Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be easier on yourself

So, one of the students in my class beats himself in the head with his hands and calls himself stupid.  He berates himself under his breath non-stop.  I told him tonight that he couldn't do that.  He needs to be easier on himself because berating himself is not productive.  He said he can't stop himself.  I said look around, everybody is struggling, you have to stop being so hard on yourself.  The rest of the students do their best to ignore it, but there are giggles when he gets really bad.  He said he tells himself to calm down but he can't.  I said you are just learning, repetition will help.  He says he can't remember the important stuff.  I wonder if I should start threatening to take points away if he keeps degrading himself (giggle) or tell him that kind of talk is not allowed!  Maybe he would respond to me getting all dominant on him...lol.

Now, I have gone down the self-flagellation route a few times, but I can't keep it up.  I can't beat myself up like that for more than a couple of days and then my happy spirit returns unbidden. How does someone get into that kind of habit?  I do think we should be gentle with ourselves.  I feel for the most part we are doing the best that we can and it won't get better with that kind of self-criticism.  It just makes me sad that someone feels that they deserve that kind of treatment from anyone, including himself. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Red Flags

So, I have been e-mailing with someone, not very much, just a couple of times and he comes at me with:  "You said X on your profile and that sends up red flags."  So, he contacted me originally and now after only four e-mails he wants to talk about red flags? 

I can't help but feel like either A) He shouldn't have contacted me if he thinks there are red flags, or B) asked the question more like "You said X on your profile, why is that the case?'  or something. 

I am feeling judged before I even get a chance to show who I am and I should we really be getting into red flags before we have done anything more than e-mail a couple of times? I can't help but feel like he is trying to pre-judge me to see if I am worth his time to get to know. 

Am I over reacting?  Are things so different now, that it is okay to ask questions in that way when you barely have even corresponded?  Is that the way he conducts all his relationships, with such a confrontational manner?  I think I need a more gently touch.  I don't know what I need, but that for me just sits wrong.

I am really confused by this one!  Am I wrong? 

Saturday, January 28, 2012


So, there is always a gossip mill where every you are. Who's in who's out, blah, blah, blah.  So, I was just chatting with a colleague about things, just things and he said, "I would tell you more, but I don't want you to change your opinion about so and so".  That took me back several steps, but I kind of like it.  It made me realize that there is a certain safety in knowing that if they won't talk about others to you, you can probably assume that they won't talk about you to others.

In other news, not much news on the dating front.  I am trying not to get discouraged.  I just wish I knew what to do differently and I just don't...sigh...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are you strong enough?

So, I wrote this a while ago, but I have been thinking about it a lot.  I thought I would put it here, so I can read it every now and then...

Are you strong enough to be my man?

Are you strong enough to realize that when my light is shining its brightest, yours is not diminished one iota?

Are you strong enough to encourage that light, fanning the flame and rejoicing in the warmth, rather than trying to smother it because it can be threatening in its might?

Are you strong enough to accept that I can survive without your care?

Are you strong enough to accept that while I don’t need you, I want you, and want is far superior to need because it implies a conscious consent of the will?

Are you strong enough to know that every bit of control I yield to you is the highest compliment I can possibly pay to who you are?

Are you strong enough to accept what I give without trying to greedily take more?

Are you strong enough to realize that patient hands and eyes and lips will lure me far more readily than force, because controlled power is infinitely more attractive than powerful displays?

Yes, you can force your will on me, but at that point, who I am will be driven so far into hiding that you will no longer recognize me. I am a survivor and I know how to protect myself from force.  I have had to do it far too often.

Are you strong enough to reach past anger and fear and defensiveness to touch the hidden quivering spirit inside of me?

Are you strong enough to wait, hand extended, for me to place my willing hand in yours? For I will reward that patience by putting that tiny flame that is my deepest self into your care, knowing that all this time it has been protected for you and I am at last safe to put it into your keeping.   

I am power and I am strength, but I am also fragile and delicate, not easily made vulnerable except by someone with that quiet, perceptive maleness for which that I long.

