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.
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. 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.
Do I regret that afternoon latte?
Not in the least!
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.
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.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
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...
he CHALLENGES me!
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.
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.
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