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Category Archives: Fitness/Health

Genetics Can Be Cruel

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When I was a teenager, I had acne. Not just one or two little zits. I mean, I had acne.

I took antibiotics. I used several different types of topical creams. I used light therapy in my doctor’s office (which, by the way, smells weird). I took birth control pills, which caused me to gain 10 pounds. I took Accutane.

I hated looking in the mirror. I felt ugly. My face hurt. I just wanted to be normal.

I still have oily skin. I still take various and sundry medications/creams to try to get it under control. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 100% beautiful and “normal.” And now, I’ve passed it on to my kids.

Two of my three kids have acne. My son’s is the worst. It’s red and angry. The problem is that he also has inherited my husband’s sensitive skin, so finding something that works on his skin without causing other irritation is proving difficult.

I took both kids to the dermatologist a few days ago. He prescribed a cream for both of them to use in the morning. My son used his and his worst spots looked SO MUCH BETTER. The problem is that EVERYWHERE the medicine touched is now bright red.

If it’s not one thing it’s another. At least if he were a girl he could wear makeup without thinking twice about it. Being a boy, that’s not really an option these days. Not yet, at least.

I hope that his skin calms down. He’s such a wonderful, bright, fun, beautiful kid, it kills me that he might be thinking that he’s “less than” because of his skin, as I have done most of my life.

Genetics can be really cruel.

The Uncertainty of Life

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

                                       Courage to change the things I can,

                                      And wisdom to know the difference.

My husband often tells me that worrying about things I have no control of isn’t going to help anything. He may have a point, but honestly? That’s precisely why I’m worried… because I HAVE NO CONTROL!!

Life is uncertain right now. I know I’m not the only one for whom it’s uncertain, but it’s no fun, and it’s weighing over me no matter how much I’m not “supposed” to worry about it.

We have a new administration that seems unpredictable. We have a new Education Secretary that has me really worried for the future of public education. People I love are dealing with medical issues that worry me. And last, but not least, I have no idea where I’ll be working next year.

What can I do about any of these things?

Well, for the first, I can join friends and family in activism. I can be more informed on issues and contact my representatives.

For the second thing? I can do my best at my job and fight back against crazy changes that might be coming up the pike. Those are things that might help me feel INVOLVED, although when push comes to shove, I just don’t know how much we can do.

For the third? Pray, I suppose. I don’t know that there’s much else I can do in that department.

And lastly? I honestly have no idea. Get my name “out there”? Cross my fingers that I land somewhere? I’ve been told that we currently have 10 teachers at my school, but we will only have room for 8 next year, unless our enrollment drastically changes. I find out my fate – at least whether or not I’ll get laid off or transferred – by March 15th. Supposedly. It seems an awfully long ways away from here.

Re-reading these things makes me feel a bit petty. I have a roof over my head. My children, husband, and I are healthy. We are well-fed. We are doing well. So many more things could be worrying us, that it makes my worries seem small. But still, they are my worries, and no matter what, it’s how I’m wired.

I think I need to take up Yoga.

 

The Evolution of Weight Watchers Points

The first time I joined Weight Watchers was after my daughter was born in 2003. I write a little about my times at WW HERE.

Recently, we moved homes, and I’ve been slowly working my way through boxes and bags of stuff. Yesterday I cam across this little gem.

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Just for kicks, I decided to compare a few items to see how different the points values would be between this sliding scale and the calculator on the Weight Watchers Site. (This slider is dated 9/04 on the back.)

My breakfast today was Multigrain Cheerios.

By the slider, it was 2 points. The milk was 1 point. The fruit was 0.

By today’s Weight Watchers calculator, the cereal was 4 points. The milk was 2. The fruit was 0.

So, my meal was 3 points by 2004’s scale and 6 points by 2016’s scale. That’s twice as many points!!

