Saturday, August 11, 2012
It has been quite a week. I have found a lot to enjoy and have kept away from any serious negative thinking although a couple of things might have taken me there. This is a bit of personal growth--I think one of the motivational comments this week helped me along: "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." In any case, it has been about accepting myself, speaking up for my needs, and then being proactive. I think that I can make decisions and justify good choices at my age and experience levels.
Wednesday was Marissa's birthday and it was fun. She and I went to the pool together--but she didn't get in. It was cold in there after a cloudy day with as close to a damp morning as we have had all season. Marissa shared birthday cookies with the staff that she has been working with and then lounged and read while I did my work out. Brr-rr. We came home for her birthday pizza--I ate two pieces which dipped me into my extra points for the week for the first time. I am sure that that didn't help my weigh-in a lot the next day. She has decided to save her birthday cake until the weekend. I can manage passing that because I have learned to not much care about many sweets.
Thursday was a bit warmer. After the Wednesday fire drill at school, I was able to do a bit more connected work at school. I have taken the bull by the horns and am doing some beginning assessment on some of our newer students. People in my role were told we couldn't do these about five years ago so that classroom teachers would take responsibilities for their own data collection, but with our class sizes being so high and the fact that we have so many new students in our building, it is ludicrous for the one staff member directly trained in assessment to not help out. I will explain this to anybody who may want to hold me accountable. It has helped me to manage some of this time as I have been trying to gather data from other buildings, particularly one rogue school in our district who simply aren't cooperating with any other of our schools. The pool was a bit better on Thursday and I got in a good work out before I went to weigh in. I lost .8 which is better than a gain. I have been looking up every food item again, whether I have thought I knew the particulars or not and I have been measuring faithfully, like I am new to all of this. I think it is helping me to think about food quality better. Our meeting topic was summer recipes and we were supposed to bring one to share. I didn't do that, but I got a couple--one is a chicken pizza made on tortillas with lots of tasty veggies that I may try this week. I like TexMex kinds of foods a lot. We did splurge financially and otherwise with a fast food meal that I should have passed on, but it was 7:30 before we got home. I had 2 KFC chicken wings along with a lot of fresh veggies for dinner. My sodium was a bit high, but I do really good with that given all of the fresh foods I have been eating as a rule.
Yesterday was a bit similar. It was the coolest morning we have had since maybe April. My work day was similar to Thursday except that I sent off an email to a couple of our "downtown administrators" and suggested that our department have a meeting, the first in at least 4.5 years. I am concerned that we are down to a staff of 8 with them not replacing anyone who has retired in as many years. I am equally worried that although our district is making procedural changes, they are not updating our related procedures. We have one new person in one of those positions and he responded nicely to my message. The other guy was away for his daughter's wedding, so I won't know if it will happen for a few more days, but one can hope!
Our two youngest have been in marching band camp all week, so we went to their "mini-show" last evening. I cannot say I enjoyed it as much as many things--the sun was right in my face and there was no way for me and my walker to find a better vantage point. The kids were dressed casually and they performed three of the four numbers they are learning for the season from "Phantom of the Opera," Marissa's suggestion for the band. I saw some, but it was just a bit odd and of course, highly unpolished for a week of work and an entire semester to go after they return to school in another week and a half. I can tell they have been working by how dirty and somewhat sunburned they have been when they have come home each day. I do appreciate that I teach little kids on a regular basis that is confirmed when I watch others work patiently with kids who seem big enough to behave better than they do, ha ha.
Today is my day to take care of things. I hope to get my hair trimmed and do some errands this morning. I am having lunch with my best friend today and will go to the pool after my daughter's voice lesson this afternoon. I need to plan out some meals and menus this weekend and work in the gardens. These tomatoes are so awesome and I have had all I could ever want. I don't know how it is that we are having such a good harvest, either from the new fertilizer, the constant work and watering we have done or just a blessing from above, but today's paper is discussing the major problems here in farm country with the corn and other commodities. I love home grown tomatoes better than any we can purchase anywhere around and they have been excellent. I can eat them for breakfast as well as other meals and put them on almost anything.
It is time for me to get going. The kids have a short marching band activity in a small (no tiny) town parade today and I need to get myself in grar.
Have a great weekend--enjoy yourselves!!
