Those Truckers

Today I got the friendliest border lady. We just chatted for a while about my new puppy and how I drive a lot and why I usually cross at a different crossing and my summer trip. It was bizarre. She actually sounded really interested, as opposed to just doing her job. Which means she was probably brilliantly extracting info from me that I wasn’t even aware I was giving.

My absolute favorite thing about driving is when you let a big truck over in front of you and they flash their lights to say thanks. I like it for a couple of different reasons. I think driving communication is really interesting. For instance, I’ve often thought there should be a specific hand signal for, “I did not mean to be a jerk just now.” If you wave, it looks like you’re completely naΓ―ve and are thanking them for letting you in when you really just cut them off. But if you don’t do something you’re a jerk. It’s lose-lose. I’m kind of fascinated by the behaviors involved in driving, and how it all evolves. And how some people take it way too seriously. But also, I just think the light-flashing to say thanks is the last semblance of driving decency. It makes me think maybe there’s hope for us all. I let as many trucks in as possible, unless they’re being a jerk about it.

Speaking of driving, is there a specific age or number of miles driven after which your mother stops insisting you text to let her know you’ve arrived somewhere safely? She never seems to accept the logic that, “If I die, you’ll prolly hear about it eventually.” Tonight I was 5 minutes from my destination in the middle of Illinois farmland. What could possibly happen? Hit a stray goat? That didn’t happen. I made excellent time, despite 4 hours of rain. I had a great weekend, and I get my puppy tomorrow! What more can you ask for?

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Sorrow and Sighing

I found out a wonderful man died tonight. I’m praying for Jesus to return soon to comfort all those who are suffering, and to set right all wrongs.

Isaiah 35 – The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Border Crossing

Ever since I was grilled for 15 minutes (if that’s an exaggeration it’s only slight) trying to get into Alberta in the middle of the night 5 years ago, I’ve been a little twitchy at the border. I try to remember that’s their job – to make you twitchy. Knowing that helps me be less twitchy. I shouldn’t be worried. I’m a blonde haired blue eyed female. Please racially profile me.

(Here’s an interesting story. My mother has had guns held on her several times. Once was by a Canadian border guy, while she was pregnant with me but didn’t know it. They were selected to come inside, and she was getting my brother’s shoes on (he was 3-ish). They just left them out there. So she walked with him to the door and opened it, and a guy swung around and drew his gun and aimed it at her! He didn’t shoot, as you might’ve figured out.)

Anyway, I always try to rehearse answers, but they never come out right. It was especially interesting this summer because I was there for several weeks, then back in the US for a week, then back up for more weeks. They were mostly amused. At one point they asked where I’d slept the night before and I really had no idea. “Quebec. No, Ottawa! Sorry, I’ve been all over.” “Walk me through it,” he said.

Some Christadelphians avoid saying they’re going to a church thing. I don’t. It doesn’t feel right to me. So I say pretty much exactly that, “I’m going to a church thing.” One guy actually scoffed and repeated, “Church?” Yeah, church. What about it, smarmy border guy (that one was American).

Today was funny because I had a dog crate in the back. He looked back and said, “What are you bringing with you into Canada?” “Oh, um,” I said, “I’m getting a dog next week before I go home, I mean I’m getting a dog when I go home but I’m not going home first–” He interrupted by just nodding. Please stop talking, is what he meant. “So it’s empty?” “Yes.” Actually, I realized I have no idea if it’s empty. It was my brother’s and was loaded into my car with other stuff from my parents’, and I don’t know that I ever looked inside.

I get Dempster Monday night!!

Burn

Today I was like that lady who spilled the McDonald’s coffee and scalded herself, except it was tea and I’d just made it so there was no one to sue except myself. (That McDonald’s story was completely misrepresented by the press as a classic example of a frivolous lawsuit; her story is horrific and I think she had a valid case. Google it.)

