A Heavyweight Heart

After a full day of work advising students from all walks of life alongside my amazing colleagues, I (and a few of those said colleagues) volunteered at a holiday party for the Boys and Girls Club. My job for the night hinged on helping kids make miniature gift boxes, which, at first, seemed really confusing; I worried that I would be spending a lot of my time apologizing for not knowing how to make the craft. However, I got it on the first try, and I spent the remainder of the night teaching kids how to fold and cut cards to make the little boxes. I may have made six or so for myself, just like some of the more enthusiastic kids did.

One of the greatest lessons I learned as a young adult was to never lose that sense of wonder (thank you, Don Johnson). I try to practice that, and I suppose it’s part of the reason that: a. I don’t want kids of my own at this point in time (because I basically still feel like a child myself); and b. Why kids and I actually get along (even though I’m not a “kid person.” It’s contradictory, truly.). Kids tend to like me a lot.

Today, though, a gunman wiped out the potential to wonder and marvel at the world for twenty children and several adults, including his own mother. As a non-parent, my feelings pale in comparison to those belonging to the families of the young victims. As someone who has worked and continues to work in visible roles, especially in education, I am upset.

I read that the principal died today. I read that she had been an administrator for twelve years and that her enthusiasm for education and the schoolchildren was unbelievable. I read her Twitter account, and from it, I could tell that she was invested in the future of those children.

And in that I see an investment that is familiar in my life. When both your parents come from education backgrounds, you understand that educators make sacrifices. Usually, those sacrifices are things like long hours, or staying up late to review a lesson plan, or volunteering at a school event, or being used as a verbal punching bag. The rewards are great, however, seeing the way students light up when they remember how you helped, and–from what I hear–when you run into them years later and hear about the things they have accomplished. Many of those attained goals would not be possible without losing the ability to imagine, to look forward, to wonder. And we are there to encourage them, to learn alongside, to grow and wonder just the same.

And we will be there, despite any outliers’ selfish motives to take out their revenge on the innocent. I would be lying if I said part of my training and education didn’t involve addressing the reality that someone could pull a weapon on me for making a mistake or saying something related to their education that they didn’t like.

“My job is to be a cheerleader for other people’s children,” as Dr. Larry Roper would say. You have my word on this, even though we know that school is not a sanctuary.

We should not, however, live in fear that our schools, our public spaces, our means of transportation are targets. We must shift the cultural paradigm somehow–and I don’t have the answers on how to do that–so that the fear those children and all the victims experienced is never replicated.

Don’t cultivate fear; don’t let it win. Cultivate wonder. Cultivate change by giving back to your community. Tell someone you love them. Ask someone if everything is okay.

And please, whatever you do, pray or meditate or do what it is you do to keep the victims of violence–of this act and beyond–and their families in your hearts.


Adventures in CrossFit. And life.

Thursday, Oct. 18th
CrossFit – WOD: Gills and Fins

Oh. I thought Random was bad from Monday.

There was this on Thursday:
​3-2-1-1-1 with increasing weight
I made it to 70lbs. for my first single rep. And then I got stuck and had to scale back to 65lbs, but hey, not bad. I pushed it.

And then that was followed by:

3 rounds for time of:
​15 Thrusters + 510m Run

​Round 1: Olympic Barbell (45lbs.)
​Round 2: Dumbbells (prescribed weight was 25lbs. in each hand)
​Round 3: Back to the barbell

Final time? 13 minutes, 16 seconds.

I was so.close to doing this work-out at prescribed weight, but my body failed in Round 2. I got to the dumbbells, lifted the two 25lb. beasts up, and could not even get to a 90-degree angle above my head. I lost some time struggling under one of the dumbbells (I made the mistake of trying to reset), so Coach ran over and grabbed two 15lb. dumbbells. That worked much better.

The running part was not my favorite, but really, no running part will ever be my favorite. Between each round of weights, we had to take a lap around the block. We usually run one during the warm-up portion of life, so I ended up running about a mile tonight (yay). My second lap was rough, too, thanks to my asthma. I’m still in denial that I even have to deal with this, since it was roughly 19 years that I went without problems (it came back in 2009 and was OK until I got sick this summer). Like I said on Facebook, I’m not sure what if I felt during the second lap was a work-out “high” or just oxygen starvation.

What I do know is that I pushed it, my muscles were exhausted, and I still gave my verbal consent to show up the next night. Sigh.

Friday, Oct. 19th
CrossFit – Partner WOD
Friday’s workout was not too terribly bad.

…ha! Not only did I have to get through the workout myself, I was accountable to a teammate. I apologized at the beginning.

