Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I did a blog last evening about my busy week and I'll share how things have went after parent teacher conferences have ended. This is going to be a photo blog of my weekend with JIMSQUEENIE and our family in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. (You can do a search and find out some of the history of this wonderful place.) I do want to thank Vicki for setting our trip up--she found the lovely bed and breakfast we stayed in and got us all motivated. It was a wonderful time for all of us.
Amana is a beautiful area that maintains the dignity of the time this colony was created while being VERY shopper friendly.
The roads were easy for me to travel on with my walker and were so lovely to walk on. I enjoyed the feeling of history and of pride that I felt.
I thought this was a different photo when I uploaded it--seeing me navigate stairs with help so that I can get to my walker and remain on my feet probably isn't very fun to look at. It is a part of what I do daily. I chose to wear red that day because, well I am comfortable in colors like red these days. I am thinking that this isn't a flattering photo of myself, but it is a very flattering photo of my oldest son and my second oldest son's girlfriend who are lending me a much needed hand to get down this building's stairs.
This is just a funny photo--why there was a stand-up of John Belushi in one of these old stores of hand made goods, I will never quite know.
This is my husband and my son's girlfriend enjoying some conversation on a very beautiful day. We were treated to a gorgeous weekend for our trip.
We took a lot of photos--I'll sort through them and share some more in a later blog. I want to really mention my time with Vicki--and I think she has photos of the two of us. With all of the photos I have, I don't seem to have any of either of us or the bed and breakfast we enjoyed so much. I know that she snapped a few of them, and will be sharing them with me. (They were off on another trip after we left Amana, so we haven't reconnected yet.) Vicki treated me like a "Queenie" while we were together--she gave me a welcoming gift of some lovely classical music (for helping me to relax) as well as a special birthday ring that I will cherish forever. She is a wonderful person to know and a great spark friend. I feel blessed to know her and to know all of you. Each of my spark friends give me many gifts that are irreplaceable. I enjoy your support and caring as I muddle through my world to be healthier and happier.
Thank you all.
Thanks be to God.
Life is good!!
Monday, September 27, 2010
My daughter helped get a lot of photos on our iPhoto program--now I am going to try to get them in this blog. I will figure this out.
This is the afghan I recently finished--and I am already working on another one for my oldest daughter...I love doing this, but as you all know, time is an issue these days!
Actually my daughter helped me--let me show you some of the photos of my apple collection next...
Here are some of my apples hanging in the air...
There is even one on the door--actually, I used to have all apple decorations on my bulletin boards and the like--but as I got moved into stranger places to teach like bathrooms and food pantries, I had to give up on this type of thing. I'll trade the apples for my basset hound collection after the holidays--my kids will really love them. They just like knowing about us and what we like and do...
Finally, here's some pictures of Tweak, my youngest son's guinea pig--getting a ride.
You all might be sorry now that I know how to take photos, load them on the iPhoto, and get them onto my blog. I will share some photos of the trip we took to Amana with Vicki (Jim's Queenie) and our family last month. It was awesome and so is learning to do things like this.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I did it again and deleted some things going into my blog--technology isn't my specialty and that is why I have decided to make it my personal professional development goal this school year. I have continued working on my goals and needs since the day before my birthday and I am happy to say that I have come to some conclusions that are both positive and will help me to be better at my job, as a parent, and healthier.
Today was simply crazy and this week has been too. I was at the toy store this morning when it opened--and was lucky enough to have stumbled upon a sale on Beyblades--buy 2 get one free. The Houseparty folks included 5 beyblades and an arena in the party box. (Houseparty is an online group that will provide you with a box of materials if you apply for a party and agree to use their site to help make it happen. This is the third one that I have won and they are fun. The first one was for Nabisco 100 calorie packs, the second one was for new Febreeze items, and this one was for my son with a popular toy.) I then went to the party store, Walmart (for food) and Dollar Tree for balloons. After that, I had lunch with my best friend--she treated me today and we went to a pretty nice place. We split an order of linguini alfredo. I brought bread, linguini and salad home, even after we split the order. We had a wonderful and peaceful time in spite of the fact that my children called me a few times and even stopped to ask me something twice. Giving them cash and my ATM card (along with my cell phone) handled that.
