A timeline for recovery

I had a doctor’s appointment today. Just the regular old, “How’s it hanging?” kind of appointment that your insurance forces you to go to every 12 months.

The doctor kept saying, “I’m here for you…what are your concerns…?” And I was like, “Nothing – I feel good. Can I go now?” Then she smiled this really saccharine smile and cooed, “Whatever’s good for youuuu is good for meeeee…” 

Then the nursed walked me out and handed me the doctor’s “Follow Up” forms. It said, “Nothing! Remember – I’m here for you!” Ok lady, I got it.

But no really – three years ago, I had two, sometimes three, medical appointments a week for my blown out knee. Every time I saw the surgeon or the physical therapist or the chiropractor, I had a laundry list of questions (and they returned a laundry list of recommendations). A year later, I was 8 months post-surgery and I was still struggling despite finally being able to run outside (a sad limping, lurching kind of jog).

On the way to work, I would regularly fawn over this guy I named, “The Burnside Guy” who wore a full Nike spandex bodysuit who ran past me while I crept along in traffic. As I left the doctor’s office and glimpsed at myself in my full Nike spandex tights and day-glo running shoes, I had a realization: I’m, like, healed. Maybe, just maybe, some other injured weirdo is out there calling me “The Cornell Girl.”

Sure, my knee makes this audible grinding sound when it bends, but there’s no pain. And the questions have finally ceased. I’m no longer spending countless hours googling things like, “ACL recovery”, “knee strengthening exercises”, and “moderate-to-severe joint pain.”

What’s my point to all this? I think I’m ready to move on. I’ve spent THREE YEARS really focused on my knee. My brain has been reprogrammed to focus on the right side of my body, and I often think of my timeline as it’s own Gregorian Calendar of B.K. (Before Knee) and A.K. (After Knee). I can imagine that those who have had a more serious injury or tragic event, this feeling might never go away.

When I was in the midst of my knee woes, I wished there had been something somewhere that said, “Things really will get better – and this is how long it will take…” but nowhere could I find anything about it. If you’re reading this and perhaps also suffering from a recent sports injury or accident (or maybe even a recent break up), I’m telling you THREE YEARS. Sure, it sounds like a long time, but I did it…so can you.

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Now seriously, WHERE CAN I GET THAT NIKE FULL BODYSUIT?

Make YOUR Bucket List

Tonight I randomly ran across this site: The Master Bucket List and instantly I was like, “Oh rad!” Basically, it has bunch of “bucket list” ideas all in categories, and it’s interactive so you go through each category, check off the ones you are interested in, and then it will spit out a compiled list for you. Genius!

Or not.

As I started to go through categories, I was like, “No. Nope. No thanks. No. No. No way…” and on the flip side, I had already done the items that interested me. How satisfying and disappointing at the same time.

What’s my problem? There’s too much to even explain…but I’ll try:

Famous Places – Sure, famous and exotic places sound cool, but first off I hate riding on a plane. My knee tops out at about 2.5 hours and then it is searing with pain. This was even before I blew it out and had to have surgery. This goes for being in a car, too. Second, I don’t want to see a big fancy exotic place when it’s filled with other tourists. I realize I would be a tourist myself, but I’m a self-loathing tourist. And third, I’m not religious, and it seems like a lot of famous places have spiritual significance, so yeah…does not apply.

See Exotic Animals in the Wild – I know this would depress me, and I would again be a self-loathing tourist. If animals are truly meant to be living out in the wild (like elephants and tigers and polar bears), then I don’t believe we should be stepping into their space. We, humans, can say that we aren’t disturbing them, but they know we are there. Duh. They are animals, with heightened senses.

Cruises to Exotic Locations – You can blame my friend, Megan, for this one. I distinctly remember her talking about an “Ocean Law” class she took in college and she told me all sorts of horrible things cruise liners do to the environment. HORRIBLE THINGS. Also, I saw some show on cable that was called What They Don’t Tell You about Cruises and I learned that close to 60 people (on average) go missing from cruises a year. Like NEVER FOUND. That’s 600 every decade. In international waters. No thanks.

Extreme Sports – Nothing about bungee jumping or skydiving or zip-lining through hoops of fire sounds mildly entertaining to me. I get my kicks at Bingo.

That being said, I still had the site compile my list, and who knows, maybe we have the 2015 list right here:

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Don’t you just LOVE that “Meet Martha Stewart” was an option?! It’s like they knew I was coming.

