Education

October 2014 Weigh-In

I have, for so long, wanted to be a blogger, and frankly…  I just find myself falling farther and farther away from that world.

I’m not closing this blog, but I think I am formally announcing today what it has unofficially been for years now.  This is basically my tiny little corner of the internet and it’s not much more than a slightly-public personal journal.

I still welcome comments, but I’m not going to say that I’ll blog more than once a month or make any bold proclamations that I’m about to revitalize and start blogging regularly!  We’ll see what happens.  I’ll try to update my weight at least once a month.

In September, I weighed in at 399.8.  On October 1st, I got on the scale and it said:

392.4!

That’s a loss of 7.2 pounds in a month.  Not great, but I don’t consider that terrible by any means.  I am down 32.8 pounds from my heaviest.  Woo hoo!

My weight loss is slow, but at least I am actually losing, for the first time in what feels like forever.

My doctoral work is keeping me so much busier than I ever would have expected.

I am anticipating graduating in December 2016.  While that sounds like forever away, I know (in doc school terms), it’s right around the corner.  I’m lucky in that my 2nd Master’s degree is letting me count 12 hours toward my program requirements.  (And let me also say – thank goodness for free tuition.  While the doc program fees aren’t covered by my tuition waiver, the tuition itself is.  I can’t complain about getting this degree for roughly $35,000 cheaper than most.)

I’m not exercising as much as I’d like, but thank God for my lovely wife Tina who has become quite the expert paleo chef!  Before this semester (Research I, y’all… it’s no joke), I was the family chef, but she has happily taken that task over for me and is doing an amazing job of it.

While we are not 100% primal or paleo, I do have to admit – it’s not as hard as I thought it would be once I got into it.

I hate when I read on paleo websites people say things like, “And I haven’t craved bread or sugar since!”

No, I still want sugar, but the difference for me now is… the cravings are bearable and beatable.  I can overcome them, much more easily than I used to.

I also have no delusions that this is anything other than a calorie trick.  I’m sure we’re feeling much more satisfied eating protein and fats than we were more carbs, but either way, we’re dropping.  (And we’re also eating WAY more veggies than ever  before, so that has to be good for us.  I still hate Brussels sprouts, though.  I’m pretty sure they’re poison.)  And incidentally, Tina is also losing weight as well.

It’s funny; we’re feeding our son pretty much the same thing we eat, although he’s pretty small, and we’re trying to get him to gain weight.  (He’s 85% percentile for height but only 20% percentile for weight.  How I had a skinny kid… I’ll never know.)  The doctor isn’t concerned with his weight, though, because he is healthy and well proportioned.  It’s funny, though, and it kind of shocks me at how ridiculously obvious this is.

He eats whatever we eat.  A few nights ago, we had roasted broccoli with dinner.  He was chowing down like it was candy, and I strongly suspect it was because he saw his mom and dad eating it.

I have to eat well and lose weight to keep my kid healthy, if for no other reason.

I need to force in more time for exercise.  But I’m also trying to keep some fun time in, too.  Last night, after class (the class I’m in meets once Saturday a month from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), we had a big bonfire in the backyard.

bonfire

No roasted marshmallows to go with it; we just enjoyed each other’s company by the fire in the backyard.

While I’m not a big fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I do love the fall.

‘Til my next post, whenever that may be (early November at the latest)…

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Weigh-In #001 – January 3, 2014

It has been a while since I’ve blogged.

Things are still going well in my life, but it has been a hectic few months.  I’ve been sick for about three of the last four months.  Nothing serious, just ickiness.  Because of my (mild) hemophilia, I have a slightly compromised immune system.  Because I have a 15 month old son in daycare, he brings home every little illness that goes through there.  Combine the two, and you get a consistently sick Daddy. 

I had a tremendously busy fall semester, teaching an overload class.  Spring is always nicer and a bit slower.

In fact, this spring, I’m taking on a new challenge.  I start working on my doctorate next month!  Holy cow!  I’m pursuing a doctoral degree in postsecondary leadership at Western Kentucky University.  I obviously have no idea what my ultimate dissertation topic will be, but if I had to pick right now, it would be something related to international education.  I also graduated this past December with my second Master’s degree, a Masters of Science in Library Media Education with an emphasis in educational technology.  I have a 470 page capstone project completed if anyone would like to read it.

Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

That’s cool.  But I digress.

My professional and educational life is moving along swimmingly.

My health has taken a nose dive.  I blame no one but myself.  I’m not going to gnash my teeth and tear at my hair (what little is left) and lament, “But I did everything right!  How did this happen?!”

I’ve done nothing right.  I know how it happened.

I haven’t worked out since early fall.  I went to the gym a few days ago, got thirty minutes in on the elliptical, and I left EXHAUSTED.  I have lost pretty much all of the fitness I once had.

That’s not the part that bums me out the most, though.

I’ve gained every single pound back that I lost a few years ago, and I’ve gained ten pounds more.

402.8 is no longer my highest weight.  It is now 412.0.  I have at least gotten back on the horse and lost some weight from that number, so I’ve got that going for me, I guess.