So, tell me, are you strong enough?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Kindness Teacher

When I was growing up, I was always very careful to never let people do too much for me because I felt that I owed them.  I am sure that is because whenever my mother did something for me, I did owe her. I knew that being the giver was the power position.  But of late, I find that people want to do things for me and I am starting to be okay with letting them.  I don't always have to be the strong, in charge one, the "I can do it myself" one.  I kind of like that I am softening up a little bit in that area.

So, along that line, I have a terrific boss.  He does do little things for me and doesn't mention it.  For example, we get student evaluations, for the last four years, my boss has taught all the classes in our department (yes, one guy) until I came along.  So, I get student evaluations, that are for the most part helpful and since I am new to teaching I try to see how I can apply what they say.  Well, this last semester I was hearing a lot of we would rather have your boss teaching the class and I teasingly told him that they love him.  He has been super supportive telling me that they are just testing me, that he got the same sorts of comments when he first came.  He also had me compare the grades I was giving the students with the grades that he was giving the same students in the classes he still teaches.  He said he wanted to do that so that I would see that I am not being any harder on them than he is.

So, student evaluations arrived in an envelope over Christmas vacation.  I was alone in the office and decided to read what was written since I was pretty sure I was going to get creamed in that class.  There was one in particular that said I shouldn't be teaching the class that anyone else would be better (anyone else being my boss).  So, I put the evaluations back in the envelope and figured I'd get them when he handed them out.  So, today they came to me from my bosses hands and guess what...that comment was mysteriously gone from the evaluations (they are hand written and then copied on to one sheet of paper).  He actually went in and got rid of that comment, which would have required some cutting and pasting with scissors.  I think that is terribly sweet, kind and thoughtful and in my recent past, I am not sure I would have appreciated it as much as I do now.  The even kinder part is that he doesn't know that I know, so I can't/won't thank him.

Now another semester has arrived and I am again teaching a class that he used to teach.  One of my students came in on one matter and we ended up discussing the class, afterwards, my boss asked me if we had discussed the matter she came in for originally and I said yes but we had also discussed the class that I was teaching.  He said that he thought that I would be giving her exactly what she had been looking for in that class. He says he thinks I will do a better job of teaching it than he did.

I said when I started this blog that I would be looking for good teachers on how to be a swan.  I think I've found one!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I thought I was a hard person to match

So, on-line looking is a very interesting project.  I thought finding a guy who wanted to be the leader in our relationship, who could be dominant without being domineering was going to be tough...I got an e-mail today from a food reductionist (I had never heard of that), but here is the explanation: 

"My food cravings are controlled because I'm a food reductionist. Where you see ice cream I see lard and water. And so on. Although I do bake my own organic bread to avoid eating plastic and sugar, which appear to be the main ingredients in store bread. The way to my (unclogged) heart is definitely not through my stomach. One benefit of being a food rube is that it's easy to watch my weight."

I'm going to send back a polite thanks for your interest, but I don't think we are a good match response.  I don't think I am going to have as much trouble as he is...I feel for the guy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Being a shrew

So, I have never watched an entire episode of The Kardashians, but I have watched enough to know I don't want to be like them!  I hate to see the way that Kris Jenner treats her husband, Bruce.  There was one episode at the end of which,  Bruce had actually placed a mattress in the garage and was sleeping on it.  I am not sure of all the details that led up to that, but it had something to do with him wanting to put his motorcycle in the garage and Kris not wanting it to block her cabinets.  So, I lost respect for him, since he put up with that and I lost respect for her because she was unreasonable and disrespectful.  It is an odd thing how much more I am aware of how women speak to men.  I wonder why after all this time, when I am finally looking for someone to spend my life with, I am suddenly aware of the shrewishness (I like to create words, so just go with it) of my own sex.  Is it just more prevalent or have I just not noticed it?  Then I find myself wondering if I have been guilty of it myself. I hope that the man I find won't let me get away with it if I am guilty of it. I would hate to have someone look at me and think the things that I think about Kris Jenner. 

