Sunday, June 12, 2011
I really need a good week in many ways and I have decided that I need to make that for myself. I have been awake for hours because of pain. I realized that my pain patch was missing and that strong medication generally keeps me nestled somewhere in a normal life. Three companies make it and one of them makes it in a way that stays secure for me--however, I haven't been able to get that brand for about 4 months now. The others are smaller and less noticeable, but if they come off, they aren't worth much. Actually, the good news is that my pain levels have been better--I think that the warm weather combines with all of the ways my new doctor is treating my health is all working on my behalf.
Anyway, I am making a commitment to myself this morning, at the beginning of a new week. I am going to take the time I need to do what is best for me. I am going to eat carefully rather than in the rush in my life. I am going to get back to my plan of 6-7 servings of fruits and veggies each day because I feel better when I do that. I am going to stick with 10 glasses of water and daily exercise because I know it helps me. I am also going to work harder at having more than one serving of dairy each day--this is one of those tough things for me because although I love milk and yogurt and cheese, I hate the calories that they involve. I am kind of odd in that although I am a chocolate lover, I have a far bigger issue with cheese than chocolate. It is a trigger food for me along with chocolate chip cookies. I will work on managing this.
As for stress, I am going to work 4 hours a day--and they will get what I can do. I am not going to overdo things at all. If they want these hours of paperwork, they will have to accept that I won't serve children for four hours. I cannot do everything and I anticipated my summer break to be a break. I anticipated this summer program to be a true summer program with the variety of children who attend each day to be given the opportunities to read and to enjoy literacy events when they are present. That is how summer programs work--they are inconsistent as children have opportunities to do a variety of things. Attendance varies and we just run with activities with who we see. Asking for goals and strategic plans assumes that a child is in attendance each day and that the program is consistent. I can only do what I can do when I am in attendance. As things are, I am having to move all of my teaching materials and books for the summer program from my room to another room in order to work with the custodial work. I also did not sign up to put physical stress on my body.
There are a few other things in my world right now that are adding stress to my life. I am not able to share much about them at the moment, but I am lifting them up to my Lord to deal with. Some issues on earth simply need heavenly interventions. I am glad that I have the Lord in my life to help with the big issues.
The old, often over-used quote about today "being the first day of the rest of" our lives is very true in it's simplicity. This is what I am using for myself on the start of this week in June.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
I envisioned my summer tutoring project as being a time of sharing books, the love of books and skills in reading with children. That is NOT, NOT, NOT what I am getting to do and I am quite frustrated. It has become a nightmare of paperwork and administrative "stuff." A PhD candidate is helping us and has asked for our "strategic plan," "three goals for each of the children," "pre-testing and post-testing," an attendance page, a schedule, etc... It is a 6 week program with me working 4 hours a day during student contact hours ONLY. When am I supposed to do this stuff? Well. one answer to a part of it is the past three days because she/ they decided that we needed a signed permission slip for any child we serve--and they didn't bring them to us to send home with the kids until today. So maybe, just maybe, I can teach tomorrow. Please forgive me for venting but I wanted to do this because I thought it was going to be like my summer reading program and it is far different than that. I am feeling blue because of it and have even considered some "civil disobedience" in not doing all of the extra paperwork.
As for me, I am spending a lot of time with that and getting to the pool to work out. I also have tried to spend some time with my younger kids--they do still need some attention, lol.
Anyway, I am hanging in there--and doing the best that I can with my Spark program. I haven't weighed in in weeks and will do that this week. I will find out then if I have to keep such a tight rein on what I do.
Thanks again for your continued kindness, patience and support. I amy be the most infrequent of your spark friends, but it isn't because I don't care. My life is so hectic and crazy that I do what I can. My work outs take a lot of my spare time and they are so important to me that I won't give them up for anything but important family issues.
You are the best!! Remember that and all of the reasons that you know that makes it so!!
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
I think "missing a beat" describes the past several days for me. The end of the school year is a monumental thing for most teachers--besides weighing in on the year and the children whose lives we touch, there are the far more tangible responsibilities in taking down a classroom for major cleaning. I am going to be providing tutoring for children in the park program that is housed in our school during the first 6 weeks of summer break. This is a ground breaking program, brand new as the result of my work with the church and the drive of our pastor. I want to see it work and be successful for the ids who need it. There are over 100 kids registered at our school, so it is a similar story to the school year with numbers and a job that is looking a bit bigger than life. I will get it sorted out.
