Election Day

When I was 8 years old, we did a mock election in my third grade class. I saw a woman’s name on the ballot, and instantly marked her as my choice. I didn’t know who she was or what party she ran for, but I had never seen a woman in such a high position, and it gave me hope. Someday, maybe someday, a woman could be president.

Today, 20 years later, I finally realized my dream of voting for a woman for real. I got to my polling location at 6:30 – right when they opened – so I could get my vote in before work. There were probably about 30 people who were already in line when I arrived. The line moved slowly, and I tried to read while I waited, while also trying to block out the women talking about Fox News behind me.

Finally, I made it to the front. I was a little nervous that I’d have trouble signing in because I got married this summer and changed my name – but there was no issue.

When I reached the voting booth, as I started my ballot, I had to pause for a moment as I searched for Hillary Clinton’s name. I felt like I was holding my breath as I stared at her name on the screen in front of me, taking in the moment. A million things were running through my brain, but one thing stuck out among the others:

I am about to vote for a woman for president.

And she might actually be our next president.

I felt myself tearing up a little, and then smiled.

I made my choice.

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SOL Day 24: Changing Habits

I have been running a lot lately to train for my upcoming half marathon, but I have not really been keeping track of my eating habits.

Over the weekend, my friends and I were talking about this issue, and they inspired me to start using the My Fitness Pal app again. I used this app when I graduated from college and lost nearly 40 pounds (along with exercising). Fastforward a few years, and I’ve gained a little of that back. Now it’s time to work on losing it again.

Essentially, this app is just a calorie tracker, but it really has gotten me to think about what I am eating, and how much I am eating. I realized that I have been majorly overeating for the past few months, and probably even years. I’m trying to use this tracker as a way to create better habits for myself.

One other thing I would like to do is start meal planning, but every time I try, I struggle to find footing on where to start. I am a vegetarian, but a lot of meal plans include meat, and it can be hard to find simple, fulfilling vegetarian options. I’ve been doing a better job of cobbling together meals with what I have in my kitchen, but I’d like to try actually planning them.

Changing your habits is hard, no matter what that habit is. I just need to make sure that I am sticking with it – actually thinking about my choices instead of reaching for whatever seems good at the moment.

 

SOL Day 23: Back At It – Or Not

School started again today after a Spring Break that felt much too short (has it really been 10 days?), and it went pretty much the way I would expect. I started off the day by waking up late because I turned off my alarm in my sleep – thank goodness I caught myself with enough time to get ready! Then, I got to school and realized I forgot my lunch as I was walking in, so I had to drive back home and get it. Luckily, I live less than 10 minutes away, but it still threw me off.

My classes were fine, if only a little distracted and chatty. I wouldn’t expect anything less on the day after Spring Break, so as long as they were utilizing their time and getting work done, I could stand a little side conversation here and there.

Unfortunately for me, though, I picked up a cold on Spring Break that has decided to stick around. As I talked and conferred in class today, my voice started getting weaker and weaker, and my coughing more persistent.

I hate having to miss school, especially right after a break, but I don’t think I can be fully present as I need to be for my students tomorrow…so I put in for sick day.

I went back and forth after school on whether or not I needed to take the day off, and I didn’t decide until after 8 p.m. that I just wouldn’t be able do it tomorrow. I ended up going into school to set up my lesson plans and grabbed some professional reading to do tomorrow so it doesn’t feel like such a waste.

Hopefully I’ll be able to really get back into the swing of things on Wednesday.

 

SOL Day 21: Runner’s High

I have a love/hate relationship with running.

I love the feeling I get when I am done. I hate the feeling I have when I start, before my breathing settles into a steady pace. 

I love the knowledge that I am working toward something – a race, fitness, or just the miles. I hate the knowledge that I could injury myself if I don’t follow the right steps. 

One thing that I really love though is the feeling of accomplishment that I have after my run. I finished an 8 mile run this morning, and it may have been the slowest pace I’ve possibly ever run. However, I am still feeling that inexplicable runner’s high. I was pretty sore when I finished (and for about an hour or two afterward), but now I’m reaping the benefits. I feel good about my run. 