Today in church, the minister mentioned that there is a word for being a servant to self and only listening to self and it is Kardashian (he said it in a joking manner, but I think he was serious).  I can't disagree.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

He's dreamy!!!

So, I am enjoying my three day weekend and gearing up for another week of marathon training and eating right.  I updated my profile on the on-line dating site and the e-mails are just coming in now.  Funny how a few changed words can open up the world.  The last guy that winked at me is dreamy and meets most of what I really want in a mate (assuming he isn't lying about who he is, but remember I am Pollyanna, so I am staying optimistic).  He is educated, well-read, optimistic (what is the Pollyanna version of a man?).  He's the same religion that I am and wants someone with morals and values (wow!).  So, I am staying positive and hoping for the best and seeing where this leads.  Did I mention he's dreamy?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So, I am a teacher of college-aged and older people.  I also read people's stories and comment on them.  I am also a singer.  Because of those three things I have been thinking a lot about criticism.  How public do you make it?  In a class, f you don't nip bad behaviors in the bud, you have an out of control class, but you don't want to embarrass people.  I find a quick comment and then moving on quickly is usually the best.  Like today, I'm lecturing and one of my students decided to print out the syllabus...how rude!  I asked who did it.  He admitted it and I said you shouldn't be printing while I am lecturing, you need to wait.  HELLO!!!! (I just thought the hello part, just so you know) So, I called him out publicly, but moved on.  So, moving on to the commenting on people's stories.  I try to be honest, but I worry if I say anything negative they will be hurt (yeah, I'm like that, read my post about The Power of Words), but people are publicly posting what they write and I think they want honest feed back, couched carefully, on the strengths and weaknesses of their stories.  I much prefer a well thought out criticism to a "great story" comment.  I always want to reach through the computer and ask, "What did you like?  What didn't you like?" 

But, here's what I thinking:  is written criticism easier to take than face to face criticism?  I'm in a choir and the director probably doesn't like my voice too much (although she has denied that she dislikes my voice).  She brought me and another woman up to sing together to show the choir how we don't blend.  So, did it need to be done publicly?   The director has already spoken about having me change sections so that I will blend better and then she didn't do it.   Did I really need to be an object lesson for the choir?  So, I am left wondering if I am more of a detriment to the choir, or are my feelings just hurt?  Yeah, the martyr aspect of my personality is kicking in..."I don't want to a detriment to the choir!  I'll just leave so you will sound better!"  Smile.

Which leads me to think that it was probably a really good thing that that happened to me tonight because it makes me even more aware of criticism and how I should deliver it.  Did I ever mention that I am a Pollyanna?  Once the initial hurt is over I tend to see a positive.  Now I just need to decide what I'm going to do about singing.  Just how strong is that martyr complex?  Hmmmm?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Program

So, I got this book that outlines a program from a woman who went to Harvard Business school about how to find a wonderful guy...I am working through the 15 steps...not sure how I feel about it so far, but my mentors are excited!  Apparently it is all about marketing.  I rewrote my on-line dating profile according to the "rules" last night.  I got four e-mails today.

One of the steps in the process is announcing to the world that I am looking, so here goes...


I think my Pollyanna is kicking in for now, I hope she's finally right!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cat dominance

So, since I don't currently have a partner, I have to live vicariously through the lives of others and live in hope that one day I will find "the one".  I don't really know what it means to have a dominant partner, except through what I read on blogs (thanks for sharing everybody!), however, as I type this, I am typing it over the back of my cat who insists on being in my lap.  I can hold my hand up in front of her face to keep her down and she just bides her time to try again.  The second my mind is off where she is, she swoops in to claim what she thinks is rightfully hers.  If I really want her down, I can always pick her up and put her on the floor and she will stay away for awhile, but she always comes back.

