Blue Jackets Game…and Speaking Up

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At the beginning of the year, I created a 101 in 1001 list. On my list was attending a Blue Jackets game. I had never been to an NHL game before, and the Blue Jackets are the NHL team in Columbus, OH, my husband’s hometown. So for Christmas, I bought three tickets for a game (for him, his best friend, and me) to attend while visiting Columbus for a weekend.

We went to the game a couple weekends ago. It was fun! The atmosphere at the game wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped it would be, except when a shot was close to being a goal scored, a goal was scored, or a fight broke out. I’m used to college hockey games in a much smaller setting, so that might be why. The first period of the game was really fun, though! Hockey is definitely a sport, like football, that I prefer watching in person.

In between the first and second period Dan and his best friend, Tristan, said they were going to go to the bathroom and asked I wanted to walk around. I said no, I’d stay there. After a couple minutes by myself an older gentlemen came and sat next to me. He was friendly and was made small talk, and by all signs was harmless. But he kept touching my knee and my back, which made me uncomfortable. Then he asked me to blow my nose into a tissue and then give it to him so he could keep it in his special collection of tissues so the Blue Jackets would maintain their winning streak. I declined, feeling even more uncomfortable.

But I didn’t get up and walk away. I didn’t ask him to leave. I just kept making polite small talk. I don’t know why I didn’t pursue either of those totally logical and legitimate options when I was in a situation that, though extremely weird was most likely harmless, made me feel uncomfortable. I guess because I didn’t want to be rude or hurt someone’s feelings. I didn’t want to make “a mountain out of a molehill.” But I felt uncomfortable, so even if it wasn’t a situation in which I was in harm’s way, I shouldn’t have felt like I was being rude or dramatic if I spoke up or walked away. I am sharing this experience because I think a lot of people get into situations where someone is overstepping limits and nothing is said or done about because they fear being impolite or dramatic, or they just hope by ignoring what’s happening it will go away. I have no problem encouraging my students, family, and friends to stick up for themselves or defending them if I feel their well-being is threatened in the slightest manner, but for some reason, when it was just me, by myself, with no one else I knew around me, I shut down. I hope I’m never in an awkward and uncomfortable situation like that again, but if I am, I know I owe it to myself – and the person who is pushing boundaries – to speak up and make it clear what is happening is not okay.

Eventually the man got up and left, and I immediately texted Dan and Tristan what happened and to hurry back (why hadn’t I done that earlier? Because there was no way I could text without the man seeing what I was typing…and again, I was afraid of being rude). When they returned, we left our seats and spend the rest of the game walking around the arena and watching the game from another spot. We still had fun, but I hope I can go to another game sometime in the future so I can hopefully have a more overall positive experience.

Have you ever been in an awkward and uncomfortable situation where you didn’t speak up? Or that you did?

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My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you? 

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 17

Hello, everyone! I know posts have been lacking for way too long. My apologies! Things have gotten way crazy with searching for a full-time teaching position, getting ready to move into Dan and I’s first home together (an awesome townhouse!), and finishing wedding plans (we’re less than two months away from the big day!!!). What have you been up to?

In March I began Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge, and I’d like to finish that up (and post more)! Today’s prompt: Why and when did you start blogging?

This prompt is kind of ironic considering it is the first one I am writing since being absent from the blog for almost two months. Or maybe it’s perfect for a return post? Anyway, I started blogging in the late fall of 2010. As I’ve discussed on the blog, I deal with anxiety. I had a very stressful sophomore year of college, which I followed up with a jammed-pack summer, which I followed up with a not as emotionally stressful but still extremely busy junior year of college. By the end of my junior year, I couldn’t handle it. I needed a break. Even something as simple and happy as coordinating time with friends would drive me to tears. I wanted freedom, and I wanted it in the form of time to myself. A rational and practical and normal individual would have taken maybe just one month off of work to indulge such desires and recharge. Since I was not being rational or practical (and let’s be real, I struggle with both of those concepts when I am not having a breakdown), I was like, “THAT’S IT I’M TAKING THE WHOLE SUMMER OFF NO ONE CAN STOP ME.” This would have been a great idea if the summer then involved tons of traveling to places I’ve never been, lots of late nights with friends, plenty of volunteering, crossing long-awaited tasks off my to-do list, etc. However, it didn’t involve any of that, because all my friends were either (a) completing an out-of-state/city internship, (b) studying abroad, or (c) working a full-time job and supporting themselves like responsible young adults. It also didn’t involve any of that because I was an idiot. I should have been volunteering or doing something meaningful with my time, but instead I was just sitting on my couch watching all the seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender and reading Glamour.com. I’m pretty sure I should have been seeing a counselor because I was totally unmotivated to do anything to enrich my life, I just wanted to shut down and hide from the world (which I found out later was a combination of being on the wrong medication for my anxiety and being undiagnosed with anemia). In any case, Glamour lead me to A  CUP OF JO, which is written by Joanna Goddard, who used to write for the blogs on Glamour. A CUP OF JO in turn lead me to a bunch of other blogs, and now my summer days also consisted, in addition to watching cartoons made for children and taking long naps, of reading blogs.

