Archive | December, 2014

A Look Back–At 2014

31 Dec

Here are month-by-month grades from my check-in posts for a more quantitative assessment of my resolution progress.

2013 Goals to Maintain:Tucsan

-study habits (A+, A-, A+, D-, B, C, C+, A+, A, A), -floss daily (A+, A-, A+, A-, A-, A-, B, C, D, F-), -drink water(A+, A-B-, C, A, A+, A-, A+, B, B), -read for pleasure (A-, A-, D, D-, B+, C, D+, F, F-, F-), -weekly massage (B, F, D, D+, F-, F, F, F, F-, F-), -abstain (A+, A+, A++, A+, D+, A+, A+, A++, A+, A+)

-I’d say studying went well always, and only slid in the summer months–which is fine.  This was easy since having the 4.0 GPA was of the utmost importance to me.

-Flossing was going well, but majorly crashed when school started and I got a night job.  Taking away my evening contributed to the current failure of this one.

-I managed to do an average to wonderful job with my water throughout the year.  It helps that water is available, free, and keeps my headaches away.  It also helps that I no longer drink most other beverages, so no much is left TO drink.

-Reading is easy when I’m not doing anything else.  But during school or when my evenings were removed (for work) it’s one of the first things to go.

-I felt/feel(?) that weekly massages were important to me, but I’m not sure, based on my consistent failure that they really are.  I like them and everything, but logistical issues are quick to undermine this.

-Abstaining from alcohol was a lot more successful then I ever imagined.  I followed through in a big way.  And my mind was in a good place.  I only really wanted this at the start of summer break and during October (hence the double ++ when I DIDN’T drink those months).August 2011 105

2014 Goals:

-add in exercise AND produce (subtract bad things)(A+/F, A+/F, A-/F, A/F-, A-/F, A+/A-, A+/F-, A-/F–, A+/F, A-/F+), -have gratitude (D, F, F, C-, D, A+, A+, A-, C, D-), say nice things (D, F, F, F, F, B-, B, B, D, F), -Straighten out my sleep (F, D-, F, C, A-, A+, F, B-, F, D+), -min. extraneous spending and save a small amt $ every paycheck for moving to CO (F, D, F, B, D, F, C, F-, F, D), -volunteer (D, C, F, A-, F, F, F, F-, F-, F-), -Take pride in my appearance:  Wear contacts more, use makeup, wear jewelry(C, B, F, A+, B-, C-, D+, D-, F+, F), -Judge Cool less and show her more kindness and love (C-, C, B, C+, C, D-, C+, B+, A-, D+), -worry only 30 min/day (instead of all day & night) AND think positively for at least 10 min/d (C, C-, A+, B-, A, B, A+, B, D, C), -make a list, grocery shop, cook ahead (F, C-, D+, F-, F-, F-, F+, F+, F-, F+), -Don’t over-pluck eye brows (A-, A-, B, D, C, A-, A-, A-, A, A-), -increase eye contact (D-, F, D+, C, F, C, F, F, F, D+)

SkyFest 056So did I make it for the new goals?

-Running a daily mile in the morning is my best goal I’ve EVER accomplished!  This worked so well because I was mentally ready to do it.  Also, because having a treadmill to make it easy and warm worked for me.  The time constraint (first thing in the morning) also helped me keep it up, as did a minimum distance (1 mile).  Lastly, completing “days-in-a-row” made this impossible to break–even on the few occasions I was lazy or had a stressful, busy day ahead.

-Eating did not go well-per the usual, because I was NOT mentally ready for change.  This was not super-practical, nor specific enough to keep me chained to it.

-Having gratitude improved immediately after I left veterinary work.  And I liked it, so I guess I was also mentally ready to DO it.  On the other hand, saying nice things was a failure throughout the year.  Maybe it wasn’t actually a priority?

-I made a concerted effort all year to fix my restless sleep.  I think I mostly failed, because sleep is largely out of my control.  After fixing my sleep hygiene, schedule, and stress levels–I wasn’t sure where to go with it.  I have to remember to make goals that I CAN control.

-When I made the money saving goal, I had good intentions, and was mentally ready to follow-through.  I couldn’t have predicted my financial situation would change so drastically early in the year.  Once I quit my job, the story became–hold on.  Saving isn’t really all that possible without an income.

