Carrot & Stick

Vegetarian Times Magazine has a monthly segment in which they hand out carrots and sticks- a carrot for a job well done for animal advocacy and a stick to the people who make unkind choices when it comes to animals.  When I break from blogging it is always daunting to pick it back up without writing a novella about events that passed by, so this time I decided to choose two events: a carrot and a stick…

(Having nothing to do with animals except that none were eaten by me during this time!😂😜)

A Carrot Goes to…  The Oak Heights Staff & PTSA!

This is definitely prompted by an award I received today.  At our annual volunteer assembly I was honored with the Educator of the Year award from our PTSA complete with a framed certificate, apple trophy and golden apple pin.  As our PTSA president read the laundry list of reasons why I was chosen, I was flattered to realize that the extra spin I put on my job to make it a bit shinier and sparklier for my students is noticed.  I take the academics I have to teach and attempt to twist them into something fun, engaging and intrinsic for the kids (with varying degrees of success, it must be noted).  Sometimes I question whether it’s worth it and I think it’s safe to say that yes, it definitely is appreciated!  On my way across the courtyard, trophy in hand, a small group of my fellow teachers applauded me and told me how I brought spirit with me to Oak Heights.  They shared that they appreciate my friendship as well as my teaching.  I was speechless and so appreciative.  Any doubts are officially evaporated.

But then, on the way home, on the freeway, I started thinking about the amazing staff I get to work with.  I thought about how much I didn’t want to leave my last school and about how right it was that I had to move.  I thought about how from the moment I landed at OHE I felt acceptance, friendship and, dare I say, love.  I felt community.  I felt curiosity and a sense that I had something to share.  I realized I had joined a team of people who love students, every day.  People who believe in children, respect them, honor who they are.  I became a part of a community of educators with character, which I believe is so important.  Looking forward, I’m spinning with joy.  You know Snoopy, when he dances on his tiptoes with his nose in the air?  That’s me.  Not only do I already work with an amazing team, my principal has hired three teachers who have kind of a celebrity status to me and I’m all nervous, blushing excited to work with them.  Just…  Gush.  I love my job, my school, my students, my colleagues, just WOW.  I feel so lucky tonight.  It’s a good way to end the year!

A Stick Goes To…  Cap’n Not-Awesome and the Great Candy Caper

I’ve been on a bender.  I’ve already decided to forgive myself and not beat myself up.  While I’d rather if I hadn’t broken my  mostly pretty clean, four-year-running, self controlled eating streak, I have to cut myself some slack.  It took me this long to get here and there was definitely a trigger.

It all started with my last race.  After the Brooks Trailhead 5k I was pretty worn out so I decided to take maybe a two week break.  After the two weeks, my family confessed to me that life is better when the spector of my obsessive running isn’t breathing down our collective necks, so I decided to intuitively run.  There’s a reason I never tried this practice before- if I were made to intuitively run I would have done it before.  You know.  When I was gaining 150 pounds.  So as my exercise dwindled away to nothing, so did my self control.  At first I was like WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!?!  Why can I seemingly NOT STOP putting things in my mouth?  Food I never eat- like Sour Patch Kids and crap like that.  Admission: I ate an entire can of Lays Sour Cream and Onion Stacks on Monday during work.  I still haven’t brought myself to looking at the calorie content- because yikes, but it doesn’t matter now, anyhow…  I realized that when I stopped running, Zumba dancing, ellipticalling, weight lifting and walking that I also gave up my coping tools.  And guess what my favorite, all time best coping tool has always been?  If you guessed food, you are right.  

At this point, the scale mocks me from the corner of my bedroom so I am naive at the damage done, but I’m proud to say that once I recognized the problem (no coping tool for stress prompting an unhealthy reliance on food) I’ve been able to begin the process of steering myself back onto the road.  Thank goodness.

Within the stick there’s a carrot, though.  Never once during my bender did I think it was ok.  Never once did I feel comfortable consuming food of that quality  in that quantity.  Never once did I think I was going to slide down that slippery slope to the dark side.  I have the confidence now to know it’s short term.  I’ve got it and when it’s time I’ll turn it around.  Now that the binge/bender had its season, my inner fat girl is almost stashed back in her closet and I’m getting back to it.  Bradley and I have a running date this weekend that I have every intention of keeping.


  1. Paula

    First things first. Congrats on the award. It is wonderful when you see that all your hard work is recognized & appreciated. I am so happy for you. You are so blessed to work in such a supportive & caring environment. I have never been blessed to land somewhere & found acceptance & friendship. I must admit I am so envious. I understand the need for a break from the obsessive running. I myself am working on balance. Not that I am being lazy, but not to push myself so hard I burn out. Like your family noted that you’re more fun. Maybe a break is what you needed to set back & evaluate. It is fine to train for a big race, but ther is nothing wrong with running easy runs, shorter runs, fun run with the kids a hike at the park. All movement counts. Currently I run 4 days a week. It allows me to do other things besides running. I don’t want to miss out on other fun things because I am unable to balance life with running. I hope I make sense.

  2. Reading this made me realize something about my own journey. When I took a long break from running to “rest up”, my strength training and yoga also halted… then my eating loosened up and I just started to slump as well! It’s amazing to me that when you stop and think about what is causing a snowball effect, it was because of one tiny, little change. I just spent my morning registering for several virtual runs to keep my running mojo going now that I found it again haha! It’s too hot to run outside, so live races are out of the question at least till the fall now (119º this weekend, ouch). These virtual runs will keep me on my toes and motivated haha!

    Huge congrats again on the award, you deserve it! I can tell just through your posts and FB group that you are an excellent teacher! I know I would be happy to happy you as my daughters teacher any day! <3

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