Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow, Travel, and Yoga Retreat Soon!

You all know how I love snow! I really do. We watch the Olympics each day. We snowshoe, ski, and snowmobile. Sadly, our trip to Maine is getting put off (due to another storm hitting today with another 10"). I'm hoping Tyler gets to go when I'm at my yoga retreat (woo!) or while I'm in CA for work.

It's great snowmobile weather, but getting there can be an issue (no where to park the Jeep, we have to get someone to plow us a hole to park in). We've been going up to Dixmont, ME since 2001 (built our camp in 2003) so we are used to it. But the key is parking, and if there's no where to park that can be an issue. Also, when Tyler was up in January the water pipe froze (for the water drain, not the well).

We are tough and hearty and we're used to skiing in that last mile. We're used to packing 3 days worth of clothes and food. But, with 10" on the way today highway travel would really really suck. Last March we went on rte 3 and 295 on a Monday evening and it was not plowed. We have tire chains but they are not street legal.

I was accepted to the PhD program at Union Institute & University! I will start in January 2015. I already got my Student ID and e-mail so it's official. I just need to send along a small deposit to reserve my fee to be on campus for a few days in January at the start to the program. So that's me: 6 years starting next year. I'm really excited! The dean for my program is based in Seattle. He went to school in the Boston area, so we had a lot in common. He's working on changing the program to make it "more relevant to those that want to work in the corporate world or NOT teach or to those that want to be entrepreneurial." He's already succeeded in making changes. He also teaches in the PhD and EdD departments so a dean that teaches is a new concept to me!

One of the professors has been amazing so far. She teaches a few courses that I'll be taking (4 classes per year) and she's based in CA. The students are from all over the world and I'll be placed in a cohort for the duration and that group is 16-20 students. They are all "later in life" students with established careers. "Mid-Career" is the term they use. 99% of the students work full time and do volunteer work as well. That's why it was a good fit. I get to keep my career and my volunteer work on track and USE that work in my program work. That's what they expect. I'll be taking a range of classes on topics from sustainability to entrepreneurship to Gender Studies. My concentration is Ethical Leadership.

Now that my colleagues fully understand the program they are like "it's made for you" and "I could never picture you quitting work for 10 years and attending a school in Boston for 68 expensive credits." After year 1 I will be able to apply for scholarships (with faculty recommendations, so that's my goal). They want to make sure you are serious and dedicated before covering costs.

Lots of good vibes this week during travel. I was stuck in NY for 3 long lonely days due to snow. The Internet was down so I could not work. I watched movies, dug out my car (rental car), scrounged food from the hotel, took very snowy walks without sidewalks and eagerly waited for dinner each night (when a few restaurants would open mid-storm). It snowed from 2/12 at night to 2/14 at 6am. It was so bad that Enterprise had to come get my car and my conference was cancelled twice (and moved to April). At least I had hot cocoa and oatmeal I smuggled to my room from breakfast--comfort food is important and you can make quite a bit with the in-room coffee maker.

Hope all is well for each of you. How are you spending this February? Are you taking time for yourself to read, do yoga, run to train for a marathon (over snow banks--nothing like it--hardcore), or just sledding with your kids. Are you hiding out somewhere warm and sitting under a palm tree making plans for your life? I'll report back about the yoga retreat. It's my first bucket list item to cross off, so I'm really needing it about now after so much stress and pressure I put on myself Dec 2013-January 2014. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Next steps

Wow, I've made it to the Interview part of the PhD application process? This means next week hopefully I will have an interview. I'm waiting for confirmation. I need to (mentally) prepare on what I'm going to say in terms of what sort of research I have planned.

I've got it all in my head, and in my Statement of Purpose but I really need to think about how the ideas I have actually have "value" to his particular institute of learning. I also really need to think about timing. Logistically the fall is busy with travel (and our Germany trip) and the summer is busy at the office.

Am I ready to commit to extra expenses? Vacation days used for school travel. Time. 5.5 years of time. I am...I thought I was done with learning back in 2009 when I finished my master's degree. I realized through my volunteer work at Babson's Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership that I am indeed a "lifelong learner." I have to nurture that side. I have to FEED that side. I can just continue to go through my days reading topics that interest me: preserving the environment, science, food, food culture, homesteading, entrepreneurship, gender studies, technology start-ups...or I can actually tie all of that together. It's my choice.

Why would someone with a master's degree decide "I'm going to be the 1 out of 10 that actually finishes a PhD?" Why bother? Why get into more debt? Well, the easy answer is: because I can. I'm at a point in my life where I'm at a job that allows me freedom. Freedom to get out of work every day at 4:30pm and have time for volunteer work and more education. I'm at a job that allows me to travel and continue to see the world and learn. Why would I leave that job, that world that I've worked so hard for the past nearly 4 years? My plan is to not leave. My plan is to keep going.

