No Pressure Or Anything

It’s the morning of the test!

Nightmares about forgetting number two pencils? Check.

Healthy breakfast? Check.

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My body shut down on me on Tuesday with a sprained ankle. I had a lot of anxiety about the test that I wanted to run out and was so disappointed because I was looking forward to upping my mileage. On Tuesday I realized I was a runner.

My mind shut down on me two days later. I didn’t have the patience or energy to study vectors or igneous rocks or tRNA for that matter. Yesterday I slept the entire day!

With the kids sleeping over at their cousins’ house, I could fall asleep and wake up when I wanted to. Not that I don’t when they’re home because they know, in the words of the Disney movie Aladdin, do not disturb Mommy’s slumber! I could do all this without worrying about them.

I called R before I left for the test site. He said, “Maybe it’s a good thing all of this happened. Now you’re well-rested.”

He’s right. I probably would have taken both exercise and studying to an obsessively unhealthy extreme. He suggested to go to Starbucks before the test to relax and to not freak out before the test.

Phone call to loving and supportive husband? Check.

Bueller? Bueller?

Oh man, am I in big trouble…

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I took part one of the practice tests. Holy shit, that’s no joke!

I fracking hate taking tests with a passion. I tend to overthink questions, a habit I point out to students when I model test-taking skills, and end up getting so flustered after one difficult question.

I know some of the material and can usually eliminate two bonehead choices but the other two choices are worded so… wordy that it takes my entire brain to wrap around one choice, let alone two!

Excuse me while I growl quietly in the corner… Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

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TEN MINUTES LATER

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There was a lot of biology in this subtest and though as I mentioned in a previous post, I flunked out of bio, I still remember it! I think I’d rock those bio classes now…

And now something to make me feel a little better:

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Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

Last night I was having a little trouble accepting another missed birthday. No one to help me plan, to bake the cake instead of me, to give a kick-ass birthday for our baby.

Then my son said out of the blue, “I wonder what it would be like to live with your daddy your whole life.”

Funny at first but what a heart-wrenching, sucker-punch-to-the-gut observation. This boy at ten knows that life isn’t all Chuck E. Cheese, “Where a kid can be a kid.” This kid can’t. Not when he’s got bigger things on his mind.

Short post today and probably the only one for another week or so. I am exhausted and have not studied all weekend.

In other news my mileage for last week was 12 1/2 miles! I hope to hit 15 this week. One of my cousins who I had not seen in weeks said, “Wow! You look great!”

I thanked her and said, “It’s hard! I wish it were easy but it’s hard!” It is so so easy to give up, isn’t it? Man, oh man, if there were any a time where I feel like giving up, believe me, it has been a time for a while.

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But I gotta keep thinking, one run at a time, one day at a time. Then all will be alright.

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Steven P. Daugherty, KIA 6 July 2007

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Funny how a simple act of running can be so emotional. I only met Steven briefly a couple of times but he was a good friend to R and everyone around him. He has a son M’s age; they became instant friends when R and M traveled back to Virginia a couple of years ago for the homecoming of the friends he left in Iraq. I thought of the son he left behind, all of the years he has missed, and all of the years to come. R and his friends vowed to make sure his son always remembers him.

Even though my legs wanted me to stop a couple miles into my run, how could I? When only two years R couldn’t? When even now his foot still gives him trouble everyday yet he still is determined to run like he used to? When I have the freedom to leave my house at any time of the day and still know that I am safe in my own country with no worry of car bombs, civil war, genocide, or any other acts of violence that happen daily in other countries? How could I stop now?

For the past six years, my husband’s command remembers his friend Steven with a 10 mile run and a barbecue and though I am not there (nor can I run 10 miles yet) I still think of what Steven’s family must have gone through and what they go through every day, especially July 6 every year.

L’s birth two days later was a small distraction to the tragedy that had just occurred and I wonder what goes through the minds of R and his coworkers when they see her. I can only hope they see what I see. She is a bright-eyed beautiful girl who loves her father fiercely, who at the tender age of five has come to grips with her father’s job, and is a symbol of love, friendship, and how precious and fragile life really is.

This morning L changed out of her pajamas and decided to put on her Navy shirt. It made me smile and wonder what forces are at work in this vast and mysterious universe.

Navy Captain– The Real Navy

Our Fallen Soldier

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“PO1 STEVEN P. DAUGHERTY US NAVY KIA 6 JULY 2007 BAGHDAD, IRAQ”

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MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #25


So over on Wife of a Sailor, Wife posts questions for other bloggers to answer on their own military spouse blogs. (Still with me so far?) And since the kids are watching A Bug’s Life on the Disney channel, I thought it might be fun to fill this out while taking a break from studying. More about that later…

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1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?
I would have started Saturday’s 5K closer to the start line. I stuck to the back because I didn’t want to be trampled on by the warp-speed runners but I didn’t even reach the start line until a minute into the race!

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in June?
I ran a 5K last Saturday and committed to running a couple more this year. I run at a slow enough pace that I’m probably grinning during the entire run. It’s hard not to smile when this guy

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is singing in your ear.