So far this story sounds like I am saying I had a nervous breakdown (true), became a lazy hermit (true), and blogs consumed my time (true). However, reading the blogs inspired me to branch out more. Not necessarily during the Lost Summer (which is what I call the months I wasted on my couch in 2010), but in the fall, when by default I had to rejoin the rest of the world during my last year of college. I became super busy again, but still read blogs whenever I could. Eventually, I was like, “I am going to start a blog! I love blogs! They inspire me! Maybe a creative outlet is what I need to manage my stress and not be driven to being a lazy hermit again!” So I started Beagle & Bear, and while I don’t always write consistently, I write. And whenever I do, I do feel enriched. I feel like I’ve had time to myself in a “friendly neighbor” way, not a “lazy hermit” way. It’s why I don’t let myself get worked up about missing posts here or there or for long stretches of time. Blogging is fun for me. I have enough obligations and goals, and I don’t want something I use to recharge to become yet another one. I think we all have a hobby like that in our lives. What’s yours?

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 16

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: What’s your biggest accomplishment?

This question is hard for me. I’m not entirely sure which accomplishment is my absolute “biggest,” but these are the ones that run through my head when I try to decide upon one:

  • The progress I have made (and continue to make) with coping with my anxiety. I know a lot of people probably think that I still get overwhelmed unnecessarily, and I agree that is true, but the change in how I react, both outwardly and inwardly, when that happens is substantial.
  • Earning my bachelor’s degree with honors. It took a lot of tears, naps, caffeine, notecards, highlighters, and summer classes, but I did it.
  • As a member of PCC (now ECCO), I created and executed a curriculum night for a Toledo elementary school from scratch, led two more, and then passed it on to someone else to chair. It is still an event ECCO does regularly.
  • Paying off my student loans. I’m not done yet but I feel a sense of accomplishment with every payment I make now since I had to defer them for the first year out of college. 
  • Being a district substitute. Not only is it a valuable position to the district, but it’s a great opportunity at this point in my career, and one that I truly feel like I had to work hard to gain.
  • Buying a car. Ever since I started driving, I have driven 10+ year old Buicks passed down from my parents. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for those cars, and actually really enjoyed driving them. But last week, I found out I either had to buy a new motor for the current old Buick I was driving, or buy a new car. Dan and I went car shopping and bought a 2010 Honda Civic. It was thrilling. We handled the whole process without aid from our parents. Most importantly, we did it together. It was exciting to do something so big as a couple, and it was exciting to have the power in determining my vehicle choice.

I look forward to being able to add things like, “building a strong swim program,” “getting healthier,” “creating a home together,” “paying off the Honda,” “earning my masters degree,” and “getting hired as a full-time teacher” to my list in the future : )

What are your biggest accomplishments?

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 15

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: list ten things that make you awesome.

This post is awkward. I don’t feel like I can identify what makes me awesome because (1) that is a very subjective question and (2) it makes me feel conceited doing so, even though this is the prompt given. So I am just going to list my strengths? Does that work? So awkward.

  1. I always say “please” and “thank you.”
  2. I have a superb memory for historical dates and facts.
  3. I learn people’s names and remember them.
  4. I can write a fantastic cover letter.
  5. I make really good brownies.
  6. I don’t accept it when students aren’t living up to their potential, but I still give them credit and cut them slack when I should.
  7. I can perform excellent covers of Eagles’ songs.