But regardless, that horrifies me.  When I first started losing weight and got into the 300s (back in 2004), I swore it would NEVER be that high again.  When I got into the 200s, I swore it would never creep past 300 again.

If you had told 26 year old me that I would meet the girl of my dreams, start my family, have a wonderfully healthy son, AND get up over 400 pounds again, I would have told you you were crazy.

And yet, here we are.

I know what to do.  I know how to lose weight.  I just have to do it.

I’m thinking very seriously of taking down my old blog posts, but we’ll see.  It just feels weird having four years of history here and it all just lead up to me being fatter than ever right now.

But I’m not giving up the blog, and I am going to resume my Friday weigh-ins.

I feel like the ultimate cliché.  Fat guy, starting a blog in a new year.  But it is what it is.

This blog was supposed to keep me accountable, and I’m going to bring it out of storage and start using it again.  Every Friday I will post a weigh-in.  I am going to measure myself every weekend and post that in a separate post, and if I’m feeling super ambitious, there will be another post somewhere in the week about something else.

  • Weigh-in #001
  • January 3, 2014
  • Weight: 407.0
  • Change from Highest: –5.0 pounds

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An Are Finals Over Yet Weigh-In

No, not my finals. The finals I am delivering as the instructor.

(No, that’s not me. My stack of papers to grade is much bigger…)

When I was a student, I used to get so irritated at the professors who would take forever to post our grades and let us know how we did.

I’ve graded three major projects from over 120 students in the past week. In addition to the standard work week I put in at work, I’ve probably spent around 50 hours grading papers.

Since I’ve been a teacher, I get it.

The end of the semester is always the busiest time for me. My exercise took a major backseat this week, unfortunately. I worked out one time.

And I wish I could say that I made up for it by eating perfectly. Regrettably, I did not. This weigh-in shows it, and I have no one to blame but myself.

December 9, 2011
Weight: 375.4
Change from Last Week: +1.2 pounds
Change from Highest: -27.4 pounds

I resolve to do better this week. I’ve got one more week of class before school is over for the year (which means after Friday, no more work until January 2!). I will post a loss this week.

I realize this is short and sweet. I’m going to try and review one of the Power Rangers Christmas episodes this weekend, not that the vast majority of my grading is over.

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6 of 15 – How Things Change…

In some ways, I have always been fickle. I changed my major multiple times until I finally settled on my degree path. Even know, I am still not fully sure what I want to be when I grow up.

Right now, I am a teacher. I hope to be teaching for a while, but I honestly don’t know if I’ll be teaching for the rest of my career.

I’m meeting with my advisor at some point this week, because… well, I’ve had some thoughts. I had initially said I was going to take a break from the Master’s I am currently pursuing and immediately jump into Folk Studies. In fact, I made that very announcement on this blog a week ago.

Guess what? I’ve changed my mind. A little. A Master’s in Folk Studies is still, hopefully, in my future. However, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I really should finish the degree I started. After all, I get free tuition, I don’t plan to leave WKU any time soon, and graduate courses expire. I could easily lose the nine hours I’ve taken toward this Master’s in Library Media Education.

There are two tracts I can take in this degree. One is Educational Technology. The other is Library Media Specialist, which is basically a school librarian.

The Library Media Education degree is one of the most popular Master’s Degrees at WKU. I feel that it could make me more valuable at WKU if I finish it. After all, speaking very selfishly, one of the big reasons I want to stay at WKU is the free tuition. If something should happen to my job, I’d like to have other options.

So, to sum up, Folk Studies is taking a bit of a backseat. I’m going to finish my LME degree now. I do, however, need to decide at some point whether I am going to take the Educational Technology route or the Library Media Specialist route. There are pros and cons to both.

To be perfectly honest, this degree doesn’t directly fit into my big decision. I started working on it before I made this decision.

But again, I want to stay at WKU, and this degree may help me do that, just by virtue of giving me a broader base to work from. One of the things that makes me a BIG anomaly in my field is that I do not hold certification. All of my colleagues do. Certification, if you work in teacher education (which I do), is a BIG deal. If I go the Educational Technology route, then I won’t have certification. If I go the Library Media Specialist route, even though it would be significantly more difficult, I would obtain that desirable certification. And frankly, I think I would enjoy the training to becoming a librarian. After all, I love books.

So, if I get to stay at WKU, at some point down the road, probably ten years into the future, I plan to start a degree that will very directly impact my big decision. It’s something that I wish I had done years ago, just because I really enjoy it.

I am eventually going to begin a science degree.

Specifically, I want to earn my Bachelor’s of Science in Astronomy and Physics.

Have I mentioned just how much I love science?

I still want to earn a terminal degree. If you had asked me ten months ago, I would have said that I want a doctorate in Literacy Education.

Today… well, I still might. I might want a terminal degree in Library Media Education.

Or I might decide to get a terminal degree in Astrophysics. Who knows?

By the way, this degree isn’t the decision. It’s just one potential step on the path to that decision.