All the following for [collective] reps and [individual] time:
Buy-in (the opening exercise): 100 Air Squats
​Followed by 10 rounds each of:
​P1: Shuttle Run + Rope Ascent/Rope Ladder Climb
​P2: Max Ring Dips
​Buy-out: 100 Double-Unders (or 3x single-unders)

Together, my partner and I did 266 ring dips (modified in my case). My time was 30 min., 57 seconds. I got hung up on my single-unders, but hey, I finished it.

Apparently, this was from the rope ladder.

Monday, Oct. 22nd
CrossFit – WOD: Tabata Whatever
10 minutes of:
​Pull-up instruction with coach. Learned the basics of what I need to do to get into kipping pull-ups on my own. I have “officially” graduated from jumping/box pull-ups to using the band in all situations.

then we did a Tabata workout as follows:
Tabata Sit-ups – 8 intervals
​​Tabata Kettlebell Swings – 8 intervals
​​Tabata Push-ups – 8 intervals
​​Tabata Squats – 8 intervals

Intervals were 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. I used the 12kg. KB. It was not hard to figure out where my workout spot was–it was the area of the floor covered in sweat droplets. Hooray! I’m disgusting!

I felt good, and I planned on going back the next day. However, Tuesday rolled around, and some “well-being” emergencies arose that I had to attend to. So, I scooted my “7PM – HEL” Google Calendar appointment out to today.

Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night with must have been both a migraine and a major sinus “attack.” I’ve been weak and nauseated all day, so the gym’s not looking so good. Aiming to be back to 100% for tomorrow and Friday, and then I’ll have to hit it hard on Monday since I’m leaving for a conference midweek.

Send me some healing vibes.

Returning to the Stars

“One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel.”
from Doctor Who (Series 2, Ep. 4 – “The Girl in the Fireplace”)

Does anyone else remember my letter to the Universe from 2011? It’s a perfect glimpse into my life when all that was seemingly good shattered, one thing after another. That pattern continued, and it continued for months afterwards.

Now, nearing the end of 2012, I still walk cautiously through many of my adventures. I am learning more about myself, primarily in terms of finance and budgeting, as well as health and wellness. I am much more aware and in-tune with my mood shifts (not swings, thankfully), and luckily, I am nurturing a new-ish relationship in which I can admit to not always being sunshine and rainbows. I talk about how I’m feeling more openly, which is scary, but it’s almost scarier seeing how it comes so naturally.

When you’ve dealt with so much utter crap over the past few years, you almost expect the worst. However, my transition to Portland has been very good for my soul. I still have some nights when I want to curl up and do nothing and just hope that I win the lottery in the morning; despite that, I persist. I persist because I have good people in my life, and I choose to focus on the good. Something I have realized about myself is that I have little tolerance for toxic people, and my biggest disappointments come when I realize someone I trusted and cared for ends up being a soul-sucker. The thing is, those people are gone from my life.

And I know for others, I’m a soul-sucker; there are some people with whom I will always have negative energy, and although we may be on good terms now, there is no need to be friends nor to revisit the bad moments in my head every time I see them. They are freed from my life, and while I miss certain aspects, it’s better to lead separate–and separated–lives.

It’s much better to put effort into keeping life-givers around. For example, one of my best friends lives hours and hours away (by plane); we logged on to FaceTime to catch up this weekend, and it was just as good as when we were in college and met every week to get coffee together. It’s not easy to keep relationships sound and meaningful across time zones, but it’s incredibly worth it for the right people. It’s also worth it to put for the right effort for the right people regardless if they live a block away or half a world away. Friendship, then, is becomes transcendent of time and space; it becomes something ethereal.

Whose energy keeps you going in this lifetime? And why is it important to continue to grow those relationships?

Infinite, and Beyond

Crazy week here at Trains and Sunsets.

* Registered www.ardithlaverne.com
* Helped out my colleague and friend for a brand-new HigherEdLive.com webcast
* Polishing the last few assignments of the term
* Jetting off to Philadelphia for the national NASPA conference
* Been fighting off some virus that is causing me a deathly sore throat and not going away–not strep, says the health center, but either way, not cool.

Life is going fairly well right now, and I’m glad to be on the other side of an emotional valley. Yes, I am resilient; sometimes, it just takes time to get through. Things are not 100% normal, and that’s fine. I’m still adjusting to the fact that my dad is gone. This redefines many things, but this is also a new beginning for myself.