It was kind of funny though. Because I immediately started shaking and realized potentially I was going to actually need help staying calm (I couldn’t tell how bad it was at first), so I called Sara, who’s a nurse. I said something along the lines of, “I scalded myself with tea and I think I’m okay but I need you to talk to me till I know.” I was not quite crying, but very close. I finally got back inside to examine my stomach and leg (the leg was a lesser burn), and then wandered around the kitchen in shock (not medical shock; just shock shock). I was trying to talk and also get ice, but I found myself staring at the ice and reaching in and pulling my hand out and getting an ice pack instead and putting it back and going to the sink and running cold water and splashing it on my stomach and just generally not doing anything helpful.

So I finally completely stopped and just asked, “What should I be doing right now?” So I did what she said. I also texted my Practicum student, who’s in the class I was going to, and asked her to tell the teacher what happened and that I’d be late. I asked Sara if I could just use the ice pack in the car, but she said no – that I needed to take it to class and keep it on till bed. That was a good call. It stung like crazy when I took it off, and has just finally stopped stinging (I also put lavender oil on it cuz I’m a believer). It’s all blistery and the skin moves around and it’s generally gross, but I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. I’ve never put the lid on tea that hot before, and even when I got back out to the car the metal was too hot to touch. Bad idea.

It’s helpful to have nurse friends. Even though I would’ve told someone else to do exactly what she told me to do (I was an EMT; we learned all about burns) I was slightly freaking out and needed specific instructions.

Oh, and I got to miss 25 minutes of a class I don’t enjoy very much (maybe I stretched it a little).

Stress 😱😬😫πŸ’ͺ🏻

I’ve never really been prone to feeling “stressed out.” I’m generally pretty chill. I think proper time management is the key to avoiding work and school stress. But today it hit me fairly hard that I don’t ever have any unscheduled downtime. Tuesday-Thursday are busy with clinic, school work, and classes from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm. If I’m in town on any given weekend I’m keeping an 8:00 am to 9-10 pm study schedule Friday-Monday (with the exception of the first half of Sunday, and a few random activities here and there). And then I’m gone at least every other weekend, which means I’m even busier the week before and after. It’s all worth it, absolutely! And it keeps me from spending money on stuff like eating out and movies. Because I don’t make time for that.

But I realized today that I need to schedule unscheduled downtime. πŸ˜‚ As weird as that sounds, if I don’t schedule a chunk of time that says “do whatever you want,” I won’t ever take an extended break. I’ll take 5 minutes after most (but not all) 15 minute work intervals, and occasionally I’ll let an idle 30 minutes pass here and there. And I do allot myself a small amount of time to watch Netflix a few times a week, usually while I’m eating or working on things that don’t need my whole focus. But bodies need rest. God said so, and research shows it’s not good for your immune system to not have it (I rarely say “research shows” unless I’ve read it; but I just did).

The benefit of scheduling my time so closely is that I can fit in just about anything I want. I make Bible stuff and exercise non-negotiable, and if there’s anything else I really want to do I find a way. This month I’ll be out of town all but one weekend, including Friday and Monday. That means about 12 days of not doing any work at all (that’s not quite true actually; I sometimes do work while I’m gone, but I try not to). But the trade-off is the constant treadmill when I’m home. Even though it’s worth it, I think I’ve got to schedule more down time. Once Dempster is here maybe that’ll help. We can go to the dog park or take a walk. I plan to schedule 15-30 minutes of puppy training into my everyday non-negotiable time as well, so that will be a fun thing to alternate with school work.

I realized two other things that are probably contributing to this knot in my stomach tonight. One is that I’m fasting – which doesn’t cause a stomach knot; but because I haven’t needed to stop to eat today, that’s taken out a few natural breaks. I should’ve replaced them with just chilling, but I didn’t.

