me nuts sometimes, but my older sisters (yes, all of them) rock.

Cold, sick, and vaguely grumpy

It’s cold outside. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. It’s barely August! It is not okay for it to become winter before school even starts.

I hate winter.

Most of this week I’ve been in a fairly good mood, though my body has decided that it’s time for me to be sick. The “good mood” momentum was wearing off, and paired with a nasty nightmare, the cold weather, and an especially sick morning, I’m geting grumpy.

On Tuesday, I went out for coffee with Linda Burchett, the wife of my old youth pastor at Neighborhood. She’d been asking my mom about me, so I called her to see if we could catch up. Surprisingly, even though we’d been close, I was superbly nervous. It went well though, and I relaxed almost immediately. There were still a few moments though where I censored myself for the sake of good taste; we both shared some of our struggles, and I tried to delicately explain my aversion to all things Neighborhood-esque, whether it be members, worship style, terminology, etc. I realized that explaining the basic idea was okay, but it was really unneccessary and could’ve been hurtful to share details. There are just some things better left only thought and never spoken.

It was interesting to hear that even she, a pretty outgoing person, tends to shrink back when surrounded by people that seem more knowledgeable, as I’m notorious for doing during Abbey and coffee discussions. It made me feel better, knowing that other people struggle with it – then worse, because if even she couldn’t manage, how am I supposed to? There were a lot of emotions involved in the whole conversation, really.

I think it’s about time for me to get a shower and make some pancakes. Cold cereal will just not cut it this morning.

Fidgety Hands

This has been a pretty solid week. I’m coming to terms with some of my financial issues, I went out to the river with some Abbey folk and youth group kids (and my legs still hurt), caught up with my family – though most of the news wasn’t good, at least we’re all in contact now instead of hearing about these things months later – and, I finally finished the hat I’ve been knitting Heather for at least a month now. That’s what I get for not reading directions carefully enough, I think I’ve started that hat four times now!

I’ve been reading A New Kind of Christian, since Patrick kindly dropped it off for me. It explains a lot about what being postmodern means, which is helpful for me since I hear postmodern and emergent thrown around a lot but I’ve never really understood what they meant.

I’m preparing my last few art class lesson plans. I’m taking a break for my birthday and the start of school and may start them up again in the winter, but for now I only have two more weeks to go. In the spirit of working ahead, as opposed to the procrastination I’m apt to fall into, I tried working out some origami for next Saturday. My plan was to create my own directions, since some directions even with pictures are difficult for me to follow, so I don’t imagine an eight year old faring well with them. Apparently, Google’s definition of “easy” origami is a bit skewed – I was more than ready to throw something at the wall by the time I took a break. Randomly, however, I managed to get one of them to work – not by following the directions, but just by using my noggin. Go figure.

I’m getting into a habit that I’m not sure whether it is good or bad – or just neutral. When I finally buckled down to finish Heather’s hat, I watched tv while I was knittng. The pattern was simple, it didn’t take much effort, and it was boring to sit there and just knit. I know the tv usage probably wasn’t a great idea, since I’m already on my laptop too much as it is. But a funny thing happened last night – I brought up an episode of Torchwood, and instantly my fingers got fidgety. I needed something to do with my hands, and the lack of the familiar click swish click swish was disconcerting. So I turned it off and went to find something to paint.

Hello there, color mixing charts. Ruler and tape, it’s been awhile hasn’t it? Paint tubes, you’re all stuck closed tight – is this your way of trying to get me to spend time with you more? Don’t worry, we’re all old friends, it’ll be like we never parted ways!