Favorite Things : May 11 – 17, 2019

favorite things

Good morning and happy Friday! I’ve been up since around 3:30 today. I took some time to read, but decided to just get into the day. I submitted my minor revisions for an academic article the other day and have been working on editing and cutting down another chapter so that I can send a new article out. I’m reading Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People and will hopefully will go out and take a walk later. I’m tired, but I have not been able to sleep. Week days and weekends can kind of run into each other when working from home, but I’m hoping that I can find some good time to relax.*

I found a few favorite things from the ‘net this week:

Definitely in line with the idea of 1% better, Modern Mrs. Darcy writes on just giving our goals a minute.

Interesting article form Vox about moving to an affordable city in the midwest.

Things to improve on.

I’m just going to say it. Danielle Steel’s work schedule is insane.

But don’t take my advice!

Progress is never dramatic.

On base lines and finish lines.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

*Amazon affiliate link.

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A Review of The Wealthy Teacher by Danny Kofke

books

Something Bruno has been saying a lot lately is, “Boomer is not an age, but a state of mind.” A boomer is defined someone who considers measures of success, how things are going in politics by the stock market, their 401k, the gdp, etc. Frequently, he’ll say something along the lines of “boomers gonna boom” when discussing anyone who tends to fall under this category.

I joked last night that I was probably the “boomer” in our marriage. I’m the one who regularly listens to Dave Ramsey, keeps up the excel spreadsheet that charts our progress in paying our student loans, and reads all the personal finance books and websites. Bruno said he didn’t think so, because I don’t think those things are an end in themselves or the ultimate sign of the health of a society.

Anyway – I finished reading another personal finance book the other week. This one specifically written for teachers: The Wealthy Teacher: Lessons for Prospering on a School Teacher’s Salary by Danny Kofke. I thought it was just ok. I like common sense books about budgeting and money — things are fairly obvious, but I like having guidelines written down. This book is good for that, but you could probably find them anywhere else. It also contains its on “baby step” process makes a few divergences, but for the most part is essentially Dave Ramsey for teachers.

For example, he writes, “In most marriages, there is usually someone who is more of a free spirit and the other one is more of the nerd; in my case, I am the nerd.” This is straight out of Total Money Makeover, but Kofke never cites or provides his source. I think this really irked the scholar in me. Provide your citations and sources — this is basically plagiarism, dude! You’re a teacher. Do better.

One thing I thought was helpful from this book that I’m not sure the Ramsey-lit offers is the chapter on retirement. Once again we get into boomer territory. I think it is funny that we still have books that suggest that retirement is an option in the same way as it used to be, or even that it may even be desirable (especially for those of us who are not physical laborers). I don’t envision a retired future for myself playing golf, traveling, whatever. I like the idea of continuing to be productive until the inevitable happens. Most people have zero idea how to spend leisure time even when they work 40-50 hours a week. Do you know happens after retirement? You wait around and then you die.

But I digress. All the above does not mean I do not think you should be responsible and save for the future. Like I said, I’m totally guilty of being the “boomer” in our marriage. The retirement chapter is helpful if you are thinking about where to put your money, especially since most teachers will not have 401ks. It did give me plenty to think about for our plans.

Still — I’m not sure I would recommend this book. I mean it is ok. If you’ve never read a personal finance book ever, it is fine. If you are afraid being a teacher is going to lead you to a life of poverty and just want to be assured everything is going to ok, I think it has its uses in that realm too. But for the most part, it seems like ideas taken from other personal finances gurus and put together for money-interested teachers.

Graduation Weekend

dissertation, graduate school

Even though all my doctoral requirements were completed on February 14, I made it official by graduating this weekend. I was not planning on walking. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m feeling uncomfortable and I’ll admit sitting through a graduation ceremony did not seem like the best use of my time when I could prepare. I think the nesting impulse is strongly alive and well.

But I decided to walk and had some family come up to Michigan. It is strange to think that the next time I’ll see them it will be as a family of three, not two. I was told the day of graduation, I could leave after receiving my diploma, which was a great kindness. I watched the rest of the doctoral and masters students receive their diplomas, but left before they began calling the undergraduates.

60581477_1025689444303044_8239642105924812800_n.jpg

We went out to eat at Cascarelli’s in Homer afterwards. I don’t have any pictures, but let me tell you something. For a small town, Homer surprisingly has the best pizza I have ever tasted. My grandparents and parents agreed. After, they left for Ohio and we returned back to Hillsdale, making a quick ice cream stop at the Udder Side first.

