December 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Earlier this week (in the before-midterm-exam times), Polly was a study zombie:
If you are heading into an exam week, good luck to you my friends. You can do it! You can only do what you can do, right.
I was done for this batch of midterms as of Thursday night at 9:10pm. To best capture how I felt the morning after that exam before, here is what I emailed to my Dad on Friday. See, I talk to my loved ones in the third person too.
Yup indeed. It’s all over for another chunk (until the end of April) and it feels good. The last exam was, dare I say, (too?) straightforward and I finished early. I also finished early on Tuesday which means that either: 1) I am super awesome; or 2) I missed something SIGNIFICANT. Obviously, Positive Polly is sticking with the former.
Thus. Me feeling pretty super this am. I was awake at…. wait for it…. THREE AM. But that’s OK. I woke up and reveled in being done and on a holiday (albeit with another three days of work). I also got excited because I have nothing to do this weekend. Not true. Planning Polly has plans. A massage (how extravagant), watching the rest of the “Silk” DVD you guys got me (I LOVE that show, the main lady is super-awesome) and eating some corn-free, bean-rice tortilla chips hot from the oven (I will bring you some to try – they will be cold by then, though).
It’s now 5:06am. I have kick-boxed. As you do. And the kettle just boiled. I have already got back into drinking multiple cups of Tetley every day (the ‘soya’ variety) in anticipation of my homeland culture. Oh the sacrifice.
Bring on the British chunky grilled bacon from the butcher, some egg white scrambles with spinach and maybe a butcher-sourced-sausage or five.
I am so impressed with my own ability to write at 5:06 (now 5:10am), I think I will go post this email on my blog too since it sums up the last week and my present state of being in not-that-brief fashion.
Love you Dad.
See you later? Try mum’s Skype.
November 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
How to: 1) mentor my first year law school buddy with her first year exams looming (8 days ish..); 2) catch my shescoops-ers up on Polly health/law/life nuggets; and 3) briefly encapsulate why Polly of today is quite different from Polly minus twelve months.
I know, write the old Polly a letter and don’t apologize for its length (chapters, people, take it in chapters)….
Dear Polly of November 2011,
Power down on the anxiety. You are at a 10 when you need to be at a healthy 2. A year from now, as you face your next batch of exams on brand new subjects, you will be rather calm. You will have spent ten months or so focusing on eliminating amorphous ‘stress’ from your world. And you will make great strides because many of the reasons for that stress are silly (silly = fear-based; not reality-based). So, put these things in your noggin and muse on them if you want:
- Guess what I have done over the past two weekends? TWELVE PRACTICE EXAMS. Grrrr. Don’t be annoyed with me for doing them because now you feel like you have to do them. Don’t worry. You will only have taken one at-home practice for the Fall (and Spring finals..). The rest of your practice will be THE EXAMS. Why is it so hard to sit and do them? Everyone you talk to will tell you they are THE BEST WAY to revise. Yet, you don’t do ‘em because it doesn’t seem fun, you don’t know the law yet. etc.. etc… Guess what, part 2? IT IS FUN!! AND MOTIVATING (you don’t know the law but you will know it soon…). Best plan is to do it when you wake up (before you can talk yourself out of it). How excited was I to do the first three on Saturday – muchly. And the three on Sunday? Wow! Yippee!!! I am super awesome. I indulge my super-awesomeness. There was a bit of ‘hands on hips – but I don’t want to’ initially. Then I just got over it. I psyched myself out. It worked.
- Bad news, you have PCOS; good news, you have PCOS… Read this. I would argue that all of my 2012 epiphanies are connected to this news.
- I love law school. I had been questioning it all the time. I have stopped. I am doing it for myself and believe that positive things will follow.
- I meditate (well, I did three podcasts that are changing how I handle strong feelings in my belly or heart or head). I work on this, presently.
- We have President Obama for four more years. It was (very) close. But people voted (lots of people) and the majority didn’t listen to the hatefulness promulgated by groups of rich unknowns. It was a moment. Though there are millions of people seemingly afraid by this concept, just cling on to your hopeful nature; perhaps they will change; perhaps not. You voted. That’s neat.
- I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK (finally, Polly got it). I figure it is not about me (kinda arrogant to think it might be about me). Since I have no way of knowing what others have going on in their worlds, I have no way of knowing what they are thinking so why waste any time imagining. I have plenty of other things to keep my brain occupied that are a lot more fun, a lot less stressful, and a lot more productive. I choose that.
