Monday, November 19, 2012
I don't have pics, but my class made 14 pies today: 4 chocolate cream pies, 2 apple cranberry pies, 2 apple pies, 2 Dutch apple pies, and 4 pumpkin pies. One of the pumpkin pies and one of the apple pies is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free to accommodate food allergies. They are all made from scratch and all looking beautiful. The only thing we have to do before the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow is to whip up the whipped cream for the chocolate cream pies. We had to get all of our baking done today so the turkey can fit in the oven tomorrow morning. The school will be redolent with Thanksgiving aromas both school days this week.
One of my students finished her first knitted animal today:
She made it for her little cousin for Christmas and is very proud of her results. And well she should be ~ great job on her first big knitting project!
On the home front, it is deer hunting season. Perhaps the scariest days to go out walking were this past weekend, as it was youth gun hunting weekend. Youth or adults, Stella and I dress for the season to stay safe when we are out hiking. I'll be glad when hunting season is over.
Looking forward to the school feast tomorrow, and early dismissal. Then Thanksgiving break for me! There are so many things I am thankful for.
One of them is 5 days to rest and regroup.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
No, not Stella!
I finished knitting the little skunk I was making for the Children's Auction scholarship event. I am teaching my students how to knit little animals and the skunk was my demo.
She is not quite finished; she gets a knit flower next to one of her ears, but I did not have the color I wanted at home. So far, I have children making pigs, kitties, and a teddy bear. Next project for me - a squirrel.
I really did get the stress-busting weekend I needed. I logged in a lot of relaxing down time. It was a glorious November weekend and I got in quite a few hikes with Stella, both under a bright blue sky and under a crescent moon. I had time well spent with my guitar; just enjoying playing, not worrying about progress. I got new strings for her and she is sounding great! I got plenty of reading time; my current read is Wuthering Heights which I haven't read since I was a teenager. Those landed Brits had too much free time to feed their melodramas; they needed gainful employment.
I made a huge pot of chicken-veggie-quinoa soup yesterday. with mega garlic to help fight my lingering bronchitis. Great for dinner last night and for lunches today and tomorrow. For dinner this evening, I made a cauliflower korma curry with basmati rice. It was delicious!
Tomorrow I am making lots of pies with my class for the school Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday. The children voted for apple pies, pumpkin pies, and chocolate cream pies. We will make them from scratch, crusts included. The next two school days will be busy, but then I get a much needed 5 day vacation.
As for this weekend, I am proud of myself for taking it easy and meeting my stress-busting goals.
I hope you had a great weekend, too!
Saturday, November 17, 2012
My rest and relaxation plans started last night with dinner out and a Ruthie Foster concert with a close friend. Dinner was delicious, although not prudent. I ordered comfort food, an artisan mac and cheese, whole wheat herb bread, a salad with gorgonzola dressing and a thick, rich Russian stout. I don't regret any part of the meal. It was high in calories and fat, but all organic and the comfort food I wanted to start off my weekend. Since it is not a normal part of my diet, it was a pleasure to indulge.
Ruthie Foster did NOT disappoint! The concert was wonderful. If you have not had the opportunity to hear her, here is a link to her singing:
I started out today with an early morning walk with Stella as the sun was rising. The ground was covered with frost, a silver cast over the meadow, and a satisfying crunch underfoot.
I brought my knitting project home from school to work on this weekend. I am teaching my students to knit little animals and I have been working on a skunk as a model. I knit much slower at work because I stop frequently to demonstrate to the children and help them when they come to tricky spots. I find knitting relaxing, so I plan to finish the skunk this weekend and start a squirrel for working on at school. I plan to donate the animals to the Children's Auction to raise scholarship money. Last year my skunk sold for $30, which was a much better return for my time than the dollhouse I made was at the big Silent Auction event.
I have also been teaching my students how to juggle and had forgotten how juggling is not only fun and relaxing, it is also a great form of exercise. So I also brought my juggling balls and scarves home to play with over the weekend.
This reminds me of a sweet story one of my grads shared at my friend Jeanie's memorial service this past September. Jeanie was his kindergarten teacher. He told about talking to friends at Earlham College about kindergarten experiences. He said, "Didn't you just love making pies in kindergarten?" There was a lull in the conversation while his friends just looked at him. Then someone said, "You made PIES in kindergarten???"