Wow, Thursday was the last day of school and I have been busier than busy since then. On Friday, I went to the fitness center to work out, a training session for the summer tutoring program, grocery shopping, errands taking kids to work here and there, and then home to find out we could go pick up a couch for my son's apartment and a cookout in the park with everyone who wasn't at work. We went to a park by the Rock River and it was a bit buggy, but so quiet, beautiful and peaceful!!
Saturday was my workout at the pool before we left to go to my husband's cousin's funeral. I didn't expect all of the people who were there, but I didn't realize that not only did Frank have an excavating business, but he was a member of the village board and a volunteer fireman. We got home in time to work on some laundry and some other household chores. Sunday was all about the warm, sunny weather and working in the yard and moving that couch into our house to replace an older one in the family room. (My son couldn't get it into his upstairs apartment.) I weeded and placed mulch and planted and worked like crazy--and after some 6+ hours of work and a trip to Walmart for some paint and other "stuff," I got home in time to fall asleep as soon as I sat down, missing supper and my spark time. I accomplished a lot, but there is a lot more to do whenever I can find the time.
Monday was about the beginning of the summer park program. I got to school around 9AM and left for a couple of hours for a teacher's meeting, then went back to organize and structure my plans. I worked hard on book baskets with a lot of standing and bending and lifting. I left around 6:30 PM and got home, did a few chores and left for the pool. That wasn't my best workout, but it was really refreshing after such an intense day. My body is pretty sore after the abuse I have been handing it. My physical therapist keeps talking to me about the fact that even though I might be feeling better, I must be careful not to overwork my back and body. I don't know how to judge what I can and should do and what I shouldn't, but it is something amazing to be moving around and doing things that other people do for a change. As I work on my impulsivity in managing my eating and exercise, I have to do the same with my day to day activity.
Take care everyone, stay safe in the heat. (I think that I may be one of the few in the area who is enjoying and embracing the temps we are having and not complaining at all.) I really love the fact that I can be outside and that I can move around. I love the fact that the cold weather that started earlier last November and that made me throb and burn and hurt right through April and part of May is over. This makes me energized and I have no complaints about warm weather--it is easy to find ways to cool down.
Gentle hugs everyone,
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
beginning a summer??
I don't quite know what to say. We have tomorrow left, but it is an hour of student contact time, working on folders and end of the year paperwork, cleaning up rooms, and probably a meeting of some kind. I begin tutoring during the summer park program for four hours a day for four days a week. We have a "training session" for this for 2 hours Friday morning at the fitness center. After that, I'm going to enjoy the pool and do some working out. This program will be a great deal different than when I have done my own program at the church. My son will be doing some teaching there this summer.
Speaking of my son--he got notified today that he has a position teaching fifth grade next year. His pink slip has been rescinded. Yippee, good news--he seemed to expect this all along. I am so glad for him. He is moving into his own apartment right at this minute and over the course of however long it takes, and I am glad to see him coming into his own. I will miss him, but his apartment is only about 4 blocks from my school so I don't think he'll be too big of a stranger.
Anyway, as I reflect over this school year, I served almost 80 kids and some 30+ got their reading up to grade level. Of those who didn't, the older children have multiple issues and I think need more help than 40 minutes of reading instruction daily to solve them. (One of them was very close...) Of the younger ones who didn't make it, I made two year plans for most of them and most of them are where I thought they would be by now and just need more time. There are a few of them who I also have identified (to myself anyway) as having multiple needs that reading support isn't going to resolve. I have done a lot of good work with children and their families this year. As always, there are a few things I wish I had gotten done, but I think I have done far more than anyone could have asked for or expected this year. My biggest concerns are about my co-workers and the general attitude around me. Again, there is little I can do about this--that issue belongs to the administrators to straighten out and work with. It makes me sad to be in a new building that has this type of problem at the end of its first year.
However, summer break is here. I have the first class in my ELL program in July and a four day out of training during the last week of June. I have a big household job in mind that should result in switched bedrooms and a better use of space around here. The rest of the time is for being in the pool or at the fitness center and in their pool or out camping. I plan to have some rest this summer along with everything else. To wrap this up, I have some photos of the fitness center where I spend so much of my time:
This is the front desk and the place where I swipe my membership card when I come to the pool. Then I usually come in with my swimsuit on under my clothing and if I am not starting out on the bike, I cut through the girl's family locker room and head into the pool.