- Since I mentioned #6, I embrace being a PollyAnna (thanks wikipedia) because I care not for those who think me disingenuous. I do see the positive; it ain’t a bad thing for us (you and me year-ago-Polly). We were worrying about this back then, weren’t we Pol. Well, we no longer care. Speak from the heart, girl and maintain your integrity.
- I walk around a bit most days, and pull out my cardio kickboxing DVD once a week or so, but that’s it. I have stopped exercising so much in the wee small hours and sleep instead. Actually stress-relieving.
- I have discovered the ‘secret’ of carb-reduction. In oversize quantities, carbohydrates are not my friend. I haven’t eaten a ginormous bowl of oatmeal for over six months. I eat veggies, beans, and lots of (ideally organic) meats of the world (turkey, chicken…. ham?!). I eat egg whites almost every day. I don’t crave crappy foods. I go to bed and wake up energized. I have finally managed to get past the late-night-carb-attacks because I finally got it – eat crap at night – wake up and feel like crap all day. It isn’t worth it. I decided to stop. I stopped. Once in while, sure; it’s the routine-approach that seems problematic.
- FYI – you are about to put on fifteen pounds in a short amount of time. This will be awesome in the long run. I would not be feeling this healthy, this in control of my blood sugar were in not for those additional pounds and the subsequent PCOS diagnosis. My diet, my exercise regime and sense of self have changed immeasurably. I feel pretty good despite my looming second year exams. I know it will be fine. The overwhelm can stay hovering just behind me; I don’t want or need it. I can only do what I can do. But I have to choose to do things. So I do. I choose to have fun. I choose to giggle. I choose to study when I can. I choose to work at work. I choose sleep. I choose cardio kickboxing once or twice a week (or month). I have powered down and I feel terrific.
- No period yet. But it will happen. I know it because I am working to reduce the androgens in my blood stream via lower carb intake on a permanent basis, some exercise here and there, and a zen-like focus.
Oh. One more thing, Polly of 2011, you are about to get the flu but even that experience will turn out to be awesome (read this- #4).
Polly of 2012.
November 23, 2012 § Leave a Comment
While being mindful of the recent U.S. national holiday, Polly wanted to segue back from election-ness to health, law school, and stuff.
Enter the conduit of The Hubby with his spontaneous rendition of a Polly-goof-face.
Thanks for sticking with me and being a shescoops reader, shescoops reader(s). Who knows, I might do something crazy and post again
September 24, 2012 § 1 Comment
It tried meditation.
Since the kickboxing/door-smashing incident, I have been doing a lot of self-physical-reflection and finally decided to give meditation a whirl. Armed with some interweb-research, a podcast and something comforting (because my meditation guide-voice told me to), I and went to my ‘safe place.’ It was remarkable. I will be repeating.
Why now? It felt like the right time for me. No doubt my recent self-side-lining on the exercise front has been instrumental: not only do I have time to do it, I have time to choose to do it. For those of you out there who are (let’s call ourselves) ‘keen’ exercisers, you will understand what it might mean physically and mentally to stop ALL FORMS of higher-impact exercise for more than a week. For me, it’s been almost a month. I have done some walking but gently, gently. For me, that is ENORMOUS news. Truth is, from age 22-32 I did way too much exercise (and spent way too much time thinking about needing to do way too much exercise). Since Law School, I have powered down somewhat due to time constraints and my back/hip issues. In the last month, I finally decided to turn off the ‘but I have to exercise A LOT at ridiculous intensity in order to stay sane/healthy’ mindset. It feels awesome. Freeing.
My body struggles with stress. Hmmm, I wonder if part of my PCOS-hormone-drama relates to the combo of: 1) sensitive Polly with: 2) self-imposed stress of ‘got to do that exercise;’ and 3) the constant physical stresses of actually DOING the exercise. Don’t know for sure but an understanding of the stress-hormone, Cortisol, is developing.
Hence a current new direction. Heretofore, I am including daily moments of deep breathing with sporadic meditation-podcast-listening. AND, I am taking it physically-easier. Since the carbohydrate realization, I think it is time to add in some mental/emotional/physical health slices (to the PCOS treatment pie).
I like to try things that make me feel better. I feel better. And, yes. So does Booie.
