Monday Motivators: When The Mind Is Willing And The Body Is Not

Last week my personal challenge was to walk 65,000 steps, or 13,000 steps a day, in five days.  I knew this would be hard, but the week before I handily accomplished 60,000 and my confidence was high.  Surely, I could sneak in an extra 1,000 steps a day.

Instead, something else snuck up on me.  My weekly total was 53,342.  This sounds like a lot, and it IS a lot.  For me, it was pretty low.  On Monday I woke up feeling pretty tired, but I tried to get in my steps and even did a step aerobic workout when I got home (I live by workout videos).  Even with this effort, I missed the 13,000 mark by 800 steps.  I shrugged it off; the deficit would be made up on Tuesday.  The next morning I felt worse– exhausted, kind of swimmy, with a headache that throbbed behind my left eye, and everything I ate or drank tasted like bile.  I still went to work, hoping that once I got there I would feel better and knowing my job was to chaperone students on a low-maintenence field trip.  I still did not feel better.  This followed for the entire week and culminated on Thursday when my left eye felt like it had looked at the sun too long (even though I was indoors) and could not regain its sight. Nothing was getting done; the papers remained ungraded and the steps remained untaken.  I went home and walked to the couch.  Friday resulted in the same action.  I spent most of the weekend recuperating.  It wasn’t until Saturday evening that it started to abate, and while I feel much better today, I know that it just went into hiding; I’m not out of the woods.

The good news is that I got in a lot of steps today.  I worked out and went for a four-mile walk.  My goal this week is back to 60,000.  My friend Ginger, who also has a FitBit, challenged me to the Workweek Hustle competition to see who can get the most steps.  Hopefully between feeling better and a good dose of friendly competition, I will make it.

Monday Motivators was started by my blogging friend Laura who is motivating herself and others to accomplish the things they want to do for the week.  Go over and check out her blog and be her friend.  She is awesome.

Across The Blogiverse

When I started this blog back in March, I really had no idea what to expect.  I imagined that it would involve me writing my thoughts, hitting “publish”, and catapulting them into the ether where they would float around whatever the internet is.  Are my thoughts tightly crammed in fiber-optic cables trying to not bump into someone else’s thoughts like they’re on a New York subway?  Or is there a grand universe for our thoughts or are they “flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup?”  Wherever they are, they found readers.

It’s the readers that I didn’t really contemplate as I began my blogging journey, mostly becuase I wasn’t sure if I’d have any.  I wrote for “a” reader, meaning that I wanted everything I wrote to have a point; it couldn’t be “just because”.  Each post had (as still  has) to be a unit with a beginning, middle, and end, so whoever reads it would get a complete story or at least a reflection.  This was my M.O. for a while until something odd happened: people started to follow me and I had regular readers.  My random unspecified reader turned into an audience– an audience that I could get to know. I read their blogs, hit their follow buttons, and commented on their posts.  Before I knew it, I was transported into different worlds: India, Pakistan, Ireland, Spain, England, Australia, Canada, Arizona, and even to different parts of my neck of the woods.  I learned about different life experiences and ways of thinking, and found a whole troupe of funny, talented, intelligent writers. Everyone has a story to tell.

Two things happened that I didn’t expect from my readers.  One is the amount of my non-blogging friends who follow me.  Many read my posts through Facebook, and others opted to follow me and have my posts sent to their email.  I know that we are all busy and lead hectic lives, and the fact that they make time to read what I write is humbling.  My audience is not made up of anonymous faces, but of people who I admire and people who have their own amazing stories to tell. The second thing I didn’t expect was how many of my  blogging audience I consider as friends.  Even though I’ve never met any of you, I feel that I know you– well at least the “you” you present on your blog.  I look out for your posts, eager to hear about what’s going on in your life or what new idea you’re going to discuss. Reading your work is part of my day.  I didn’t expect the openness of the blog community, but I am glad I found you.  Thank you.

Readers:  What aspect of blogging surprised you?  How is blogging different from how you thought it would be?

Please Read This Post Before You “Like” It

I have a blogging bone to pick.  Recently I have had a rash of other bloggers liking my posts without reading them.  It’s pretty easy to spot them– I hit “publish” and within minutes I have 3 views and 5 likes– two did not read what I actually wrote, but hit the “Like” button on the reader page.  There are only three reasons bloggers do this:

1. They want to increase their readership through their “likes”.  It is common courtesy to check out someone’s blog after they “like” it and hopefully find something in their blog that is funny, inspiring, provoking, or strange to “like” back.  However, when it’s just rampant liking without reading– that’s just blatant attention-getting self-promotion.