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
17 years ago today, our little girl was born into our family which then had one girl and five boys. Even with the scare that occurred when she was delivered by c-section, we never guessed that she would be the kind of young lady she is growing up to be. It was most likely that even though pre-natal tests never confirmed it, that I had untreated gestational diabetes when I carried her. She was born, weighing in at 11 pounds, 2 ounces and was so shaky that they put her in the neo-natal ICU with IVs to give her glucose that her body had grown accustomed to having. It was heartbreaking for her father and I because it was really new. It was also odd because the other babies in ICU were all preemies and she sure looked out of place, as big s she was. Now, she is a multi-talented young lady who has the voice of an angel and learns interesting, complex skills fairly easily. She also is more outgoing than most of her siblings who tend to be quiet and shy--and reserved--and can be outlandish and outrageous, while being outstanding.
Anyway, her birthday is going to put me and my new resolve to lose this 30 pounds in a tough situation. Her birthday meal of choice, is of course, her favorite--pizza. Between that and ice cream and cake; well, it will be a tough evening to navigate. My plan is to eat well for breakfast and lunch and to have a healthy snack of veggies and fruits before dinner. Salad will be available along with that pizza and I should be well within reason to have a slice or two. As for cake and ice cream, I can easily pass--but I may make sure that I have some Skinny Cows or something around for both Megan and I who are weighing in tomorrow. I think it is a sensible plan that I will be fine with--since I have time to plan.
I had my second set of SI injections yesterday and they fooled around with my sleep patterns even worse than usual last night. I fought the urge to eat when I woke up from my second 2 hour nap and I had another 2 hour nap after my husband got up at 4 to get ready for work. It may be a tough day with all of this unconnected sleep.
Here are photos starting and ending with our "Great Mississippi Valley Fair" as they advertise--and the REO Speedwagon concert in-between. The first set of photos show the scenes as we walked into the fair. It was a busy place, looking full of fun--and fair food, of course.
There were lots of farm animals and their carts and buggies around--the horses were around, on display for short periods of time. It was tough to get at them with the crowds and the heat in the upper 90's didn't make farm animals too endearing, lol.
The next display was a fenced in area of these black bears. The young ones were pacing around and the older one just sat on the ground, quietly.
Next, we continued to walk around to see more like the camel rides and the "ligers" that we didn't pay to see, lol.
Finally, the concert... There were tons and tons of people there!
Finally, the concert got started. We were directly in view of the stage, but everything was so far away and small. The two screens helped us to see details of Kevin Cronin leading the band. They played almost everything--and when I was in my 20s they were one of my favorite groups. We would get together with friends and paly cards, listening to albums until the wee hours. I have seen them at least 4 other times, but it has been a long time since I went to a concert. I forgot about how loud they are between the music itself and the gazillion other people. the loud part didn't bother me much--but we also took Micah, our 14 year old and he had never been to a rock concert before. The loudness certainly bothered him, but not enough to get away from watching their talented drummer put on a continuance performance that gave Micah thoughts on the kind of percussionist he wants to be.
Two hours after the concert started, it was dark out, but the fair was in full swing.
It was nice to squeeze in a lot of fun in the less than two weeks between the stress of the summer program and the stress of the new school year. I may make a point of attending other concerts in the near future. They are a fun part of my past and fun has been left out of my world on a regular basis the past several years.
Have a great day, today. Happy Birthday, Marissa!!
Monday, August 06, 2012
I had an amazing time at the fair Friday evening--oh, the "Great Mississippi Valley Fair" and the REO Speedwagon Concert. It was so much fun--I have photos and hope to download them by tomorrow, so I'll share them then. I haven't been to a concert in a while, but it was everything I wanted it to be. I knew all of the songs--one of them threw me for a few moments, but then I got it. I sang and tapped my feet and played my air guitar and even danced a bit. I have seen REO other times and this was one of their best. Their showmanship was awesome. We sat in a special area reserved for folks with disabilities and I was a bit amazed at some of the people there. Many of these people were overweight and smoking and in wheelchairs. I almost became judgemental until I thought about who I was before SparkPeople and I knew that I didn't have the right to think what I was thinking. I wanted to reach out to a couple of them, but it wasn't the time or place for that either, especially with strangers. I am sure glad that I found Spark People and I am glad that I lost 140 pounds. I cannot imagine what shape I'd be in with that still on me--I'm sure I'd still be using that wheelchair to start with.