-I really failed hard on the volunteerism.  Mostly because my priorities changed, and I no longer cared about this as much.

-My appearance was adequate only when I had time or special occasions.

-I’m disappointed that I didn’t show Cool as much kindness as I wanted, but I feel like this was another goal that was largely out of my control.  You see, when a bipolar person is cycling, they are often–a jerk.  It’s hard to deal with that stress–ALL the time, or most of the time, as we did last year.  She rapid-cycled the entire year, which is very tumultuous.  I feel like I managed to keep my head above water-mostly-and that any more was asking too much.  Next year, I want a similar goal, because it’s important, but something 100% in my control.

-I don’t know what a mental breakdown feels like, but I’m pretty certain I was about to have one by the end of 2013.  I was anxious, stressed, frazzled, bitter, and burned out.  It was awful and major things had to change for my own peace of mind.  For starters, I got out of veterinary work.  I had done my time, and was increasingly disgruntled with (primarily) the thanklessness for my hard work.  The low pay, long hours, and high pressure–not to mention social issues didn’t help.  One of the best decisions I ever made was removing myself from that scenario.  Once I got out of the veterinary work, I was able to worry a LOT less.  And my life because more balanced, my attitude better.

-This is another item (make a list, make a menu, grocery shop) that I really WANT to do–in theory.  It’s also something that when it comes down to it I slack off on.  I need to take a cue from my running success and change this goal so it will actually happen next year.

-Don’t over-pluck was, I guess easy–by default.  My mind wasn’t right, I just didn’t have the time.  And now I’m not sure I care about this all that much.  What’s done is done.

-Increase eye contact never came to fruition, and right now it doesn’t seem like a huge priority for me.1st day school 040

Overall, I’m happy with 2014.  I made some big life changes, like switching jobs, quitting alcohol, and starting to run.  And I finished my time at Riverpoint–with all A’s.  I feel like I’m a happier, more relaxed person then I was at this time last year as a result.  Sure, I flat-out failed on a lot of these goals, but I don’t feel bad about most of them (aside from Cool and groceries).  It was fun to try for them, and it worked out nicely to keep track every month.  I’m going to make goals for 2015, but try to model them after the running goal for more success.  Also, I’ll pick only a few, because 11 proved too many, and some became unimportant.  Be looking for my 2015 Resolutions post–then–some music!

Best Moments of 2014!

30 Dec

It was a good year, though not in the way of travel and events.  It was just a nice, stable year (for me, Cool was swinging up and down rapidly) which is what I needed.  Here are the bigger moments that were important from 10-best:

#10:  Getting to snowboard again

EZ123 3rd snowboard 118

I love being good at things!  And the instructors said I was a fast learner, and I felt confident on the slopes.  It was good to be back in the bindings.  Cool’s accident and resulting ambulance ride, emergency room visit (and those bills) lower this 2014 moment to closer to the bottom of the list.

#9:  Bike Swap and Snowboard  Swap

bike swap 4-10-14 017

These were really exciting adventures!  The research, the shopping, the event.  And the dreams for our future sports endeavors–not to mention our purchases were super-fun.  And Cool and I got along famously at both–no bipolar issues these weekends-whew.

#8:  Finishing my post-bac at Riverpoint (and keeping my 4.0 GPA)

CN ref both flaps open

The anticipation had been killing me.  I looked forward to this for TWO years, so when it happened it felt pretty sweet.  This is low on the list because the huge accomplishment (in my mind) was a little underscored by others and didn’t receive the acclaim I felt it deserved.  Finishing 27 upper-level courses in an entirely new and unfamiliar field–WITH straight A’s is a big deal in my mind–even if it didn’t garner me an actual degree.

 #7:  Two DMB shows–with SEATS.  And Brandi Carlile to open both shows.

celebrate we will 3

Usually this would take the #1 spot–and having 2 shows with seats–it SHOULD.  But Cool and I had probably our worst fight ever the first Friday so it’s not the perfect memory I anticipated and desire.  Obviously, it still makes the list because, hello, the Gorge, Brandy opening (and acknowledging our sign), DMB, the setlist game, merch, and SEATS!

