Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm not quite over the hump.

By over the hump, I mean past the nightmare that is the end of this school year.  We have our first round of waivers (those nightmarish work sample folders - named for the fact that they "waive" students from the test standard) due on Wednesday.  I've barely done anything aside from getting the work together.  I have basically 7 to complete tonight.  Needless to say, I'm nervous, anxious, and stressed to the max.  After next Monday, it will all be over and I'll totally be over the hump. 

I promise I have lots to update on upon my return.  We went to Athens this weekend, I got some sweet new kicks, I bought D an awesome bday gift, we had a delish steak dinner, etc. etc.  I'm hoping to take one small day this weekend to hit up the beach and detox before possible misery of the final waiver day on Monday.  Then the next weekend is KD's wedding in Birmingham.  I just can't wait for some real solace from the madness.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weighing in :: Life & weight.

This has been one tough week.  There's been tears shed (although more held back than shed), arguments due to my increased sadness and frustrations, and just plain lack of energy.  Wednesday we found out test scores.  I won't go into detail, but I think you can assume it wasn't good (those weren't happy tears).  Based on the students I teach, I should be looking at their growth (test scores from last year to this year), but for some reason it does not make me feel much better. 

I was feeling more positive yesterday after the parent phone calls were over.  Then I got my seventh grade scores.  This has been an extremely challenging and difficult year for me.  I've gotten little support from my administration and my teaching team.  I got stuck teaching three subjects, two of which I don't enjoy.  I got stuck teaching classes that were too big and having no inclusion (where I am a teaching support to another teacher) classes to learn from other more "seasoned" teachers.  I am a first year teacher with no prior experience teaching.  I feel as though I got punished for passing my teaching tests, while others were rewarded for failing.  I said before I feel like I was set up to fail. 

[I loved these books as a kid]

I know that I am strong though.  I will make it through the rest of this year.  Staying throughout the whole year has made me stronger.  I know that my attitude and urge to be in an elementary school has done little to help my situation this year.  I will make it through the next two weeks.  All I can do is keep working and cross my fingers in hope that I will find an elementary position where I can shine and better display my strengths.  If I am in the same position again next year, I KNOW I have a chance to succeed and my situation can only go up from here.

In much more positive and uplifting news (thanks for letting me vent.  I promise once the next 13.5 school days are over, I will be flying high on positivity!), I weighed myself on Thursday.  I was scared because 1) Wednesday had been an awful, stressful, depressing day and 2) we indulged in some Mexican food with beer to cope with my day.

   [You know I can't get enough cats on scales]

To my amazing surprise, I was down another 1.2 pounds!  This is probably the best thing about this week (aside from the fact that D is wonderful and is taking me camping at the beach this weekend).  This puts me at almost five total pounds lost.  I couldn't stop talking to D about it yesterday.  My motivation has been fueled!  

I am more motivated than ever to finish the Couch to 10k program.  I'm about to be on week 5.  It's the same feeling I have about running.  I've never fully followed or finished a running training plan, and I am determined to be successful.  I haven't felt much success in work this year, which is part of the reason I am feeling so motivated to be successful in running.  My breathing has been on par.  I do feel like I was thinking that the doctor would give me some magic pill where I could easily run 3 miles with no breathing hassles.  Um, hello.  It's called endurance.  Mine still needs to build.  I am starting to have increased pain in my calves.  I know part of this is related to my need for new shoes, but do any of you runners have problems with tight calves?

Sorry for the crazy text heavy post!  Thanks for bearing with me if you made it this far!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chirp, chirp.

This title is ridiculously deceiving.  While I'm sure most of you pictured this:

I was picturing this

Why crickets?  Because that's how my brain feels right now.  I have time to write a post, but nothing really comes to my mind to write about.  I don't want to browse for a Craving post because that's depressing due to the fact that my pay day is not until next Friday.  Basically my mind is overwhelmed with all things school.  Thank you so much for the kind, supportive, and understanding comments you all left yesterday.  It's good to know that I'm not the only one.  Tomorrow I'll be at school late looking at test scores and calling parents (ugh, my least favorite part).

I did want to mention the run I think I am going to do for my 10k in July.  Living in Raleigh has lots of advantages, one being that we live only 2 hours from the coast (and only 3 hours from the fabulous Outer Banks, which you HAVE to visit if ever in NC).  Being a teacher has lots some advantages, one being that I have two months off in the summer.  Perfect opportunity to travel to the beach for a 10k!  In Atlantic Beach, NC, they do a summer beach running series.  They started the series last week.  To qualify for any prizes you have to participate in 4 of the 6 runs, but who are we kidding?  I'm not winning any awards here!  Each run is on a Tuesday or Thursday and on the beach.  Oh, and it costs $3.00/person.  What?!  I'm actually wondering if that's a typo.  The run takes place on the beach (which could be an issue) and starts at 6:30 in the evening.  I'm hoping D and I can make a long weekend of it!  I'm killing Couch to 10k these days (almost 5 miles this week!).  I'm feeling really motivated to stick with the plan.  I finally hit up the doctor, and my runs are feeling ten times better than they have in the past 6 months at least.  