Around this point in writing my list I was stumped. What makes me awesome? I know somethings that make me kind, or creative, or sweet, but do those qualities make me awesome? WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR THIS LIST? I gave up. Ate chocolate. Read my list to my fiance and fretted about how I can’t come up with three more things and isn’t that terrible and what does that?! He said:

  1. You’re humble – “That’s why this list is awkward!”
  2. Your hair looks good long or short.
  3. You care about animals and take good care of them, like Madison.

So there you go! Thanks Dan for your help : )

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What are some things that make you awesome? 

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 14

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: What’s on your iPod? 

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There is a lot on my iPod. I listen to several different genres of music. I make playlists and then listen to them ad nausem. I get on kicks where all I listen to is a particular album. Still, there are certain songs I listen to more than others, mainly for comfort or because I am pretending to perform. It also summarizes the type of music I enjoy most pretty decently, though of course some things are missing. These are the top 25 most played songs on my iPod:

  1. Vienna – Billy Joel
  2. Feels Like Home – Chantal Kreviazuk
  3. Desperado – The Eagles
  4. Bless the Broken Road (acoustic) – Rascal Flatts
  5. Let It Be – The Beatles
  6. Heartache Tonight – The Eagles
  7. Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ – Journey
  8. The Boys of Summer – The Ataris
  9. To Make You Feel My Love – Billy Joel
  10. Brand New Day – Joshua Radin
  11. Good and Broken – Miley Cyrus
  12. Hotel California – The Eagles
  13. Hold On – Michael Buble
  14. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) – Mamma Mia! movie soundtrack
  15. Up Around the Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  16. The Climb – Miley Cyrus
  17. Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls
  18. Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
  19. Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi
  20. Weeping – Josh Groban
  21. The River of Dreams /Keeping the Faith/Only the Good Die Young – Movin’ Out soundtrack
  22. Lost – Michael Buble
  23. Summer, Highland Falls – Movin’ Out soundtrack
  24. Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams
  25. Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright

 What songs are in your top 25 most played?

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 13

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: do you have regret?

 

 

I can honestly say I do not have regret, not in regards to major life events or choices. I do, of course, truly regret any actions or words of mine that hurt others. I wish, like many people, that I would never put my foot in my mouth or be caught up in a moment of anger or hurt.  While I regret those things, I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me about conducting myself, handling conflict, etc. Other than that, I do not regret anything. Sometimes, I wonder if I should have done things differently – like choice a major other than 7-12 social studies education, which is super popular and not in demand in Ohio, or move out of state right after college instead of staying in Ohio and becoming even more attached to home, or make stronger and more consistent efforts to get healthier sooner instead of struggling for so long – but then I think, whatever. It would have been NICE to have left college with a major I love that also could have gotten me a job anywhere. It would have been NICE to have a job in social studies education straight out of college. It would be NICE to feel more confident and stronger already.

But that’s not the way it is. I picked the major I loved even though I knew what would happen if I tried to stay in Ohio, and when I truly thought I would be okay with leaving the state. I was 18, 19. I couldn’t predict what would occur down the line, and even so, I had teenager invincibility syndrome going in my head still – “I could be the exception. I won’t get hurt.” Turns out I’m not okay with leaving, at least not at this point in my life, and of course I’m not the exception. But guess what? There’s nothing I can do about my degree and staying in Ohio now, so it’s a waste of my time and energy to brood upon it (and given my anxiety, if I allowed myself, I could really dwell). Not only can’t those things be changed, but I’m grateful for what I’ve learned professionally and personally since graduating from college, and I really don’t know if I would have gained those same lessons or grown in the same way if I had been hired into a classroom teaching position immediately. Plus, making a different choice wouldn’t have changed my career or goals a ridiculous amount. I would still be in some sort of position within the field of education, just in a different way. I probably have to get my masters to get a job now, but that’s okay, because I have always wanted to and planned on earning my masters anyway.

As for not being healthier than I am right now, I do truly wish I could already be where my goals for my health are, and being healthier now would change my life in many ways. But again – regretting it, worrying about it won’t change it, and maybe I’ve learned some lessons by struggling along the way. I just have to keep moving forward.

There’s always room for mistakes, growth, and improvement. As long as I can own up to my choices, take responsibility for them, learn from them, cut myself some slack where I can, and see the positive, I see no reason to regret a thing.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 12

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: something that you miss.