So, do you think I am being dominated by my cat?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Self Evaluation

So, at work we are supposed to fill out a self-evaluation form.  Which cracks me up since I started the Ugly Duckling Project and it is all about self-evaluation.  I don't know if I am too hard on myself or not, but three of us got together to discuss the evaluation: me and two guys.  The one guy kept wanting me to up the number on each of the 24 or so questions.  He said I do things a lot better than I am giving myself credit for, which made me smile.  The other guy wondered if we shouldn't have some needs improvement numbers or at least fair numbers instead of all goods and very goods. The first guy said he was only going to ding himself on the stuff that he had already heard about from a supervisor.  So, we reviewed my self-evaluation, but not either of theirs, and in the end I am not sure if the first guy is right or not.  Will the supervisor see a list of goods and very goods as confident or arrogant? 

This seems to beg that age old question...Pooh or Eeyore? 

Oh, Oh, I just took the Winnie the Pooh Personality Test and came out as Tigger...so I guess the answer is neither Pooh not Eeyore.  Tigger!  I can live with that.

If you want to take the personality test,  here it is:

I have been convinced for some time that just about every person I know can be placed in one of four personality categories - based on the classic characters from A.A. Milne's beloved children's story Winnie The Pooh. This is personality test is based strictly on my own personal observations and although I think it's spot on, you may think it's crazy.

If you think this is ridiculous, you should stop reading right now. It gets worse.

Here's how it works. I'm going to tell you a story that will end with "what would you do?" I want you to think about your answer before scrolling down to see which character you are most like. Go with your first instinct. The first thing that pops into your head. Got it?

The Rock in Your Path

Imagine yourself hiking in the woods. The birds are singing, the air is fresh and feels good to breath. You're walking. You're patting yourself on the back for getting some exercise. You've been hiking along for sometime now and the path is heavily wooded all around you. You see something up ahead. As you get closer you realize that there, in the middle of the path is a boulder. Not just a rock, but a boulder.
What is your first thought?
What will you do? What is the first thing that comes to mind?

Personality Test

So what do you do when faced with the boulder in your path? What was your very first thought?

  • Looks like a good place to sit down, take a break and think about it. I must have a snack in my backpack here somewhere.
  • Without skipping a beat, you begin climbing over it.
  • You bounce, walk or run around it.
  • You stand there and think? What the heck is this boulder doing here? And why do things like this always happen to me? I should have expected this. Then you climb over or run around it.

Who Are You Anyway?

When I first heard this story, I immediately thought I would like to sit down and have a snack, drink some water and think about the situation. If that was your answer, you are a cuddly Pooh Bear. You like sweets, warm fires and good chatting. You also come up with ideas easily, at odd moments and they are not always all that useful. You stumble into your own brilliance from time to time. You don't care for rushing, schedules and rules. Blue is your color.

If you didn't miss a step and just started climbing straight up over it, you are most like Rabbit. You don't waste time, you have a schedule to keep and things to do. You don't have time for boulders in your path because you have a garden that needs tending to or a conference call  to make from your cell phone on the other side of the mountain. You are a highly motivated leader and enjoy being in charge and telling everyone around you how to do everything . The world would not exist without you, because you are busy spinning it! The color red suits you just fine.

Did you bounce, run or skip around that boulder? You know who you are! You are fun loving Tigger! An eternal optimist, that boulder didn't bother you at all. You knew you could get around it somehow. A super-social animal, you love to know what everyone is up too and you are always there to cheer up a friend and make people laugh. You are a ray of light where ever you go. Yellow is your color.

Woe is me. Did you get mad at that boulder? Did you say oh, man, why does this always happen to me? Now you are really going to be upset. You are most like Eeyore.  You can be just a tad pessimistic. You love the rain. You write poetry. You are as deep as your friend Tigger is light. You bring logic and balance to those around you.You don't mind being alone, but a few close friends around you make you feel completely content.  You love the intense colors of the autumn leaves.

Here's the link too:


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Power of Words

Ugh, sometimes I think I should just take a vow of silence.  I am really aware of the power of words and I try to be careful, but sometimes they just come out wrong.  Why is it that when I am trying to be kind, supportive and caring, people sometimes take what I say as challenging or critical?  What's hardest is that it's not all the time that this happens, just sometimes.  I used to work with a bunch of engineers with next to no social skills.  They were saying inappropriate things all the time.  I was their go-to-girl who told them what they should have said differently.  I think I may need a go-to-girl...because I don't like it when the things I am saying to be loving and supporting are perceived in just the opposite way...sigh.  Is there anybody out there who might be able to help me with this?  How do you temper your words?

