All posts tagged changes

Reflections on 2013

Published December 30, 2013 by Susan Woodward

2013 was a year of changes for me… challenges, both physical and emotional, tested me to my limits, and I am still here to talk about it!  In one year, I made significant changes that I have, sadly, let slide a bit as the weather turned colder and I began the new school year.  However, I recognize my backsliding, and I am going to make sure that I do something about it.

I really decided to start posting my challenges online because I wanted to leave my thoughts to my children for the future.  I want them to be able to actually look at pictures of their crazy Mom, watch videos of her trying to make a 50 year old body do aerial arts, and read my introspective thoughts so that they might have an inkling of what goes on under all the red frizz.  It’s a pictorial diary, complete with video clips that they can look back on later, when I am no longer here.  That’s why I put these thoughts out there.  If people read them and are entertained or provoked a bit, then that’s great…but the ones I really want to have access to my thoughts are my kids.

So here are some thoughts about 2013:


Bat Girl

The year started off with a real bang…most of them on the mat as I made my aerial arts “debut”.  My first night on the silks and I was flying!  (sort of).  And I remember my two new best friends… Ibuprofen and Epsom Salts!  I am also reminded of my nemesis that was sent into oblivion… yes, Pall Mall and all his cohorts!  No more tobacco!  I have been smoke-free since January 8 and I will continue to be for life!!


In February, I turned 51, and Will D’Ovidio helped me ring in the new life year with 51 push-ups for my birthday!  The most surprising thing, though, is that I actually DID 51 push-ups during that Cirque Fit class!  I was eating better, getting stronger, and feeling a whole lot more optimistic about my future.


Jenns 6 InjuriesWell, March brought my Circus dreams to an end with tendonitis and problems with both shoulders.  I held on to the hope that I could return in a few weeks, which turned into months, which were finally crashed and burned with a bout of vertigo.  Although I am not able to get back on the silks, March also brought me to the YMCA.  I worked hard to keep the momentum going!


beet juiceApril is when I got the idea to try my first 5K, and so I began training.  I have no ACL in my right knee, so I am more of a power walker than a runner, but that’s okay!  I was off the couch!  I also began juicing as a way to cleanse and detox my body.   The weather was getting warmer, so I was making more regular trips to the Rochester Public Market (THE best place to be on a Saturday morning!).


2013-05-18 16.32.04 May brought the premier of Ombis: Alien Invasion, my screen debut!  Even though I have never really been a horror movie fan, I have to say that I had a BLAST getting zombified a la Tom Savini School of Make-Up and then slimed by what seemed like GALLONS of green goo!  It was a terrific experience, and I am sooo glad that I was able to be a part of the fun!


Hiking and Teacher Rally 020Ask anyone my thoughts on the current state of education, and you’d better be prepared to pull up a seat for a long tirade!  The fiasco of the implementation of the CCSS, APPR, SLOs, PLCs, and a host of other acronyms led me to get involved instead of just bitching about conditions.  I went to Albany along with THOUSANDS of others to let John King and Andrew Cuomo know how we felt!  With all the changes so far in the year, I felt my confidence soaring, and I joined in with another acronymical group: the BATS (The Badass Teachers Association)!    I also completed my first 5K in June!


Portland Headlight with Ram Island Ledge 4 In July, I decided that I was going to head out all by myself,  I was feeling strong enough and confident enough to just get in the car, drive east till I hit an ocean, and then turn left, driving till I found lighthouses and cheap lobster!  And I DID it!  Not only that, I had no hotel reservations or anything…I trusted that everything would turn out okay.  And that is exactly what happened!  I climbed a mountain, hiked, ran in the ocean, climbed into a lighthouse, took TONS of pictures and managed to find about a dozen lighthouses.  The cheap lobster was pretty terrific, too!


100_0746When my Marine daughter told me that she could not come home from San Diego before her deployment in September, I decided that I was going to go to her!  I managed to pick up a summer tutoring gig that paid enough to cover my air fare, and I got to see my Sarah Bear! Never in my life would I have thought that I would put my feet in both oceans that come in contact with North America within a few weeks of each other!   I also spent a lot of time hiking and taking Nature pictures throughout the month of August.


Fist batThis month was certainly a challenge as I began teaching consultant classes for the first time.  Worries over standardized test results (it was announced that 70% of New York State’s 3rd through 8th graders “failed” the state exams).    I was still feeling confident, still working out, still pumping that blood through those veins…and ready to pump up the BAT action with my voice via phone calls, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts.  For so long, I’d felt sluggish, complacent, and didn’t want to get involved with much of anything.  Thanks to everything I’d been working through, I put that energy to work, and the BATS are working hard to make a positive change in educational reform!