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1 of 15 – My Educational Travels

First of all, welcome to November! Rabbit rabbit!

(Does anyone else do that?)

On Halloween, I teased about how I am going to describe a major, potentially life-changing direction my life is about to take. I’ll admit we’re talking BIG picture here, not small things, even though a lot of small things are involved. Since this is post 1 of 15, then you haven’t missed anything. Pull up a chair. Join us!

I’m going to start off by talking about what I pictured my future would be like when I was in high school.

From about the age of 7 on, I had made up my mind that I wanted to become a doctor. I LOVED biology. I loved gross anatomy. If it had to do with blood and guts, medicine and health… I was all about it. I took every AP science and mathematics course my high school offered (and did awesome at them, by the way).

I make it to college, and I do fair in Inorganic Chemistry. Molecular biology kind of kicked my butt, but… well, I had literally JUST discovered the internet, and even though everybody was on Geocities, a brand new world had suddenly opened up to me. I just didn’t study as much as I should have.

Starting in my sophomore year of college, back in the dark ages of the fall of 1997, I took Organic Chemistry I. I studied, but admittedly, not NEARLY as hard as I should have. Let’s be honest. I should have devoted at least twenty hours a week to this class. I probably spent… oh… maybe three. Per week. If I was having a test that week.

I may be a hard worker now, but I was LAZY then. Young and stupid, what can I say?

I got an F. First F of my life.

I retook it in the spring, but (I swear I’m not making this up), my grandmother died and that week, I got so behind, I ended up taking the class for an audit because I was staring down the barrel of a D. (But on the plus side, I did finally get the hang of Nuclear Magnetic Spectroscopy.)

I signed up ONE more time for Organic Chemistry in fall of my junior year of college. I knew this was make or break. If I didn’t do well, then I had to say good bye to medical school. I got a decent grade on my first test. Not great, but decent.

I will NEVER forget the day that I got my second test back. I still remember the grade. 55 out of 100. I didn’t see the possibility of doing better than a D in the class. Medical school, as far as I knew, was gone. I would not be becoming a doctor.

If I had a magic time machine and I could go back to that moment, I would do one of two things.

One, I would tell 20 year old me, “Dude, a lot of people get a C in Organic Chemistry and still make it into medical school. Don’t give up. And get off the dial-up internet and study harder, dumb ass.”

Or two, “Okay, so you think you can’t become a doctor. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on science or even medicine. Why don’t you consider becoming a nurse?”

I didn’t. I had taken Introduction to Psychology during the previous summer, and I changed my major. I enjoyed the coursework. I hate the field. HATE the field. It took me a while to figure that out.

Oh wait, no it didn’t. I figured that out about a year after graduation.

I briefly entertained the notion of becoming a School Psychologist. I even got into the graduate program, which was fairly competitive. I again learned that School Psychology was not for me, either. It wasn’t bad grades that chased me out. It was the fact that I just didn’t like it.

In the spring of 2003, I enrolled at WKU to become a teacher. You’d think, if I loved science, I would become a science teacher, wouldn’t you? But no. My self-esteem was so tore up by that C in Organic Chemistry that I had myself convinced that I wasn’t smart enough to get a science degree. Therefore, I fell back on my second love.

Writing and literature. I worked hard, and in just four semesters, I completed my second Bachelor’s of Arts, this time in English & Allied Language Arts.

I spent a year as a teacher and got a Master’s Degree of Secondary Education out of it. After I left teaching, I went through a string of humanities-related teaching jobs, literally covering the gamut from birth to death. My favorite was corrections, where I stood in an overcrowded classroom in a county jail and taught GED to orange-suited inmates. Seriously. I really liked that job.

I made some amazing contacts in the field of education and developed some great skills, and that brings me to my current job at WKU, teaching literacy to incoming freshmen. I’m working on completing my graduate literacy certificate, which will allow me to begin teaching upper level literacy courses. I can’t wait!

But… I still miss science. A lot.

Oh, I forgot one little detour. In the spring of 2008, I started nursing school.

No joke. In the fall of 2007, I took Anatomy and Physiology (you’ll never guess who my teacher was – not joking, it was the man who, as a child actor, played Danny Torrance in Kubrick’s The Shining¬¬ – I am not joking – you can’t make that up), because I wanted to get out of adult education and back into medicine. Fortunately, I met Tina, and I dropped out of nursing school. Right after I met her, I knew she was something special, and nursing school is demanding enough that I knew I couldn’t build a relationship and continue.

I don’t regret that decision for a moment. I regret nothing on the path of my life that has brought me to Tina, who is truly the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Now I ended up getting the greatest job I have EVER had and I truly intend to retire from WKU. I love my colleagues, I love my bosses, I love my students, I love everything about my job. (I would like a window in my office. Just saying.) But the call of science has never left me. Suffice it to say, 16 year old me would be very surprised at what I’m doing for a living. Teaching was NOT in the game plan.

And no, I’m not planning to go to nursing or medical school. More details on my big decision coming soon.

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)