I have done an awesome job of analyzing my daily menus--after measuring a lot of my food so that I am not imagining what I am eating. I still have my own age-old problem of not eating enough. I ignore those red messages that I get from SP on my trackers--and I have booted it up quite a bit, but I am still below 1000 calories most days. I have been drinking up to 12 glasses of water daily and I am wondering if I should cut back on that or substitute beverages like mild and fruit juice to beef up some of my calories. I suspect that I am not going to have quite the loss I need for my hip replacement if I don't get things fixed.
My job is at a frustrating place right now--I have to collect all of the kids' reading scores to select students before I can make a schedule and I am short about 60 scores that I am trying to find. I think they may let me help with some of the assessment which will make a lot of sense. As I called other schools in our district, I found that they did not replace another Title 1 teacher who retired--and that drops us down to a department of between 8 and 10, depending on what the junior highs have done. I am very alarmed at this type of choice because having reading specialists in elementary schools makes a good deal of sense. We are trained to assess and diagnose reading issues--and reading is at the core of any and all learning. I don't know what administrators are thinking these days.
Grant's farm (yes, no segue...) is located in the St. Louis area. It formerly belonged to President Ulysses S. Grant and was bought by the Busch family (of Budweiser fame) in 1908, I think. It is beautiful. One of the things that has been done is an effort to care for local wild life and to bring some other animals has been a goal of theirs. One thing that people can do at Grant's Farm is taste a variety of beers without cost, just with reminders that with drinking comes responsibility. Admission is free, actually the only costs are for food, non-alcohol beverages, animal feed, and souvenirs. When you arrive, you start out with a ride on a tram that takes you into areas of the farm that are only for viewing and then, it drops you off in the area where all sorts of activities for families are. I tried to take photos on the tram, but I didn't have much luck because of the pace we were moving at.
This is the actual home, it is a one level home and looks quite lovely.
There were loads of animals--especially deer, birds, plains animals--but I just couldn't photograph them on the tram. I do have photos from other parts of the farm though...
There was a wonderful petting zoo--this is the goat section. They sold bottles that you could purchase to feed the goats. If you went into their very busy pen, you got mobbed by goats who wanted a special drink.
There were many animals in the petting zoo-many farm animals and thse rather large guinea pigs that my kids were quite interested in. We have had guinea pigs forever, and none of them were quite so large. They stayed huddled up around a log, most likely seeking out the coolest place to be in the 108 degree temps.
Not surprisingly, at the home of the Budweiser Clydesdales, there were lots of interesting buggies and carts around.
The variety of animals was surprising--it is almost as if the Grants family and the Busch family were creating a zoo out of their farm.
The eating area reminded me of a traditional Oktoberfest in appearance, sound and menu. They were playing polka music and the food included brats and sauerkraut as well as some more traditional items like pizza slices. It was a fun place to eat! Next to this area was a stable that contained some gentle hirses, ponies, and donkeys. After we ate, we went on to check out the pond and the birds--my kids had a lot of fun feeding them.
After spending a lot of time with the birds, we decided to go back--so it was back on the tram to the entrance and the big souvenir shop.
After buying some gifts for those who couldn't come with us, we walked back across the wooden bridge, to the parking lot, and over to the stables for the Clydesdales.
Finally, we were on the way home and I snapped a few photos of a very interesting bridge that we had crossed on the way to St. Louis and again on our return trip. We had quite a conversation about its design.
SP couldn't upload any of the other bridge photos--they were too large...I fell asleep trying .
Tuesday is my day to teach kids the proper way to use our bathrooms--and supervise four half hour recesses. I have so much important work to do, but TPTB decided that this was far more important. Hmm? Anyway, after school, I have to go for my second SI injections. I won't be allowed to go to the pool so hopefully, I will be able to do more work in my garden.
Take care of yourselves and I will share concert photos soon!
Friday, August 03, 2012
I meant to add more photos from the zoo on Wednesday after my first day of work, but things didn't go as planned. I got off work and went to the pool for my work out. It was really nice and I got two good hours of swimming and exercise in outside in the fresh air and under sunny, blue skies. After that, I went grocery shopping and headed home which sounds tame enough until I tripped over nothing coming up the one little step into our house. I fell right on my face, tummy--banging my right knee good and hard. My poor knee hasn't healed from the car accident yet and I scraped it up leaving new bruises over the old bruises and a bloodied up mess. To add insult to injury, one of my doggies had pulled their food dish just to the right place by the door that my face went right in spraying kibble everywhere. It really hurt a good deal, possibly more than the car accident. Grr-rr. I have had a couple of accidents too many in recent months and my body cannot take it. I cannot explain why I fell or what happened, I think I just lost my balance on that little step that I have climbed thousands of times without a problem.