#6:  Being named a finalist in a noise-induced hearing loss prevention poster contest!

NIHL color pic

I enjoy showing my creativity, and who doesn’t like winning something?  My poster will be featured at the annual AudiologyNOW conference and may even win!  In which case I get all proceeds for the life of the poster.  It’s cool and it’s exciting.

#5:  The relief I felt when I quit veterinary assisting

retirement from vet med 013

Even though the financial consequences were scary, I instantly felt better.  Removing those toxic influences was difficult, but well worth it.  It was time to go, and I’m in such a better place since I did.  I just had enough, and it feels good to be away.

#4:  Going to MT over Independence Day and My birthday

Cool Grizz attack

This one’s slightly lower, because before we left home, Cool was an irritable turkey so that puts a bit of a damper on the memory.  Pow-Wow is always fun, but this item is down in the rank because I had a bad allergy attack.  Leaving pow-wow to stay at a hotel in Missoula was amazing.  One of the best showers of my LIFE!  The bathtub was full of dust, and my allergens (temporarily washed away).  It felt nice staying in an oversized room with a TV and sleeping in a cozy bed instead of car-camping at the pavillion.  It was partially so nice because it was an unplanned treat and everything fell into place nicely–which rarely happens to me.  Also seeing how adorable Missoula is over my birthday weekend, and dreaming of “summering” there was exciting.

#3:  Satisfaction of running 1 mile every day of the year

house-sitting post run

It’s a really big deal, because not only am I really busy most of the time–I’m lazy.  I’m very proud to remain in shape, counter my poor eating habits, and do something not that many other people are able to achieve.  I’m going to see how many days in a row I can keep this up.

#2:  My parents visited!

Dad's 70th B-day visit 020

We had a week full of family activities and my dad turned 70!  Everyone (except Aunt Linda) was on their best behavior and I felt like a real family unit.  I loved that everyone had fun and Cool was made to feel 100% part of the family.  And all the free food and fun activities didn’t hurt my feelings either 😉

 #1:  The Sky-Fest Air Show

loading docktraffic jam in the sky

Was a genuinely amazing time, not ruined by bipolar, sunburns, or lack of funds.  Cool and I were together and both of us happy and excited.  We got to spend the day outside, and tour the planes, and spectate at the shows.  We got burned and thirsty, but we were still in great spirits.

Dec Goal Accountability

29 Dec

I’ll do a very short accountability recap, because I plan to have a larger ‘how did 2014 go’ post in the next couple of days.

Maintenance Goals (from 2013):

-floss daily.  epic. fail.

-drink water.  Also, fell a little short in December.

-read for pleasure.  Didn’t happen at all.

x-mas 2014

-weekly massage.  Not a thing.

-abstain from drinking.  Yay!  I did one–or didn’t rather–maybe that’s the key in December?!

-study habits.  Good when I was studying for finals, but the 2nd half of the month didn’t really require it.

January=fitness.  Great!  For running daily, that is.  Not so good on eating healthy.

Feb=have gratitude; say nice things.  I was too tired mostly.

March=straighten out sleep.  Umm, I think without animals, I could have accomplished this, but little cats and dogs negated this pretty much daily.

April=save $$$.  I will save my house-sitting money!  But no, didn’t in December with all the gift-giving.

May=volunteer.  Changed my mind.

June=Cool.  So-So.

July=my appearance.  Not awesome.

Aug=Worry Less, Thank more.  Maybe, it wasn’t a concentrated effort though.duck crossing

Sept=make a list, grocery shop, cook ahead.  We did this for Christmas–but at no other time.

Oct=don’t over-pluck.  I think my eyebrows are breaking out?  When did this become a thing???

Nov=Increase eye contact.  Yes–with my boss, because he has hearing loss and it was necessary.

Dec–I’ll talk about this is the larger post.

Independent Woman

16 Dec

I told Cool that if I ever lose the use of my legs or need diapers to euthanize me. That is how important my independence is to me.

So I’m very skeptical I would like to be in the military. I know full-well that the affordable housing, job opportunities, and paid tuition–come at a cost.  Once you sign on that dotted line the government owns you.  You are no longer a free agent.  Sure, they’ll say that they try to accommodate you, but when it comes down to it–you are going to do what the military tells you to do, and that’s it.