Every once in a while, a parent will suggest there could be a student panel to talk about how unique their school experiences are. What the parents don't realize is that what the children learn is their 'normal', they have no idea how unique their experiences are. I was smiling thinking about that yesterday as I taught 2 boys how to knit after I came in from helping my 8th student this year master riding the 5 foot unicycle. They just expect they will learn juggling, unicycling, knitting, sewing, cooking, acting, singing. playing ukulele, guitar, and recorder, etc. along with their regular academic work. It's their 'normal' and I love it! I wish that had been my 'normal.'
But back to my weekend plans; of course I plan to have lots of music time. I will not have a lesson next week because it will be Thanksgiving. That gives me lots of time to refine the pieces I am working on so I don't offend Fernando's ears again.
On tap for today:
making a big pot of chicken veggie soup
plus a few chores
and maybe a nap
It'll be all about nature and nurture. No more whining and kvetching for me. It's time for my plan of inaction!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I am feeling WAY off center.
I had a lovely visit with my son and his girlfriend last week. They are both delightful and it was such a pleasure to have them around. The downside was that I developed a respiratory flu. Kind of a bad news/good news thing because I needed to take a couple of sick days, which then ended up being more time to spend with them. I just hope they don't come down with it.
This week I am feeling a bit better, but still having to sleep on the recliner. If I lie flat, I dont' sleep because I cough too much. On Tuesday, I had an acupuncture treatment and I am starting to feel quite a bit better.
Yesterday, I took my students to the symphony, which should have been fun. Here's the thing:
I sent out three notices that the children had to be at school by 8:25. At 8:25 only 1/3 of my class were there. At 8:30 only 1/3 of my class were there. At 8:35 only 1/3 of my class were there. By then we HAD to leave to get to the concert on time. I wrote a note to put on the door directing them to the science teacher who would take them until we got back, got the children in the cars, and got ready to leave. As we were leaving, all but 2 of the children arrived, so we got them into the cars.
When we got to the concert, we discovered that there had been some kind of error in the scheduling and we were not on the list. So here I was with children and parent chaperones, and they had not reserved seats for us. We had sent our reservations in last spring, but that did not prevent the docents from acting like we were party crashers. Fortunately, not only were they able to find us seats, the seats we got were excellent and the concert was delightful. All's well that ends well, I guess, but it was a very frustrating morning on quite a few fronts.
Between flu, family, and work, I missed 3 days of practice this week. I like to try to get in at least an hour a day, but just didn't get it together for the first part of the week. Well, it showed!
OMG! I just couldn't get my act together until midway through my lesson. I played Granadina beautifully, but the first piece, Guajira, I played embarrassingly poorly. My teacher told me. "I didn't know you could play that piece that badly." Ooops! Well, I have Thanksgiving break to get in quality practice and redeem myself at my next lesson.
All of these off kilter events are giving me the message that is so hard for me to hear:
Fortunately, the weekend is coming up. A friend and I are going out to dinner and then to a concert tomorrow evening, which will be fun and relaxing. Ruthie Foster: www.ruthiefoster.com/bio.html
This weekend's mission, should I accept, is to get centered.
I love this saying:
I want to make an artistic rendition of this this weekend to post on my bathroom mirror. The busier I am, the more important it is to spend time in meditation. I need to remind myself of this daily.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Oh, that balancing act! I am just not good at it; or perhaps the demands of my job are greater than the sum of the hours in a day.
After several weeks of 6 day work weeks, with overtime at least three of those days each week, I have too little time to do the things I love and that regenerate me. Even with conscious efforts at stress reduction, I find myself stressed and on edge. I find myself wondering if I can physically and emotionally survive another 3 years of teaching until retirement.
I am not 'burned out' in terms of loving what I do and enjoying my time teaching, but I am definitely burning my candle at both ends. When I look at the stats on my Fitbit account, I am in the 95th -99th percentile for women my age in terms of activity, miles, walked, etc. But I AM in my 60's and my energy levels have changed. My morning walks give me the stamina and energy to be cheerful, upbeat, and energetic during the school day, but by late afternoon meetings, my energy has flagged and by the time I get home, stick a fork in me - I'm done!
End result ~ I did not have time for music during the week for the last two weeks. Playing my guitar is one of the things that soothes me ~ it is both a creative practice and a meditation. My house looks like no one cares about it. My yard - forget about it. My fitness program is bare bones. I get my walking in, but have not had time to go to the gym for Body Pump or zumba, both of which I really miss.
Here are my stress reduction strategies:
Get my walks in every day.
Eat a good breakfast each morning.
Read before going to bed.
Take time for music when I can.
So what else?? It's only October for Heaven's sake, and I am already exhausted from teaching. My cup isn't half full, or half empty, it is overflowing!
LOL! Well, I hope at least I'm fascinating.
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