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It was nice that the day was over for us by 6:30. Even though it was not a long day, I’ve been wanting to be home more and more — that nesting impulse.

I’ve had time to get used to be done with my dissertation — time that has been better improved now that I’m looking forward, preparing to teach. Still — it was a nice capstone on what has been six years of graduate school, six years of reading, writing, and if I am being totally honest, stressing out, but also six years of joy.

Graduate school is hard, but not in the way I thought it would be. I hardly ever had to pull over-nighters, sleeping six to eight hours most nights. I think the work is manageable, provided you are good at time management and getting things done. But it is hard in the length. It can be hard to dedicate yourself to something that maybe you make 1% progress on a day, especially when you are working on the dissertation and you only receive feedback every couple of months or so. It is a test of endurance and trust in yourself.

I know academia has a bad rap. It is harder and harder to get an academic job. I think someone told me yesterday about a prestigious English Ph.D. department who recently graduated 36 Ph.D. students, none who have academic jobs. I knew my chances of getting an academic job were slim. I think I went in with my eyes wide open. All I really wanted to do was read great books and teach and I’ll be doing that this fall. I consider it an enormous win.

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I’m grateful to have had six years to take classes on thinkers from Hobbes to Marcuse. I’m grateful that I could spend two years writing a dissertation on Jean-Jacques Rousseau on a topic I cared about. I’m also especially grateful I managed to do all that without accruing any extra debt, thanks to a full-ride and living stipend. My time will be a little different now — not as flexible with both teaching and a baby — and I’m glad to say I never took what I doing very granted. Yes, I complained about the stress and the pressure, but overall I was grateful. I still am.

 

 

 

Monday Miles : May 6 – 12, 2019 (36 Weeks Pregnant)

monday miles, pregnancy, training

I am thirty-seven weeks pregnant. At this point, everything hurts. I’m exhausted. And while I was counting down the weeks and days until my due date (June 3) before, by the end of last week I became impatient. I woke up last week, just feeling different. Walking has become much more difficult. I waddle and cramp up. I cannot seem to get comfortable no matter what position I’m in — sitting, standing, laying down. These are all normal things, of course. Once again, I know I’m blessed that my only complaints about pregnancy have all been the normal things that come with pregnancy. But suddenly, I can see why that ninth month can be long.

I still managed to get some moving in this past week and hopefully will continue to until the very end. I’m not sure how much CrossFit I’m going to be able to do. Suddenly it seems that no matter what movement I do, I look down at my stomach and it is coning. From what I read, that is a big no-no and can contribute to diastasis recti, but it seems like no matter what movement I get torpedo belly. Just a couple more weeks, just a couple more weeks.

5 – 6 : Walk – 30 minutes. 1.34 miles.

5 – 7 : CrossFit – 3 push-press every 2 minutes, 30 seconds for 13 minutes : 55 lbs., 60, 65, 70, 70, 70. Alternate every 10 minutes: Held 20 lbs. overhead, 10 pull-ups with green band. This is what I mean by torpedo belly, I would be trying to do the assisted pull-ups (badly, I no longer can get my chin over the bar) and I would look down and boom cone. This was not there before.

5 – 8 : CrossFit – 5x AMRAP 2 minutes, 1 minute rest – 3 hang power-cleans, 50 lbs., 9 wall burpees (squat, wall push-up combo). 13.5 rounds. I loved this work-out. I’m sure it would have been much for difficult if I was actually doing the burpees, but it felt good to be able to move quick and to push myself. No cone baby, either. Walk – 40 minutes – 1.97 miles.

5 – 9 : Yoga with Adriene — Deep Stretch.

5 – 10 : Rest.

5 – 11 : Walk – 30 minutes – 1.37 miles.

5 – 12 : Rest.

Totals : CrossFit – 2 hours. Walking – 1 hour 40 minutes. Yoga – 45 minutes. 3 hours 25 minutes working out.

Onward!

 

 

Favorite Things : May 4 – 10, 2019

favorite things

Graduation is tomorrow. I will be rocking those big doctoral gowns (I’m renting) and will walk across stage to receive my diploma for my Ph.D. I have to confess (authenticity being a virtue and all) that this seems sort of “meh.” When I presented my dissertation, that felt like a big moment, the moment I was done, the moment I shared my hard work. This just seems like a task I have to do on a Saturday, along with making bread, yogurt, and cleaning the house before my parents and grandparents arrive.