Our first day of work was a big long meeting setting us up for the program we will be initiating. It was interesting, totally put together by the Franklin Covey people, based on the 7 habits of highly effective people. It seemed like a combination of a couple of other programs I have been trained in. I have to admit that if it works the way that they suggest, it will be good for everyone in the school. I am willing to do this with enthusiasm.
Our second day, today, was a different kind of meeting day. It was like the first of such meetings that I attended as a teacher in our district. They started with a nice breakfast and social time--I got there too late for much social, but I enjoyed a lot of wonderful fruit--melon, pineapple, grapes, strawberries, apples and I topped it off with a half of a cup of grape joice. Yummy. they also had a lot of other things--bagels, cinnamon rolls, muffins, oranges, other juices, coffee, milk and tea. I typically have fruit and protein for breakfast, so I left the carbs alone. (I took a beautiful chocolate chocolate chip muffin and gave that and an apple to my son for driving me around. We had our traditional motivational talks from central administration and a chance to hear the names of new employees, and they let us out a half an hour early. I went back to my school and started working on my reading levels before our building meeting. I actually forgot to have lunch, I was so busy. It was another day of candy on every table and lots of cookies and rolls at the door. I ate a tiny Twix bar and left the other stuff alone. I am not sure why the principal feels that she must put all of that stuff out but it is something she always does. Anyway, I got past all of that and when the meeting was over, I went to the pool and then my daughter and I went back to Weight Watchers tonight. I am glad that she is thinking this way--I hope that she really starts to track food, it would be the one tool she needs to lose some weight. She works out and does a good job. I want to be pushed to start weighing in weekly and a bit more accountability than I have had in recent months. They were a bit surprised that someone who they haven't seen in 6 months came in with a weight loss since they last saw me. It wasn't quite 5 pounds, but I am glad of that and it is more reinforcement that I am able to maintain after all of these years of losing weight and gaining it back. However, I want to lose some 25-30 pounds before I have my hip replacement to make this as easy a procedure as possible. I need to be consistent and serious--not weighing in for over 3 months won't help me continually lose weight. I make good food choices that could be a bit better for losing and I am active and enjoy my exercise in the pool. I should be able to do this with a bit of focus. I suspect that I will get more support here, but I am pulling out all of the stops to get to my goal.
On a related note, our PE teacher is going to start doing the "Insanity" exercise videos in the school gym for staff members after the kids leave starting next week. Does anyone know much about these? In particular, can someone with my physical issues participate without looking entirely foolish? Can I get anything out of it or would I be better off to pass on this and stick with what I am already doing? I appreciate hearing from people I know on this--I can look up some reviews and may do that over the weekend, but I thought I'd ask you all.
Tomorrow, we are going to the Mississippi Valley Fair to check it out and then, after that, enjoying their grandstand event, an REO Speedwagon concert. I have seen them maybe 4 other times in my life. I know most of their music and am planning to enjoy this as well. Maybe, I can snap some photos of this as well...
Back to the zoo photos--we had just went to see their big bird display. They were really awesome, I love birds and I enjoy them a great deal. Quite honestly, I am a bit nervous around big parrot type birds. They can really hurt people with those beaks that are designed to break open heavy duty nuts and fruits. I saw a guy get hurt pretty awfully after messing around with a bird that was tethered to a perch at a pet store once. I am sure he ended up with a fractured finger or two (that he deserved,) but it was enough to make me respect their beauty and want to avoid them.
Nest on the path, we went to see the sea lions and the seals. They were busy and it was hard to get pictures because they were so active. If it is hard to see them, you can see how beautiful the water and the display was. :)
The next big display was the penguins--now maybe they were so inviting because it was so chilly in there on such a hot day, Maybe they were so inviting because Micah loves them and has collected stuffed penguins, penguin books, and penguin statues and figurines for several years. For whatever reason, we enjoyed them so much. They had three different breeds adn they were so close by that it took everything I had in me to do as the sign said, "Do not touch the penguins." I have actually regretted not touching one just to see how they felt in the water... Oh my. I almost forgot to mention the puffins that were part of the display--they were really busy and hard to get photos of, but I tried.
