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Beans, and Cream, and Insomnia, Oh My!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Have I mentioned that I love good coffee?

Yesterday afternoon my best friend and I stopped at our favorite little coffee house for lattes to enjoy the last day of summer for her since her school is back in session today. We each enjoyed a latte.

I grew up on my mother's version of lattes - thick expresso coffee with steamed milk. To this day, I love a latte and don't feel even a minute's guilt drinking one.

The only thing is....


Yesterday, Sue and I enjoyed each other's company shopping for a few items for our classrooms and for comfortable teaching shoes. Shoes are the most important equipment for a good teacher. If your feet hurt you feel cranky. If you feel cranky, it is hard to have the ultimate patience needed for teaching. Sue found one pair, I found two. That done, we headed off for our celebratory coffees.

At 2:00 emoticon

Herein lies the problem. I am fine with good strong coffee in the morning, but it DOES affect my nervous system. I should never have coffee after 12:30 in the afternoon. Last night, I paid the price for my indulgence. I never did fall asleep, tired as I was. My mind would not shut off. I would get up and read, then try to go back to sleep. Then do some crossword puzzles, and try to go to sleep. Sudoku - nope, that didn't help either. Finally, at 4:00, I decided I wasn't going to get any sleep and did some catch-up on Spark. Throughout this time, I did not figure out why I could not fall asleep. It wasn't until my morning coffee that I figured it out. Okay - lesson learned ..... until the next slip up.

I did go to work in my classroom around 8:00 am, and then went for my one hour Body Pump workout, which was energizing. Back to work preparing materials for the upcoming school year. I tried napping when I got back home, but I am a dismal failure at napping. I ended up reading my mystery, which is as good as napping for me.

Tomorrow, acupuncture in the morning and Zumba in the evening. I am still hoping I can keep Body Pump. Zumba, water aerobics, yoga, and music routines going after next week when my school year starts up. Meanwhile, our YMCA is closed this week so water aerobics is out. Fortunately, my workout portfolio is diversified. emoticon Body Pump is at a different gym, yoga is in my favorite yoga studio, and Zumba is offered at a local church.

Tonight I hope to get my Zzzzzs. emoticon

Do I regret that afternoon latte?

Not in the least!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMB-ESQ 8/23/2011 8:06AM

    Mmmmmm.... good strong coffee with real cream.... that's my weakness. But not in the summer. Don't know why... just don't have the taste for it in the summer.

I guess I'm fortunate, the caffeine doesn't bother me too much. If I can't sleep, it's usually for more worrisome, stressful reasons. Not sure which one is worse!

At any rate, here's to a good night's sleep! emoticon

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WALKOFFWIN 8/23/2011 1:22AM

    And she regrets it not in the least! A girl after my own heart, you seem to be, Chris... I love my own java and live for the energization of a good and well caffeinated buzz.

But I often pay for my own, with my own lack of sleep, as I also did last night, and seem to be well on the way to doing again this night as well. God save me in the morning when the piper must be paid.

Body Pump. Zumba, water aerobics, yoga, and music routines? You ARE a busy little bee buzzing round, now are you not, Chris? And I see you also enjoy acupuncture as well.

I'm not all too sure that I am well suited for acupuncture... I have this fear that they will stick a needle in my navel, causing me to fly wildly round the room in circles, until I collapse in the corner completely deflated!

Sincerely hope that you don't lay eyes on this message until you are rested and well, tomorrow morning. May you dream of your delicious lattes in peaceful sleep, instead of being kept sleepless by them.

I however, must pay for my second Venti Bold Red Eye in the same day, and so here I am now, still awake in a today that has become tomorrow...

I am most sleeplessly yours,


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IUHRYTR 8/22/2011 10:43PM

    A lot of us have likely experienced caffeine insomnia. Not fun but the Body Pump had to get the blood going to offset the lack of sleep a bit. As you said, lesson learned. Until the next time. D'oh! -- Lou

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NANHBH 8/22/2011 9:49PM

    WOW, Nancy,

Good thing you didn't have students today! I don't drink coffee, and this blog is good reason not to ever start! Hope you get some sleep tonight.