I left our nice, quiet luncheon (even after two phone calls and two visits from some of my children)headed for the park and to set up the Beyblade "let it rip" party. On the way home, I was unfortunate to have a flat tire--and yes, you guessed it--I had no phone, so I had to simply sit and wait for someone to figure it out. I wasn't too worried becasue I knew I was on the same road that my husband would be on when he left work. He had gotten a ride, so he went home and then sent the cavalry. I got to the park right on time and was there for my son's friends and the guys took care of the details as I set up the party. Even though it was a bit chilly and it rained off and on, we were undert he pavillion and these 7th grade boys had a really good time--the party lasted over an hour longer than I planned. I will get a few photos up on the Houseparty site today and I'll share a few here as well.
Speaking of photos, I also have someother photos I hope to share with you--my afghan that I finished a couple of weeks ago and my apple collection that I have at school are some of them. I also have photos from Amana and of my classroom and I will learn how to get them out of my camera and I will learn how to put them on a blog again. (I did it once, so I know I can do it again.) I wish I could understand why I have so much trouble with technology. My guess is that I simply don't do it enough.
Anyway, we got home after 7:30 and we had to put things away and take care of life--but the internet was working and that is how I got going here at SP. Last week was my lowest point week and I missed several of my goals for responding to blogs and huddles and the like. I know that today is my day to work on report cards and school work after the pool--but my break is coming. I think I'm ready for it. Fall is a hectic, changing but wonderful time of the year for this teacher. It always seems to fall into place after the first quarter and parent teacher conferences are over.
Have a great weekend.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Hi there my friends,
This has ben a chaotic week that will end with my husband's birthday today. Let's see if I know where to start...I have been busy trying to do more at work than teach--lots of meetings and things. I have been enrolled in some online training through the district in the use of technology which is pretty time consuming. I have had a few doctor appointments and several calls trying to straighten things out. And the doggone internet was out last evening. That will make this my lowest spark point week ever, lol.
I am getting started on my National Board renewal--and have spent the week chasing down permission slips to videotape children. We have had our typical week of special events, culminating today with a "walk-a-thon" that will change my schedule. We have had a lot of those kinds of things around here this year. Next week is parent teacher conferences and I have been working on report cards/ progress notes. I have a box of books that needs to be leveled and put away--some were a gift from a friend and some are great books that I bought on ebay for a real deal that simply need to get stamped with my name and added to my collection. I also have a nice display of children's work that I want to get hung on the wall before conferences next week that is still sitting on my table. I have a collection of things to be copied or sent to printing that go with the new reading program that I am using. (I am not going to comment on my opinions about that here, but I will soon.) I feel pretty scattered and am not sure what to do next. And today, after school we have a meeting with our superintendent to discuss assessments, and I am having some issues with our current policies on that, so I need to be there for "as long as it takes."
Then--there are my medical issues. I am finally scheduled for an MRI on this shoulder on Oct. 4--that takes a visit to a place called "Advanced imaging" for an injection and then a trip to the MRI place. (That seems a bit out there--I have never had any tests that required me going to two locations before.) I have a follow up visit with the same person I've been seeing on Oct. 11 at 11:15 which is after my 9:30 visit with my Rheumatologist. It turns out that when she talked to me about my shoulder that she had EMG results that didn't have a name on them, but the birthday was September 9, 1955. My birthday is the 19 of the same year and month--she had the wrong stuff when she talked to me and that is why she told me that strange stuff about not being aware that I had a pain issue rather than the tingling stuff. Grr--at least she told me the truth about what had went on. I appreciate honesty. It turns out that I have no carpal tunnel and the results from this test indicated that there is something going on with my shoulder. (duh) We are going to check it out and get to the bottom of this non-stop pain that keeps waking me up and makes me miserable.
I also have an appointment for another mammogram. I am so PO'd about this thing, but my gyne called me and told me that she is concerned about the shadows on the previous test. They messed it up and have harassed me ever since. I had scheduled an appointment to have it done again and we had a flat tire on the way there, so I didn't make it. Then they sent me a letter saying that the one I had done in June was okay, so I let it go. Then, they sent a letter to my doc and told her that I was uncooperative and didn't come in for my test and all of this bologna. I hate this test more than most--they hurt me awfully--and they tell me that mammos don't hurt other women. How is this possible? To top it off, their machine hits my right side exactly on the scar from my gall bladder surgery, so I get that pain as well. I have trouble standing unassisted that long and I am guessing that it is my fibromyalgia that makes the pain so lousy--but I hate doing these and having to do them 2-3 times a year because of their issues really bothers me. My doc was trying to be helpful and suggested that I take my pain meds before I go--but I have been using that trick for about five years, lol. All of this is about them not placing me on the machine correctly and my nip made shadows.