September 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Picture the scene…. Two weeks ago, Polly was in front of her tele, doing her kick-boxing morning DVD activity when a lovely snapping sound occurred. Oh, what could it be, she thought? Was that really her leg making that noise? Gee, I hope not. Couldn’t feel anything. No pain. Nothing. But there was definitely a snapping and it definitely occurred during a high-kicking moment of my exercise routine.
So I stopped kick-boxing (seems obvious but it is surprisingly tough to stop when you are on a roll), cooled down with gentle stretching (good work, Polly), reached for my ice pack (for the leg) and pooter (for some interweb research). This is what I found: http://www.bboyscience.com/strains/ and I have been following the steps-in-the-recovery-process ever since.
Yup. No exercising for Polly while injured; something she learned the hard way. Though the old (not backed up by actual science) fears of putting on weight and losing my hard-fought fitness crop up, I don’t judge myself for either the fears or the wanting to exercise anyway. I just don’t do it. These days, I have a strategy to prevent myself exercising and actually rest. It’s a pep-talk (an ongoing one).
Firstly, I remind myself why exercising with injuries is not smart: 1) the injury will take EONS (not just weeks) to heal, assuming it heals at all; 2) knowing I am taking a risk, I get anxious and annoying; and 3) it does a body good to rest once in a while.
Secondly, I line up all the lovely things I can do instead of exercising to get myself inspired: 1) SLEEP: I have been sleeping in. Woo!! That’s awesome; 2)GET SCHOOL WORK DONE: I have been getting my Saturday-school work done earlier and have actually gotten myself a few weeks ahead on my reading (so I feel smug); and 3) MENTAL HEALTH SURVEY: I have been taking some time to care for my mental self and upon reflection on my non-over-exercising/non-high-anxiety state of being, there have been revelations.
So how bad was the injury? Don’t really know. Huh? Well, the day after The Snapping, I smashed (not just stubbed) my tiny toe on a door and rather humorously (I chose to see it this way), the pain of The Toe was so bad that I could not tell how bad The Snapping injury was. I thought I broke me toe. It is only small.
So, it’s been two weeks since The Snapping and two weeks (minus one day) since The Toe. I am into the dynamic stretching and walking segment of The Snapping’s recovery; I am in the ‘it ain’t bruised anymore but boy can I still feel that toe-situation when I put my shoes on’ segment of The Toe.
As for the mental health revelations… post forthcoming…. (yes, I say that a lot but I actually already have a lovely picture-from-hubby ready to go and it’s so cute that I would jump up and down with excitement to post it – were it not for the above).
August 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
There are TEN of them…. be warned…
Even if you aren’t going to Law School (or planning to), you are getting ‘em anyway. For those anti-scrollers among you (I know who you are…), here is a graphic rendition from my resident artist-husband to appreciate instead (the rest of you, appreciate-then-scroll…)…..
1. I was overwhelmed for most of the First Semester/Second Semester…
I’m now a second year and I ain’t gonna lie, the overwhelm always feels like it’s hovering over my shoulder (well, just behind it, I am striving forward partly to keep ahead of that puppy). But that’s OK. I try the internal-dialogue/pep-talk route when I feel sorry for myself: Polly, you are a law student (that’s neat), you have some life experience to draw from (neat), you are obviously a busy one but there is life outside those classroom walls that are joyful. Just do what you can, keep your chin up, etc.. I am super awesome, I am super awesome, I am tired and overwhelmed but that’s OK for I am super awesome.
2. I bought used books and don’t regret it
I am a prefer-the-tangible book nerd. There were online versions and I did ‘subscribe’ to two but they were annoying (the first one, I gave up early and stuck to the tangible version; the second one I recently bought solely because it was cheaper and I am already annoyed). Used books are neat because I like to make notes and stuff. I like a tangible object to hold in my paws that involves literal (not virtual) page turning. From a sustainability viewpoint, I feel smug, and it is quite amusing at times to see the personal notes written by previous owners. I also just discovered an entire outline at the back of my evidence text in beautiful, legible script. Thank you dear ‘before Polly owned it owner.’ Whoever you are, you are super awesome.
