Spring has sprung….


Currently Listening to: Over and Over – Good Old War

 

Eighty degree weather in the middle of March is much welcomed around these parts. Granted, we have had perhaps two days of cold weather all winter (I think maybe it got down to the 20s a couple of times), but the early warm up is nice. Though it does leave room for  a bit of concern about what the summer will bring.  :-/

 

Finals are approaching. Well, final papers, that is, and one oral presentation. Then a week off, and then back at it for the summer term (which ends literally 8 days after summer begins. Score.) with Fundamentals of Environmental Health and Fundamentals of Epidemiology.  I’ve heard that Epi is somewhat difficult, but I am really looking forward to the class. We’ll see if I am of the same mindset in a month or so, haha.

And the workout trend continues. I have been lucky to get in at least one workout a day (with the exception of Monday – my day of rest during the week), and usually Thursday-Sunday I get two workouts in. Given the beautiful and warm weather, I have been walking 2 miles in the morning, and then running the same route in the afternoon, followed by my normal weights, crunches, push ups, etc afterwards. And I finally am just below 130 pounds! In a little under 7 months, I have lost 35 pounds, and gotten toned an in shape. I am now confident that if I had to run for my life….I could actually do it 🙂  And I recently bought a bikini. Which may sounds trite. Or something. But considering in the past, I wear jeans in the summer instead of shorts and don’t put on a bathing suit unless it isabsolutely necessary….this is quite a big deal. I still need to get another one – but probably a one-piece, as it will work better under a wetsuit for diving in Honduras. The other one is just to look cute 🙂

 

And on that note…. I am off for work out # 2 – run uptown and back, and finishing up the rest back here. Need to take advantage of the weather, since it’s supposed to be wet, cold, and crappy the rest of the weekend. 😦 Adios!

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For Some Moments In Life There Are No Words – Willy Wonka


Currently Listening to: Gone Away – The Offspring

There are days in one’s lifetime that are exuberantly happy, some that are just okay, and others that we wish we could either rewind and do over, or fast-forward through. There are days that make you contemplate the meaning of life, of our individual impact on the world, and why things happen the way they do.

When someone you know passes away, no matter how close you were or distant acquaintances, there is a gut-hitting-the-floor feeling when you hear that news. In the last 9 years or so since graduating high school, three people (two in my class) I know have left this world unnecessarily soon. The most recent was just a few days ago. And while I was not best friends with any of these individuals, nor did we necessarily spin in the same social circles, that overwhelming loss is just the same.  In some ways, I feel like I should not be, or am not entitled to the same sadness that those who were closer to them should be allowed, but I also think it speaks to the impact that these people have had on those around them.  Each circumstance is different from the next, but the binding tie is that they all went too soon. The difference they may have been starting to make in the world, the smiles they put on friend’s faces, the way their laughter could light up a room, the caring nature of each of them.  It makes me wonder why things work out the way they do. I have yet to find the answer. But perhaps in sadness (recent or still present) we can all find focus and make sure each person was a gift while they were here on Earth by continuing life’s work for them in their absence. To continue what they may have started, or to start something in their memory is a great way to honor such young people with so much potential and so much to offer us all.

I wrote this poem in 12th Grade, about a week after my grandmother passed away somewhat unexpectedly. I thought of it today, when I was thinking about what happened recently. I think it holds for the present as well.

“Sometimes I wonder.

Why do these things happen

The way that they do?

If everything really happens

For a reason, then I

Would like to have a word

With the master planner.

Because lately,

Life has turned a little upside down

And inside out.

 

I’ve never understood

Why it always seems that the best people–

The ones who work hard

And always put other people

Before themselves–

always end up

Being dealt the worst hand;

in the end.

 

I’ve seen friends put to the test

One more than one occasion

And no matter how many times it happens,

And no matter what the circumstances,

The hurt I feel for them

Never fails to come.

And of my family, too, it’s happened

Someone is lost who shouldn’t be–

Who is taken before their time.

 

I’d really like to know

why the fighters always seem to lose

And the bad guys always win

Sure, it’s true – life ain’t fair

But perhaps someone could offer a simple explanation.