This week, I am staying at my in-laws’ place in Florida, and their neighborhood happens to be right across the street from the University of North Florida. Perfect, I thought, as I started planning this run last week. A college campus, hopefully full of young runners, that I can just meander around and observe as I complete my long run on this Saturday. 

It worked out really well. The campus is beautiful, with lots of trees and trails to look at and explore. I mainly stuck to the roads as I plodded along, listening the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and This American Life podcasts.

Podcasts are great running companions because they take your mind off of your body and let you settle in for some storytelling. These two are my go-tos, and they usually don’t disappoint. 

The point is, running makes me feel good. I don’t look like a typical runner and I don’t care though because I know I can do it. I might not be as fast as my cousins or my siblings, but I’m doing it, and that’s enough for me. Running has helped me to focus more on what my body can do, rather than what it looks like. 

SOL Day 20: Winding Down

My Spring Break is winding down, and I’m trying to make the best of my last few days. It’s weird to think that just three days from now, I will be back at home and back into the swing of school. It’s such a jarring difference from spending tonight relaxing with my family out of town.

Today was a lazy day – a rest day from running and nothing planned all day except for family dinner. It’s nice to have days like this, and these are the types of days I like to have on Spring Break. 

I was able to finish one book and start another, and I watched a little bit of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Now I’m sitting and typing, surrounded by family, and doing a combination of reading, watching basketball, and chatting. 

Part of me feels like I wasted a bit of today because I barely went outside on a gorgeous day in Florida, but it’s fine. I’ll make up for it tomorrow when I do my eight mile run! 

Tonight is a good way to spend one of my final nights on vacation. Back to normal life on Monday, but I need to let myself relax and enjoy right now. 

SOL Day 19: Basketball Madness

Today started March Madness, the advent of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, and I was lucky enough to get to go to the first round of games. Right now, I am writing this from the Wofford vs. Arkansas game in Jacksonville. (Wofford, the 12 seed, is currently winning by two.)

One of the best moments of today was when I got to see Georgia State (14 seed) upset the Baylor Bears (3 seed) in the first game of the day (for me). After that, I saw Xavier (a family member’s alma mater) win, and a close game by Harvard against North Carolina. They were so close, but in the end, Harvard couldn’t pull it off. 

I am also ecstatic because my team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, got the win today even though it was questionable for a while. 

I’ve gone through waves today of being excited and being tired, but overall, it’s been a pretty fun day. 

Here’s to more basketball madness, and Go Bucks!

SOL Day 16: Forgetfulness

Whoops. Yesterday I forgot to post. My excuse? I was thrown off of my routine. 

I still think I’m doing pretty well – when I tried to do the Slice of Life challenge last year, I stopped around day 10. So this is progress, and that’s all we can hope to ask for, right?

I am currently staying at my parents’ house for a couple of days, out of town, so I wasn’t in my normal routine of settling in at night on the couch with Scott and firing up my laptop. I’m so out of routine, that this post is even being typed on my phone. 

I think I will forgive myself for forgetting – I spent most of the day yesterday talking to my mom and reading, two of my favorite things to do when I am Home. (Side note: I finished The Girl on the Train, and if you haven’t read it, you really should.)

We forget things, sometimes, because more important things come along – and that’s ok. Sometimes I forget to take attendance or reprimand a kid for getting off topic because I am too engrossed in helping another student challenge herself with learning. 

Sometimes forgetfulness can be bad, and sometimes it can be scary. I think about my grandmother who recently died after a long struggle with dementia, which started taking over her life nearly eight years ago. In the end, she didn’t remember much, and that was difficult, especially for my mom, who still had so many questions. 

But when small things are forgotten, we forgive ourselves. We can’t dwell on what might have happened if we had remembered that one thing. Who knows, but we will never be satisfied with living a life of what ifs.

I hope that if you’ve been forgetful lately, that you forgive yourself. There is always the chance to try again – and remember for next time.