We have a Beyblade Party for my youngest son and a bunch of his friends tomorrow--I won it on Houseparty. The kids will have fun and I am planning it for at the park, so there will be plenty for them to do. I have to go get the food tonight. Tomorrow is also the day I have lunch with my best friend--we generally et together on the first Saturday of the month, but she had a trip and I had a class last weekend... I may end up missing the pool on Saturday--I also know that my job will be getting time out of me this weekend--late today and then Sunday after the pool is all I have available for it. Whew...
I hope that mediacom has my internet service back up and running when I get home. If you get a moment, please stop and put up your feet for me, I need time for that on weekends, but it won't happen this weekend. Oh well, we will be off work after conferences next Thursday and Friday for two weeks. I have 10 medical appointments during that 2 weeks, but I should also have time to crochet and to work on my National Boards and rest as well then. I am looking forward to all of that.
Today should be about my husband most of all. We are going to get him a birthday cake at Whitey's, a local ice cream store that has the best stuff ever and that people return to our area to get. some people pay to have this stuff flown to their new locations. I am going to indulge as well. I haven't been the bet eater this week--I have caught myself having a couple of pieces of fruit at night to get my nutrition in and this teacher's lounge has been a food fest lately. I have gotten in my water though and have stayed in my calorie range, but it has been tough.
OK, the walkabout is probably ending and I need to say "au revoir."
Gentle hugs one and all,
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I'm not talking about wine or champagne or the like--I am talking about Sylvia (aka enuff81020.) I've gotten in the habit of reflecting on my goals at the end of each month and I do that pretty consistently. I then rework them as needed for the coming month so that I can continue to get better and better--and to close in on my goal weight. Now, I don't think this is so extraordinary around here and chances are that one of you got me in this habit and even gave me the idea. The real reason I mention it is that I think that with this being the eve of my birthday, I should do the same on a bigger scale... (no not or )
Physically, it is pretty easy--I could copy a couple of blogs that I wrote earlier about what it's like to lose 100 pounds and/or what it's like to be in onederland and it would tell most of that story. I can reiterate that I have lost most of my weight in this past year. I never got my act together and took measurements but I can give you the summarized version: "I am smaller all over!!" My swim suit size is 7-8 sizes smaller than what I wore in the summer of 2009. My weight loss wardrobe is now starting to be too big for comfort (yay for me and boo for my pocket book--but I win over the checking account. My birthday gift to myself is that I spent this evening ordering several new items of clothing and spending money on me. I don't often do this, but I also found a nice sale and that gave me an unofficial go-ahead. Since I am in a profession that how I dress is important, I can also justify it that way, ha ha.)
I can also reiterate that my health is greatly improved--although I am having a couple of momentary glitches that might hide that fact. I no longer take meds for high blood pressure, depression, asthma, arthritis (although they were making me sick and I sure wish I was), my heart and my heart blockage, indigestion, and I'm sure I'm not thinking of something. However, I do need to take a monthly vitamin B12 shot and a pretty hefty vitamin D supplement along with my regular multi-vitamin and calcium supplement. I had to go back on my meds for fibromyalgia, although the dose had to be cut back because I no longer weigh enough to support the kind of dose I was taking. the only medication that remains unchanged from previously is my pain medication for the big damage that arthritis has caused to my body. Quite honestly, I haven't been taking as much of my pain meds for breakthrough pain as I used to (until my recent shoulder thing) because my daily exercise at the pool had helped me to do things for myself that the meds used to do.
There is a dumb update on my shoulder. It turns out that I have an impingement to my hand but it is effecting my pinky and ring finger. That will not require carpal tunnel surgery. However, I am so irritated. After a major run around that required me to get the EMG results from the neuro-doc who did the test and getting it delivered to the ortho group, I gave them a day and then I called for my information. I have not been seeing my wonderful Dr. Connolly for this because I wanted to get in right away. I talked to the other doc and she was surprised that I told her I was having pain in my shoulder. (what? duh? She gave me the steroid injection and that certainly is why I went. She tried to tell me that all I was concerned about had been the tingling and numbness in my hand. Hmm, I am pretty sure that I have spoken non-stop about pain that is keeping me miserable and awake at night...) Anyway, now she is sending me for an MRI and I am guessing that it will be a coupe of more weeks before I find out what this is. It is a pretty intense pain that burns down deep inside (sounds like arthritis when I say it that way...) and it wakes me up after I sleep for an hour--or two tops. It has made me cry and it is hard to push my walker and walk because it hurts to have my arm in the position I need. I cannot tell if it is only my shoulder or anything else like my neck. I do know pain that even the strong meds from my pain doc won't manage it for long enough for me to function. I love Dr. Connolly but there are some 20 orthos in this group and some of the others aren't great docs who focus on patients. My neuro guy is not a great doc for patient care either--when I talked to him a few months ago about my back, his comment was that there was nothing he could do for me surgically so I should just take care of the pain. Usually, I have my husband with me when I see him to block the door so that I can get a decent answer, maybe in a complete sentence as he is rushing out of the room, but my husband couldn't come with me for that amazing and "un" helpful comment. Oh my.