I started to get a little down and lament the fact that all the points are higher now, until I did some more research. Right now, I get 30 points per day (plus any I can earn during exercise or “extra points” given during the week). Then, I dug deeper. I seem to remember not having that many points available. I’m pretty sure 22 points is what I had (plus exercise and “weekly points”) back then.

I’m inclined to believe that the current Smartpoints program is more comprehensive. It takes into account calories, fiber, fat, carbs, protein and sugar. The old program was calories, fiber, and fat only.

The one thing you need in ANY weight loss program is accountability. Lately, I’ve had zero. Between eating my feelings about work and the election and Halloween candy and birthday cake for me and for my daughter, I’ve been pretty lazy. And I’ve gained FIVE pounds in a month. Five. It may not sound like much, but when it makes all your pants feel too tight, then it’s more than enough.

And of course, two days before Thanksgiving isn’t the BEST time to try to eat better. However, it’s better than never starting.

So here I go. Again. Wish me luck.

A New Year, A New Outlook

A New Year, A New Outlook

School has been in session for two weeks and my team, the students, and I are all trying to get in the swing of things. Routine takes time, and we’re trying to get it right. Overall, things are going well. I have a very chatty but overall good group of kids. It’s a big class (34 students in one and 33 in the other), but so far they’re manageable. I like my new partner, and working together is going well.

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Me by my tree, that changes with the seasons just like me.

I am really trying to keep in a good headspace this year. It’s so easy to get mired in the negative. Last year, I had a lot to mire myself in – including inconsistent leadership and kids that I was pretty sure were trying to get me to quit. Add to that  going back to teaching after 14 years off, seeing less of my kids, losing the daily support of my “mommy friends,” moving homes (and all the stress that goes with it)… it was a bit crazy, erratic, unstable, and sometimes I just felt ridiculously under pressure.

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This hammock saved my sanity on numerous occasions last year.

This year, I actually started out under a lot of stress. I was (am) taking online classes for a CLAD certification. At one point, I was taking three classes at once, while planning for the first week of school. It was very stressful, but thankfully I managed to eek out 2 A+s and am almost done with my 3rd class and so far so good. I’m still not getting enough sleep, and its something I’m working on.

What’s different about this year? Well, for one I’ve got one year under my belt. Instead of starting work 3 days after I got hired, I had a whole summer to think about things, and relax. I knew what I was teaching. I was somewhat familiar with my students and I knew who my partner was going to be, which is so helpful. I’ve also got a big support staff in my corner. Not only do I have two amazing aides in my classroom, but I’ve got my husband cheering me on, my girls telling me I’m doing a good job, my own parents supporting me, and my son who inspires me every day to be positive. He reminds me of the good things when I’m in a bad mood in the morning. The other day I was ready to snap and I was just getting in the car. He reminded me of a time a few weeks before when we ran into a friend who stopped her car when she saw us walking and literally told me that I inspire her. If that didn’t snap me out of my mood, I don’t know what would have! As my son got out of the car when I dropped him off at high school that day, I told him that HE inspires me.

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This kid… meditating at Vasquez Rocks.

I’ve found one last thing that makes me happy and helps me destress, which was completely unexpected. Last week, my husband brought home Coldplay tickets. He likes them and wanted to go. I admit, I was coming down with a cold and wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but I did. We hadn’t been on a date in ages, and we haven’t been to a concert (not at the Hollywood Bowl) in years. (Probably the Police reunion concert or Flight of the Concords) Anyway…

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I’m just going to say it. That concert made a fan out of me. I’ve been listening to their music every day for the last week and it just makes me… HAPPY. I want to dance (and do) and I have to say, Coldplay may just get me through the stress of being a student and teacher at the same time. I’ve also been watching interviews with Chris Martin (or rather of Chris Martin… sadly he’s not sitting here with me 😉 ) and he is just SO positive. I have to remind myself to be positive and grateful, and thanks to not just Mr. Martin but my son, my daughters, my husband, my parents, and my teammates at work, I think this year can be a great one.