3. Case briefs
About half-way through the first year, I started amusing myself by drawing tiny cartoon pictures in my textbooks to represent the case (to help me remember when I was called on in class). It served multiple purposes: 1) it kept me going in class by cheering me up if my chips were down; 2) it kept me going generally (I highly recommend taking as much of the self -imposed seriousness surrounding work/school-work away from yourself when you can – for me, making something fun/funny is a persistent goal – even if I am only cheering-up myself); 3) it worked, I can recall the infamous Palsgraf v. L.I.R.R. Torts case thanks to the graphic of the tiny woman being squashed by a scale with the exploding firework package in the foreground (law-world in-joke)…
4. Law School Exams (a.k.a: I was stressed out about impending exams before I started law school, then I got the flu)
Exams… Grr… Before law school and 100% based on experience, I had a persistent and negative thought going: good Polly student + timed exam = not so good Polly outcome. I was completely stressed out about the looming December mid-terms since the day I was accepted into law school. I am not kidding. Leading up to them, I knew I had to spend every available second revising/studying. Then I got sick. I lost a precious DAYS of revision time in my already compacted schedule. Woe was me. Turns out, getting the flu was awesome!!! (not that HAVING the flu was awesome – I recall crawling around my apartment with a migraine-thing and always within reaching distance of my duvet, pillow and cuddly toy). As a direct result, Polly had an epiphany and its consequences have stuck. So I hadn’t revised enough, what was I gonna do, eh? Cry? (yes) but seriously, I took it on board that one can only ever do what one is capable of in the moment. I am going with ‘good enough’ rather than ‘unmitigated brilliance’ because it is realistic and stress-relieving. I can pile the pressure on myself like nobody’s business (my expectations, other people’s expectations). But I no longer want to consciously do that. So I didn’t. I won’t. And I passed my first year (= good enough for me…).
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Give yourself a break. Do it. It’s worth it. Take a day off everything but fun stuff. I highly recommend it. It could well pay dividends. Free the brain, give it time to digest all the law info being crammed in there; give it time to see the non-law-school world for a spell.
6. The problem of taking things personally in a classroom
I have a history of being ‘thin-skinned’ and fall in the ‘likely to take something personally’ column. Law School is helping me to realize the sillyness of this enterprise. Who has time to dwell and turn inward the reasons for the actions of others? I shall trust that I am willing to take full responsibility for my actions (or inactions) and will take active steps to remedy stuff that causes an unintended effect on someone else. Compassion, empathy, kindness for others and self-respect. I am aiming for these lofty goals. My choices, my actions, my thoughts are largely about me; thus I shall assume that other people’s questionable-to-Polly behaviours are more about them.
7. I was overwhelmed but committed to persevering
The mantra at my Law School for the first three weeks went something like this: “I am tired, I am frustrated and overwhelmed but I don’t care” – I think I may have added a few adverbs to that mantra but it certainly helps to say it out loud. Yes, I am still saying it out loud. Three weeks only? On a myriad levels, Law School is overwhelming. Full Stop. Period.
8. I question my sanity (and enrollment in law school) on a constant basis
Still do. The first week of Year Two was grueling. I have to put in a full days work and THEN DRIVE IN RUSH-HOUR for OVER AN HOUR (mainly because it’s rush-hour) to law school and then stand (I have a standing desk) in class for 3+ hours. It’s physically and mentally tough. But it is now Sunday, I have finished my reading for Week THREE and I feel better. This law school business is doable. Right this minute I am sure that I am in this for the long-haul (that’s good enough for me). Let’s do this. Grrr…
9. I aim to pay attention in the moment
Realizing that I have NO SPARE TIME in my life, I consciously do the work in the moment. I do all the reading in advance. I try to stay focused while reading. I stay focused and actively engaged in class. I don’t have the luxury of spare time to revise, reflect and engage outside of my self-imposed law-school-time-allotment. If I don’t do the work when it is in front of me – when am I going to do it? I have one eye on that Bar Exam (sometime in 2015, prolly) and I won’t have any more free time between then and now (scary though that sounds). So I do the work. I am prepared for class. I try to enjoy class and the readings. So far, that has paid dividends. It definitely helped me with the exam process and it is giving me confidence that I am in the right place and capable of being a functioning lawyer and human being at the same time.
10. I am still enrolled in Law School and still committed to getting the JD and passing that Bar Exam before I turn 38
A note on how I am handling the looming stress of the Bar Exam: if I had a penny for every time I tried to express my fear about that puppy to only be told, “[o]h, Polly, of course you will pass the first time,” I would have one of my famous penny-handfuls. I am always quick to reply that, “[y]es, in theory, I have the ability to pass the bar exam the first time but it AIN’T A FOREGONE CONCLUSION! Not only do I have to spend the next 3ish years in school, when Bar Exam day arrives – I still have to actually sit the thing and pull out decent pass-worthy answers. I am all about making life easy on myself. Being kind to myself. I do want to pass first time but it won’t be the end of my law dreams if I don’t (plus, I am mentally giving myself a nice cushion since, again in theory, I have the opportunity to sit at least 3 bar exams before I turn 38…).