But for all my complaining, I actually think this list has some merit as I am drafting my list for next year. I always say, if you don’t have it written down, you probably won’t do it. This includes things like paying bills and cleaning the toilet, too. If you’ve been thinking about all the things you want to do, THEN WRITE IT DOWN. DO IT.

(And seriously, go to that website. Then come back and tell me what you discovered).

My Nevermind Goals

While reviewing my goals of the year (and browsing my list of possible goals for 2015), I started to think about possible goals from previous year that didn’t make it. Obviously they were important enough for me to write down on a list (I keep a separate brainstorm list for each year on the “Notes” app on my phone), but I ended up not committing to them.

Today I thought I would revisit them and think about why they didn’t make the cut, and if they would ever come up in the future.

2013

Run all the “Stairs of Portland” –  While a lot of cities are known for their hilly geographies, I think Portland often gets overlooked, and we have a bunch of giant old staircases that would be monster workouts. Last year at this time, I was running the epic Mt Tabor Staircase every Sunday with friends, and every Thanksgiving we do a stair challenge. I was inspired by a booked called “Stairs of Portland” and I’m wondering why I didn’t set this goal. Wow! I actually kind of want to do this one now!

Put together a “Spy Kit” – This was silly. After making disaster preparedness kits, I read an article about how to make a sweet spy kit. Sounded fun, but I was thinking realistically when would I use it? And if I did, would I accidentally get myself into trouble?

Make my own calendar of traditions – We aren’t going to have kids. For sure. That allows us a lot of personal and financial freedom to do whatever we want. But I feel like a lot of people have fun seasonal traditions every year based on their children – well why couldn’t we have them as adults? I like that kind of stuff and we already have a few traditions of our own (like Tabor Stairs on Thanksgiving), but I want more. Maybe I’ll do this one next year………….

2014

Learn how to throw a knife – After learning to throw a ball, my father-in-law suggested that I up the ante and learn to throw knives. Wouldn’t that be an amazing skill to add to your resume? But knowing my clumsiness, I began to envision a terrible accident and scratched it off.

Learn to love sauerkraut – Ugggghhhhh. My husband, Thor, loves sauerkraut. It feels like the world loves sauerkraut. It smells like death and I can’t even handle the sight of a jar. I thought maybe I could tackle this heinous food and join in the fun, but then I realized my goals are intended to be fun, and this just sounded gross.

Learn to make butter – Growing up in Oregon means you know people who grew up in the country, or people who are really into the history of pioneers. Translation: a lot of people know how to make butter. I am not one of those, and this still interests me, but not enough to make it a legit goal.

Go a day without my phone – HA! Yes, a fleeting thought. That being said, this would be a serious challenge for me. Technology makes my life easier, more efficient. Why would I take that away?

Protest something – People in Portland are always protesting something. It’s actually really annoying. Yet I still think holding a witty sign and yelling at passers-by sounds entertaining. However, I would most likely stand outside Taco Bell protesting the new absence of green onions on their Mexican Pizzas, soooo….

Make a Mexican Pizza – (Whoa, speaking of which!)…I read a blog post somewhere of someone who figured out how to make a decent Taco Bell Mexican Pizza from home without truly terrible ingredients. It sounded genius! And then I had two competing thoughts: 1) if I could make it from home, I would eat it everyday, and 2) why would I make something from home that takes 2 minutes to get and only costs $2?

Learn Latin – I think I was watching a lot of LOST when I picked this one. I envisioned myself speaking in code with others. Haaaaaaaaa.

So there you have it. A window into my “nevermind” goals. Now tell me, what goals do you have that you changed your mind on, or just aren’t ready to tackle?

My Four Rules to Goal Setting and Goal Achieving

Tonight I suffered a dollhouse fail, but then also a dollhouse success, once again reminding me that sometimes I just have to do things the way I see it in my head.

I spent the last couple days researching tried and true ways of assembling a dollhouse-sized bookshelf with foam core, cute paper, and some decoupage. Typically, I don’t have a lot of patience for measuring things just right or being anal retentive about directions (not just in crafting, but in LIFE). This means sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. After spending an inordinate amount of hours measuring the correct pieces, decoupaging some faux-wood scrapbooking paper on the each piece, and then assembling them, this was the result:

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OMG it’s hideous. I said to my husband, “It looks like something that got put out on the curb with a free sign in dollhouse land.” After throwing it aside, I thought I was done for the night. But as I was putting away some of my scraps, I found myself just cutting some basic rectangles out of the foam core and experimenting with the extra pieces. Pretty soon, I had made two basic tables that I think look actually presentable. Then I moved onto a couple chairs.

