Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot.

Here it is--day number 1.

Another year has come and gone, and like millions of other people I have been reflecting on the past year and the course of my life.

Two thousand and thirteen was one of the worst and one of the best years of my life.  In 2012, after six months of being the only full-time employee and running the place by myself we hired a new manager.  This past year we grew to be a really good team, and I really liked my boss and respected him.  Then, for valid reasons, he left suddenly the third day of the fall semester.  So not only had I lost a boss who I really liked, but I was again alone--thankfully, though, I had a new co-worker start who turned out to be very sharp and someone with whom I really enjoy working--and this happened four days before I started back to grad school.

Needless to say, this fall was probably the most stressful, disheartening, and awful time of my life.  My boss' departure really hit me hard, and I got behind in my classes from the very start.  I never did catch up, and I was seriously worried whether or not I would pass my classes.  Especially the Foundations class with the teacher from hell.  (I did pass, though, two A- and an A!)

I've also had some new(er) friendships which have been trying at times, but even though they have been trying, and at times added greatly to my stress level, the plus side of this year has been that I've learned a lot about myself.

1. I am nowhere near as pathetic as I thought.
After some of the people I have dealt with this year, I realized that I am not pathetic.  I have things I need to work out, but my biggest problem is just not loving myself.  Some people are in really bad places and just make one terrible decision after another.

2. I am no dumb bunny.
My brother is pretty much a genius, so I always compared myself to him and thought I was of just average intelligence, however, after working in a community college for five and a half years, I've discovered that I am pretty darn smart.

3. I won't settle for less than the best.
While I don't think in anyway that I deserve it or that it will come to me, I won't settle for any less than the best.  I dream big, and I won't go for someone, or something, that falls short.  I know a few people who go for whoever or whatever comes next, and I just can't stand that. I get mad and sad because I know that I will never meet Jeremy Renner (for example), but I'm still holding out.

4. I can't stand self-centeredness.
There is someone in my life with whom I was very close, but I have discovered that this person is very self-centered, and even though I really care about this person, I can't keep up a relationship where the other person uses me, never hears a word a say, and acts like a child most of the time.

5. Quality over quantity.
I put my heart and soul into things, which has brought me a lot of heartache, but also a lot of joy.  I would much rather have quality time with someone than simply a lot of time.  One of my dear friends who lives in Kansas is a perfect example.  I get to see her a couple times a year, and we really don't talk a whole lot, but I know she is always there when I need her and when we are reunited, it's like I saw her last week.  I love her, and I think we have come to the perfect relationship, for us.

Now, something I have learned is that I am a giver--I give, give, give, and am often disappointed when my effort is not reciprocated.  However, I have come to understand that I cannot hold everyone to my standards, they are pretty damn high after all.  I have to evaluate each relationship and decide to what level I am ok giving.  That has helped a lot, but sometimes I still wish a relationship was more than it is.

I have learned a lot of other things, too.  I am one tough cookie.  I can handle a lot, and with class. I am a leader.  I can get in there and get stuff done.  I am smart.  I have excellent judgement and discernment, and I can generally get a good feel for who people really are.  I give excellent advice.  I am worth a lot, and my employer is pretty lucky to have me.  I don't mean to brag, I never toot my own horn and I don't like the spotlight, but I say these things to help myself realize what I am, which is pretty fantabulous actually.

So, this year really beat me up, but I am trying to look at the positives.  My weight went up about ten pounds here in December (the last two weeks of the semester almost killed me...) but, through everything, through crap at work, a hellacious load at school, some rocky stuff in my personal life, I kept off 50 pounds!  I have not reverted back to old ways, but I do need to knuckle down and get back to eating as well as I was.

Goals:

So, I have just a few goals for the new year.

1. Get back on track with Weight Watchers and lose another 50 pounds so I can go skydiving.
2. Cut out as much artificial sweetener as possible.
3. Eat fast food no more than once or twice a month.
4. Continue to think and feel better about myself.


Here is to a new year, may the happy times be more than the sad ones, let us remember to live, love and laugh generously, and never let the sun go down on your anger (keep those you love close and never let the last thing you say to them be something terrible).



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fujisan: Journey Through the Clouds.

The second day in Japan was all official stuff…well, mostly.  In the morning we attended an official ceremony celebrating the first ten years of Minami Alps.  Basically we sat there and did not understand a thing and then stood up when they mentioned our cities.

After the ceremony (and watching people snooze and sit in very, er, casual manners) we had a box lunch with the other Sister City guests.  It was pretty tasty, except for a few things which I put down after a sample.

After lunch we headed off to the Ando House Museum.  This house is over 300 years old and was the house of a samurai warrior turned wealthy farmer.  (He lost a fight..)  Chiaki, my hostess came along as our interpreter.  It was really interesting and I had lots of opportunities to try out my new camera.








We stopped for coffee (or tea) at this house which was set up like a little cafe.  There was beautiful wooden furniture inside, and dolls which the lady made herself.  She served us coffee and cake, which was absolutely delicious.

That evening we had the official reception where we exchanged gifts and partied down with the Mayor and other official peoples.  (Photos to come, they are on a disk and my laptop does not have a disk drive.

The next day, I felt like Bilbo...I went up the mountain.  There were clouds and it was amazing to watch how fast the weather rolled in.

The first view of the mountain.

Map at the Welcome Center.

At the 5th Step.  As high as you can drive.

Looks like Heaven.




The last day my hostess Chiaki took me into Tokyo and we went to the National Museum.

Chiaki and Isao's house.





Tokyo















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