Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Upgrading the Muffin Top

Every so often, I read facebook posts that make me laugh out loud.  So when I come up with some brilliant thought or saying, I'm happy when I get the positive responses from friends and family.  The reaction I received from a post I wrote a while ago surprised me, especially when it went viral, not computer viral, but office viral.  I posted the following observation:

It's sad when your muffin top turns into a full on loaf of bread. (As I sit in my office drinking my pepsi and eating a free brownie...)

This opened up a "can of posts" from friends and family.  And coworkers.  About two weeks after my post, one of my coworkers walked up to me and said, "I heard about something clever this author wrote..."  and proceeded to quote my muffin top analogy.  I laughed.  I told her I was glad I could make her day.  She created her own analogy about moving stuff around when she climbs out of her car.  Some fat jokes ensued.  We basically took the muffin top talk to another level.

But in all seriousness...  I really was sitting in my office drinking a soda and eating a brownie so my overgrown muffin top is really my own fault.  Or is it?  I can think of a few excuses as to why my pants like to push my overstuffed tummy up into my throat...

*Four children.  Need I say more?  My stomach has been stretched out four times.  Even though it's been 6 years since the last stretching, I still think it affects the "bounce back" elasticity of the skin and muscles.  Not that I'm a medical doctor or anything.

*Stress.  Full time job, full time mom, full time housekeeper, cook, laundromat, chauffeur, nurse, monster/bad dream chaser, fixer-upper, and in the famous words of Yule Brenner in The King and I, "Eck-cetera, Eck-cetera, Eck-cetera"!

*Age.  The older you are, the quicker your metabolism falls into the abyss and your body is unable to break down the fat from ice cream, donuts, soda, cake, brownies, oh...  pretty much everything that tastes good.  It's your body's way of reminding you that you are no longer that cute, young chick who could wear tight clothing that showed all of the right curves.  Now, the curves are disproportionate and should really be hidden under dark, loose clothing. 

I'm sure I could write a novel on muffin tops and how it affects a person trying to look cute in jeans and a tight top.  I'm sure I can find medical data on the reasons for the existence of muffin tops and how to get rid of them once and for all.  I'm pretty sure I can write pages of testimonials from women who live with muffin tops and either like it or dislike it.  And, I know for sure my muffin top isn't going away anytime soon.  Curses to that Pepsi and free brownie!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hoping to Inspire

(Last October, my daughter's MESA club advisor asked me to be the guest speaker for the end of the year MESA banquet.  This is what I came up with in one night and with very little sleep.  LOL!)

In the Pacific Islands, education is not a new concept. Before there was the idea of formal education with buildings, classrooms, diplomas, and degrees, there were masters. When someone in the islands was educated, it was within a specific field of study where you were an apprentice for many years until you earned your mastery level. For example, a navigator would have to prove his skills by heading a voyage across the sea using only the stars and ocean currents to determine his destination. If he successfully completed the voyage, he would be deemed a master. Or in Hawaii, there were healers and there were bone setters. If someone broke a bone, these were the people who reset them. For their final exam and to earn mastery level, they would have to break one of their children’s bones and reset it. If it reset properly, they would become master bone setters. With this new concept of formalized education, we have changed our WAY of learning, but we haven’t changed the idea LEARNING ITSELF.

In my family, excellence in education was always a must. Expectations were set high and nothing less was tolerated. (This is also true in my own household today.) So going to college after high school was never a question. It was a statement. “What are you going to do after high school?” I’m going to college. By the time I finished high school, my mom had completed her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and my dad had a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University. So I was not considered a first generation college student. But I certainly felt like one. Growing up on a small island in the South Pacific, only visiting “the states” nine times in my 18 years of life, and being exposed to textbooks that were outdated by 20 years, I was not prepared for life in the United States let alone college. Add to that a lack of direction, I was confused all around. I never really knew what I wanted to major in. I went to high school with people who wanted to be a lawyer, another who wanted to go into business, and still others who were set on being a teacher. Me? I wanted to go into interior design. Or something in design. Or so I thought.

When I began my college career in California, not only was I far away from home, but I was in this fast paced, urban area, in which I felt completely overwhelmed. I was told by family and friends that I needed to be more assertive. I needed to speak out and speak up for myself. I was quiet in my classes and I never wanted to ask questions or add anything to the discussions. But I managed to get a job at the college bookstore and again, the concept of being assertive was brought up.

After my first year in college, I moved from California to Arizona to this giant of a school called the University of Arizona. The only reason why I moved there was because my sister was there. I had been accepted to the University of Hawai’i but I knew if I went there, even though my family wanted me there, I would never finish college. I had too many friends from high school living in the area and I knew I lacked the self discipline to refrain from the extracurricular activities associated with college life. So I chose the desert. Trying to be proactive and hone in on my newly acquired assertive skills, I walked into the general advising office to find out what classes I needed to take and maybe find some direction in life. When I told the advisor I didn’t know what I was doing she snapped at me and asked, “Why DON’T you know what you’re doing?” My assertive skills quickly flew out the window and I became that shy, scared girl who just moved from a small island where I had lived all of my life. I walked out of that office crying and feeling completely lost and alone. I looked at the catalog and began taking classes that were part of general education and trying to take exploratory classes into fields I thought I might be interested in.