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WINDANCER99 8/22/2011 8:43PM

    Your catchy title caught my eye. Sorry you couldn't sleep but glad you found comfy shoes. Hope you have a great year of teaching.

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MCGS62 8/22/2011 8:43PM

    Oh you will sleep good tonight!! every once in a while I think it may be good to break the routine and stay up around the clock---I call it wednesdays--

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WATERMELLEN 8/22/2011 8:40PM

    Agree with you about not regretting the latte . . I just count on insomnia one or so days a week, basically, and figure I'll catch up with my sleep later! That is a very diversified exercise portfolio! Hope that this year at school is less stressful for you, in your comfy new shoes too!!

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    Sometimes you just gotta do it! emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 8/22/2011 6:50PM

    emoticonI wouldn't have regretted that latte either, but really sorry you lost a good night's sleep as a result!! Next time do the latte before the shopping, right? emoticon emoticon

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Well, I tried to make a video blog, but it just didn't work out this time. It was frustrating for a number of reasons, both technical and psychological. But those of you who know me, also know that that does not mean I am giving up. I'm all about a challenge... I just need to problem solve and regroup.

I have been busy getting my classroom together and mentally preparing for the upcoming school year.

This is a painting an artist friend of mine made called "A Day With Chris" I am the polar bear cuddling a young one, and my other students are riding their unicycles around the school. This image is from her website, so it is watermarked to prevent copying (hence the words and image superimposed on it) - I have the painting in my home.

This is me in human form, with students on the 5 foot unicycles. Really - I am ALL about positive risk taking, trying what may seem daunting, and not giving up. I love the unicycle as a metaphor for challenge and positive risk taking. So many people look at them and say, "I could never do that!" But guess what? Like everything else, all it takes is determination and desire.

Most obstacles are not insurmountable, but sometimes figuring out how to overcome them requires creative thinking, a willingness to take personal risks, and the determination to achieve our goals.

Making my music video is actually one of my smaller challenges at the moment. I have a couple of huge personal ones that have me scrambling for creative and positive solutions. A lot of emotional sorting and regrouping going on for me right now. Some challenges are fun, others not so much. But the challenges and the solutions we choose are the source of who we become.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~ Mark Twain

So with the trade winds in my sails, I am on a path of discovery.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 8/24/2011 2:37PM

    Yes, I can tell that a challenge would not put you off at all. I hope the changes and challenges you are working on and sorting out come out to your liking.


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    One of my favotie quotes!

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OLDERDANDRT 8/22/2011 6:47PM

    emoticon You are so eloquent and creative. I hope you students know how lucky they are to have such a teacher!!! emoticon

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LINDAJ0621 8/22/2011 4:12PM

    This looks like a great school and I am sure the children are very lucky to have you as their teacher!
emoticon emoticon

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NANHBH 8/22/2011 12:38AM

    Such a fun teacher you are!

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TRULYVISIBLE 8/21/2011 10:43PM

  What a cool school. I have never seen unicycles in grade school before. How great is it to have you as a teacher. Sail away from the safe harbor, I love that.

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IUHRYTR 8/21/2011 9:48PM

    Eagerly awaiting your video masterpieces. -- Lou

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Making Peace With My Belly

Friday, August 19, 2011

I read that we cannot spot reduce our belly fat. Exercise and diet are the keys. I have maintained my target weight for half a year now, built muscle, built stamina, and increased my flexibility.

I still have a round belly.

I may always have a round belly.

Heck - I've birthed two children.

I am over 60, fit, and happy.

I have decided to embrace my belly, to consider my belly soft and sexy... evidence of my womanliness.

