Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waiting for the economic recovery

It seems odd that my family floated through the recession pretty well, but now that the economy is in recovery mode, things are looking tenuous. The big story in Central Texas (and the rest of the country as well) is big budget cuts in education. Word is that at least two Texas community colleges will close and everyone else from elementary through graduate school will be making layoffs. According to the San Marcos Record, our local paper, these layoffs will include: "three elementary school Gifted and Talented teachers, three parent liaison positions, three elementary school art teachers and three administrative clerical positions." I know many people see these positions as nonessential staff, but I know how important my G&T program was for me, how as a social worker I would have killed to have some parent liaisons in the schools I worked with, and how art can expand the world of students. Imagine your elementary school experience without an art teacher? I can't. (Mine smoked like a the teacher's lounge : ) Now that was the 80s!)

I read earlier this week that the recession has cemented our class distinctions even more than ever. The wealthy continue to get wealthier while the poor continue to get poorer. I love - love - that millionaires get to keep their blessed tax breaks while teachers trying to live on barely a middle class income are losing their jobs. I also love that in a time when so many people are losing their health insurance through no fault of their own, certain members of Congress are trying to defund measures that would help them purchase affordable health insurance. The word heartless comes to mind. I have literally felt ill when reading about this lately.

Jonathan's job prospects for the summer and fall are not wonderful. I, being the worrier, am kind of freaking out. Jonathan, being the faithful, reminds me that God will take care of us and help us meet our needs. It may not be in the way we imagined, but we will have what we need. God has already given me a part time job that starts next week. Seeing how this job came together, it is impossible not to see divine providence in it : )

I am praying for my husband's job as well as those of the millions of Americans either already out of work or about to be out of work. I am praying for the school children who will be without valuable resources next year. I am praying for those with power in our country to lay aside politics, the 2012 election, the 24 hour news cycle, their book deals, or whatever else is getting in the way of working together to help us really move forward.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do cream cheese filled biscuits count as a good carb-protein recovery food?

I ran five miles this morning, and now I have monkey bread in the oven for a special treat. I'm probably completely erasing any positive effects of the work out...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Recording moments I don't want to forget

I suppose this is why people have diaries and journals, but since I don't use either, I will record a few things here that I don't want to forget : )

Last night, I ran for 35 minutes before my core class. The route I took was the same route we ran the very first Saturday of my running training program: through an East Austin neighborhood to the trail along Ladybird Lake. The weather was perfect (mid 40s) and I actually got to the Rogue store in time to stretch before the run, so I felt nice a loose. I don't run with music, preferring instead to hear my breathing, my footfalls, and the neighborhood around me. It was a good run, mainly because I ran the whole 3 miles without stopping. The first time I ran this route, I barely finished the first half, I took a 5 minute break with the rest of the group, and then a ran/walked back to the store (with the emphasis on walked). Three miles is just scratching the surface of running, but I feel really good about where I am right now. Tomorrow I get to run 5 miles. We'll see how that goes! Oh, and yes, there were side planks last night. Uggh. I would love some advice on how to do side planks if anyone has it! Another participant last night asked the coach how she should improve her hamstring flexibility when she was having trouble doing a particular exercise, and he told her to just keep doing the exercise that we were engaged in. I suppose the best way to get better at side planks is to just keep doing side planks.

I have read this book more times than I can count in the past week. The Littlest Puppy, purchased for $1 at Target, is Jon's current favorite book. Whenever I happen to be sitting down, he wobbles over, deposits this book in my lap, and looks up at me expectantly. It has a little finger puppet attached to it, and he pretty much loves it. He also likes to point to the puppies and say, "Dud! Dud! Dud!" which I assume means 'dog' to him. Thankfully it is only four pages long, and I have memorized its little sing song poem. It includes the words "I chew my breakfast slowly." I am thrilled that Jon is actively engaged in reading, although I am looking forward to reading another book.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Revelations and Changes

Do you remember that feeling of 'coming home' that I felt as I drove over the I-40 bridge into Memphis in December? On Tuesday night, as I drove back to San Marcos from Austin after my 'quality' workout, I had that same feeling as I passed the Aquarena Springs exit. This is the first exit in San Marcos, and I had that 'whew, I'm home' feeling. It made me pause and reflect that this may be the first moment that I emotionally felt like San Marcos is home.

That feeling was just one revelation I had Tuesday evening. The other revelation was when my running coach told our group to 'engage our abs' as we ran down hills during our hill repeats. As I rounded the corner and started the descent of the block we were running, I focused on keeping my back straight, and...I engaged my abs. I thought, "Wow! I have abs to engage!" Granted, they are covered by several layers of fat, but deep down there, I could feel my muscles helping to keep my running form. This is due to the twice weekly core workouts I have participated in for the past month. I am always the weakest participant (I think I'm physically incapable of doing a side plank), but I'm there at least. As I ran down the hill, the coach nodded and commented that I had very good footfall. And this is why I pay money to drive 45 minutes each way, run 3 miles, and then run 20 minutes of hill repeats - to receive affirmation that I have abdominal muscles and that my feet hit the ground as they should.

In a few weeks, I'll take on a new challenge - becoming a WAHM, as Lindsey calls it. I have accepted a part time job as an office administrator for my church. The office, though, will be my living room. It really is a great set up - flexible hours, structured duties, and meaningful work. I'm hopeful that having this part time job will provide a little more balance in my life and help keep me focused. And if anyone in the world knows how to send out a bulleted email, it is me : )

Okay, now to head out to run some more and attempt side planks. (Please...please let there be NO side planks in core class tonight!) I will leave you with a picture of my little cutie. His sticker says "Brave Cowboy," and he received it from the office manager at our pediatrician after getting three shots.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Family Portraits (Jon's 1 Year Pics)

When we planned a family trip to Chattanooga in January, I knew right away that I wanted our friend Amber to take Jon's 1 year pictures. We had gone cheap on his earlier portraits, which turned out horrendously - although we bought some anyway because he looked so adorably terrified.

Please check out Amber's photo blog to see some of her beautiful pictures! And if you live in East TN or are headed out there soon, please give her your business. She didn't ask me to say that, but she really did do a lovely job : ) Thanks, Amber!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Megan acts like a big girl

The subtitle to this blog is 'daily thoughts from an almost adult.' Even though my 30th birthday nears every day, my baby is one year old, and my next anniversary will be my 6th, I still feel like a kid, not an adult. Who knows when I will become a real adult - maybe home ownership?? Thanks to the volatility of the current job market, adulthood then will probably be a long time coming : ) In the meantime, here are some ways I am trying to be a big girl:

1) Trying to make friends as an adult

College was pretty awesome for making friends. I lived on the 'substance free' hall my freshman year, which meant that I was around a bunch of other socially inept, nerdy girls (sorry Becky...but you would probably agree with me). I remember making my friend Kara when we had a cookout the first week of class with the sub-free boys hall. Of course, none of the boys and girls were talking to one another, but I talked to Kara, and I think we agreed to walk together to the Honor Code signing that night or something. I became friends with my husband when we were on a leadership team together. I honestly think I became friends with Becky because she had a TV in her room, and Kara and I would go there in our pajamas every Thursday night at 9pm to watch ER. Yes, a college freshman in her pjs at 9pm. Since I didn't move out of town after college, I kept all of my college friends and then made a few church friends and work friends because we had that in common - church or work.

Now that I am in a new place, I am trying to make new friends. I think I'm doing okay at making church friends - slowly but surely getting to know people better and share our lives. But I really need to branch out and make some non-church friends. I need to make some running friends, although runners tend to be a little weird. Rogue had been advertising a pub run for a few weeks, and I finally decided to go to it. The event consisted of meeting at an old theater in Austin, running a little over a mile to a bar for beer, running back to the theater for more beer and a showing of "Run, Fat Boy, Run." All for $10! So I signed up, hoping that the two girls I have had conversations with while running would show up. Unfortunately, Tuesday night it was freakin' cold!!! I mean, seriously cold! The temperature was 25 but with windchill it was 13. I went ahead and bundled up and headed out. The two people I knew were not there - no surprise. The only people there were hard core marathoners and a couple of other doe eyed newbies like myself. I had a pretty awesome run, mainly because I was freakin' cold and just wanted to get somewhere with heat! On the way to the bar, I ran a bit with a few other newbie running group folks, but they were all in the group below me, so I ran a lot faster than they did. Once we got to the bar, I grabbed my beer, took off a few layers, and tried to make adult friends. I chatted with the two folks I had run with, but one girl had other friends there, so she pretty much ignored me, and the other guy was about as introverted as I am. So I went and stood in the corner of the bar texting Becky and Jonathan. Finally someone had pity on me and started talking to me. He actually said something like, "You look like you don't know anyone here either." Jim was very nice. We talked about our kids, our running careers (he has run 11 marathons, including one two days earlier when it was 85 degrees and not 25), and he offered to run back to the theater with me. Once back at the theater, he introduced me to Jan, another girl he runs with. They invited me to sit with them during the movie, and I felt less like a loser.

So there you have it, I tried to make adult friends and I ran in subfreezing temperatures : )

2. Wearing contacts

I didn't wear glasses until I was about 25, and there was no way I was going to get contacts. You mean actually touch my eye?? No thank you! Now that I have a son who likes to grab things, and I am running more, my glasses were starting to get in the way. So I plunked down A LOT of money (why does optical insurance not cover the actual hardware???) and got contacts. This morning at 8am, I dragged myself out of the house, walked in the freezing wind to the optometrist's office, and learned how to put contacts in. About five minutes into it, I told the sweet office manager, "You know what? I'll just keep my glasses!" She was very patient and encouraging, and in about 5 more minutes, I had my contacts in. I kept telling myself, "You gave birth, you can put contacts in your eyes." Then I reminded myself that I didn't really actually give birth; I painlessly had some surgeons remove my child because my body refused to go into labor. I did finally successfully put in, remove, and re-put in my contacts. Uggh! What an awful process!! But, as I walked home, I was amazed at how crisp and clear the world looked. It has taken all the self control in the world to not rub my eyes today, and I'm sure I'll have a minor breakdown tonight when I try to take them out. But I do feel a bit more like a grown up, and everyone assures me that putting contacts in and taking them out gets much easier with practice.

And now I'm off to go run again in the cold! I'm not sure whether that is adult behavior or not : )