[Damn, next thing you know I'll be looking fierce like her]

I'll try to remember to do a post on my newfound philosophy of being a "runner."  To all my runners, keep it up!  I'm feeling more and more confident and strong about my body every day. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Everything will be ok.

I'm starting to feel myself spiraling.  I've mentioned a few times that this is the hardest part of the year for me, standardized testing.  This is stressful for a few reasons (I'm going to spit out some teacher jargon, my apologies):

  • Many of my students do not test well and have a history of not testing well (not that I can blame them with the stress they put on these tests).
  • If students do not pass the first time, they must be subjected to 5 hours of "remediation," listening to a teacher drone on about the subject per test.
  • I teach two core subjects tested.
  • Students who do not pass the re-test must have work sample folders (complied of not only work but a million other pieces of paperwork) made for each subject test not passed.
  • I judge myself and my teaching ability on my students' success on this test even though I shouldn't.
  • I got placed in a shit situation this year and feel like I was doomed for failure
  • I might have 16 work folders to compile in one week.
  • I might have to compile folders while also trying to plan for the remainder of the year and deal with crazy students.
I could probably go on.  Testing officially begins tomorrow, and I am a ball of nerves.  My students barely paid attention when reviewing and don't seem to care.  I drank too many beers alone this weekend.  I'm still trying to finish up last minute grading.  I'm bailing on the shred today and overate.  I'm afraid of how this week will affect my weight loss.

I looked to Weheartit to get some inspiration and push away a little of the stress and anxiety.

[I seriously feel like as a teacher, I need that tattoo on my wrist.]


Everything will be alright.  I'll get through this no matter how many tears fall along the way.  I'll get right back into running tomorrow.  I just need to remember to maintain my routines and be strong. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weighing-in Wednesday :: On time!

That's right!! I'm on time this week. If you follow me on twitter, you know I had good news this week. I weighed myself yesterday just for the hell of it, coming off the normally indulgent weekend.

So I lost almost another whole pound, which Myfitnesspal tells me I've lost almost 4 pound since April. BAM! That had me feeling motivated! I decided to take my measurements again which hadn't been taken since mid-April today. It was at the end of the day so possibly inaccurate. But damn! My hips keep shrinking! My stomach had gained a bit but that could totally be water.

Anyhow, I'm really loving the way running and the Shred has been making me feel. I'm loving my body a LOT more. I'm motivated to keep it up and hope I see more awesome changes.

-BlogPress post

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'll be back sooner than later.

You know it's the craziest time of year for teachers. I told you I was going to be having a hectic month...it's shaping up to be quite crazier than I thought (and I'm really only one day in to the madness). I may be scheduling some posts this weekend depending on grading insanity. I'll definitely be behind on my blog reading...so late comments are inevitable.

Bear with me and I'll leave you with a pic of a couple delish meals we've had recently...

For real. Stuffed blue cheese, buffalo-style (read: hot) burgers, fresh salad with lettuce from our garden, and corn

Green curry with jasmine rice, tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, fresh basil from the garden and a pita.

Seriously, D makes me best meals ever. Lucky.

-BlogPress post

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weighing-in Wednesday :: Late as usual

You know I schedule all my posts because I never have time to sit down every day/night and get a whole post together.  I should really get paid to post since 1) I love it and 2) it's quite time involved.  Let's get to the point.

I didn't weigh in on Wednesday because we had such a busy, beer-filled night with a beer dinner.  I didn't weigh in on Thursday because we had another unhealthy night with a beer event.  I didn't really want to weigh in this morning since we had this last night...

Carrie's guacamole and fajitas.  Happy cinco to us.  I made a double batch of the guac and there was like a fourth of a cup left over.  I rationalized the whole thing thinking 1) I shredded and 2) it's only the avocado that's fattening.  Turns out my rationalizations were right because I weighed in one pound lighter this morning!  Um, one pound is huge in my world.  It's my motivation to keep it going!  Even with all the beer events this week, I've stayed consistent with doing the couch to 10k program on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and shredding in between.  The real challenge will come when testing is in full swing and my days become longer.

I'm filling my extra calories with beer tonight, so I won't babble on this evening.  I need to update on my running pains and some exciting news I got today.  Wishing a wonderful weekend to everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Closet craving :: Running Necessities

I mentioned about a month ago that I need new running shoes.  Since I started the Couch to 10k program last week, I've really been noticing my dire need for new shoes.  Unfortunately, the budget does not allow for new shoes now.  I have an ongoing list of running necessities I need to have in order to be truly ready for my first half in November.  Thanks to a hefty college tuition bill I have to pay this month, none of these will be even close to happening until June or July (cringe inside).