None of these pieces used a template, and I’m the first to admit that there are many imperfections in size, but frankly that’s the way I do things. Then I glossed over the miniatures I made last week with some clear nail polish (thanks to the suggestion of a friend) and here’s my current result.

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My fair submissions are all due in a week and while I’m still fretting about the size of my marshmallows or the texture of my banana bread, at least I have the “dollhouse furniture” category ready for action.

What’s my moral of the story?

1. Take a risk. 

When I signed up to submit dollhouse furniture for judging at the state fair, I had never really made dollhouse furniture before. It’s a little nerve wracking to submit something for judging, and some of the things I’ve seen displayed at the fair are pretty amazing – but some of them are pretty awful, too (once we witnessed a submission in the cake decorating category that spelled birthday in “Happy Birthday” wrong – ouch!). 

2. Make it public.

It’s not always easy to put yourself on display, but without giving myself a deadline, telling my friends, and publishing it here, I know for a fact I would never have made anything. Sure, the idea would float around my mind (as it has been for over a decade), but that’s all. Whether it’s training for a half marathon, finding a new job, or making banana bread, I’m a huge proponent of telling people about your goals. 

3. Make it measurable.

Friends and family have gotten into the habit of asking me, “What’s your current goal?” when they see me (hence rule #2). If I were to say, “Run more,” or “Lose some weight,” that’s not very specific. Some people run seven days a week, some run zero. What does “more” or “some” mean? There’s no guesswork in whether I hit my target. 

4. Have more small goals than big goals.

For me, this is the most crucial rule. Personally, I’ve got to have small successes that give me momentum for the tougher challenges. My list has evolved over the last few years, but I’ve definitely learned that I need a few goals that I can complete in just one day, or one week. If you’ve only got these big over-arching goals, it can feel near impossible. I’ve mentioned before that I once read if you complete 20 goals a year, that can add up to 200 in a decade – things add up!

We are 2/3 of the way through 2014. What goals did you make for yourself this year, and have you checked any of them off? How did you decide on these goals? Are they still important?

Clocking those burpees

While my goal of a burpee mile was initially set for last month, the weather in Portland has been H-O-T. I generally don’t fare well in any exercise over 57 degrees, and I lost my workout gloves so until I can guarantee I won’t get heatstroke and blister my hands on the track, I’m just going to keep training for lots and lots of burpees.

I don’t know anyone else personally who has tortured themselves with a “Burpee Mile” and, admittedly, I haven’t really looked at a specific training plan for this kind of challenge. That being said, I did 80+ pushups without stopping a couple years ago and I trained for that by just doing them ALL THE TIME, with lots of variety. I’m taking the same approach.

Just doing burpees for an entire workout sounds really boring (and exhausting), so here’s a workout I did this week for an example.

My Burpee Workout #1

1. Warm-up 

2. Descending Burpee Ladder (do 10 in a row, then 9, then 8, etc…I give myself a 10-20 second break in between) = 55 burpees

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3. Alternate 3 sets of Exercise Ball Jack Knife (40) and Bicycle Crunches (40)

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4. Repeat Descending Burpee Ladder

5. Alternate 3 sets of Sit Ups with Medicine Ball (40) and Mountain Climbers (80)

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6. Repeat Descending Burpee Ladder

7. Alternate 300 meter row (fast) and Planks (1 min)

8. Cool down and stretch

The whole thing usually takes me about an hour. And in the end, I’ve done 165 burpees (amongst other things).

If you’re into increasing your burpees (David, I’m talking to you), here’s a good reference site to challenge yourself: The Burpee Workout.

Do you do burpees? How do you include them in your workouts? I’m always looking for something new and shareable.

Me and Martha

Yesterday I was at a friend’s BBQ, and you wouldn’t believe how many people asked me, “So you’re off work for the summer, right?” After giving the affirmative, everyone asked the same follow-up question, “What exactly do you do all summer…?”

This is a difficult question. Should I be honest and say that I sleep in till 7:30 (that’s late for me), drink coffee with a cat on my lap, have a leisurely work out at the gym, and…..? Since it seems like bragging; I generally attempt to deflect the question. Yet at the same time, I certainly don’t just sit around.