2. Same as #1, but they have their ebook to sell.  More self-promotion.

3. They have no life and sit in front of the computer scanning the reader page and liking everything.

Why am I so annoyed?  I mean, really, having a bunch of likes on your post is impressive to other bloggers to see when they stop by.  It’s also really nice to get a “like”.  I am annoyed because it is empty, meaningless praise given for the sake of self-promotion.  I am annoyed because I spend a lot of time writing, as I’m sure you do, too, and someone is passing judgement on my work without even knowing, or taking the time to consider, what I wrote.   I am annoyed because when I go check out the “liker’s” blog, it is selling something.  I am annoyed because it is inauthentic and degrades the sense of community and sharing among bloggers.  I prefer an honest empty like space at the bottom of my post over a space full of “empty likes”.  If you like it, “like” it, but only then.

Whew!  I had to get that off my chest.  Those of you who honestly like my work, I know who you are and your support keeps me writing.  Thank you.

On the homefront: I had a good first day of school today.  My students seem nice, if a bit squirrely.  I think I am going to have a good term.


This Is Outstanding!

There are many bloggers that I admire (most likely you’re one of them).  These bloggers constantly bring their unique perspectives on life, their quirky sense of humor, and their genuine talents to the forefront everyday.  I read a lot of posts that I wish I wrote and many issues that I wish I had thought of.  All of you are pretty awesome in your own way, and I look forward to your posts everyday.

Seventhvoice, a mother of two from Australia who posts both articles and poetry about fairness, equality, and most importantly, what it’s like to be a parent of a child with autism, recently selected me to receive the Outstanding Blogger Award.  I don’t think I can convey how special this made me feel.  For one, I have a great amount of respect for her– for sharing her struggles and bringing issues that confront her community and country to light.  Autism can be a divisive topic since its cause is unknown and everyone has a different idea how it should be treated; she handles this subject with grace.  Also, the rules for accepting this award are to nominate five others who “show intellect and a sense of confidence in the subject for which they are blogging about WITHOUT going way over the heads of those us who need things said in layman’s terms.”  The fact that she considers my blog worthy of being part of that five blows me away.

The rules for accepting this award are to nominate 5 others to receive it and add one important piece of information they feel is important to us on their post.  So without further ado:

silverpoetry for creating contemplative and amazing poems

Broadside for writing about a myriad of social issues and what it means to be a “grown up”

as long as i’m singing for writing about life and providing creative pieces that offer a different perspective

truthlets & thought bits for sharing her unique perspectives on life and being honest

Romancing the Bee for sharing everything one needs to know about raising bees and making it interesting.  Lots of recipes and travel photos, too.

I have two honorable mentions.  The following do not accept awards, so I am not giving them one, just plain old recognition.  Both share poetry and creative pieces and are fun to read.

My Word Your

Crazy Life…

Please check them out if you haven’t already!  Again, thank you, Seventhvoice, for the nomination.

If You Want Something Done, Give It To A Busy Person

This busy person, at the moment, is not me.  Summer vacation has me firmly in its grip, and I’ve become the most slothful of sloths.  Yesterday I mustered up the little energy I had to clean the bathroom and pay the credit card bill.  On a typical day, all bets are off after my morning walk.  My husband suggested that Sex and the City might be on Netflix; this way I wouldn’t have to even get up to put the DVDs in, I could control everything from the couch.  Four o’clock in the afternoon seems like a good time to take a shower.  I have a book to finish for book club.  I stare at it a lot.  It stares back. I’ve even let more than 24 hours pass before posting a new post.

Like other stuff in my life that is meaningful and put on the back burner, there are a few blogging awards that have gone unacknowledged.  I’d like to take this time to recognize those awards and the kind bloggers who have given them to me. I am always honored when other bloggers think that my blog is worth recognition; there are many excellent blogs out there (many I wish I had thought of), and I know they don’t have to choose mine.

The  One Lovely Blog Award comes from Good Old Girl, who always fills her blog with compassion and humor.

This award requires sharing 7 facts about yourself and nominating 15 co-bloggers. Since I have been fortunate enough to have received 3 awards, I will nominate 5 each. All of the bloggers I nominate bring something different to the table and all are interesting, thoughtful, and teach us something new.

