silvery strands of thought

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up, P.S.

Be sure to read the first post on this topic, “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up.”

Last fall, I started a job that I really like. I rate part of the TOEFL iBT test that international students or workers have to take to get accepted at universities or certain positions.

This job gives me all the benefits of teaching without any of the rough bits. I get to consider grammar and evaluate language. But I don’t have to defend my scores to students or put up with plagiarism or answer emails. I do have to discuss scores occasionally with the shift leader, but that’s as equals. I get to use the grammatical lingo that students don’t know.

Problem is, you’re allowed only 40 hours a month. I get paid fairly well, but not enough that I can do 40 hours a month. If only I could do it for even 30 hours a week!

Pamela is the Best Personal Trainer in 417

We’ve got a great regional magazine here in Springfield, 417 Magazine, named after our telephone area code. Every year, they ask for 417 peeps to nominate the Best of 417 Land, and my personal trainer, Pamela, is in the running.

She does a really good job of explaining why she’s so great, but I want to give you my take.

5 Reasons to Vote for Pamela Hernandez, Thrive Personal Fitness

  1. She is real. I’ve known Pamela for about a year and half, and she’s always been a nice, real person. At Springfield Bloggers Association, where we met, she isn’t pushing her business, trying to get new clients. She is just her. I totally respect small business owners who promote their business in such a natural way, instead of selling, selling, selling.
  2. She is realistic. I feel like the goals we set are doable. I don’t think she is asking me to change my eating habits drastically, even if I whine about Dr. Pepper (because I know how crappy it is for me!). I don’t feel like she expects me to do perfect burpees already or hold the plank for 60 seconds. I feel like she took a week to see what I can do, and now she’s pushing me just enough to strengthen and tone without killin’ me.
  3. She is a giver. Pamela is really active in the Daily Burn forums. She does a call-in radio show whenever they’ll take her. She answers questions of non-clients on Twitter and Facebook. I know all of that is networking and promotion, but many business owners have trouble giving anything away for free. Pamela doesn’t.
  4. She is encouraging. I cannot handle negative, hard-ass coaching. It kills my spirit and makes me want to quit quick. But Pamela is positive without being cheesy.
  5. She is “back to basics.” I feel like I can totally maintain the workout routine that we do at home once our training is over. No fancy (read: expensive) machines. Just a few carefully chosen tools (kettle bells, medicine balls, hand weights, weight bench, exercise ball, etc) that I could buy for myself with about $150 or less. I like that.

I think she’s pretty great, so I’m asking that you help recognize her. Here’s how.

  1. Go to the 2012 Best of 417 Readers’ Choice Awards Page
  2. Vote for all your 417-land favorites.
  3. Be sure to Enter the Math answer and Click Next Page at the bottom of each page/tab.
  4. On page 4 (Shopping + Services) enter the following for Best Personal Trainer:

Pamela Hernandez, Thrive Personal Fitness

Then finish the survey by entering your information on the last page.


What I Want To Be When I Grow Up: A Teacher Looking Back… and Forward

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…

at 8-10 years old, I would unravel huge dreams. First, I’d be an astronaut. That’d take some time, but by about 30, I’d be a lawyer, because it’s a really good idea to be a lawyer if you want to be president, and I did. “I’m gonna be the youngest president and the first female.” Don’t ask me how I knew at 8 that the president has to be 35 and that many of them were lawyers.

at 14-18 years old, lots of futures crossed my mind. At one point, I wanted to teach English literature in Germany so that I could live there. For several years, I was going to get my PhD and my MD so I could be a research virologist and discover cures for viral diseases. Later, I decided that one doctorate was more than enough, and I would go to med school so I could have a career where I got to marvel at the intricate wonders of the human body. I even applied to UMKC, Dad’s alma material.

at 18-23, I wanted to teach English and develop my web design skills. Then, Dr. Mark Trevor Smith and Dr. Biava introduced me to the field of linguistics. Noam Chomsky. Descriptive and prescriptive grammar. First and second language acquisition. Dialects, idiolects, regional variations. Language isolates… I could go on and on with the ideas that excited my mind.

by 23, I had started grad school and teaching, and, being quite averse to public speaking, I was all nerves the first day. But something clicked, and I felt right standing up there on the other side of the desk, armed with a plan and expectations.

by 25, I had secured a teaching job in a German university. I would teach English language classes for two years, and have the time of my life while doing it. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but I learned so much while I was there, from my students, from my colleagues, from my in-laws, from grocery shopping and traveling.

at 28, I hated teaching. I had an awful semester. It wasn’t only the classroom that was bad during that time, but it was easiest to blame. At lunch with a friend, one of those who is blunt and honest and sees you for who you really are, I was told that I obviously hated teaching and I needed to get out, that it was okay. But what else could I do?

by almost 29, I wanted to be a social media virtual assistant, or an online community manager. I had gotten out of my rotten funk about teaching and re-discovered the joys it offers, too.

Now I’m almost 30 and I am trying to work out the future I want and the future Rob and I want and what is best for that, so that I can make it happen. Do I go for any old job, but get security and consistency? Or do I pursue a career with flexibility and frequent developments and new technology, that is still in its infancy, really; one that will satisfy me in other ways than an 8-to-5 would?