Martha Stewart Living is one of my favorite magazines, and I always look forward to her calendar, right behind the table of contents. I imagine most people flip right past, but I zero in on Martha’s “to-do” list. Of course there are many other items that aren’t listed on this calendar, but I like to think these are her most-important items of note; things that are seasonal or a better chunk of her day.

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In fact, I specifically plot out my summer calendars with Martha in mind. (BTW, yes I did officially enter the state fair crafting and baking competitions today).

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 8.15.40 PMMost people roll their eyes when I tell them Martha Stewart is one my heroes. I get even more condescending laughter when they find out I own some shares of her stock. Maybe it’s that she’s of an older generation, or she became the butt of many jokes when she went to prison. I’m not really sure why. I certainly don’t tease people when they say their heroes are cliches like Maya Angelou or John Lennon. That’s their prerogative.

However, if I’m going to put my lady, Martha, on the spot, I might as well tell you why I think she’s fucking amazing.

Top 5 Reasons Martha Stewart Rules

1. She is self-trained in cooking. And just self-made in general. When I want to learn something new in cooking or crafting, her books or website or magazine are the first place I go because at one time or another, she also had to learn how to do it.

2. While in prison, she coached and advised other prisoners on their business plans. And from what I understand, she continued to keep in touch with a couple and provided some entrepreneurial support.

3. She never stops. I read somewhere that when she takes a nap, she’s still thinking. She also banned couches on the set of her show.

4. She’s an animal lover. Yeah she has lots of her own animals, but much of her philanthropic work is dedicated to helping animals. Need I say more?

5. She used her looks as an advantage in business. Some would argue this isn’t the “right” way for a woman to succeed, but men throw their weight around all the time. Why not combat it with hot pants and a little charm?

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Thank you, but no thank you, Runner’s World

It probably wasn’t a good idea to try a new running technique just when the Portland weather is really starting to heat up and I wasn’t exactly in the mood for an afternoon run. But on Facebook, Runner’s World posted some article about how to get motivated when you don’t feel like running and I started to feel guilty. Then I remembered another article they posted recently, called Find Zen Through Running. 

My first mile was a warm-up. The same way I would do things like every other day, and it was easier than I expected. Right at mile two, I started trying to find my “zen.”

The Tune In strategy said, “Pay attention to how you are breathing, how your feet are landing, how your arms are swinging. If you feel any tense areas (clenched fists or tight shoulders), relax them.” I really focused on this for half a mile, and then things started to shift. My mind was tired of paying attention, it just wanted to listen to Miley Cyrus! And I realized how freaking hot it was outside, and I was really “tuning in” to how hard I was sweating. The 74 degree weather (compared to our normally 47 degree rain) was like a furnace blast, even when standing still at a crosswalk. 

Never fear! The next strategy is Think Happy, “…athletes who rated themselves calm and happy before a competition performed better than those who were angry or tense.” Who commissed that researched? University of Duhhhhh? I kept saying to myself, “Hey! You’re injury free, you have no worries right now and damnnnn you’re outfit looks legit,” but I couldn’t stop tuning into my stupid body, and then I had to pee.

At this point, I really tried to Accept the Challenge, Monster hills, uncooperative weather, and monotonous long runs can turn an enjoyable experience into a frustrating one—if you allow them to.” On pretty much every other run, I already do this. And I do it by tuning OUT! My runs have tons of hills, and frequently terrible weather (hel-lo Portland!), but I just zone out. I listen to Miley. But no amount of Miley could reverse how hot and exhausted I felt.

And finally Love the Run was out of the question, “While it’s good to want to improve, you also need to value the runner you are today.” Frankly, all I wanted to do today was get in an easy 5k and call it good. No focus on speed or hills, just finish. But by the 2.87 I was like “Screw this run!” and I walked home. I never walk home. 

When I got home, I glanced at myself in the mirror and my mascara was running down my face like I was The Crow, and my left arch ached like a bitch.

This reminds me that my own personal running strategies work for me (quite well, I might add) and so it’s kind of silly to mess with that. Of course, I’m always into trying something new or fine tuning what I’ve got, but I naively assumed that Runner’s World had some magic potion and that was dumb on my part.

Last year I wrote a post, Running and Roleplaying, and I think it deserves a revisit…I should have used it today.

