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!
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.
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.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Please support UNICEF this Halloween. This is the season when UNICEF brings in contributions. Please support your Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF children.
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?
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!
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