The other thing is something I’m kind of dreading. I’m going to be presenting at the Association for Behavior Analysts International conference in San Diego next May. That’s fine. But I got an email that stressed me out. The guy I’ll be working with (someone my advisor volunteered me to) emailed and asked for a title and abstract for what I’ll be presenting. I quickly emailed my professor, because I thought I was just joining something he and his students were working on. She said I’ll present a study we’re doing in the clinic, which means it was fine that I didn’t have anything prepared to give him. She said we’ll talk about it Wednesday. But the deadline for submitting abstracts is the next Wednesday! Which means potentially I could get sent home with a bunch of stuff to do that I don’t feel like I know how to do. With a one week deadline, during which I’ll be gone 4.5 days and have a new puppy after that. 😱

So I’m stressed. I don’t have to think about that till Wednesday, and I am looking forward to avocado eggs tomorrow morning. Life is busy and wonderful, and I just needed a moment to organize my thoughts before the clinic week starts.

Oil Change Drama

Always with the car drama. I went to get an oil change, and after an hour of waiting they came in to talk to me. They asked where I last had the oil changed. Hmm. It might’ve been Ontario. Wait, no, that was the one before. It was NLR. Well, the oil filter cap won’t come off. They used a tool to tighten it and “rounded it off” and they can’t grip it or loosen it by hand. If they use a tool, it will likely break. He called a supply store and said a new one is $65. So the options are to take their chances or just change the oil without the filter.

So many questions I don’t know how to ask. “Do you think the other place would reimburse me for the cap?” Probably not. “What if you just change the oil and I take it to them next time to deal with the cap?” That might work. “How long will just changing the oil last?” A little while. “Argh.” (I didn’t say that one.) “Is there any point in even changing the oil?” Long pause. They already drained it out. Lol. “Will you charge less without the filter?” They’ll knock a little off.

So that’s what we’re doing. What a waste of an afternoon. Although while I waited I walked half a mile each way to Halloween Express, which apparently doesn’t exist but there’s a Walgreens nearby – and I got my mandatory Halloween costume for work. So at least I accomplished something.

Home

I stayed home for a weekend. It needed to happen. I got hours upon hours upon hours of work done. I still have another full day tomorrow (minus getting an oil change, going to the pharmacy, and finding a Halloween costume for our clinic trick-or-treating event) to work on two papers I want to turn in before going out of town next weekend.

I’ve found an exercise regimen that’s been working consistently for a while. I’ve been doing strength training exercises most days. I pick three exercises and do sets of 12-10-8 on each. I rotate muscles groups every day. I’ve also started adding a 15-minute cardio interval 1-2 times per week. I get quite a bit of walking in for school, but I’m not currently running or getting my heart rate up much. For now, I’m just doing 40 seconds of something aerobic – like jogging around the apartment, jump rope, boxing, stuff like that – and resting 20 seconds, and repeating for 15 minutes. Kinda like HIIT. But more like LIIT. It keeps my heart rate up consistently though.

I decided to start taking data on just the cardio portion. The other stuff is easy enough because I just do it between my other work. But the cardio takes its own 15-minute interval and then I have to shower, so it’s a higher response effort. Tonight I almost didn’t do it, but the fact that it’s just 15 minutes saved me. I just wanna make sure I increase it and then maintain it long term.

So I’m going to do a changing criterion design (the same thing I did to increase fruit and veggies and start waking up earlier). My stages are: 15 minutes twice a week, 20 minutes twice a week, 20 minutes three times a week, and 30 minutes three times a week. Each week I meet the criterion for that week I get something (a small Dr Pepper or Starbucks maybe; I dunno yet). I’ll stay in each phase 2-3 weeks and move up when I meet the goal specified for that phase. Ten weeks from now I should be doing cardio 90 minutes a week, and strength training for each muscle group 1-2 times per week. That’s a little over the minimum the AHA recommends, but since I have the added bonus of needing to maintain a 100-pound weight loss there’s more to the picture (I’d gained back some but I’m just shy of being back to where I was; I’d like to lose another 30 after that, but I’m pretty darn content if I don’t).

I can’t believe I’m still awake. It’s past 8:30.