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Today I ran a nice five mile run on what I like to call my “West Hills Fantasy Loop.” We live on the EDGE of the West Hills, though I’m sure true West Hills residents would consider us tawdry and unkempt. My run takes me into the back neighborhoods that were once farmlands and are now estates of wealthy families that have Lexus SUVs and gated entrances. My favorite one has a hidden stable and a manicured mini-orchard that I pass while cutting down a path from an elementary school.

But while the scenic view of my run often energizes me to run faster or farther (I can’t look like a schlump as those BMW ladies pass me – I must look like I belong there!), today my legs felt like lead. It was a surprisingly easy day at school and I had a nice, nutritious lunch so I had no excuses. Then my phone died (which meant no music, or tracking my distance). It was time to dig deep.

At the back of my mind was also the fact that I feel a plateau coming on. I’ve been able to run my fantasy loop (varying between 4-6 miles) pretty comfortably, but my speed hasn’t been improving to the point that I’m satisfied. At these moments, I like to employ a couple strategies I use to give myself a “speed boost.” Many people just turn up their music, or play their favorite song. As most of you know, the status quo just isn’t my style.

Five Proven Ways to Increase My Speed

1. Pretend my shoes are on fire. Yes, I really do this. I visualize how they leave flames behind me, and make me look really bad ass to the cars that pass by.

2. Pretend I’m chasing a purse snatcher. Sometimes it’s my purse, sometimes it’s the purse of a little old lady. Either way, that bastard is gonna pay.

3. Pretend I’m being chased by a rapist. This one really kicks me into overdrive.

4. Pretend I’m in a commercial. Form is really important for this one, and sometimes a smile. This one is easy if I’m running around the Nike campus.

5. Pretend I’m a bank robber. I just stole a bag of money and I better haul ass out of there or I’m headed for the big house…or worse. I like to employ this one when I see a cop car (though I sometimes wonder if they ever notice how I suddenly run away from them at a high speed).

So if your runs are getting a little boring, I highly recommend a little role playing by yourself.

Run 21 days in 30 Days. Check!

Ok ok ok – run 21 days in 30 days wasn’t a goal…

On April 2nd I set out to run 30 days in a row, and I got through 12 days in a row and crapped out. I blogged around that time that my body (specifically my feet and knee) needed a break and listening to my body was important. So I took couple days off and felt kind of like a failure, but then I picked up right where I left off. I thought Ok, I didn’t make 30 days but how many could I do and still feel healthy?

So I kept running.

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After 30 days, I had done 21 runs and logged 56.11 miles. Considering that my average monthly mileages hovers around 28 miles a month, I felt pretty satisfied. Also, when I started my 30 days of running, my average pace per mile (as a comfortable I could do this for many miles) was about 9:30/mile give or take. Here’s a run I struggled on back in March. Ugh!

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Last year I ran a mile at 6:23 so I know I can be significantly faster, but typically I was having trouble breaking 9 minutes a mile on anything over 2 miles. As I neared the end of April, I was running sub 8 min/mile without really trying! 

I also have a challenge to my students every year during Run for the Arts, where any kid who can do more laps than me earns no homework for the rest of the year. You can bet that motivates some kids to run HARD. Only two kids beat me (a first in my history of teaching, btw) and they both ran 5 miles in 31 minutes. Here’s my RFTA run.

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The point of all of this? Sometimes you set a goal and end up with a different outcome than you planned. I didn’t make 30 runs in 30 days and I’m not sure whether I’m going to try again or not, but I cut a solid 2 minutes off my mile pace by giving it a shot. I also learned that it really isn’t that hard to squeeze in a 1-2 mile run in on most days, but some days it really was impossible.

I also learned that this would have been easier for a man. No really, it would. Some days I had events after work where it was important to look professional and I couldn’t roll in sweaty after a run. 

So run before work! you might say. 

Nay! I reply. I really wanted to, but it was dark and I have a rule against running alone in the dark. 

So run at the gym before work! you might say.

Nay! I reply again. My new gym doesn’t open until 5:30 and some days I need to be showered, fed, and out the door by 7am. It just wasn’t feasible. 

Why is it easier for a man? He could more safely run alone in the dark. He could run after work and throw some cold water on his face and slap on some deodorant and no one would be the wiser. A man also doesn’t have to worry about hair and make up and coordinating heels when getting ready in the morning. I’m not trying to pick on guys, I’m just saying don’t think I didn’t consider all the angles.

This month, I’ve moved my focus back to weights at the gym but I’m sprinkling those easy runs in between. 