 

In a reality full of so many questions

Can someone just give me an answer?” (c)

With this, I hope that those that have left too soon have been able to find peace. And I hope that in time, those that remained behind are able to as well.

Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.  ~Author Unknown

Early Bird Spring and Countdown to Paradise!


Currently Listening To:  Young Love – Gavin DeGraw

Mother Nature seems to be a bit confused these days. Not that I am really complaining. The Weather Channel currently clocks my town at 70 degrees. Yesterday was pretty warm also. Sun and wind and warmth. My kind of March. My kind of winter, really. And we have been lucky this winter (aside from whatever of this is caused by the effects of global warming) in only having about 3 inches of snow TOTAL. Hopefully, though, the summer doesn’t end up killing us with super crazy heat and humidity. It probably will. But for the moment, let’s enjoy the day, the sun, the warm air, and the beauty that is the world on the cusp of Spring.

In other news, another super prooductive non-work day. Lots of errands accomplished, and a morning work out to boot. I love getting stuff done. Then I feel less horrible when I waste time later on.  🙂

I also am pleased with my workout-toning progress. I (with my sister) signed up for 6 cross-fit training classes. Should be interesting to see how badly it kicks my ass. I have, to date, gone from a size 11 to a size 4 in clothes, and lose 30 pounds (seems that I have plateaued, but I think that may be more due to gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time). I am quite proud of myself!

I also am super excited about May. Which, if nobody else has been counting….is LESS than two months away. That makes me very happy. Because it means it is getting closer to summer, and it means it will be very close to leaving for Roatan, Honduras. Love it. Would live there, if life were sustainable long term.

I can’t wait to relax on the beach, explore the reefs under the waves, and socialize with the people, and spend some quality time with my family. Just lovely.

And on that note – get outside! Enjoy the day!

DC Summit Weekend Review


Last week was a whirlwind. Between having two midterms due Monday, and having to present one of them on Wednesday, then mom’s successful ankle surgery on Thursday, her coming home Friday, and me departing for Washington, D.C. on Saturday until Monday night – I’d say it was an eventful week, to say the least.

The trip to DC was both overwhelming (initially) and a great learning experience. I attended, along with about 14 other students from my school, the SOPHE Health Education Advocacy Summit. Most people who attend are professionals in the public health arena – from school administrators to advocates for the YMCA, American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, etc, to name a few. They did say there was an increase in the number of students overall this year, which is probably a good thing, because we need to start somewhere. So Saturday we arrived and the program began around 1:00. There were various speakers on what advocacy is, what it entails, and why it is important. There was also a speaker on the importance of social media in regards to advocacy. The day ended around 5, we got some dinner back near our hotel (which was a 2.5 mile hike across town since we waited too long to get a room). Sunday morning started bright and early at 8:00 straight through until almost 5:00PM. This time we sat at tables specific to which state we are from (Go New Jersey!). Everyone at my table was new to this summit, which helped put us all in the same boat. We spent a couple of hours in the afternoon meeting together to figure out our plan of attack for Monday.

Monday we met at the hotel, and everyone walked over to Capitol Hill together. We then split into our respective groups, and went off to meet with our state Congressmen and Senators. Our group met with both Senator Lautenberg and Senator Menendez’s legislative aides for about twenty minutes each to discuss and request their support for the issues of the Community Transformation Grants program, the No Child Left Behind Act (ESEA) (in regards to making PE and health education core classes in school), the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and the Health Prevention and Human Services Block Grant. Basically – asking for the support for these measures because paying now for prevention (say, regarding childhood obesity and the onslaught of diabetes that is following it) will beat the medical costs that will occur down the road trying to fix the problem. Pretty much, it costs less to have someone teaching prevention of smoking than to pay for chemotherapy for lung cancer 10 – 20 years from now.

It was good for us, because both Senator’s are on board with health education and prevention. I don’t personally understand why people wouldn’t be. Other than partisan politics tend to jade how people think. Either way, the visits went great, we are going to follow-up with both offices, and they seemed genuinely happy that we were there, and interested in what we had to say regarding the issues. So, a win for everyone.