Bruno and I found out what classes we are teaching next year, so finally I have a project to work on. I’m grateful. I still do not seem to have the capacity for long-term concentration on anything related to Rousseau or my dissertation, though I have been working on edits for my journal article. However, I can spend all day reading American history. I also just love having direction and goals again. Plus, I mean…American history…it really is a joy.

Not too much for favorite things this week. I really have not spent too much time loafing around on the internet (!).

Habits of “lucky” people.

I’m always complaining about how cold the library at my school is. I love that this exists.

Apparently the fashionable aperol spritzes are causing controversy (I’ve always preferred campari spritzes myself).

I may have to write more on this, but I keep seeing this New Republic article shared and compared to the sports-writing article I shared from last week, the writer seems incredibly entitled. Who promised the intellectual life was a money-maker? (Asks the political theory Ph.D.)

What are your plans for this weekend? Anything on the internet catch your eye?

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

books, goals, motherhood, pregnancy, running

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 


I re-read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think this week. I read it a few years ago, liked it, and of course, never implemented anything from the book. I never kept a time log, but I did like her approach to time management. Sometimes I just like to read these books for the inspiration and motivation.

This time around I think it was better for me. I’m not keeping a time log because I know life is about to be drastically different in the next few weeks or so, but because it was a good reminder that I can still have personal goals and ambition post-baby. Women do it all the time – she has the time logs (ha!) to prove it.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I move toward the end of my 36th week of pregnancy. As someone put it, “Baby can come any day now.” Yet – I frequently have people tell me all I can say good-bye to sleep, eating, working-out, reading, any sort of leisure time at all, and lastly my sanity. I’m sure that I am about to achieve a real shock to my system, but are these things true?

I appreciate Vanderkam’s answer to that question: no. I’ll admit, I’m very excited to be a mother, but not at the expense of giving up my entire self. One of my big post-baby goals is to train for a trail 50k. I suspect training for that will not happen until 2020, but I’m thinking about it, planning for it. Is this naive because I have no idea how motherhood will take up my time? Is this a completely selfish goal? Or, with a lot of planning, self-disciplining, and my new Bob stroller is this goal doable? I think the answer is yes to the latter. I hope it is.

Anyway — these are questions I’m thinking about right now. I suspect I will return to Vanderkam’s book again as I recover post-pregnancy and begin the new job. I hope to pick up I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time and have been scanning through her blog archives all week, happy to have hope that having a family and personal goals (or even work) goals do not have to be separate or even contradictory. As Jennifer Fulwiler puts it, it really can be One Beautiful Dream.

May 2019 Goals : Year of 1% Better

books, goals, Harry Potter, pregnancy

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. Here’s a list of all previous goal posts.

January: Goals | Outcomes

February: Goals | Outcomes

March: Goals | Outcomes

April : Goals | Outcomes

May will be my last month as a non-parent. I mean — I guess technically I am a mom, but rumor has it taking care of babies is a lot harder when they are on the outside. I’m inclined to believe it! Hah!

So it feels weird to make goals for this month. I mainly feel like I am holding my breath. This is the last month of the old normal, before the new normal arrives. I do not feel too stressed, thankfully. At the same time, however, I wonder, “Am I doing enough? Am I prepared enough?” This goes for baby, moving in July, and beginning to teach in August. Frankly, if I think about it too much I become mentally overwhelmed by newness.

Part of me wants to rush head-long into it. Let’s just get started already. I’m sincerely and truly excited for everything to come. I’m grateful that the baby will be here soon, to be moving somewhere exciting, and to teach subjects I love to smart students. But I have enjoyed my life with Bruno for the past nearly two years of marriage with just the two of us. I love living in Michigan (a bold statement for this Ohio girl!). I have had an exceedingly flexible schedule the last few years. Writing your dissertation does not require that you get dressed in regular clothes. All of these things are big changes.

I’ll admit another part of me questions, “What is the point?” Everything is about to be disrupted anyways — why start new habits? Why not wait – post-pone – until baby is here, we’ve moved, and I see what life looks like teaching in Texas?