The Fred Meyer Incident

Right around this time last year, I had an immensely stressful week at school. The sun was finally shining and the kids went insane; we were in the midst of high stakes state testing; my boss was ignoring me in all forms of communication; the other teachers were equally stressed and my room was a revolving vent session everyday after school. The week ended with breaking up three different fights in the hallway, and right before the end of the day, my boss suddenly acknowledged my presence by sending me an email questioning my students’ low scores on the state test. 

I went home and was asleep in bed by 7:30pm, no joke. TGIF.

Yet, the next morning, I woke up early and had a great workout with my trainer at the gym. As I did ball slams with the medicine ball, I pictured myself smashing away all the bad things from the previous week. I even stayed for an additional hour on the spin bike, and then challenged myself to run a mile as fast as possible. It was an EPIC workout.

When I walked out of the gym, the sun was shining for the first time in months and I said to myself, “Let’s start the weekend!” Wherein I drove across the street to Fred Meyer to get a jump on the week’s grocery shopping. As I entered the lot, I spied a guy getting into his car RIGHT next to the front doors. I deserve that spot after such a tough workout, I said to myself and patiently waited for the guy fumbling with his keys. Families were coming in and out, blocking me from pulling in; No Worries, I said to myself, I’ve got all the time in the world.

Suddenly an SUV screeched up next to me and a woman screamed, “LAZY ASS!” out her open window and screeched off. Well THAT was uncalled for, I said to myself, and pulled into the open spot. I continued to track her parking in the far corner of the lot, and something snapped. She could have called me any other name in the book, but “lazy” hit a raw nerve. Like a movie, I saw flashes of my boss’s scowling face, my poverty-stricken students, my unhappy co-workers, and all the extra hours I had put in without getting paid. I grabbed my bag and literally sprinted across the lot towards her, my exhausted legs burning.

“HEY!” I shouted as she stepped out of her car. She looked at me and I yelled, “Nobody calls me LAZY!” She responded with some inappropriate words about my lazy parking job, and I gave her some right back about her sloppy outfit. She made a comment about my workout clothes and I fervently rehashed my hours at the gym. We continued to march toward the store, the distance between our faces steadily decreasing. I kept thinking, I’m one of the hardest working teachers I know and my boss hates me and instead of sleeping in, I got my ass up and worked out and and and….

Pretty soon we were in the foyer of Freddie’s and I put my hand in her face and said, “Don’t look at me – don’t talk to me – I’m OUT OF HERE,” and as I turned away, she sneered, “Maybe your ass needs to get BACK on the treadmill…”

I whipped around, threw my bag to the floor and exclaimed, “LET’S GO!” We were in each other’s faces and I had a feeling she’d cream me in a fight, but I could take it. Behind her, I saw a store employee walking our way and several small children with their parents looking at us in shock. I had a moment of clarity and thought to myself, What the hell am I doing? After a stare down, I put my hand back in her face, stomped off, and grabbed a shopping cart. 

In the store, I was cross comparing yogurts and noticed people looking at me, probably thinking, There’s that chick who was about to fight and now she’s buying yogurt…wtf? I decided it would be best to head home and started checking out. The cashier was handing me my receipt and I gave a big fake, “No, thank YOU!” as I noticed two police officers talking to people pointing in my general direction. Logistically, my car was at a different entrance (remember that sprint across the parking lot?) so I put my head down and wheeled nonchalantly around the corner…until I was out of sight and hauled ass to my car and peeled away.

Once home, I laughingly asked Thor if he would have bailed me out of jail, and he replied, “Hell no! I would have made you sit and think about what you did!” 

Within 24 hours, I made the decision to find another job. There was no way about it, I had to get out of there in any shape or form. It was like a switched had been turned on. Within six weeks, I had accepted my current position. Every single day I wonder what life might be life if I had stayed…and it’s scary. I have a feeling that the Fred Meyer incident was just a lead up to something more out of control. There’s a point at which all signs point to “GET THE HELL OUT” and you can’t ignore them.

This last week the sun finally started shining again, and the kids were nuts, but my new boss gave me several compliments (via email and in person) and I spent my lunches joking around with coworkers about things we’d seen on the internet. The week finished out with my school’s big fancy auction, where parents greeted and complimented me, and I was treated to free dinner.

As I am now applying for leadership positions, I am reminded how much can change in year, but you must be the impetus for that change if you want it to occur.