[via weheartit]

Not that kind of doctor though.  About two years ago, I started having some breathing problems.  I went to the doctor and was told I had bronchitis.  While the bronchitis and coughing eventually cleared up, the breathing problems did not.  Since moving to Raleigh, I've been to the doctor twice.  She switched me to a steroid inhaler after I was practically using the other inhaler daily.  It appears that my breathing problems happen solely at home (in my own home) and when working out/running.  The problems vary in intensity depending on the day.  Some days it's not too bad when I run, other days it is very difficult to breath.  I end up being short of breath and it's very hard to breath in.  It's definitely affecting my running.  I know I need to go back and re-evaluate since the steroid inhaler is not working.  With a doctor co-pay at $30 (and she mentioned x-rays last time, no thank you) and a possible prescription, I don't have that to dish out.  I know when I find something that works, my running will improve.  


After hitting the shred in only a sports bra and in front of our bedroom mirrors (TMI?!), it's obvious I need better support for high impact activities like running.  Women's Health complied a list of best sports bras.  The one pictured above is a Natori Sport underwire sports bra and apparently costs a whopping $48!  Yikes.  The other high impact sports bras they list are equally or more expensive.  This may stay on the necessity list for quite a while.


As Megan and others have noted, the Nike+ is not the most accurate.  I had speculated this for a bit.  I don't think it'll be completely necessary to have this before the half since I'll be running to finish, not for my speed.  It would be nice to eventually have the Garmin to note my actual and real speed and distance.  

Of course the doctor appointment and running shows are first priority.  It's always difficult every month when the rarity happens that I have extra money.  Typically I am putting it in savings to save for another trip (or more recently I was trying to save for D's birthday).  It's so hard for me to take money to spend on doctors or large price items these days (even clothing and shoes).  While I desperately want to update my wardrobe and running necessities, traveling is so much more fulfilling to me.  I do know that to succeed in my goal of running the OBX half (and not kill myself), I am going to have to take some money for doc and shoes.  

I better start playing the lottery.   

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ordering a happy hour bloody mary in Time Square is the worst idea ever.

At least she took that drink off our check.  Ew.

Our last day in NYC was really fun.  We did sleep in a bit more, and took our time.  We started the day at this restaurant near our apartment for brunch.  D and I got omelets before hopping on the subway.  I really wanted to see Lady Liberty, but we didn't necessarily want to pay to take the ferry over.  So we headed down to south Manhattan first.

[The new Tower]

We were able to walk by the 9/11 site.  They're making lots of progress on the new Tower.  We weren't quite sure why they were only making one.  It was cool to see that.  I was more impacted walking by the surrounding areas.  I can't imagine how scared people must have been if they lived near that area or were staying in a hotel (I believe there was a W Hotel across the street to the left of the towers) not to mention even just street walkers seeing it happen.

After this we walked over to Battery City Park.  Battery City is such a cute little area.  I could definitely see myself living there.  

 [Good ole New Jersey]

 [There she is!  And she doesn't look bad from the side!]

 [Obviously sunny and quite windy]

  [Community garden in Battery City]

After we sort of saw the Statue of Liberty, we hopped on the subway.  This was something that I fell in love with in NYC, the access to so many places and sights and things just by subway.  We would have loved to check out Brooklyn but just didn't have the time.

We went to check out a cool craft beer bar, The Blind Tiger.  It is a must-see for beer in NYC.  I actually wish we would have eaten dinner there because they have a cool menu.  We just weren't really hungry at the time.  We headed back up to check out one last beer place towards Time Square.  

   [Empire state of mind]

Being that we are huge NBC fans, we could not pass up the opportunity to see 30 Rockefeller Plaza!  Luckily for us, there was a Magnolia Bakery right around the corner.  It was late, so the line wasn't very long.  There were sold out of a lot of cupcakes though. 

  [We didn't see Kenneth Parcel or Tracy Jordan outside]

[Rocking his new hat scored for $7 from H&M in NYC]

 [Above the ice skating rink at 30 Rock]

 [We settled down right across the way to chow down on our cupcakes]

After this was when we made the terrible decision to stop for "happy hour" drinks in a large Time Square restaurant.  Bad choice.  Then we visited the M&M's & Hershey's stores.  To complete and top off the NYC experience, on our way back to the subway we noticed a crowd of people waiting outside a door.  We knew there would have to be a celeb coming out.  We waited...and after only about 5 minutes...

Say what?!  NYC wouldn't be complete without a celebrity sighting, right?!  He was coming out of his own Broadway show.  Overall, NYC was a great experience.  I can't wait to go back (maybe sooner than later with KD and CAPM in September?!).  Offer me & D good jobs and a dog walker, and we'd move there in a second (well, at least I would). 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Read all about it.