Who knows.

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment Begins

I mentioned earlier this week that I have started working with a personal trainer, Pamela Hernandez of Thrive Personal Fitness. I’ve been working with her since August 8, but I’ve just started blogging about it. You’ll have to pop over to her blog to read my posts, so go on over there and read it. Be sure to leave a comment! You can also follow my successes and struggles on Twitter by following the hashtag #TPFlam (for Thrive Personal Fitness and my initials).

Let the Steam Escape: Tending the Stove of Creativity

Do you have an item that seemed just an okay gift when you received it, but once you started using it, you realized it was a game-changer? For me, that item is a book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

I developed a close relationship with my senior high counselor, Jodie Miller, because Beth and I spent hours in her office talking colleges, scholarships, applications, and life. After my parents’ marriage ended the day before my senior prom, I spent even more hours in her office talking through that. She became a very special woman in my life, and as a graduation gift of sorts, she presented me with a copy of Simple Abundance. I loved it then, because I liked the meaning of the gift and the philosophy of the book. But I wasn’t really ready for it until this year.

Simple Abundance is a daily devotional, at least that is the best category for it, I believe. Each month has a theme–simplicity, gratitude, order–and each day, you explore different aspects of that theme. Over the course of a year, the book will, I presume (as I have not yet stuck with it for 365 days) guide you through a transformation if you let it, a transformation that orients you to nurturing your Authentic Self.

As part of my FlyLady before-bed routine, I read Simple Abundance, a book that has collected dust on my nightstand for many well-intentioned years. FlyLady and Simple Abundance are strikingly similar, even though Simple Abundance isn’t focused on de-cluttering your home. Both are all about Finally Loving Yourself, about creating margins in your life during which time you can be your Self. They encourage you to put first things first, to finally realized that you deserve to be surrounded by comfortable cleanliness, by lovely treasures, by nurturing practices.

I just had to write about Simple Abundance today because yesterday’s reading confirmed my feelings about Coffee, Crafties, & Besties, that crocheting, writing, even cooking, all allow for necessary self expression so that you don’t explode from the stress of bottling it up. Here’s the quote from American expressionist painter Lilla Cabot Perry that inspired this post.

Lilla admitted her passion for self-expression reminded her of a “cooking stove which has too much coal in it and it has to have one of the holes open to keep it from becoming red-hot. It did not matter if it was the poetry hole or the painting hole, but the lid had to come off.

I love writing poetry, but it’s a form of self-expression that requires a certain frame of mind that I cannot force, and I haven’t been in that frame of mind for a while. Instead, I seem to be in the middle of a crafting, writing (of the blogging and journaling sort) cycle right now. I have been dumping on myself for not working on my poems, but I realized that it’s okay, as long as I am expressing myself.

What hole have you opened in your creativity stove right now? Or is your stove tightly closed because you are “too busy”? All parts of You are dependant on and affected by the others, so make time. Relieve that stress.

She’s Back!

I don’t really feel like blogging tonight, but Sarah does! She just re-opened shop on her A Fool of Myself blog. Go check it out–it’s chock full of yummy recipes!

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 23-Aug-2011

I’m beginning a new leg on my fitness journey, so today I’m going to share several pages and resources which help or inspire me, starting with Pamela’s post on Thrive Personal Fitness which explains this new direction I’m taking.

  • The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Pamela’s introduction to our partnership (mine is coming soon!)
  • Why You Should Keep a Food Diary: One of the first tasks Pamela gave me was to write down everything I ate. No calorie counting, just an honest record of what goes into my body. Here are some reasons why.
  • This is where I get my training programs, even though sometimes I use it for inspiration to craft a training plan that takes into consideration my current time availability and current running level
  • Ozark Greenways: Are you running in Springfield? This website shows you all of the great places to run in Springfield, with marked paths, good parking, and even some restrooms.

Healthy Obsessions: Coffee, Crafties, & Besties


It just sort of happened. Sarah, her best friend since 3rd grade Jenny, and I met a couple Monday nights in a row at a local coffee shop, each bringing our current craft projects. Before we realized it even, we had a standing date.

Now, some Monday nights have prior commitments, like on the second Monday each month, but anytime we don’t have something like that, it’s Coffee, Crafties, & Besties Night.

Sarah has been working on a small-block scrapghan, and finished the blocks tonight.

Jenny does embroidery–tea towels or baby onsies–and this evening she had formed a little tea pot in her embroidery ring.

I’ve been working on a gift scarf and, my piece de resistance, a large, cozy afghan all for me.

In a couple hours a week, we leave work and family and stress and enter a place that is relaxed and stimulating, engaging our creative selves, indulging in a craft that we don’t get to splurge on at any other time during our week.

In a couple hours a week, I have found a mini-vacation that leaves me refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the week.

Our conversation follows no pattern, no rules. We natter, we discuss, we explain, we tell stories, all while our hands and minds are relishing in a favorite craft. It’s almost divine.

What do you do to disconnect from your stresses and replenish your soul each week? Or… what do you dream about having the time to do? If you’re in the second category, don’t ignore yourself any more; make time for YOU this week, perhaps with dear friend. Tell us about it in the comments.