Sometimes the best laid plans can be a disaster. Sometimes it's kind of neat to plan your future. To want to strive to be a better writer and a better researcher. Someone that continues to make a difference. After all, at most we get 100 years. Most never get to 100. So why the heck not give it a try. Even if it is 1 year from now. Why not give it a good effort and enjoy the process?

So here's to that interview, right?

And since this week was the anniversary of the Challenger disaster (and since her mom still lives in my town and is on the committee to build a new library) I leave you with this quote: "Reach for it. Push yourself as far as you can." -Christa McAuliffe

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dreaming of other places...

It happens every January. I look at my calendar on my office wall with all of my work trips and I daydream. I daydream about relaxing in a wine bar or walking on the beach. I think about how nice it is to work with my students in person (and how much easier). I think about discovering new yoga studios and I think (and stress) about conferences.

I always tack on some extra time and this time, I'm tacking on some time staying on the beach here. February is going to be better than January (although my Birthday weekend always rocks). January has been "clogged" with being sick, applying for a PhD program (whatttt?) and just drama.

It has not been filled with yoga although I did get to ski and snowshoe (a blast!). I did get to hike when the snow melted.

I just want to wake up tomorrow and feel well. I want to schedule a bunch of yoga classes, my cooking class (gift card from Mom & Dad for Sur La Table's cooking classes). I just want to put on my "soft pants" (as we call them in my house) and show up at my February yoga retreat (scheduled) and yell (softly) "I'm here, I'm finally here." I want to get off that plane in California and say, "I'm back, I've missed you, I'm back."

I want to sit on my yoga mat and just cry because I've missed the studio this past week. I've missed the quiet. I've missed the sweating, the good workout and I've missed...all of it. I've missed cardio time with a good podcast playing. I've missed waking up in the morning feeling refreshed.

I'm ready to have a great B'day weekend, feel better but most of all I'm looking forward to February. I want to get off that plane in CA and at that yoga retreat and have someone say: "Welcome, we've been waiting for you."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Seeing Through the Darkness

When you are recovering from an illness it's hard to see the other side. Shout out to my husband who has a nasty cold and fever today. :(

I was thinking this the other day when I was skiing by a neighbor's house (before the plow came) and he was out there doing his normal snow removal tasks. He had broken his leg really badly this past fall (surgery, hospital stay) and there he is out in the snow with his snow goggles on!

For me personally I'm still not up for Zumba but I've been able to x-country ski, snowshoe, and do yoga. I've done some cardio too and I know I can run 3 miles on the elliptical. It's just frustrating to get home at 5pm and be too exhausted to hit the gym. That's not "normal" for me. Normally I get home at 5pm, hit the gym at 6:30 and get home at 7:45 and eat dinner at 8:30. That's no longer my life or at least it's not right now. I'm trying hard to stick to my doctor's advice of getting up a 1/2 hour earlier to ease into the day (and going to bed 1/2 hour earlier). It worked for about 2 weeks.

The human body is a funny thing. You just take for granted the routine for years and years and years. I recently watched a documentary that discussed alternatives for cancer care (that actually work). It was pretty neat. The sad thing was it showed doctor's that stood behind these treatments were fired and had their lives destroyed. When I'm feeling sick I load up on raw honey, ginger, garlic, and green tea. When I got out of the hospital and 10 days on antibiotics wrecked my immune system I loaded up on probiotic foods and fermented foods. Even now, I can't get enough raw ginger fermented carrots, kraut, and kimchi.

I've also lost all patience for family members, friends, and colleagues that just seem to forget that it was not that long ago where I was out of work for 2 weeks. Out sick. Fighting a nasty infection. I mean, I got cards and letters and notes and an edible arrangement and flowers. Right before Christmas I had to deal with work drama, and it continues (in a more mild format). Just yesterday I felt like family members 100% forgot. I don't want to have to jump up and down and say "look at me, I'm trying so hard, I'm back to work, I'm back to yoga, I'm back to eating healthy and sleeping well."

Days like yesterday I wanted to bonk a few people over the head and say, "well, it's clear you forgot that I just went through a REALLY rough time." Humans quickly forget. Humans are cruel to each other. I've learned a lot through my yoga practice and lately I'm trying to incorporate more of that into my life. I need to distance myself from people that are cruel, shallow, and frankly not worth any of my time. I never forget when a friend has surgery, breaks a leg, misses work for a time. I don't hop all over them a few months later and act like an idiot.

I've learned a lot about humankind these past few months. Time to live and recover fully and strive to do better in 2014.