Here are the tools I use when I am working out in the pool:
I generally use a band to warm up when I walk. Then I come back and do some squats and some other band and stretching activities before I put on the bubbles and do some kicks. Then I use the weights--particularly on my right side to strengthen my shoulder. I move on to some pushes with the noodles and then some leg lifts with them. I wear my swim gloves to work on my arm extensions and stretches. Then I do some aqua jogging before I do some balance exercises and some knee stretches. I do some walking and then some actual swimming before I do more stretching before I get out and see the following view of the pool.
If I don't go to the hot tub, I head to the shower and then the sauna to soak up the dry heat before I get dressed to head to the bikes or home. I have one more photo to share--
This is the sign I got placed to mark the accessible shower for those of us who need it.
I'll share some other fitness center photos in a later blog because 1) this blog is plenty long enough and 2) I am wearing my swim suit and am ready to go for a good workout and some relaxing, soothing pool time. Thanks for hanging in with me. I am kind of all over the place in emotions and well, directions in general. I'll get over all of this soon!!
Monday, May 30, 2011
Hi all and Happy Memorial Day,
I wrote quite a nice blog complete with photos on Saturday and instead of deleting the "upload photo" box as I finished, I closed the blog and lost it. That's the way things go sometimes. I will add some of that today and save some for later.
Yesterday, I went with my husband to go to the hospital to see Frank, his cousin who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last week. He is very ill and it was not a comfortable place to be. I feel deeply for the people who are close to Frank because they are basically watching this come to a natural conclusion. He is lucid and spoke freely of "waiting to die" when we were there. I won't describe the details because you are all capable of "getting this situation." The interesting thing in my thinking was watching my husband's family avoid the conversations that Frank and his wife both wanted to have. I will be thinking about this for a while, and I need to explain the situation to my older kids as well. My husband was not comfortable with taking the trip and avoided it for a while. He wanted to go by himself and then he wanted my company--I have simply listened and waited for my husband to come to the decisions he needed to make. I don't think we stayed as long as we probably should have, given the travel time it took to get there and the likely outcome of all of this. There was no optimism in the air with the nursing staff or the family who had been there. It is all very sad. That is the one thing I can state honestly.
Last Thursday was the music awards at my daughter's high school. It came as no surprise that she was acknowledged for all that she participates in. It was not really much of a surprise that she was selected the "Top Notch Sophomore" choir student either. She is such a capable musician in many ways. I am sorry that others from our family weren't there to see her receive awards. I'll share some of my photos with you all.
Marissa is receiving an award from the choir director (who is also a member of our church and is the handbell choir director.)
Marissa is with the other sophomores who were recognized.
This is the plaque on display in the choir room that has the names of the "Top Notch" sophomores listed. They also select "Top Notch" freshman and junior choir and band members. Seniors are recognized in many ways that includes scholarships. Megan won two of those when she was a senior and that is a very helpful recognition!
I think my daughter is going to be really blue over the seniors moving on because they have been such a tight-knit group of friends. It will be important for my family to recognize her feelings at this bittersweet time of the year. She did try out for show choir and made it. I was far less surprised by that than she was. Marissa seems to be unaware of the range of her ability and passion for music and what it means to those watching her perform. I have some other photos but I cannot seem to locate them--I will share them later.
Mitchell got the keys to his apartment yesterday. I am happy that he is at this place in his life, but this is another of those bittersweet moments. He and I share a bond that connects us as mother and son and teacher to teacher. I know that he will do well in his career and the only real job I have left to do for him is to continue to pray that that pink slip is rescinded soon and that he has a position for the fall. He is a great guy and will be a good role model for male students who don't have many men in their lives.
I want to express my thanks to each of you who served in the military and gave of your own life for all of us. I have struggled in a very selfish way as our 6th child and 5th son gave a great deal of consideration to enlisting last year at age 17. I was opposed to that for the reasons one would expect of a mother, mostly because one is not able to make those decisions at age 17 and that the inevitable tour in Afghanistan was unacceptable to me. I do not believe any American should be in that awful place where they aren't wanted by the people who are there and where we trained the people who are now the "enemies." I am so glad that my son found a different opportunity. In the meantime, that makes me appreciate each of you who served even more--and for those of you who have a loved one serving in the military or who has lost someone dear to you, this day is too little in giving you the respect and recognition you deserve. God bless each of you. My father was a Korean vet and when he passed away, we became aware of the medals that he won for acts he never spoke of. That makes me understand the depth of what our military people do to protect us all. Again, I give you a big "thanks."
Have a thoughtful day--and for us--maybe there will be no rain to darken this day.
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