I am learning to be happy being an individual, being single, being myself. I’ve known that I am awesome for quite sometime, and now it’s really time to think about what I want out of life. For one, I’m considering exploring the Midwest for job opportunities after graduating, and in addition to that–who am I kidding–SoCal is back in the running. I never thought I’d say that, but it is. I’m really excited about those particular areas coming into play. I’m excited about being in a position to be thinking about packing up when I’m done at OSU and going wherever the wind takes me.

Beauty through strength. Adventure awaits.

I’ll get back on a normal schedule when NASPA conference is over, hopefully.

‘Til then, love love love…

Kicks of Silence

This weekend was so needed.

I got dressed up and went dancing one night. As I have said before, I feel alive when I can just move to music. Nothing mattered–well, except for making sure my dress didn’t ride up too far.

The next day I went to the coast with friends. We found a wonderful cafe with a funky atmosphere and amazing desserts. I had key lime pie, and like everything else on the menu, the ingredients were a local as possible and the food was handmade. It was heaven.

Back in Corvallis, we destroyed our bodies with Dorachos–nachos made with Doritos chips. They were an abomination, I swear, but oh-so-tasty. It was my idea, since I had a bag of these chips and was kind of missing Seattle. (The Cha-Cha Lounge sells Dorachos… under a different name.) I am the ultimate bachelorette, I swear.

Sunday was my day of rest, with the completion of a good deal of homework, followed by dinner with friends. Good laughs were had, as well as enchiladas.

Three of us then scampered away to a local Episcopal church for Compline service. There is something incredibly soothing about Gregorian chants, as well as the premise of “Just sit back and relax.” It feels much more spiritual and personal that way. I want to make it up to Seattle for St. Paul’s Compline services. The last time I was there must have been 2007, when we wrapped up our spring break road trip. Compline there is a totally different experience, with the freedom to lie on the floor or sit wherever one chooses. You get to lose yourself in personal silence as ancient melodies surround you.

I’m still on that personal quest for peace and resonance. This term has not been good for that. I have a lot of repair work to do still, both in personal and interpersonal terms. However, I met with an individual I consider a mentor, and he helped me process a few things, just by letting me talk.

I am in an interesting place in life. When I graduate, I will have the ability to job search wherever I please. I can cast a wide net.

And I hope in doing so, my adventure, my journey will take me to places I never dreamed about.

Peace be with you. And me.

Or... Come at me, bro.

Out of the Shadows

Today I Was Happy, So I Made This Poem

As the plump squirrel scampers
Across the roof of the corncrib,
The moon suddenly stands up in the darkness,
And I see that it is impossible to die.
Each moment of time is a mountain.
An eagle rejoices in the oak trees of heaven,
This is what I wanted.

-James Wright

I’m getting there. I’m on the road to recovery.

Wait Another Day

I will wait to love you
I will wait another day…
I will waste
another dream on you.

I am an impatient little lady.

With my world in chaos, I just want to crawl into a set of strong arms, and bury my little face in a broad chest. I want to feel tiny yet safe, vulnerable yet protected.

I know I’m not alone during this time. I have the best support networks possible–my mom, my extended family, my friends, my cohort, my supervisors, even my university. I’ll venture to say I even have myself. I have stories and memories that make me smile.

What’s missing is that stable rock. That foundation that’s going to look me in the eyes and not give a damn that I’ve been snotting all over his favorite sweatshirt because I’ve been crying for the past billion years. It’s not a “need,” though–just a “want.” I will get through this stage of life with who I have right now.

So, I will wait.
I will wait for you. Patiently.

And I will wait to love you, whoever “you” may be.

Heal Me

Dec. 19th

Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

This entire blog is like a record of my quarter-life crisis; everyone should be aware of that by now. 2010 brought about transformation, as well as healing. Nearly a year ago, my already-kind-of-screwy-but-not-that-screwy life took some sharp turns. I needed to deal with the end of a significant relationship, a downward turn in my father’s health, my friends taking new steps in their relationships, grad school admissions, and making the decision to actually go abroad.

What healed me in the midst of all the confusion was the process of making meaning out of all that was happening. I like to find story lines in my life, and I like trying to understand the reasons things happen. Sure, it doesn’t always make perfect sense, and sometimes, even if it does, I don’t want it to. The fact of the matter is, though, that by thinking about these things helps me accept and appreciate the challenges in my life. Coming to terms with knowing that life will never be perfect and that I will always be learning has really helped me be stronger. It’s definitely been an evolution, one that has been on-going since I started college, I’m sure, with an acceleration in the past few years.

What do I hope for 2011? I’m not sure, really. I’m not going to abandon what’s been working these past few years, so I suppose all I can hope for is to keep bettering myself, keep making meaning, and keep on living my life in the best possible way. And maybe taking more time to adventure and explore, since that’s when I feel my best.