Phew. Tired of reading? I am. I think I will be crazy and do something like go to the movies with my husband during the academic year. Yay! (and awww)
August 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
It’s the Olympics, ain’t it? That’s neat.
It has finally been rainy those massive golden (and silver and bronze) nuggets for British athletes! Wow. Unexpected. I hear we were supposed to get a bunch of medals early on (did we even schedule the events specifically?) but failed to do so. Yesterday, it all changed. So today I wore my ‘Team GB” official olympic t-shirt to work (thanks to my Mum who brought it over with her on the parental unit trip).
Speaking of the parental units’ holiday visit (which ended, last Sunday – boo): the whole time was super awesome. We did tons of stuff. And tons of days not-doing-so-much-stuff which was equally marvelous imo (I highly recommend not doing anything when you typically fall into the ‘busy’ category). I also highly recommend taking breaks with loved ones. It really was lovely. Cheers MumDad!!
Team GB Days – Family BBQs – PingPong @ the local tourist attraction – DerbyGirls – a couple of stunning telescope viewings….
(and Cheers HusbandArtist – best pic ever imo….)
July 17, 2012 § 2 Comments
…later today, we are off to the airport to collect these two:
My dear parentals are visiting for a couple of weeks!!! That is very neat. I like ‘em. A lot. I don’t take that for granted. I am speaking to you both: I love you and miss you and look forward to a non-Skype tangible hug (though you are traveling so can’t read this for a while and hopefully I will have hugged you before you actually read this).
AND….. I finished my last Summer Session law school final last night. I have NO SCHOOL for (wait for it…) three weeks! Blimey. How daunting. What will I do with all my new bucket loads of time? Add into that bucket a whole WEEK OFF WORK too. I am speechless. Will now go back to work (since I am not off this week) and try to concentrate on filing my post-fiscal-close paperwork and doing the standard ‘vacation prep.’ I usually only take time off in December to visit my home nation. Take a week off in the middle of the year, Polly? That’s crazy talk. Yes, but in a lovely, ‘I can’t hardly stand it’ fashion.
June 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
On a scoop scale of ten; TT gets, well, 9.99 (recurring).
Tiny Tower. The one and only game I play on my iPad. It’s so simple. It’s so strangely satisfying. I have been restocking, personnel managing, constructing and marveling at the cute “bitizens” for MONTHS. Even with lawschool-work-study-exams-work-lawschool-proteinhealthyfatsbutlesscarbseating… (butless carb seating?)
Typical Polly, though, I have recently begun to question it. Why am I so enthralled with you, TinyTower, that I willingly devote 5-10 precious Polly minutes to you on a daily basis?
In essence, I believe it has my game-nerd heart. Those tiny bitizens. They are very endearing in the 8-bit glory AND they wear marvelous outfits to work. I want to be one.
There is some nostalgia in my addiction. It brings up memories of my other all-time favourite computer games from yester-year: come back Theme Park (original 1994 edition/PC); Trap Door (ZX Spectrum); Formula 1 (ZX Spectrum); and Nodes of Yesod (ZX Spectrum); those were good times….
There are some who have questioned TinyTower’s underlying philosophy (I read reviews before I “bought it” for FREE). Could that be so? Well. You get to build things. With money. And with the proceeds. You build more things. Get more money. Build more apartments. Rent to more bitizens because you need them to work in your shops and stuff. Evict anyone who is less-than-stellar in their duties.
Are they right? Maybe. I refused to evict anyone initially. Spent a few months with serious under-performers. That has changed significantly in the last month….
Erm. Pol. Power down. You are over thinking this…. It’s OK to just enjoy stuff without delving into an abyss of analysis…
I see. What you are saying is that though it might be a totalitarian regime where the overlord (moi) gets to control everything, is motivated by financial greed and acquiring stuff and which therefore goes against everything I hold dear, I should just shrug and say, “oh well”?
Sure why not. Seems reasonable.
Well. It IS fun for Polly and she knows that over-thinking isn’t always the best plan so onwards, I guess. Helps that I got a Planetarium recently and that you can rename your businesses: my ice cream parlour was inventively retitled: SheScoops.
They have a wiki, it seems: tinytowerwiki.com