One of my 101 in 1001 goals was to read 25 of the 101 books to read before you die off of this list.  I eventually found a list of 1001 books to read before you die, which I am planning to convert to after I finish the 101.  Anyhow, I'm well on my way to completing this goal before the 1001 days is up seeing as I've finished 15 books so far.

After I finished Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, I moved on to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

I absolutely fell in love with this book.  I won't really give a summary (you can obviously find plenty online), but I will tell you that it's told from the perspective of a teenager with autism.  He is "writing" the book.  Being someone who is interested in psychology, mental health, and special needs, I found the book fascinating.  The ability of Haddon to really get inside the head of a teenager with those types of needs was extraordinary, in my opinion.  I would definitely recommend this.  I read it during spring break, when I obviously had a bit more time on my hands, but finished it in two days.

Next on my list is The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The God of Small Things.

Both of those are pretty thick, so it may take me a while.  I figure I'll have a bit more time seeing as standardized testing is coming up.  I'll likely be proctoring and will definitely have less to grade/plan at night.  This will allow for a bit more reading time.

What books are you reading now?

Ps. Shout out and thoughts to all the teachers going through standardized testing now.  I wish the requirements in my state weren't so stressful for the kids and for me (students can possibly be retained/held back/not pass if they do not pass one of these tests).  These last six weeks will be the most stressful for me yet (which literally makes me sick to my stomach) considering I teach Language Arts and Math (testing subjects) as well as a large group of students who do not test well.  Congrats to those teachers done!  Please bear with me as I may complain and be negative throughout the coming weeks.  I'll get through it though.  Summer will be here before we all know it (hopefully).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Food for thought.

Or words that is.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.

I was also particularly impacted by Kristen's post found here: http://ks-waiting.blogspot.com/2011/05/hate-sin.html

-BlogPress post

In New York, the concrete jungle where dreams are made...

...there's nothing you can't do.  Name that song.

So to really prolong the wonderful memories of NYC, I've delayed the posting a bit.  Mainly I've been busy keeping up with working out and trying to relax a bit after a stressful week.  Now back to the recap.

After some fun Philly times, it was time for us to trek to New York City!  We didn't get stuck in traffic, but I will mention that we had to pay a TON of tolls along the way between leaving Raleigh and finally making it to NY City.  Before we left, we did stop to get a famous Philly cheesesteak!  Let me tell you that thing was surprisingly good!

[Pat's Steaks, right across the street from their rival, Gino's]

 [I like mine with no onions and just cheese]

Then we hit the city!  We stayed in an apartment in upper Manhattan which was only like a couple blocks from the Subway.  It was rainy and chilly the first day.  We met up with one of my college friends in Soho and ate at a delicious tapas restaurant, Stanton Social.  Why in the world didn't I take a picture with my friend?!  It was fun exploring that area, which is where we entered the wonderful Anthropologie.

Fast forward to our first full day in NYC.  We woke up early so we could catch the subway all the way to lower Manhattan to stand in line for discount Broadway tickets.  The line was crazy long (actually not that bad, but at 11am with a cloudy sky, wind, skirt, and no tights, it was long), but we only ended up having to wait about an hour.  The two shows that were on the top of our list were out of our price range.  I think it worked out though because we ended up getting front and center seats.  After the long wait and on empty stomachs, we found a pizza joint to try.

[Yep...that face sums it up]

Harry's Italian Pizza Bar was right around the block, and it was wonderful!  It's right near Wall Street, so there were a lot of business type people in there.  That didn't hold us back though!  At after noon and going on no breakfast, we devoured the pepperoni and mushroom square pizza.

After getting our NY pizza fix, we hit the streets!  We decided to head up towards the Museum of Natural history, which is right across the street from Central Park.  

[Central Park]

 [Manhattan backdrop]

After we made a brief walk through the park, we hit up the Museum.  It took so long and there was so much to see.  After that we definitely couldn't fit in another museum.  I think when we go back, we'll just have to hit a different museum every time.  

After the museum we hit up The Ginger Man, which ended up being one of my favorite bars in NYC.  They had one of my favorite German beers and I tried an absolutely delicious Milk Stout from NY.  We had some food and headed over to see our Broadway show.

 [I'm not a Robin Williams fan, but the show was AMAZING!  I definitely have the itch for more Broadway!]

[Had to sneak this with the iPhone, but that's literally how close we were.  Second row, center]

[Outside waiting for the show]

After the show, we got to see Time Square at night which was something we really wanted to do.  We were definitely able to hit some key points and sights in NYC just in one day.  I also got to cross some items off my 101 in 1001 list (which I'll be updating again soon).

It was a perfect day in NYC.


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