 

Hometown Tourists -Walking In L.A.

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I have lived in the greater Los Angeles area for 24 years. When I was younger and single, every now and then I’d do a touristy thing with friends, but for the most part, we worked and then we went to the beach or to hang out or dance at clubs or go shopping.

Once we were married, we did a few touristy things, like the Huntington Gardens, but honestly – not much.  “The Internet” wasn’t available as a quick source to find things to do, and I didn’t have a social media outlet that would let me see what cool things friends were doing that would give us ideas.

Now, with all of the above, and more (podcasts, vacation advisor sites, etc), we see things to do in our own area that we never knew existed. So, now every once in a while (especially during the summer), we find touristy things to do around L.A.

On Sunday we headed to the MOCA – Grand Ave. (Little did I know when I Googled “MOCA” that there would be so many options to choose from. What I didn’t realize was that it was so close to Angel’s Flight. I’m still waiting for them to open it again, and am so saddened at how horrible the stairs next to it have gotten – urine smell, what I think was human feces. Come on, Los Angeles… why is our city so horribly dirty? 😦

 

I enjoyed a lot of the art in the MOCA. This one in particular stood out to me. “Hourglass on legs” made a statement to me as a woman. THIS is what society wants from us. To be nothing more than an hourglass on legs. We are so much more.

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We walked a few blocks to a bookstore I’d heard about through friends on facebook, honestly.

We saw these cool Metro run bikes that you can rent to ride around the city. What a great idea.

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The bookstore was neat, but hotter than hot, as there was no air conditioning. There was a cool little knitting room, but sadly their collection of knitting books was paltry. (and no, they didn’t have my book, nor ANY of my knitting friends’ books)

We enjoyed the museum and the bookstore, but as a whole, L.A. can be overwhelming and depressing. We have been to other big cities – Denver, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City… none of those are as dirty or smelly as L.A. and none of them makes me more nervous than walking in L.A. can, depending on the day.

The next day the kids and I went to Griffith Park to do some sightseeing. We went looking for Bronson Caves (aka the Batcave from the Adam West tv series). There are no real signs letting you know, and there are lots of signs like these:

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Luckily, there were other people we could ask and we finally figured it out.

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Heading up, it was a short, 10 minute walk.

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Can you picture the Caped Crusaders pulling out of this cave in the Batmobile?

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The boy found higher ground.

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Once out of the cave, turn left and you’ll see the Hollywood sign.

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And just outside the cave are these rocks.

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After the caves, my youngest daughter had found some photos of “neat parks” and steered us to a place called “Shane’s Inspiration” that is a playground for kids of all abilities.

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I read while they played.

It happened to be right next to the carousel, which the girls wanted to ride. My son isn’t a fan of carousels, but he went so that the girls would walk up to the old abandoned zoo, which he wanted to visit.

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Happy girls.

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He is not amused.

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It turns out this is the very spot Walt Disney thought up Disneyland. I had read it before, but had forgotten.

We had lots of fun in the cages at the old zoo.

While Los Angeles has its ups and downs, it does have some great gems to visit if you have time. Wherever you live, I’m sure you can find gems of your own, and be a tourist in your own hometown.

~Genevieve

Leaving L.A. for Another Planet

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Leaving L.A. for Another Planet

Today, thanks to the suggestion (and urging) of our son, we headed up to another world to hike at Vasquez Rocks. We’ve been there once before, 3 years ago.

This time, we left pretty early in the morning to beat the heat. We weren’t the first ones there.

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The sky is unreal

There were two photo shoots/ filming happening, so we headed in the other direction. At first, it seemed we were headed far from any cool rock formations.

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But there were a few…

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These rocks looked otherworldly to me – as if they really could be on a different planet than Earth. I suppose this is why it made for an excellent other planet in Star Trek.IMG_1564

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I love that they walk like this, still.

Even the flowers look alien.