SeanceI returned to performing in October with the Rochester Landmark Society’s annual Ghost Walk.  I hadn’t performed since Titanic and the One Acts in 2012, and it felt good to do a little bit of acting again.  The best part was that we had an indoor scene on the tour, so we didn’t have to worry about the cold and rain!


NaNo logoNovember was National Write a Novel in 30 Days month.  Actually, what was required was to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’d had The Red Brick Road rattling about in my brain for quite a long time, and I did have a little of it started, so I had a jumping off point.  It was hard as hell keeping up with daily deadlines, trying to make sure that I had the magic number of words so that I could say, “Yes!  I did it!”  Now all I have to do is EDIT it!  But I DO have over 50,000 words!!


meNearly one year after getting my behind off the couch and actually getting out to DO things, I am still going.  I do have to admit that I have not been to the YMCA recently, but I will be making that change to get back on a healthier track.  Backsliding happens, but NOT ONCE in this year did I pick up a cigarette!  My friend Jeanette and I participated in the It’s a Wonderful Run 5K…in 16 degrees and in the middle of a snow storm!  It was cold as all get out, but we were both dressed in layers (you can see that I look about 150 pounds heavier because of all the layers!) and we survived.  And in January, this body is going to get back out to Bristol to SKI!  I haven’t done that in a couple of years, and I am so looking forward to it!

For me, 2013 was one of my most memorable years!  So many challenges, changes, successes…I feel truly blessed.  Thank you to my friends and family for your support and encouragement, especially to Will D’Ovidio (of Rochester Aerial Arts) and my daughter Illy Welden who got me started and kept me going!

I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Time For a Make-Over!

Published April 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Given that this page was originally created when I was in a more somber place in my life, the theme seemed to reflect that.  Now that I feel I have more “color” and energy to me, it’s time my blog reflected that!

And in honoring “coloring” my life by getting out and LIVING it, I am going to enter the Color Run in Buffalo this August.

Color run

I may not be able to run the entire 5K, but I can certainly jog and walk it!  I have never, ever done anything like that in my life, and quite honestly, I never thought 5K would ever be part of my vocabulary…but I am going to get out there and try!  Even if I come in dead last, I will still be miles ahead of all those who never leave the finish line.

With a little color comes some grime along the way, so while I am at it, I am also planning on entering the Dirty Girl 5K in Buffalo in September!   And I love the tag line here!  I already have one of my three daughters (Robin) ready to get dirty with Mom… and it looks like my Marine (Sarah) might be home for a visit right about that time, so I can get her on our team, too!  And that would be quite a boon to the team given that this is not just a running 5K… it’s got an obstacle course built in!  It’ll be like a day in the park for her!  I have one more daughter to convince (Illy!!).  I also want to enlist the ALL ladies from the 12 Week Challenge (Patty included!!… sorry, Will… you can’t be a Dirty Girl).


It DEFINITELY is Make-Over time!!!



My Bathing Suit Thanks You in Advance, Will!

Published February 11, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Change begets change, and so far, 2013 has been a time of changes for me!  It has only been six weeks since the beginning of this new year, but I have felt better in these six weeks than I have in the past TEN years!  And today is the best I have felt in these past six weeks!!

I am in NO PAIN of any kind!  Soreness from exercise is not pain… it’s a reminder that I am alive and transforming myself.  My back does not hurt; my knee is a little wobbly, but it does not hurt; my neck does not hurt.  I FEEL GREAT!

Ok, so Will really kicked up the ab work tonight… AND the butt work…but like I said in class, “My bathing suit thanks you in advance!”  and I came home still feeling great!  (And ok…there was another reason for the smile on my face tonight!)

The Menagerie Workout instead of Cirque Fit tonight!  Duck Walks, Frog Leaps, Doggie Hydrants, Mule Kicks… and no menagerie workout would be complete without grunts and barks (and even some quacking).  Grunts and barks mostly came from this animal; however, I was really into it tonight…and I had some incentive.  😉

I did mention that 2013 is a year of changes.

So far:

I am a non-smoker;

I have lost some weight (not sure how much because I don’t own a scale, but I can see it);

I am eating much healthier and there are no fatty snacks in my house;

I am drinking only one cup of coffee a day;

I have energy;

I feel more confident, even to the point of taking some chances that I would not have done a few months ago (ie. going on a date– JUST in case anyone was wondering what that smile on my face and the incentive I mentioned earlier was);

I am more social (I went to see a show, am going to the Rochester Brewfest, have gone out for coffee);

I feel my creativity returning;

and I am writing regularly.