But that just is not me. I have never been the type of person who says when “x” happens, I’ll do “y.” I just make “y” happen, whether that be run a marathon during an exceedingly difficult four class semester, get pregnant while finishing up my dissertation, or working-out while pregnant. Though I’ll admit circumstances do matter, for the most part we can do more than we think.

So – here are some of my goals for this month. Yes, the big goal is to just breathe, enjoy the calm before the baby, but nine months pregnant or not, I’m still capable of moving forward, of being 1% better. They are small, but that is the point.

Scholarly writing/editing – 30 minutes – 5x week : I found out at the end of last month my revise and resubmit for an article was accepted with minor style revisions. I’ll admit I’m still too burnt out (ok, I’m babying myself here) to just sit down and go through the revisions in one day and turn it in. Instead — I’m taking it little by little, thirty minutes a day of going back through and re-reading everything. I’m about half-way done and should have it re-submitted by the end of this week, but I’ve been thinking ahead. I think with baby and teaching full-time, thirty minutes will continue to be doable for me. I want to start the baseline for that habit now. I think people underestimate what they can accomplish in a focused 30-60 minutes and overestimate what they can get done in a day. I also plan on continuing with my April goal of fifteen minutes a day notebook writing.

Scan all class notes. I know it is tedious. I know sometimes the scanner refuses to cooperate, so I spend on hour scanning to find nothing was sent to my e-mail. Just get it done. I’ll be happier knowing that I do not have boxes of files sitting around my desk anymore. I’ll be happier knowing I can find what I need in DropBox and Evernote. I’ll be very happy to recycle everything and know I do not have to pack all these loose papers for Texas and find a place in a small apartment to store them. JUST DO IT.

Keep television to weekends. I do not even really watch much tv, but sometimes it can be easy to watch something I do not care about at all on Netflix or HBO or what have you. This is the last month Bruno and I have as just the two of us, I don’t want to waste it by staring at the tv for the last few hours a day.

Finish re-reading Harry Potter. Here is my fun one. I’m reading Order of Phoenix right now, so I should be able to get done by the end of this month. I want to be done before baby arrives when I plan on listening to them read by Stephen Fry (which I have never done before!). It is always the season for Harry.

I’m keeping it simple this month. Just four! Of course, I plan on continuing to CrossFit for as long as I can until baby comes and watch my social media (holdovers from previous months).

What are your goals for May?

 

 

 

 

Monday Miles : April 29 – May 5, 2019 (35 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, pregnancy, training

Greetings from the land of raging heartburn and three hours of sleep! I keep getting told to enjoy my sleep while I can get it and believe me, I’m trying. However — I think when I start giving pregnancy advice, I might consider that the listener, especially if she is in the third trimester, is probably already not sleeping much. Tums can only do so much.

I’m feeling pretty positive though, because it is four weeks until my due date – June 3. Though I know first time pregnancies are more than likely to go over, I know there is an end in sight. I’ll admit I’m ready to have my body back. I’m ready to run again. I’m ready to lift to failure. And if you’ll permit me some vanity, I’m ready to start watching the pounds go down on the scale instead of up.

4 – 29 : CrossFit. 5 rounds for quality – 90 single-unders, 30 seconds double-under attempts, 3 squat cleans. Managed 50, 55, 55, 60, 60 lbs. for squat cleans. Oh man, this one was rough. And I’m pretty sure the only reason it was rough is because of all that jump-rope and my bouncing 35 week pregnant belly. Let me tell you — those two things do not go together well. I would stop every thirty to let things settle. I’ll admit I barely tried during the double-unders. I managed a few, but I treated the thirty seconds more as a breathing break.

4 – 30 : I didn’t go to CrossFit today and I cannot remember why. I suspect lack of sleep. I did go for a walk though — 30 minutes, 1.29 miles. Afterwards I followed it up with Yoga with Adriene – Stretch.

5 – 1 : Walk – 30 minutes, 1.4 miles. I think stretching the day before significantly helped how my walk felt. My hips have typically felt really tight, but I think I could treat this more like a leisurely stroll than normal. CrossFit – 2 rounds for time : 25 box-step ups, 20 inches; 50 air squats; 900m row – 16 minutes, 56 seconds.