My personal fitness goals are:
1. to run a 10K (6.2 miles) without stopping by September
2. to run 10 miles by December
3. to run a half marathon by March.
Seeing this written out is VERY intimidating. I hope I don’t sleep in a fetal position tonight while sucking my thumb.

3. What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?
My mom invited herself and my brother and uncle for a lunchtime barbecue. They brought the food. I provided the venue and entertainment in the form of three children and two dogs. Afterward, we went to my aunt’s house for another barbecue and pooled our (expensive) fireworks.

Personally I am over fireworks and the exorbitant prices but the kids loved them. Between my cousins and I, we had six very excited kids!

4. When you PCS, what items do you take with you and not let the movers pack (and if you do a DITY, what do you take with you and not box up)
I only take personal documents (birth certificates, shot records, etc.) and my jewelry box. The rest I let the movers pack and move. True, I would hate it if stuff like pictures and scrapbooks got ruined but now I’m so old wiser that I know it is just stuff and not as important as the little ones buckled up in the backseat and the big one pretending to pay attention to the road whenever I drive to our next destination.

5. What are you looking forward to in July?
This young lady is turning FIVE YEARS OLD.

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That thought alone will make me fall asleep in the fetal position, sucking my thumb. It is amazing how time flies. She was our souvenir from Virginia, the one from the 2006 deployment. My husband is still trying to come to terms with his accident, sometimes regretting ever taking orders to Virginia. I told him over the phone this morning: “I DON’T.”

I know he is going through a trying time adapting and accepting this new life but the truth is had we not moved to Virginia we would never have had L. We would have moved back to Fort Gordon and he would have realized that he needed to get that vasectomy he always said he’d get after the second one was born.

Yes, the months apart, the accident, the neverending recovery was and is awful, tumultuous, and at times so effing depressing that no one really understands but the bottom line is, we would not have her had we not taken the path that led us to this point right now.

In other news, I am preparing to take a subject competency test in science so I can get a single subject credential to teach in middle/high school. The test is next week!

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I hope you had a wonderful and restful Independence Day. I don’t pretend to know everything there is to being patriotic. Being a military spouse doesn’t give me a pass; I know I still have a lot to learn.

When I was a kid, as a child of Filipino immigrants, I remembered school baffled me. Why am I studying about Greek and Roman gods? Why am I studying about Christopher Columbus, ancient Egypt, and the gold rush? Why do I need to know about the civil rights? I am clearly not white nor black. My family didn’t even get here until the 70s!

What did this have to do with me?

Over and over I would ask that question to myself. For years, my father told me we were in America; we spoke English. “Why would we need to go back to the Philippines? You need to speak English in school to go to college.” While I respect the decision he made, I still wonder about the ramifications.

It wasn’t until I got to college (yes, college) that I found the answer to the question, “WHAT DID THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME?”

The truth is… IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH ME.

Wars, revolutions, battles, boycotts, discrimination, laws, the pursuit of equal rights… all of these things did not just shape one country or one people. It shaped ALL OF US. It affects ALL OF US.

Whenever I am in a class that is studying history, I keep political opinions to myself like any educator would but I make sure I connect what we’re studying to how this lesson effects all of us, directly or indirectly. The hell if a generation gets by me without knowing what took me decades to learn! o

I need to not only know about victims of natural disasters around the world, I need to care and do something.

I need to not only know about social injustice or genocide, I need to get angry and do something.

I need to not only know who SNL satirizes, I need to really know them to cast my vote based on what I value and not how hilarious Tina Fey’s impressions are.

I need to stop thinking about other people as “THEM” and start thinking about “US”. As a nation, I believe with all of my heart that we can.

WE WILL.

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10K: Do I Dare?

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I dressed for running as soon as I woke up. I had to before I could talk myself out of it.

So off I went. After about two miles I got the same lower back pain from the race on Saturday. I fixed my posture and the pain went away.

During the race, I noticed that I passed the walkers but was running in queue with the stop-starters, the people who would quickly run by me but who I would eventually pass because they slowed down to a walk. I sought advice from one of the best runners I know. Yes, I got advice from my husband.

This mofo will get his feelings hurt when he has to pay a whole twenty bucks for shoes from Payless Shoe Source. He will say that those shoes “aren’t too bad” because they make his feet bleed for only a week.

Only a week.

Yet in those shoes, he would lap Marines around the track and he would keep up with SEALs young enough to be our kids. And I know that even though he can’t do these things now, I know that one day he will.

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He told me about FARTLEKS, alternating running and sprinting. Those, he said, will improve my time.

Um… yeah. No, I’m gonna work on my distance for now, thankyouverymuch.

I did three and a half miles this morning. Tomorrow I mapped out a different route, one that will take me four and a half miles.

My new minimum distance will be three miles per run. My new running schedule will be four days a week, squeezing in Zumba or Hot Hula class whenever I can.

I want to run a 10K. I want to do it in September and again in November. I saw this on Pinterest.