On Saturday, we will reach the half-way point of the program, and if I feel this great at half-way, I can’t WAIT to see what twelve weeks feels like!!!  🙂

Cirque du Rochester Challenge…Me? I Accept!

Published January 6, 2013 by Susan Woodward

What a way to begin the new year and to start coming out of that self-imposed cave.  From “underground” to Aerial Silks!  Aerial Arts of Rochester has issued a challenge for eight people from all who applied… and I am one of the lucky eight!  And I am also scared to death!!

I have never, in any way, been considered an athlete.  I never felt strong enough, coordinated enough, or confident enough to play sports other than couples’ soccer (it was more about the wings and beer afterward than it was about playing… I mean, how seriously can you take a team that calls itself the Bakers’ Dozen, and all the players have cute names like Peanut Stick, Sticky Buns, or Cheesecake?  psst…I was Cheesecake and my husband was Sticky Buns!).   I ran myself back and forth and basically did whatever I could to avoid the Bruce-Smith-serious guy that would charge my way whenever the ball happened to find its way into my part of the court.  Believe me, I wasn’t going to argue with him if he wanted it!  That’s the extend of my athletic ability so far!

I am ready to change that.  Yup, at 50 years old, I am going to train in Aerial Silks!  For one thing, Bruce Smith won’t be chasing me down!  It’s just going to be me and Mr. Gravity.  Ummm…yeah.  That’s the scary part.  I have a lot of mass for Mr. Gravity to pull on!

During the next twelve weeks, I will be taking FIVE one to one-and-a-half hour fitness classes a week, as well as meeting with a nutritionist.  By the end of March, I hope to have a lot less mass and a lot more strength.  I have never been able to do a pull-up in my life, yet I will have to build the strength to pull myself off the floor onto silk drapings.   You can click on the picture to link to the Aerial Arts of Rochester.


My motivator?  My daughter, Illy Welden.  I have seen her blossom in the past two years since she began Aerial Arts training.  Her strength, her physique, and her confidence have soared!  When the opportunity to apply for the Challenge came up, I realized that I wanted what Illy has for myself.  Maybe I won’t be the graceful aerialist that she now is, but I can get my behind off the couch and into the air!  I can become stronger and more fit as I pass through these “Golden Years” and hopefully with a lot more grace.   Illy will also be my teacher for one of the five classes each week…talk about role reversal!  But she will keep me motivated when sore muscles and bruises come.  She will keep me going when I first fail at hanging upside down (and I am sure that I will have other failings…but I will work through them!).

This is Illy’s first Aerial Performance after studying for less than a year.  While I’m not sure that I will ever be able to be as good as she is, I certainly aim to try to do my best, and I hope that one day I will be able to post from my own performance!

“Beau Fleuve”

Published October 16, 2011 by Susan Woodward

Drip, drip,

Drip, drip;

An icicle tip

Feeds a tiny spring below.

Drip, drip,

Drip, drip;

Carried away

By the water’s gentle flow,

Effortlessly gliding

Around objects to and fro;

A rock here,

A stump there,

Form a meandering path

Winding its way

In search of a sister–

Separate tributaries fallen from the same tree;

Mere capillaries in the stream of life.

Two finally meet

And then another

And another.

With strength in numbers they carry forth

Babbling together as they travel.

Having no need for detours,

Rocks and stumps are hurdled over;

Each triumph is greeted with gurgles and splashes of laughter.

Love is nurtured and they flow like veins toward a common goal.

Further along, other families fall in.

Members mingle in a roar of introductions as everyone tries to talk at once;

Not until all are on even ground does the din dim.

Still more join in the journey from far-away places and their numbers swelled–

One river born from many streams,

Rolled in one blaze of blinding light.

Awed into silence, a higher power calls each to unite and follow;

None can ignore the call of the Current.

The love pulsating surges through every one;

They pick up the beat and flow forward drawing strength from one another

Until each comes to his destined course and is sent outward on his mission.

The river branches and reaches toward the surrounding land

Like oxygen-fed arteries carrying rich nourishment.

Life is sustained along the path as

Creatures of the forest

And photosynthesized friends are fed.

The outreach continues

With splintered streams

That eventually whittle down to

Trickling trails of life

Seeping into the ground.

Mettle is tested below the surfaceBeau Fleuve

With blind floundering

Hoping to be led toward Spring.

At last! Spring is found

And again emerges from the depths

To greet the newcomers from above;

Drip, drip,

Drip, drip,

Drip, drip.



%d bloggers like this: