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Just the Ticket

Friday, November 12, 2010

emoticon I am so happy for the weekend! emoticon


Tomorrow's plan:
Coffee with an old friend I haven't seen for quite a while emoticon

Guitar class emoticon

Take my friend who is apprehensive of the gym to the Y with me emoticon

Do some yard work emoticon

Walk Stella emoticon

We are supposed to have another unseasonably warm day; I am looking forward to some ahhhhhh time.

I hope you get some, too!




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 11/14/2010 8:12PM

    love that picture! sounds like you had a great day!!

Mary

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CANDOK1260 11/14/2010 12:28AM

    Have a great weekend. hope your weekend goes as plan it sound fantastic. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/14/2010 12:29:41 AM

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MCGS62 11/13/2010 11:09PM

    Ahhh! It was a beautiful day. this might sound crazy but I went to the Laundromat with the laundry strapped to the back of my motorcycle! chores never stopped me from having a good time on an AHHH! day!

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LADYNETTIE 11/13/2010 1:33PM

    Great plan and gorgeous photo!! I'm making Chipotle Chili Soup and trying to get motivated to go out and get my 10 mile run done. After the first mile, I'll be warm but until then, brrrrr~!

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LAURIES_PLACE 11/12/2010 10:39PM

  Have a wonderful weekend!

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KRITTERKEEPERS 11/12/2010 10:36PM

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend your day off. Beautiful picture of the fall leaves!
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LMB-ESQ 11/12/2010 9:33PM

    Sounds like a wonderfully relaxing weekend! Just what the doctor ordered! Enjoy!

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MEOWMAMA3 11/12/2010 9:02PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 11/12/2010 8:50PM

    Sounds like a lovely weekend. I am making lunch for my sister who will be visiting: really looking forward to that!

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PENNYAN45 11/12/2010 8:48PM

    Enjoy your day - it sounds ideal!



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IUHRYTR 11/12/2010 8:31PM

    Sounds like a pleasant day. Enjoy. -- Lou

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About That Stress Management

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I haven't posted for a while. I have done everything within my power to reduce stress in my life, but there are times when life is such that there is very little that you can legitimately cut back on. Since I have no control over the time and energy demands of work, I have cut back on computer time. I think this has been a good choice, although I miss checking in with my friends and support team here at Spark.

I am finally on the get-well side of this lingering cold and the weather has been extraordinary, which has been a big plus in terms of lifting spirits and energy levels.

After two weeks of intense activities and very long work days ( several 10 - 12 hours days each of the last two weeks) things have settled down a bit. Although, the children wanted to bake cookies for everyone in the school and today was the day we did it. Between getting the cookies into the oven, checking them, getting them out of the oven, and onto the cooling racks, I must have made at least 100 trips to the kitchen. Or that's what it felt like. The children made the dough, spooned it onto the pans, and did the dishes. They enjoyed passing out cookies to the nursery, the kindergarten, and the 1st - 3rd grade class. It was a busy day, baking cookies along with math, reading, spelling, social studies, etc., but they did a great job.

Tomorrow afternoon, we will go hiking with their kindergarten partners in the nature preserve. I will enjoy the fresh air and exercise.

One of my stress management strategies this year has been to not be part of the school board. I have been on the board for over a decade and decided that I needed a break from the added length to my work days, as well as the fairly frequent conflict that occurs in school board situations. Tonight is this month's board meeting, and instead of having yet another long day at work, I am having the time to blog...and with a fuzzy poodle snuggled up with me!

I really need to get back on track with my exercise now that I feel better. Trying to keep up with work while I was sick did not leave me with the reserves to do much more than curl up with a book when I got home. I find it a little hard to get back to a good routine when I have gotten away from it.

Still looking for that balance in life!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 11/12/2010 9:12PM

    Baking that many cookies is enough to make you never want to stick your hands in a cookie jar ever again! Hmmmm, could be a good Spark strategy! I feel so much better reading about other teachers' stress and efforts to control it. Makes me feel not so beaten down by my own. Nobody can quite "get it" like another teacher. Good for you stepping back from the board. Although I'd like to be a meaningful part of our school's Leadership Team I feel like I just can't handle one more teeny bit of school responsibility. The only "extra" I've taken on at this school (it's my 2nd year there) is to mentor a 6th grader as part of a mentoring grant that about 20 teachers have signed up for. Really enjoyed it last year. This year's child I taught last year. She's the hardest working Resource Room kid I've ever known. Her mom was murdered and she's being raised by an uncle. We're planning a Mentor/Mentee holiday party and signed up for the decorating committee yesterday. What's this???? Fun at school???? It's about time! Enjoy your weekend and keep chipping away at those stressors and remember that we are no good to the kids if we are not being good to ourselves! emoticon emoticon

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MARY1313 11/12/2010 4:18PM

    I think that trying so hard to rid yourself of stress may have become stressful in and of itself. there are some things that just are and we have no control over them. that's when you should bury your head in a book and stop thinking about them.

I'm glad you are feeling better with the cold. I had one that lasted a month. I can imagine the germ levels in the classrooms!

Have a great weekend!

Mary

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AQUAJANE 11/12/2010 1:41PM

    Definitely choices are a part of stress management. Though we missed you, I'd definitely agree cutting back on computer time's better stress-wise than cutting back on poodle time, including the important exercise component. Tara sends wags to Stella too. emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 11/11/2010 10:59PM

    It sounds to me like you're doing a pretty good job finding that balance! Time for you... that's what you need. Your job is so demanding, I think it's even more important for you to find that balance than most other people! Teachers work so hard and are so underappreciated. Less computer time, getting rid of the extra school board stress... all great ideas. emoticon job of taking care of YOU! And glad you're feeling better too!

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PENNYAN45 11/11/2010 7:28PM

    It's good to hear that things are improving for you. Dropping some of your responsibilities was a great idea. Enjoy the sofa, the book and the dog!

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MCGS62 11/11/2010 5:03PM

    Take it easy. Did you eat any of those cookies?


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OVERWORKEDJANET 11/11/2010 5:06AM

    As much as I like to interact with all my Spark friends I have found I spent way too much time doing so. I thought I was here to try to get rid of these pounds. Trying to get back on THAT wagon.
Enjoy getting back into the "real" world.

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IUHRYTR 11/10/2010 9:02PM

    Doesn't having fuzzy Stella cuddled up next to you offer some peace and serenity? emoticon Glad you are feeling better and taking positive steps to reduce stress. Often that does mean saying no to a commitment as you have done. -- Lou

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Sick, Tired, Frustrated

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I haven't been around Spark much recently because I have been too sick and/or too busy. I do not feel like my usual cheerful self; I feel tired and cranky.

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my granddaughter Lilee's death. I still miss her so very much.



SIDS is a very terrible thing.

I have had a sore throat and sinus infection for two weeks with no sign of relenting and have a couple of very suspicious looking moles which I am going to have looked at by a dermatologist tomorrow.

Work has been very stressful, even though I went into this school year trying to keep the stress levels down. On top of feeling sick and run down every day, for the past two weeks the roofers have been reroofing the school and there is a constant banging right overhead, adding a constant noise to what I would like to have as a quiet work environment. Then two days ago, the cement trucks were here pouring a new sidewalk with the constant beep beep beep of backing up trucks. Plus yesterday, they cut down a tree in front of the school. It is all work that needs to be done. but it has been very disruptive to my teaching, and the noise has been another stressor.

Add to that, post Halloween sugar highs for over a third of my students.

Plus this week is the Silent Auction/Soup Supper - one of our huge fundraisers. So my class has been baking bread like crazy. It is a fun activity, but very labor intensive for me, the teacher. I have to do the shopping,organizing of recipes and ingredients, and supervising of the cooking. Yesterday, we made 12 loaves of pumpkin bread, and the dough for 9 loaves of parmesan bubble loaf and 9 loaves of French bread. Today we will cook those breads and make dough for challah to cook tomorrow. All of this to bang bang bang beep beep beep and the roar of chainsaws.

On Tuesday, I worked from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Friday I have to work until 8:30 PM.

Did I say that today is also Picture Day?

Then yesterday during lunch a child got into a bottle of spirit gum which we had used for a child's costume for the Enchanted Forest last week and slimed my desk with it. I was irritated that the child would get into something that was not his/hers, but most irritated that the child did not clean up the mess. I gave the child opportunity all afternoon while we were baking bread in the lunchroom to save face and just go into the room and clean it up. It bugs me that the child refused to do even that.

On the other hand, I am very proud of most of my class. They worked very hard, in an economic climate that does not appear to be conducive to charitable donations, to meet their goal (and it was THEIR goal) of $600 for UNICEF. I had told the children that I would match the highest amount that came in in their UNICEF boxes. One child was so committed to helping impoverished children, she put in $50 of money she raised walking a neighbor's dogs, then asked her parents for a donation. Between her donation, her parents' donation, and what she collected on Halloween, she brought in $100. The children were wondering what I would do, but I am always good for my word. I wrote a check for $100 and added it to her box, telling her how very proud I was of her. UNICEF is a cause I always make a large donation to - it is an excellent organization and one where the funds go where they say they are going. It saves lives and improves the quality of lives of children who are desperately in need. Next year, I think I will match up to a certain amount, though. emoticon

Another thing I love about UNICEF is that it empowers children. Children hear a lot about the turmoil in the world, but usually feel powerless to to anything about it. In contributing in this way, they know they have helped give clean water, food, and medicine to other children who are desperately in need.

Oh, and between my group and the younger children, our school was just short of raising $1000. My class is trying to bring the donations up to that amount by the end of the week.

I am also very proud of their efforts to contribute to the Silent Auction/Soup Supper, our largest scholarship fundraiser. They work really hard and bake delicious and much sought after bread to help ensure that we will have scholarship money for those who need it.

My lingering illness, noisy distractions, and one child's thoughtlessness aside, I do absolutely love my students and the work I do.




Lucy, the Favorelle, can never help but cheer me up. She is a very funny girl!

We are now getting enough eggs we can be very generous with them. The chickens are fed only organic chicken food and are truly free range. Their eggs are so rich and delicious. Fun to share the wealth.

Between not feeling well and being too busy, I have not been getting the exercise I need and want. Hopefully this weekend, I'll be able to get back to an exercise routine. I think that not getting enough exercise is also contributing to my being out of sorts.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCGS62 11/4/2010 11:00PM

    Fire your administrators and you should unelect the school board at the earliest opportunity! I worked electrical construction for several years and the school renovations were always in the summer and usually with a completion bonus date before the next session began!
I hope the dermitolagist goes well .
Take care of that cold!!!
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LMB-ESQ 11/4/2010 10:59PM

    So I wonder why they didn't do all this work over the summer, when there was no school in session? Or does that make too much sense?

Boy I can relate to the kid who slimed your desk and then wouldn't clean it up. Did you make him/her clean it up? My first year of teaching I had a kid who liked to spit. It was gross. My classroom had a door directly to the outside and he took great pleasure in spitting right outside of it so all the other kids either had to walk around it or step in it. I started making him clean it up. Every time he did it, I'd hand him a paper towel and point. Eventually the other kids starting getting on him about it too. They were just as grossed out as I was. Bleah, talk about disrespect.

I'm glad the rest of your class makes you proud though... that really goes a long way towards enjoying your job! I sure hope you feel better soon! You've had this yucky stuff way too long! emoticon

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OVERWORKEDJANET 11/4/2010 7:06PM

    Being in the middle of a family full of teachers I can say, EVERYTHING YOU DO IS APPRECIATED!

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OLDERDANDRT 11/4/2010 5:35PM

    Hope you are feeling better really really soon!!! Let Stella help you ease the stress of each day. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CLEVAGAL 11/4/2010 4:00PM

    For some reason I was unsubscibed to your blog! Thats not good aye about being unwell. Make sure you keep up the vitamin C!
Cleva xxx
By the way....I got the job! See my last few short blogs to catch up if you feel like it!



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KRITTERKEEPERS 11/4/2010 3:40PM

    Lucy looks like a real sweet chicken. She is really pretty & fluffy!
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Hope you are feeling better soon.
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SILLYHP1953 11/4/2010 12:31PM

    Your blog caught my eye when I went into the Organic Gardening team to huddle. You are an amazing woman and teacher and your kids are lucky to have you. I hope you can find some peace and quiet soon.
emoticon Phyllis

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IUHRYTR 11/4/2010 12:23PM

    I wish I could give you the gift of a quiet and peaceful getaway to relax and unwind but I have come to know that you will come back stronger than before once things calm down. Until then, emoticon. -- Lou

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DELAPIS 11/4/2010 12:02PM

    I just want to wrap my arms around you and give you a great big hug to try and comfort you!!! Reading all you are going through has opened up a flood gate of memories for me. I miss teaching, but remember all the juggling and frustrations too. I always felt like I was playing "Beat the Clock." Just try to find a few minutes to take some deep cleansing breaths, hug and kiss Stella, and cherish all the GREAT things you're doing with your students. You're a wonderful person!

Love and miss you,
Dee and Zoey

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STARLASUE 11/4/2010 11:59AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/4/2010 10:18AM

    I hope you feel better soon. You do seem to have a grasp on the positives, so I'm sure you will. Go hug a poodle; that helps too!

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MARY1313 11/4/2010 10:14AM

    P.S. I know how the anniversary of your granddaughter's passing upsets you. Yes sids is very ugly. So sorry you had to go through the loss of your beloved baby Girl!

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MARY1313 11/4/2010 10:12AM

    Goodness, who wouldn't be stressed with all that? Your endurance levels are down right now because you are sick. But even so, that is a lot of stress! You wonder why all of that work couldn't have been done in the summer!

On a lighter note, I just noticed that Stella's tongue matches your pink hat LOL!

Mary

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AQUAJANE 11/4/2010 8:16AM

    emoticon With a week like this, isn't it great, the weekend's just around the corner? emoticon

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BELLASMOM8 11/4/2010 6:50AM

    I hope you feel better soon! emoticon

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PTCAKES 11/4/2010 6:08AM

    I wish you the best at turning your illness and stress levels around. Your world is very chaotic now... crazy how that happens.

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Halloween and Something Good

Friday, October 29, 2010

www.unicef.org/

Please support UNICEF this Halloween. This is the season when UNICEF brings in contributions. Please support your Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF children.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCGS62 10/30/2010 5:11PM

    I'll support unicef as long as the kids accept candy too!
I trick or treated for unicef one time in grade school.
This holiday is not really for the do gooders but I'll play as lon as long as we play the traditional game.
emoticon
HA HA HA HA HA

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IUHRYTR 10/29/2010 9:54AM

    They do a lot of good for children. -- Lou

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NUTRON3 10/29/2010 6:38AM

    I agree!

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Tools for Phobias

Monday, October 25, 2010



One of my dear Spark friends asked me how I overcame my flying phobia. When I answered his question, I thought I would share this with other people who may have phobias to confront. I know at least one SP friend who doesn't like to fly, who is also planning a trip.

Although I have a flying phobia (actually PTSD from 2 really scary plane trips) I WAS able to make the trip and had a wonderful time with my sibs. The plane I was on was such a small plane, I could feel all the jostling. However, I just settled in and took my mind off of the flight each time. The airport and actually stepping on to the plane are bigger phobia triggers than being on the plane, weird, huh?

Phobia busting?

Rule #1 - Keep Your Eyes on the Prize. Is your phobia keeping you from leading a full and rich life, keeping you away from your loved ones, interfering with your daily life?

I tried every trick. I spent each day thinking about all of the planes that were in the air and stayed up there, and about how much I like to travel. I watched planes going overhead. In general - worked on desensitization. I had two sessions with my chiropractor who does some work on PTSD triggers. And I got my PTSD medication as well.

I downloaded fear of flying podcasts onto my iPod, but found that I did not want to watch them.

Before leaving for the airport, I took half a pill, on arriving to the airport I took the other half, and before boarding I took another half. The dosage was 1 - 2 pills. I brought my iPod to listen to music and meditations, and listened to the gratitude meditation. And I brought a book that was touted as very engaging, and it was.

I looked forward to seeing my sibs. I did my yoga breathing.

Basically, I just settled in and enjoyed each flight to the best of my ability.



Fighting phobias? I recommend trying all possible strategies - don't be afraid to look for help making the first step or to look for support from many sources. Don't talk to negative people - stay surrounded by those people who have an interest in really helping you move past the fear.

Am I over my PTSD? Heck no! But I am managing it when I have to confront my fears. Overcoming phobias that interfere with living fully can be accomplished. Yes, it can!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OVERWORKEDJANET 10/31/2010 7:22AM

    I started crocheting projects once boarded so I would not pay attention to the take-offs. Keeping my mind on the first few rows of something new is always a challenge and I had something else to concentrate on besides the last few feet of runway.
I have become a frequent flier and am much better!

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KRITTERKEEPERS 10/25/2010 8:28PM

    The best way to overcome fear is by confronting it head-on (and using whatever tools available that will help).
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MARY1313 10/25/2010 12:46PM

    CLAP CLAP CLAP!!!! You are on the right track! good for you!

Mary

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IUHRYTR 10/25/2010 12:12PM

    Good attitude and advice. So happy for you that you were able to make the trip. -- Lou

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