Belly, you do not need to be flat because of what today's standards of beauty are. You do not need to be flat at all. You are perfect just the way you are.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKOFFWIN 8/21/2011 12:48PM

    I must agree with Bill, and this is NOT false flattery. I guessed your age to be no older than 51, and I am genuinely surprised that you are in fact, over 60. You are over 60 only in the chronology of years and most definitely NOT in your attractive appearance, or your forever young spirit.

I care nothing in any negative way that you may have a belly, and I am sure that your husband cares even less...

Please be well, and be happy with who you are, for I am sure that others around you are most happy with who you are.


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NANHBH 8/21/2011 1:24AM

    I need to write that love letter to my belly!

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MAWRTIAN 8/20/2011 5:18PM

    Women are made to have curves, you are beautiful beyond words!!! emoticon

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BILLTMAN 8/20/2011 12:45PM

    Good for you Chris. You are my kind of woman. I have to agree with some of the other posts, though. First, I would never guess you to be in your sixties. Secondly, you look great and honestly I see no belly there. If you detect it then I have to agree with you that you should love the sexiness of it. You look great! keep doing what you are doing.


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IUHRYTR 8/20/2011 11:27AM

    Self-acceptance is often difficult. Hooray for you. -- Lou

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    Well said indeed!

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LMB-ESQ 8/20/2011 7:25AM

    You're a better woman than I! I still want to cut mine off!

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STARLASUE 8/19/2011 2:09PM


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TRULYVISIBLE 8/19/2011 10:42AM

  First of all I am in shock to read you are over 60. I went back to read that sentence twice because I would have guessed you to be in your forties. Dam girl, bottle what you do and sell it. You look great and I bet only you notices a little pouch (if any) on your stomach.

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ARLENE_MOVES 8/19/2011 8:57AM

    Perfectly said!!! emoticon

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Laurels? What Laurels?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I emoticon Fernando!

I was really sad when Dave, my first guitar teacher, moved away after only a year of lessons. I had barely gotten started, and my skills deteriorated without his guidance. I tried a couple of other teachers and was not happy with them. One kept forgetting what he had already taught me and would explain a concept I already knew almost every lesson. I switched over to a folk guitar teacher, who is a nice man who taught me some basics, but I think he was so happy to have an adult to talk to, he wanted to talk for the first 15 minutes of my 30 minute lesson. It felt like a waste of my time and money. Living way out in the middle of lovely rolling farm country doesn't help my sense of wasted time - I have to include driving time in the equation as well.

So I was REALLY happy to find Fernando. Who knew there was a flamenco player in this part of the county where people wonder how you can play a flamingo. The worse part of this is learning that he was here all along. Darn! What took me so long to find him?

What do I love about him aside from his playing skills? He is able to correct my technique, break down problem areas into bits I can understand, and most of all...


No sitting back on my laurels! This week I worked hard to master a difficult passage and a couple of new techniques, memorized 3 short pieces, and started working on a new one. This evening, he listened to what I was working on, liked it, and immediately gave me a really difficult tremolo exercise and a piece that has some continuous rosgueado rolls that are really challenging.

I'm looking forward to making the next leap, but I know I have my work cut out for me this week. I only hope I have enough time to make this kind of progress once the school year begins.

It is the same with life in general. It is nice to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor, but things get more interesting if the next challenge is around the corner. I read with admiration, friends' blogs about bike races, triathlons, staying sober, living and working in a very different culture far away from home; each taking on a challenge that at times poses things that seem insurmountable. Yet, the joy is in the accomplishment that comes from meeting that challenge and mastering it.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANHBH 8/21/2011 1:27AM

    Consider it Divine Guidance. The student was ready, and the teacher appeared!

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    Ole' emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 8/19/2011 11:27AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 8/19/2011 9:18AM

    BRAVO!! emoticon

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BILLTMAN 8/19/2011 8:51AM

    Chris, you are such an excellent writer. I always enjoy your blogs. Thanks for sharing. Also, I think Lou has a great idea. Why don't you share a video with us sometime?