I feel guilty about being stubborn against this idea.  But I’m reminding myself that yes, it’s absolutely ok to be stubborn about your own life–I am the one who has to live it.  I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone.

Enter my well-meaning parents.  They are worried about how I’m going to pay for graduate school.  I am also super-worried.  They feel like the solution to ALL my problems is going into the Navy.  Which, I could do.  And I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I’d be honored to serve my country.  BUT the logistics just do not work out for what I want in my life.  But they won’t listen to me.  They don’t hear my concerns, they just think I’m making an uninformed stubborn choice.  And I can tell saying no about this is stepping into a landmine.  It’s going to hurt the good place my relationship with my parents has finally gotten to.  Which sucks!  It was hard work getting to this better place with them.  School funding/Navy is a point of contention, for sure.  Except–you should not join the military for someone else, and you should never do it out of guilt–which is what I would be doing.  I did look into it and here is why it just isn’t going to work for me at this point in my life:

-It’s an 8 year commitment!

That’s a long time.  That’s all 4 years of school AND 4 more.  There is a lot of opportunity for being moved around.  A lot of dealing with less then optimal conditions.  And 8 years to worry about my little family and my own survival.

-I would have to be separated from my family.  

That’s what I have.  It’s my whole support system.  Cool wouldn’t be traveled around with me (more on this later), and I’m sorry if that makes me weak and a whiner–I want to be with her.  Maybe other people can live apart from their mate, but I never want to.  Also, Kitties cannot go to bootcamp, nor to officer training, or to different countries–and moving them around to different states would be difficult at best.  After being separated from them in Seattle–I want my pets to live with me.  I love them and they are my responsibility.

-I am gay.  And this poses many problems:

–Cool and I aren’t married because I think it’s an antiquated tradition, she would ruin my good credit, and I figure why bother when the benefits depend what state you’re in at the time.  In the military, they try to ensure married couples remain together–they could care less about what the law considers a roommate.

–So She and I would have to be apart.  When and how would I see her?  And where would she live?  How would she afford it?  What if her bipolar flared up as it does and things went terribly wrong?  I wouldn’t be there.  That doesn’t work for me.

–Also, being gay may be legal in the military, but that isn’t the same thing as being accepted.  It’s a lot to ask of me to hide a fundamental aspect of who I am.  But if I didn’t I could be teased, hazed, harassed, or even raped.  I want no part of that–and who could blame me?

-I do not want to involve a recruiter

to get specific answers to my questions I have to call a recruiter.  Which I don’t want to do.  They give you the hard-sell.  They gloss over the bad parts and emphasize the good, so you really have to read the fine print anyway.  They spam you!  I don’t want constant phone calls or mailers pressuring me.

-I’m fearful about the training and expectations.  

I’m not sure I’d like getting screamed at.  With work, I could do the physical stuff, but I in no way want to take my gas mask off for such and such amount of time like you have to in the Navy.  I might be capable of doing it, but I think I would be very unhappy and stressed about it.

-I don’t like travel.  

Basic is 2 weeks in some cold, Great Lake state.  Officer training is in RI–for a month.  You have to spend such and such time per year training who knows where.  They promise you during your service they try to put you where you want to be, but let’s be real, if the government needs you somewhere they’re going to put you there, whether it works for you or not.  And on relatively short notice.  Plus, I have bathroom privacy and hygiene standards that cannot be accommodated in a military lifestyle.  I need a (warm) shower EVERY day!  And a private bathroom stall (with American plumbing) and a door and a fan.

-I don’t want stress, trauma, or long term effects like my dad (and many, many others) have

I’m sensitive,  I don’t want to undergo emotional trauma, physical abuse, and I would be suicidal if I went through the sexxual abuse common in the military and in the Middle East.  I also don’t want PTSD which is a very real side-effect of service.

-I don’t want to risk my LIFE

I also have NO interest of traveling abroad–especially the Middle East.  And I read they are starting to put Audiologists on the forefront of actions because of portable equipment.  Before they mostly did noise-prevention and VA stuff, but with accessible equipment, the government can stop sending soldiers to the closest sound booth (in Germany) after explosions and check them right on the front lines.  That means audiologists are on the front lines.