It wasn’t until I moved to Northern Arizona University that I met with another advisor. Almost four years after that experience and taking random classes, I finally had direction. I decided I was interested in the Broadcasting field and one of my professors was also my advisor. He called me into his office and we looked at my credits for graduation. I was actually much closer than I thought and he even added a history minor to my degree. After six years in college, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and a minor in History. I never went into the Broadcasting field but my training in public speaking and journalistic writing prepared me for any job that came my way. Ten years later, I received my Master’s degree in Secondary Education because I finally realized what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had been a substitute teacher at one point during my college career and I really enjoyed teaching. I’ve taught preschool, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and college classes. I am now an Academic and Career Advisor at Salt Lake Community College. I am a general advisor but I am also the advisor for the Pacific Islander students. I carry with me that very first advising experience and it inspires me to be an advocate for students and to make sure the students that leave my office are well informed, understand what they need to do, and have all of their questions answered.

When Mr. Smith sent me some ideas on what to speak about, he included first generation college student, first generation American, and being a female AND a minority. The first two topics you’ve heard about but the final two I chose to not dwell on. The reasons for that? I have never used my gender or my ethnicity to influence anyone’s decision on accepting me into college or getting a job. Hard work, dedication, perseverance. Those are three items needed to succeed in school and in life. I could have given up trying to get into advising after my first application was rejected. Even when my second one went nowhere. I applied for advising positions and out of all of those applications, I was only given two interviews. The first one did not land me the job. The second one did.

As you’re thinking about college, and you all should be doing that now even if you’re in middle school, I want you to change the wording a little. Instead of saying “I’m going to college”, I want you to say “I will finish college”. Whether you’re going for a trade, getting certified in an area of technical expertise, or going for that Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or beyond, I encourage you to work hard, be dedicated, and persevere, no matter how difficult things may seem. You’re going to take difficult classes. You’re going to have trials in your life. You’re going to get rejected at least once in your life. It’s how you overcome those obstacles that will make you a stronger person. Be successful. Be happy. Be YOU!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The love of laughter

Laughter has been known to do many things. It relaxes the body. It boosts the immune system. It helps blood flow to the heart. It creates endorphins that make you feel good!

We Polynesians LOVE to laugh. Many times the laughter is not just soft, giggling in the hand like a geisha. It's all out guffawing where the neighborhood can hear and possibly the next town over. Once laughter starts within a Polynesian group, it doesn't stop. Because once it starts, one story has to top the next and the sounds of joy escalate. We know how to enjoy life. We know how to relax. We know how to smile. Even the most stoic person can't help but have their mouth start to turn up and show some teeth.

Scientists have also claimed that laughter burns calories. I like to laugh and when I'm around my family, it's all out ruckus. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the benefits in the calories department. Maybe it's because we're usually together eating. Quite a bit. That could be counterproductive. I don't know. That's why I'm not a scientist. Too many numbers.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Football Fan(atics)

I have just learned a valuable lesson. Not from an older, more experienced person. Not from a friend or colleague. Not even from a family member. I have been officially put in my place by a 7-year-old boy. Who is just as passionate about the game of football as I am. And who loves the San Francisco 49ers just as much as I do.

If any of you watched the playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants, you will understand. This game determined one of the teams would go to the Superbowl. The game of all games. The champions in all of football. As it so happened, my dear Niners lost. It was a team effort but many of us avid 49er fans would break the loss down to two key plays. Involving the same 49er player. And resulting in our 49er loss.

Memories of the old 49er days and the "Team of the 80s" flashed across my mind. Led by Bill Walsh. The Montana (or Young) to Rice connection. Roger Craig, and his legs, throwing high knees (and big players) around like they were marshmallows. Ronnie Lott as the hardest hitting free safety in the NFL. His hits would make you cringe and cheer all at the same time. What does this 7-year-old boy know about that era?

He would know nothing. What he DOES know is that he was angry at Williams just as much as the rest of us. This poor child even cried because his team lost. And he asked his dad the universal question: WHY? Then his dad (smart guy that he is) turned everything around. And made his son think. Which in turn made us all think. This 7-year-old boy taught me forgiveness. His dad asked him the simple question, "How do you think HE feels?" And that's when the tables turned and the mindset changed to think about the player. And how terrible he must be feeling.

And that calmed me down. AFTER I felt humiliated at my actions and words. About that 49er player. And it got me thinking. My Niners have had it bad for quite some time now and for them to make it this far wasn't even fathomable. No one would have guessed. Non-Niner fans actually gave the team props. And I am still a fan. For life. Because in the end, it's all about the Red and Gold! I get it. I finally get it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Politics of it All

I'm not a political person. I do not understand politics, politicians, the art of politicizing (new word), or being political. I simply don't get it! I think I wear my heart on my sleeve and what you see is what you get. No games. No frills. No ulterior motives. Just plain ol' me. So politics and the art, thereof, are foreign to me. How can people play with other people's lives? Why would you fight a person and block laws and regulations that would actually HELP people simply because you belong to the opposing party? What's wrong with standing up for what you believe in and pushing through those laws and regulations for the sake of the "normal" people? Who cares what party you belong to as long as it benefits society as a whole? And why does YOUR pocketbook have to be large and in charge while the majority of the nation's is small and sometimes penniless? Why does a president get blamed for the state of the nation when things have been moving downhill at a fast pace for quite some time? And how can he fix it when he's blocked at every turn? I don't get it. I really don't.