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MCGS62 8/19/2011 8:43AM


good job !!

but if you are not using your laurels I 'll be glad to spend some extra time on mine to to cover the "laurel sitting" deficit in fact I 'm camping on laurel mt this weekend-- I'm sure to find some laurel sitting time!!!

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IUHRYTR 8/18/2011 10:36PM

    Life would surely be boring for us competitive people if we did not have anything to do to better ourselves, wouldn't it? Maybe when you're ready you'll grace us with a video of your music. That would really be cool. -- Lou

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Seeing Eye Dog Update

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My parents were both dynamic and active people who shared their talents and mentored many upcoming artists throughout their lives. They both loved people, animals, nature, art, and music. They had a special love of dogs and raised family friendly and very intelligent dobermans over many years.



A few years ago, both of my parents died within three weeks of each other, my father of cancer, and my mother as a result of a fall. A wonderful friend of our family (and cancer survivor) won a contest to name a puppy who would enter seeing eye dog training. Because of her love of my parents, she named the puppy in honor of them. Well before Brangelina or TomCat (SP?), my parents often combined their names to Geneva, so our friend named the puppy Geneva. Little Geneva is well into her seeing eye dog training and growing fast. I just received these update photos of her, visiting the state fair.


She looks so intelligent and calm - I know my parents would adore her and be thrilled to have her named in their honor. I wish I could meet her, but I am happy knowing that she will bring someone independence, companionship, and great joy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAJANE 8/22/2011 9:15PM

    Beautiful! emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IDLETYME 8/20/2011 7:27AM

    Lovely tribute. She'll be such a blessing for her new "person". emoticon

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ANONYGIRL 8/19/2011 12:34PM

    I'm a bit dog crazy so this is especially moving for me.

This is a beautiful tribute.

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MARY1313 8/18/2011 10:13PM

    P.S. I love your muscles!!!!

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MARY1313 8/18/2011 10:13PM

    Oh I am so glad to see an update on this! What a beautiful GS!!!!

Thanks for sharing!!!!


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IUHRYTR 8/17/2011 8:24PM

    She does look alert and eager. Such an imaginative idea to combine the names. It must be satisfying knowing Geneva will be honoring your parents by helping another person. -- Lou

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WATERMELLEN 8/17/2011 7:58PM

    What a heartwarming blog . . . a lovely memorial and wonderful pictures!

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CELLOPLAYER1 8/17/2011 7:38PM

    Shes beautiful, and what a great honor!

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MEOWMAMA3 8/17/2011 7:17PM

    What a lovely blog! She's beautiful and what a great honor. Your parents would be proud and tickled pink! emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 8/17/2011 6:16PM

    She's truly beautiful Chris. She will make someone a wonderful companion.

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TRULYVISIBLE 8/17/2011 2:36PM

  A beautiful story. Your parents seem to have been wonderful people and glad they had a wonderful life because of it. This blog makes me feel good, thanks for sharing.

Comment edited on: 8/17/2011 2:37:31 PM

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OLDERDANDRT 8/17/2011 11:32AM

    How wonderful!!! And a beautiful little Geneva! emoticon emoticon

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THISYEARSMODEL 8/17/2011 10:58AM

    Your parents look like they were wonderful spirits.And your mom was so beautiful!!! I'm sure Geneva will honor them every day. I love how in the second picture Geneva's eyes look smart and are taking everything in, but she's sitting a bit askew, her legs going everywhere. Too cute!

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KBEHUNE 8/17/2011 10:20AM

    That is so wonderful! The dog is soooo cute!

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BILLTMAN 8/17/2011 10:04AM

    Really nice story. Thanks for sharing. Your parents sound like a really wonderful couple.

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NANHBH 8/17/2011 9:59AM

    Very cool! Love that your parents combined their names!

So, how come they don't use poodles as therapy dogs? They are supposed to be the most intelligent. I'm jus' sayin'.

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