-And bottom line, the money/perks just aren’t that great.

I can get better stipends from my school, or at the very least loans that don’t involve travel and put my life on the line.  I will find a job once I’m out of school, and I could still do noise-prevention or VA work as a civilian.

I’m going to have to put my foot down to my parents, and I hope it doesn’t cause a big, ugly scene.  But better that then ruining what I want for my life.  I’ll just have to find another way to finance my education.  This is about me and what I want, and nobody–even my parents–gets to demand what path I take.  I just hope they can understand that I’m not just being rebellious, I actually researched and see many reasons why that’s not what I want. . .

A Very Uncommon Name

10 Dec

I know–you thought I had stopped blogging altogether. I have just 2 lectures and 2 finals left this semester–actually in finishing my post-bac! As soon as I’m finished with Riverpoint I’ll be back full-force. Until then, I found an interesting meaning to my name.

the symbolic laurel meaning deals with:

Glory
Victory
Nobility
Immortality
Intellectual superiority
Second Sight (the gift of prophecy)
Recognition (renown) of High Achievement
Long-term Vision (“big picture” understandings)

is kicked off primarily from the ancient Latin word laurus which means triumph/success/victory. The Latin moniker for the laurel plant is laurus nobilis, which accentuates the theme of high honor as nobilis is a term meaning nobility/regal status.

So what’s the big deal about the laurel plant?

We can look to Greco-Roman mythology for insights where Apollo was interminably and hopelessly in love with Daphne. And, in spite of his endless wooing, Daphne would have none of Apollo’s advances (in part, due to Cupid’s “reverse-action” arrow shot at Daphne which made her loathe Apollo).

Daphne’s dad, Peneus, observed Apollo’s unmerciless pursuit of his daughter and how it made her so weary. Being the kind-hearted father he was, he decided to offer Daphne a break from Apollo’s over-exuberance by transforming her into a laurel tree.

Seeing this, Apollo proclaimed the laurel tree forever sacred, forever a plant of divine status. And this, is where we see our ancient forebears creating wreaths of laurel leaves – the symbol of crowning glory and achievement as rewarded to the winners of those who have undergone Olympic challenges.

The laurel acknowledges higher accomplishment of the soul – and did so way before it was recruited as a sign of physical prowess as we see in ancient Olympic games.

Laurel leaves were used to adorn people with distinctly precious and uncommon insights. Furthermore, the mark of the laurel could only be worn by those who used their higher knowledge and spirituality to serve the public in beneficial ways.

And so, only the best, the most cunning and most noble in heart and deed were given the honor of wearing the laurel. Supreme priests, priestesses, prophets, poets, heroes and royalty would be adorned with laurel – but only if they commanded their gifts of intellect and willpower in honorable ways.

These chosen few tacitly lived by the old adage “with great power comes great responsibility” – they gave of their insight selflessly because it was their responsibility to do so – and upon these noble souls where the mantle of laurel shall rest.

I particularly love ancient Chinese views of the laurel meaning. In Chinese myth, the laurel plant is associated with the moon, and so shares its themes of femininity, intuitive power and immortality.

Within the moon lives the Jade Rabbit (interestingly, Chinese symbolism of jade is very auspicious and deals with fortune, luck, wealth and status). The Jade Rabbit is a very clever herbalist and is always busy with mortar and pestle, grinding up sacred mixtures to supply the elixir of immortality to those who are worthy of it. Laurel is said to be one of the secret ingredients used by this ancient rabbit chemist.

This may come from Chinese legend claiming one of the eight Immortals lived in the laurel bush. Hé Qióng, the Sacred Virgin and one of the eight Immortals picked laurel leaves and supplied them to the Jade Rabbit – this act is profound in symbolism – it speaks of tenderness, cooperation, feminine power, tradition and abiding by the infinite quality of both Time and Nature.

These are just some thoughts about laurel meaning, as well as the laurel’s ties to the name Laura.

As you can see from this short entry, symbolic laurel meaning is rife with import, and those who bear its name (in whole, or in part) will share these incredibly vibrant flavors in deed and personality.