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My older daughter needed to stop, because she felt “a rock” in her shoe… turns out it was an actual rusty nail. Thankfully, after a thorough inspection of her foot to make sure it didn’t break the skin, she was fine, and we were back on our way.IMG_1586

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Relaxin’

We went up and down and around and finally came back toward the rocks we remembered.

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The boy wanted to climb.IMG_1619

So they climbed. I was very content to stay down below.IMG_1624

Until I wasn’t.

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Once we were up top, we enjoyed the view, then headed down another side (the easier side!) and the kids found themselves some comfy little holes.

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I tried to find some Zen (with a little help).IMG_1655

They boy found his Zen as well.IMG_1660

Going down was much easier than getting up!

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We saw a couple (?) who were taking photos in their Trek outfits. (Yes, those are the same outfits my husband and I own, thankyouverymuch.)IMG_1670

Good-bye, Vasquez Rocks…. for now.IMG_1673

facebook makes me sad

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Back when I first joined facebook and started connecting with all sorts of old friends – from high school friends to teacher friends to friends I worked with at Universal Studios… even former students of mine, I loved it.

I loved connecting with my cousins and seeing what was going on in the lives of my friends and family, near and far. It even helped me get to know local friends a little better.

But there has always been a part of facebook that has eaten away at me.

~When I see friends get together in groups and I’m not invited.

~When my kids’ friends’ parents post photos of birthday parties my children weren’t invited to.

~When my aunts, uncles, and cousins all “like” each other’s photos and posts but mine go literally unnoticed by 90% of them.

~When people get political.

The first three things have bothered me on and off for YEARS, but I have (mostly) made peace with it. I try not to let it shape my feelings about certain people or my own self-worth. It is hard sometimes when you feel like your life accomplishments or celebrations mean nothing to them, but you tell yourself stories to make you feel better. “Maybe your uncle accidentally unfollowed you. Maybe that’s why he like everyone else’s posts but never once has done so for yours.” “Maybe my friends think I’m busy on Fridays… maybe that’s why they don’t invite me.”

The other night I was at a gathering where I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in far too long. It was great catching up, but she said something that hit me rather hard. She said she was glad for facebook, because she could keep up with me, but let me know that she’s not “one of those crazy people who’s on facebook all the time” (like me). I know she didn’t mean it as a slight against me (or did she?), but clearly the reason she can keep up with me is she knows that when she signs into facebook after months, she can go to my page and see exactly what I’ve been up to.

{Maybe that’s part of my problem. I post TOO much. Who wants to keep up with that?}

The last thing, however, is what’s causing me stress at this moment. Whether it’s Gun Control, taking away women’s rights, calling our president a criminal, calling our presidential candidates ugly names, or calling certain groups of voters stupid (or worse), it’s all taking away the joy that comes from connecting with people I care about. It’s making me angry at people I like because they’re posting such negativity.

I’ve tried to keep away from posting anything too political. 8 and 4 years ago, I was VERY vocal about my support of President Obama. This time around, I have been silent. Mostly because I’m afraid to post my support of Hillary Clinton because I see SO MUCH HATE for her from people I call friends. And I want to keep that off my own page. So I seethe in silence and I like all my friends’ posts about their support of her – in a space I know is safe for me to do so. I don’t start arguments with gun enthusiasts, or Trump supporters because that will get me nothing but stress and strife. My husband would tell you it’s healthy to argue, but I don’t think anything good ever came of arguing on facebook.

I need to figure out a way to limit my time on this social media without isolating people I really want to connect with. I may need to take a little time out. I don’t want to make a big dramatic exit, but I do need to back away. I need to take care of myself and my family and get ready for the classes I’m taking that begin next week. I need to figure out how to balance things and not take things so personally. Hell, I suppose some people will read this and think I’m oversharing. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I’m a chronic over-sharer, and that is where the problem truly is.

I don’t know how to curb that part of me, but I suppose I can try. Is there a 12-step program for that?

~Genevieve