My 7 facts:

1.  The sight in my left eye is pretty bad, but the sight in my right is almost perfect.

2.  The hearing in my left ear is pretty bad (10%), but I have 65% hearing in my right.

3.  I have mild scoliosis.  Which direction does my spine veer?  Yes, to the right.

4.  This causes my right shoulder muscle (my trapezius?) to be bunched up and over-developed.  It is clearly noticeable and makes tops fit strangely.  I could see this bulge in my shadow, and this prompted my husband to call me his “little hunchback”.  He’s lucky I didn’t make him a hunchback, if you get my drift.

5.  I am right-handed.

6.  When I get a cold, my right nostril gets plugged up (this is ridiculous, I know).

7.  When I run into poles, which side of my face hits it?  The left.  I’m too busy listening to the person on my right (hence, reading their lips) to notice it’s there.  So, please, if you and I happen to be walking and talking, alert me about the pole.

My 5 nominees:



Books, Tea & Me


Gen Y Girl

Iamrahulashok nominated me for the Thanks For Writing award.  He is constantly looking at life in new and different perspectives.

Criteria for the nomination of this award:

1) Nominate 6 to 7 (or you pick the no.) bloggers, who influenced or inspired you.

2)Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they have been included and invited to participate.

3. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

My nominees:


Nomadic Noesis


Blurb My Enthusiasm


Lastly, truthlets & thought bits nominated me for the Illuminating blogger award. Her blog is positive and inspiring, and she delves into what it means to be human.

Share 1 Random Thing: I think I may know all of the lines to When Harry Met Sally, Bull Durham, Mermaids and Dirty Dancing.  Sally Albright, Annie Savoy, Rachel and Charlotte Flax, and Frances “Baby” Houseman were characters I looked up to growing up. I ended up most like Sally.

Nominate 5 Bloggers:

In My Opinion…

Summer Solstice Musings

Shut Up Dad

Jilanne Hoffmann

Robin Coyle

Again, thank you Good Old Girl, Iamrahulashok, and Truthletsandthoughtbits for the nominations!  They mean a lot to me and encourage me to keep writing.


Hi all!  I am currently playing chaperone to four awesome teens, and the pace we’re keeping is not conducive to writing.  Even one of my charges is stressed out for being three days behind on his journal. I will be back with our tales by the end of the week, and I will catch up on all of your stories, too!


100 Posts And A Three Month Anniversary?! Am I Still A Newbie?

For someone who started a blog on a whim, this has been pretty incredible.  This is my 100th post and my three month anniversary.  I wondered if I would last this long or have this much to say.  What surprises me more is all of you who read my work and keep coming back.  Without all of you this whole endeavor would be no fun at all.  I appreciate your feedback, support, and comments, and I look forward to them with each post (my husband can attest to this).  So thank you for making this obsession hobby such a pleasure– without you I wouldn’t have stuck with it.

Blogging has had a big impact on my life.  For one, I haven’t written this much since grad school.  Even though I have done a lot of writing in my life, blogging has made me think like a writer and pay attention to how others write.  It has made me more observant of human behavior, my reaction to things, and stuff that might be blogworthy.  It has taught me a lot about technology as I overcame my fear of linking (seriously).  Now I have an iPad and a wireless keyboard, so I can blog everywhere.  I even care about Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.   I have also worried less and have been more positive in my outlook.

The blogging community here at WP has been awesome.  I’ve learned more about life and living through all of you.  Even though we are so different, we share the same experiences, joys, frustrations.  It’s nice to know that I am not alone.   Through everyone’s pictures I’ve been introduced to places and ideas I never knew existed. Blogging allows all of us to go beyond the scope of our everyday existence.

My goals for my next three months and hundred posts (if I did it once, I can do it again) are to stick with the parameters I set for myself on day one.  They are that I stay true to me; be positive in my posts (with the exception of Reno); and that each post is resolved and has a purpose.

So thank you again for giving me something to write for.  I’d like to hear from you:  what feedback or comments do you have to help me make these next three months blog-tastic?

You Guys Spoil Me!

Sisterhood of the pedicure! I, of course, shunned bright, summery colors for Russian Navy.