On our way to the carousel, we saw the flamingos before my 21 year old son rode on the giraffe (with a lot of prodding by his younger sister.)
We went back by the monkeys for a quick effort to see the remaining "big animals" before the zoo closed. The big animals weren't so cooperative for photos ops, but I got a couple of almost pictures.
Some of the last photos weren't quite as good as I had wished, but I think the heat of the day and the late hour together worked to make the animals tired and looking for cover. I still have a boatload of photos that I took at Grant's Farm to share and I will try to add those in next--but the concert make come first. I am excited to build play into my life a little here and a little there.
Thanks for reading my blogs and being my friends. I am back on top of my game and am ready to tackle the things I need to feel as good as I can. I have lost over 140 pounds--30 more should be a piece of fruit, huh?
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Tomorrow is the big day and I have to say that I am not ready to return to school at all. As I soaked in the sunshine while I did my work out at Whitewater Junction tonight, all I could think of was losing some opportunities to be in the sun and water. I love the summer and am truly not ready to see it end in this fashion. I had about 7 days to enjoy the entire summer and I made it the best i could. I have an amazing tan that even my doctor commented on. I know they aren't really a sign of good health, but I enjoyed every chance I had to get in the garden or pool or park that I could grab and I used sunscreen 20 minutes after I got into the sun each time I was there. This tan is the result of a lot of time outdoors and me being active to the best of my ability. I think a teacher with a failing hip and a back that keeps me using a walker has a few bragging rights. I also can thank SparkPeople for helping me to understand the value of activity and exercise. I am faithful to a daily workout and stretching to help my body and to burn calories too. I wonder what shape this body would be in if I had learned to appreciate and enjoy exercise and if I still had another 140 pounds... I doubt that a hip replacement would be the biggest of my needs.
Anyway, I have a plan. I am going to get Marshall to come and pick me up at 3:30 tomorrow when our meeting ends and drop me off at Whitewater. I will enjoy the pool and my workout and the fresh air and sunshine. My husband can take our youngest son to the doctor and then join me or pick me up, whichever he prefers. That way, I get to do it all. I was going to go to a WW meeting tomorrow evening, but after talking to my daughter, WE are going to go on Thrusday instead. This is a better deal for me because my final class to earn my ELL endorsement will be on Wednesday evenings this semester and I want to get back at meetings to give me a bit more accountability. I want to lose another 30 pounds before we do the hip replacement. With Spark People and WW meetings, I should be right on target as I build my schedule for the coming season.
A good part of this tan came from our trip to St. Louis. I want to share some of the photos I took at the world famous St. Louis Zoo. It is wonderful that it is free to families--obviously none of the extras like beverages and souvenirs are either free or cheap, but a family who has a cooler can have a wonderful experience there--We went through about a half a case of water and we had a great time. I got to taste toasted ravioli there and it was a great shack (although probably not something someone should eat on a regular basis)
The entrance to the zoo built up a lot of excitement with many interesting animal sculptures.
After entering, there was a wonderful pond/ fountain with more sculptures.
Not knowing where to start in this enormous zoo, we picked a road at random and found ourself at the Herpetology House. There was a gigantic collection of snakes, lizards, and a few amphibians too...
The photo of the crocodile and alligator skulls came with a lecture explaining the differences in their anatomies. The final critter in the photo is:
The name of this guy amused a couple of my kids to no end--okay, I didn't quite get it either.
We went on to see the primates next--they were mainly in hiding when we went by the first time. I got far better photos when we were on our way out and traveled back through their neck of the woods. Of course there was a statue to start with and my husband and Miles hamming it up a bit....
This guy was stealing blankets from the others first time around and they were all huddled under them, out of sight with lots of wiggling under the covers.
This guy was eating big heads of lettuce and was pelting the others with the rubbish that he didn't want.
We moved on to see some birds and some big animals in a couple of parts of the zoo that overlapped.
This last bird is a Hornbeak. I love the birds and have a lot more photos--but this big zoo certainly had more to offer. I will do a "Zoo Part 2" and share more photos with you in my next blog.
Have a great Wednesday--I will be dreaming of being outdoors and in the water during my meeting. If you get to go out and about, think about me, trying to be in my teacher role far sooner than I want to be!
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