5 – 2 : Walk – 30 minutes, 1.38 miles. CrossFit – “Diane.” I jokingly referred to my version as “Knocked-Up Diane” because it was so far from the actual benchmark work-out. 21 kettle-bell dead-lifts from a stack of weights (53 lbs.), 21 knee push-ups, 15 k-bell dead-lifts, 15 knee push-ups, 9 k-bell dead-lifts, 9 knee push-ups. 5 minutes 46 seconds. Probably for the best, since dead-lifts feel terrible to me pregnant or not.

5 – 3 : And then I was sick. I felt really awful this day. I was not planning on doing anything at all and then managed a mile walk after my massage. That is it. Walk – 22 minutes, 1 mile.

5 – 4 : Still not feeling the greatest. Rest.

5 – 5 : Walk – 40 minutes, 1.72 miles.

Totals : Crossfit – 3 hours. Walking – 2 hours, 34 minutes – 6.8 miles. Yoga – 22 minutes. 5 hours, 56 minutes total.

Onward!

 

 

Favorite Things : April 27 – May 4, 2019

austin, favorite things, texas

This week’s favorite things is a day late, but I was so sick yesterday that the only thing I was good for was lying on the couch. It is less than a month until my due date and I honestly had not felt so terrible since the first trimester. I feel mostly better today, but I’m ready to get this next month over.

We’re heading back down to Ohio today for family pictures. In all likelihood it will be our last trip to Ohio before we move to Texas. I’m not sure when the next time I’m home will be, so it will be a bit of a bittersweet trip I think with a lot of good-byes — one of them being to my brother who moves to Charlotte, North Carolina in a week or two. The family is starting to spread out!

Here are this week’s favorite things:

Joanna Goddard visited Austin, Texas with her kids the other weekend.

From Laura McKowen — self-discipline as a form of self-care.

Carrots for Michaelmas posts on how she meal plans for a family of six.

Why is it so hard to learn a language in middle-age? Also, here’s a great book on this topic.*

I watch everything with closed captioning. Apparently I’m not alone.

Another for post-baby running plans: how long should your longest run be while ultramarathon training?

A simple solution to burn-out.

Must-read: How to leave sports writing and never regret a second. 

What are your plans for this weekend?

*Amazon affiliate link.

 

 

 

 

April 2019 Goals : How Did It Go?

crossfit, goals, Harry Potter, reading, year of 1% better

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. Here’s a list of all previous goal posts.

January: Goals | Outcomes

February: Goals | Outcomes

March: Goals | Outcomes

April : Goals

I cannot believe April is over already. This is the first month where I mostly accomplished everything I wanted. Plus, I feel almost fully recovered from finishing up my dissertation. I think I finally actually relaxed and if you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s post, did plenty of reading.

I managed to be fairly consistent in non-dissertation writing — both on the blog, but also in my goal to keep a notebook a la Natalie Goldberg-style. I found an old one-subject seventy sheet notebook, figuring there was no need for anything special. After my usual morning routine, before I write the day’s blog post, I set the timer at ten minutes and write. I was not able to finish a notebook this way, but I was able to get some thoughts down. I think I only missed a handful of days, so I was pretty happy with the success of this goal. I’m planning on continuing it into May.

Not only did I manage to do a great deal of downsizing in the kitchen, but we have around five or six boxes of books ready to donate in the dining room. The house is looking a little more chaotic with all these to-go boxes lying around, but it is great to know that as we get closer to moving (another two and a half months — but at least a month and a half of that will feature a new baby) things will be done. The last time we moved — only a few blocks away, not cross-country — it felt like nothing was done, nothing was organized. I really do not want that to happen this time around with an infant and further to travel.

On average I ended up doing more than 2x CrossFit every week. I typically managed around three times a week, even PRing a few times. Not bad for a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy, I think! I’m hoping this is a sign of things to come for May. I may have to take it easy, but it is nice to keep showing up. I rowed almost every week and managed to finally get some walking in last week. Consistency, man.

My social media use is better, but still not what I would like it to be. I suppose this is going to be a goal I’ll keep renewing in the months (really weeks and days) to come. Some days are better than others. Some days I hardly think about it. Then the next day I find myself in a scrolling frenzy. I think reading more has helped — I reward tasks with another chapter of Harry Potter as opposed to checking instagram or facebook. It certainly is much more rewarding.

Overall, I would say things are definitely 1% better this month. I’m happy that I’ve added a new habit, gave myself some peace of mind with moving, and managed to stay consistent with my work-outs.

How did your April goals turn out?