Back to the news at hand...I think that it has crossed the witching hour and I am now officially 55 years old with all of my same aged peers retiring from teaching in my school district--but I learned over the summer that I am not ready. I have more energy and I still have professional goals to achieve. I have a lot to offer children who need the gift of reading and all of the power that that will give them. Although I have physical disabilities that limit my motor skills in waling distances and climbing stairs, I am more up to the physical challenge of working with kids than I was over 110 pounds ago. the children I work with need me--they need the gifts I can give them and they need me to come to them at their level and nudge them closer into the level as their same aged peers. (Note to the ortho doc--they need me to be well-rested and alert which is hard with this pain that you didn't know that I had...) My big goal is that I am going to do the renewal for my National Board Certification this year. It is a 6 month time commitment as well as $1,450.00--but I am not going to let that honor disappear after all of the work I put into it originally. I am one of the very few in our district and in our county and region of Illinois who have accomplished this. I had a wonderful introductory class with an outstanding and gifted teacher today who convinced me that I am still the accomplished teacher I was ten years ago when I took this project on and there were less that 200 people in our state who had earned their National Board Certification.. I am so glad that I went today.
However, I have had to miss going to the pool both Friday and Saturday. I got to go out with my husband and our youngest son to see the musical our oldest daughter is in. It is called "Hard to Believe" and was a locally written script and score from a locally written and published book depicting the Old Testament story of Job. Megan is getting to be a pretty skilled performer and even though her passion is for directing, it is a total pleasure to see her perform and to hear her beautiful voice. (Our youngest daughter is also working on a play at the high school--they are doing "A Midsummer Night's Dream." She is one of the faeries in the play and not only is singing, but she has an oboe duet with another of the faeries. I am looking forward to seeing that in about a month.) We went out to dinner after the play last night with Megan and three of her friends after the play and I didn't get home until after midnight. Since we left after retrieving everyone, I didn't have time to do any household or SP tasks after work last evening. Then, this morning, we left around 7AM to leave for Bloomington/ Normal (Illinois) for my class. However, this was a rare exception. I don't let things meddle with my pool time and my daily workouts. If anyone would have told me on my birthday last year that I would be going to the fitness center daily I would have decided they were certifiable, lol. But, I go and I have several of our kids who go with me most days as well. I love the way I feel after I work out and I love the way my body feels in the morning--I am not nearly as stiff as I am without it. Anyway, the things I did included quite a bit of walking--almost 15,000 steps each day--so I didn't go without exercise and took the opportunity to shake my routine up a bit. I watch very little TV anymore--I try to see my soap(s) a few times a week and that is about it. I can hardly believe these life changes for me, but I can tell you all they are good and have made me happy.
One other big area of change is what I eat and how much I eat. I always get five servings of fruits and veggies in. I have lately tried to make that from 6-7 each day. I eat less processed food and far fewer empty calories. This is a big change that I think is habit. I am not ready to give up tracking food or fitness yet, but I have a pretty good sense of what I have done throughout the day and of what I yet need. This is another thing that has happened since this time last year.
By the time birthday 56 comes around, I expect to be good at "maintenance" of my weight loss. I expect to feel even better than I do now and I expect that the holdouts here in my family will have jumped on this bandwagon with me. I will start thinking about my revised "big goals" today. I have 2 yet to make from last year--I still cannot walk my sweet baby Lady, she is too strong for me. (I do walk the other dogs without any issues, but it is my girl, our alpha female--the basset hound who got me started as a hound owner and lover who I want to take on walks and show off to the world. I won't give up on this. My other goal is waiting for my husband to join me on--I want to dance with him. I guess we are going to have to have an event that dancing is a part of for me to accomplish this goal. I think I could do it if we ever get onto a dance floor. I also won't let this goal go because it is too special to me/ us.
So, I am another year older. I have conquered several demons and have built several healthy habits. I have seen the scale show me some awesome numbers and I feel strong emotionally and physically in many ways. I am not perfect and I have more to do, but I am sure on my way. Please forgive me for doing some bragging here, but I know that you all understand why it is important to look at all of these things and think about them and what they really mean. My 54th year has been a very good year!! I'm expecting the 55th to be even better!!
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