 

 

I miss swimming. Not in a coaching capacity (though I am sad season is over!), not in a recreational capacity, but as an athlete. Even though I love working out, I have trouble motivating myself to do so. While I am not alone in this phenomenon, I dislike that I deal with it at all. For awhile, I thought it was because I wasn’t on a team anymore and didn’t have a coach, teammates, or scheduled practices to hold me accountable. So I tried blogging about it. I tried working out with friends. I tried joining a gym and taking classes. Then I thought it was because I wasn’t training for something specific. So I tried training for a 5K (despite the fact that I totally hate running and always have). All of these reflections and efforts helped me, but none truly hooked me, excited me, or stuck.

Ever since moving back to Cleveland and trying to settle my post-college life, I have had pangs for swimming.  I mean PANGS: sick jolts of longing in my stomach, swoops of something akin to homesickness. And lately, these pangs have become closer and closer together. Not because I miss coaching, or being around a pool, or anything else like that, but because I miss being a swimmer. I miss training. I miss smelling like chlorine even after I take a shower. I miss being so sore it hurts to walk up the stairs, having skin so dry I have to take oatmeal baths, and an appetite so strong I can eat a foot long Subway sandwich and three cookies and still be legitimately hungry. I miss racing. I miss the focus I get right before a race and the harmony a good relay team has. I miss pushing myself so hard I have to crawl out of the pool when I’m done.

Then it hit me. Why am I trying to replace swimming? What’s the point?  Yes, it can be a time-consuming and somewhat costly sport. But why waste my time trying to fall in love with and become good at something else? It’s not working, and it’s not worth it.

That’s why, when my year-long gym membership is up for renewal next month, I am not renewing it. That’s why I’ve been doing better with exercising the past couple weeks. Because next month, I’m putting my money and time where it will make me most happy. I am returning to the swimming world. And you bet I am ready for it.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 11 (and kind of a Read It in disguise!)

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: the last book you read.

I want to talk about two books in this post: Four of a Kind by Valerie Frankel and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

 

Source: goodreads.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

Four of a Kind, synopsis: Four of a Kind is a novel is split into parts, and each part is further divided into chapters, each of which is told from the point of view of one of the four main characters: Bess, Robin, Alicia, and Carla. All four women have children who attend Brownstone, a private school in Brooklyn Heights. They come together as members of the Diversity Committee, and in order to break the ice at their first meeting, they play a game of poker. However, instead of playing for money, they play for secrets. Soon, the four become close friends and a support system, helping each other to challenge the “givens” of their lives and their families.

Four of Kind, my thoughts: I was interested in this book for a few reasons: (1) It falls into one of my two favorite categories, chick lit; (2) the premise intrigued me; and (3) it is authored by a woman who writes articles in Self that I just love. I was not let down. This book was very engaging. The characters were well-developed, with relatable responsibilities, desires, hopes, and fears. Even though I am not married (yet!), I don’t have children, and I don’t share the same career as any of the characters in the book, there were dozens of times throughout the reading that I felt a strong connection to the readers’ feelings and situations. I felt inspired and strengthened to deal challenges of my own. Aside from feeling an emotional connection to the characters, it was just a really good story. I had trouble putting it down to work on things I had to get done! I highly recommend it.

 

Source: goodreads.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

The Happiness Project, synopsis: Gretchen Rubin decided she was going increase her happiness to its maximum potential, and spent a year in pursuit of doing so. She did tons of research and documented the entire process. Each month she focused on a different theme: energy, marriage, work, parenthood, leisure, friendship, money, eternity, a passion (books, in her case), mindfulness, attitude, and overall “boot camp perfect.” Rubin perfectly blends humor, research, and honesty.

The Happiness Project, my thoughts: I am blown away by this book – totally inspired, marking up the whole thing with notes, reading parts over and over. Rubin has a blog that I am now 100% subscribed and addicted to, and another happiness work that I immediately went out and purchased upon finishing her first. Rubin has developed and put out many tips and materials for readers to pursue their own happiness project, and I have already begun to take full advantage of it. I cannot recommend this book enough. I feel happier just having read it and recalling its lessons and stories on a daily basis.

 

Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them? What was the last book you read?