One of my favorite comedians is Craig Ferguson.  He is a hoot.  He said the thing that helps him is he asks himself three questions:  Does it need to be said?  Does it need to be said by me?  Does it need to be said right now?  Which probably leads to him being silent a lot, which might be okay for a man, but for a woman people tell you their troubles and you're supposed to be comforting.  I just wish I was a better judge about what to say before I said it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goal Weight, Weighty Goal

Part of the swan is the outside too, or else how did it know it was a swan?  So today's blog is about the outsides of the ugly duckling. I remember hearing somewhere that your goal weight should be what you weighed as a senior in high school.   I guess that is assuming you didn't lose your baby fat sometime later.  For me, that was 30 pounds ago, but I did the math, I know I'm a nerd! Between now and the marathon lies 10 months.  If I can lose 3 pounds a month, I will be at my weighty goal and be carrying a lot less across the finish line.

So, today I am putting on the highly trained athlete hat and looking to be 3 pounds lighter by February, bring on the fruits and veggies!  I wonder if Safflower oil really does work? smile

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Debbie Downer and Pollyanna

As the new year begins I am drawn to think of a character from Saturday Night Live.  Her name is Debbie Downer.  No matter how good the news is that some one shares, she can show the bad side of it.  I think I may be guilty of that a little too often.  I need to remind myself to keep my negativity to myself.

There is a lot of stress at work with major blowups occurring between the higher ups.  I am determined to be upbeat and not mention the downside of things.

I need to think Pollyanna, Pollyanna, Pollyanna!

Monday, January 2, 2012


So, today I start training for a marathon.  I ran one about 7 years ago and it was fabulous!  It was small so they announced everybody across the line and then yelled, "You're a marathoner now!"  Then they threw a medal around your neck.  I think everybody felt like they had won.  I don't know how the one I'll be training for will be, probably not as personalized.  I just want to see if I can do it again.

Marathons make me think of life.  We have our ups and downs.  We have times that we need to walk because we are tired and times when we are flying.  We meet people along the way and chat a while and then leave them behind or they leave us behind.  Sometime we meet again later and it seems as though we only had a break in the conversation.  Ultimately, we are responsible for getting ourselves across the finish line.  I think that is what this year is going to be about for me.  I want to finish strong!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cut the Rope!

So, today is the first day of the year..out with the old and in with the new!  I have been watching Hoarders lately.  It is very inspirational.  I know that some people get inspiration from weight loss shows and others from home decorating shows, but when I see all the things that people have collected over the course of a lifetime, I am motivated to throw out things!

I recently moved and moving almost 9,000 pounds of STUFF made me nauseous!  I have boxes in the garage (luckily I have a three car garage) and I just want to have everything put away or given away.

I am reminded of a scene from the movie, "The Mission".  Robert DeNiro plays a conquistador.  He has brutalized the town and the native peoples.  He decides to become a Jesuit and in penance he puts all the things he has stolen from people into a net and drags it up the mountain to the mission.  It nearly pulls him off a cliff several times and he needs help from Jeremy Irons climbing the waterfall, but he finally gets to the mission.  He is immediately recognized by one of the indians, who puts a knife to his throat.  The indian curses and him and threatens him and then reaches round and cuts the rope attaching Robert DeNiro to all those things.  The net bounces away carrying all that stuff he dragged up the mountain.  I really like the symbolism of that. There is so much we carry around unnecessarily and I guess sometimes we need somebody who will cut the rope for us.  

Today is the day to cut the rope and let it all go.  Let all the things I've collected, inside and out, go.  So, I am going to remember hoarders and get rid of the objects I don't need.  I am going to lose the extra weight I am carrying around and don't need and I am going to let go of all the hurts and trials I have carried.  I am going to embrace that line from Brad Paisley's song "When I Get Where I'm Going"..."I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years."