Is this a coincidence?!  Fate?  Happenstance?  Whatever it is, all I know is that it freaking rocks!  Today I hung out with my girlfriends (sisters if you will) going out to lunch and getting a pedi (isn’t that what sisters do?), and then I also discovered that Jodi Ambrose, a blogging sister of mine, nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award.  Just like the “my side of the computer screen” friends, Jodi is smart, sassy, and keeps me laughing. We also have the same weird habits of peeling off all of the chocolate on our favorite candies and not mixing our food– so we must be related somehow. If you have yet to check out her blog, please do so.

Pretty cool!

However, I’m feeling the love all over with you guys.  Since I’ve started less than three months ago (June 7th will be the “official” anniversary), you have all decided to follow my meanderings about teaching, travel, books, my family, boobies, and whatever else has crossed my mind, and you have stayed with me through it all. All of you and my Facebook readers have made me this close to 5,000 views, and I remember being excited when I had 13. Who’da thunk it?  Not me, for sure. None of this could have happened without you, and I am very grateful for all of your comments, support, and advice you have given me.  I feel spoiled.

Now to the award.  One of the rules for this award is for me to share 7 random facts about myself and to nominate others.

My 7 random things:

1.  I do not like to eat off of yellow plates.  Hubby will never live down the time he decided to serve fish sticks and creamed corn on a yellow plate, and he hasn’t made that meal or given me the yellow plate since.

2.  I have a huge thing for men with bows and arrows.  Errol Flynn, Robin Hood (any will do, but I think Russell Crowe just might be the winner followed by the Disney fox), Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings (the only redeeming factor of all 75 hours of those films), and most recently, Jeremy Renner in The Avengers.

via Marvel-movie.wikia

3.  I visited Alcatraz when I was 10 (?), and I believed that Al Capone’s spirit latched onto me, followed me home and would kill me in my sleep.  I literally scared myself sick. Don’t believe me? Ask my mom, she remembers it well. It would have been nice had someone clued me into the fact that he died in Florida of syphilis.

Whew! Not out to get me!

4.  My first pet was a cockatiel.  His name was Mister Feathers.

5.  One of my all time favorite books growing up was Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.  I connected with her ambivalence at growing up and trying to figure out how she fit in in the world.

I don’t know how many times I read this book. Margaret really spoke to me.

6.  I have four romance novels that I like to read when I want to escape from it all. Hubby will ask, “You’re reading Sweet Liar again?  How many times have you read that book?”  (The other three are Knight in Shining ArmorDreaming of You, and Once and Always.  If I could find it again, I would add Perfect to that list.  Yes, I know, I’m a total sap.)

7. I almost dumped my husband when we first started dating because I thought he laughed too much at my jokes.  I’m not that funny.  He apparently thinks I am.

Now for the main part: my nominees.  I have recently made some new blogging friends and all of them provide great posts and unique perspectives on the world. A couple of them are new to WordPress, and they have made promising starts. Please check them out!  Since this is a “sisterhood” award, it’s going to the ladies. Maybe we should start a “Bromance Blog Award” for the gents.

Last, but not least, I want to give my mom a shout out for reading all of my posts and being a great resource.

Should I Give A Tweet?

I am apparently one of the five people left in the world who does not have a Twitter account. I’ve been contemplating getting a Twitter account, but I don’t know if I want to get sucked in to more social media. If you tweet, will you please let me know if it’s worth it? What are the benefits and drawbacks of Twitter? What advice would you give to a Twitter newbie?

The Results Are In! What Toby Thought…

For the very first ever “What Is Toby Thinking?” challenge we have a tie!  To add to the whole competition fun, the winners’ names correspond so well: they are Dad Knows and Shut Up Dad.   If you have not checked out their blogs, please do so.  They both have wry senses of humor but about disparate topics.  Dad Knows will help you determine if that is really a praying mantis you’re seeing, while Shut Up Dad can help you determine your favorite instrument.

Here is how they both have given me insight to my enigmatic Toby:

The image in question.

Dad Knows: “The sunset sure is a fine one tonight. I wonder how quick first class mail is these days. Did I eat dinner? I think I’ll turn in and listen to Coltrane while I do some reading.” Oh, wait – what’s TOBY thinking. In that case, “I don’t think she saw me sneak that second sip of her wine. But, darn it, my tongue is numb.”

Shut Up Dad: Cat food? I said seared tuna…(in a “no duh” monotone style)

Round of applause everyone?


Remember it could be you on the leader board!  Watch for the next segment of the “What’s Toby Thinking?” challenge!