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There. That’s where I’m going and that’s what I’m gonna get next year. Come with me?

The Journaling Juxtaposition

The kids have been off of school for a week now and I am exhausted. Don’t get me wrong. I am enjoying our time off but if they don’t play outside, they drive each other nuts.

I was going through A’s writing journal from school and am so proud of her progress. She went from this at the beginning of the school year

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to this just a few weeks ago

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I cannot believe some of the stuff she wrote in there. Wait, I take it back. I can believe that she wrote all of this stuff in there. Good thing her teacher has come to know her personality very well over the last year.

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Okay, the prompt was about Valentine’s Day so why is she complaining about her brother?

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I wish George Washington was feeling good too.

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Team Jacob?

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I was not aware that we had a board game where one had to stretch a booger all the way to the number ten. That’s nice.

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I like that she had to say she had proof that she actually fought the Dark Lord and survived. “My mom took pictures!”

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Geez, tell the teacher I let you play LEFT FOR DEAD, why don’t you?

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Afraid of clowns? Seems legit. I swear I did not let her watch Poltergeist. I won’t even watch Poltergeist!

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Telling people we have a dog? That’s okay. Telling the teacher the dog pees in the house? So NOT okay.

The Cramming Curve

The kids are sleeping over at their cousin’s house. Six kids over there total. School is out for all of them. They aren’t watching TV, playing video games, or arguing. They are just hanging out in the backyard, playing modified zombie tag or dodgeball.

The possibilities were endless for me tonight. I could have caught a movie, went out to eat by myself, or even drive a half an hour to the nearest bookstore.

Nope. I drove to a nearby Starbucks to study.

Yes, study.

I planned on waiting until the fall to take the two general science tests so I could put in hundreds of hours studying but I didn’t want to wait anymore.

The most surprising thing about getting older is that I have actually retained what I have learned from high school and college. I do not attribute it to an eidetic memory as I am pretty sure I don’t have one. I give full credit to my teachers who did not rely on bribes or threats to get me to do my work. They simply believed I could do it and pushed me when I needed it.

Despite almost flunking out of college for trying semester after semester to be a struggling biology major, I still knew biology. I still remembered every scientist and scientific law my chemistry teacher mentioned twenty-two years ago.

So as I read through the study guides of other students preparing to take the same test, I am ecstatic that this is not brand new information that my old brain is trying to grasp. Granted I never took physics so physics sometimes baffles me, but I still remember who Boyle is. I know about chemical reactions and the purpose of mitochondria. I know the periodic table better than my kids’ birthdays on a good day.

My third 5K EVER is in a week and this general science test I will happily devote dozens of hours to studying in two weeks after. This newfound energy is good for me, for the kids.

The boy tries to get to as many karate classes as he can and a couple of weeks ago, I finally woke up. Why was I just sitting in the car or running errands while he was working his butt off and the girls were bored out of their minds? I put on sweats and running shoes, check the girls into the gym’s kids section, and take a class or get on the bike. They’re all happy, I’m exhausted, and all of this is fine with me.

The kids like the idea of watching Mommy learn and study. Seeing Mommy buried in a book is nothing new, especially when Mommy’s got a lot of urban fantasy books piled up next to her bed. But I make sure they see me make goals, question the way something has been explained, and search for an answer that I can understand. We’ve already watched two DVDs from the library about earth science. Yep, one of them is from Schoolhouse Rock.

I am excited about this direction that life is taking me. Either that, or this is a pretty strong frappuccino.

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The Pacing Polarization

I have a confession. I cannot run on a treadmill.

I think you knew that already.

It’s too easy for me to quit on a treadmill. Oh no, I can’t run in a straight line. Oh no, I’m so tired. Oh no, I’m getting so sweaty. Oh no, I hate the TV monitor in front my face but I don’t want to turn it on so instead I’m watching my sweaty face bounce up and down in the reflection. Oh no, the lady next to me is running so fast I don’t think there’s enough electricity for both of our treadmills.

When I run outside, there is no quitting. I always have to run back to where I started. Reminds me of the joke we heard when we were kids.

“How far did the dog run into the forest?” “HALFWAY!”

The weather is getting very hot, very quickly. This morning the wind was still a little chilly to balance out the sun already working its magic.

L said we should bring her bike and the big dog. We walked to the nearby park and started to pick up the pace. We had a great run… for about twenty yards. I chuckled to myself. I knew better than to expect a two mile run today with those two. Still, we played at the nearby park for a little bit so I could do some circuit sets then we came back home.

I will try and squeeze a couple more runs of about two miles before Saturday’s 5K. If I don’t, well… that will still be okay with me. I am going to try and jog the whole thing without stopping. Why the hell not?

The only person who is going to tell me that I am jogging the thing too slow is myself. And I can easily shut her up with the promise of a blueberry scone afterwards.

Here is a pic of what A made for Father’s Day. The rest of the pics are from M’s “Understanding Figurative Language” booklet. I think he has a future with Stan Lee.

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