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This Work Week - Short and Sweet

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.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 11/28/2012 2:43AM

    A cute first effort by your student and wise decision for you and Stella wearing safety vests. -- Lou

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DAWN14163 11/25/2012 8:48AM

    I wish I was a student in your class - it sounds such fun! I hope you are enjoying the break and having a well-deserved rest.

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MARY1313 11/23/2012 10:01AM

    awww that little piggy is excellent! glad ya'll are dressing safely for hunting season!


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MCGS62 11/21/2012 9:59AM

    Thats a good safety idea for Stella!

"One of the pumpkin pies and one of the apple pies is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free "

sounds like there is nothing to it!
Happy Thanksgiving

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SUNRISE14 11/20/2012 10:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GUITARWOMAN 11/20/2012 7:31AM

    Hard to believe hunters would mistake your beautiful dog for a deer!

have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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    Oh, I never thought about Stella being in danger during hunting season! So glad to see her orange "jacket" on her, in that case! She is such a beauty!

I wish I'd had a teacher that taught me to knit! I am always amazed at the things your students are learning from you! They are so blessed!

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0309COOKIE 11/19/2012 10:43PM

    Stella looks good in her safety gear. I never even thought about the dangers of hunting season and your hiking. Glad you are on top of things.

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ROCKMAN6797 11/19/2012 9:45PM

    I love the short work week, a good time to re-charge!

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WAREAGLEGIRL 11/19/2012 7:11PM

    Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like you are going to have a good week!

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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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/2/2012 7:06PM

    Love the skunk . . . and your student's pig too!!

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IUHRYTR 11/28/2012 2:40AM

    Such a cutie and a creative project. I wouldn't have guessed the students would vote for chocolate cream pies. emoticon -- Lou

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MARY1313 11/23/2012 9:59AM

    wow when I read the word skunked, I was afraid Stella found one to play with!!! Love your little skunk and that you had a good weekend!!!


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MCGS62 11/19/2012 9:31AM

    I'll trade you for the one that was checking out my trash last night !!!

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ROCKMAN6797 11/19/2012 8:10AM


Your skunk looks awesome!

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    I'm glad you got what you needed!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/19/2012 5:30AM

    Enjoy your holiday, and hang on to that holiday feeling as long as you can!

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DESERTDREAMERS 11/18/2012 9:54PM

    What a busy week you have planned - and the skunk is too cute emoticon (there are no skunk icons, so you'll have to have a puppy)

Comment edited on: 11/18/2012 9:54:30 PM

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    Oh, I just love your skunk! emoticon

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0309COOKIE 11/18/2012 9:09PM

    What an adorable little creature. You are so talented!

Glad you had a relaxing weekend. You deserved it.

Have fun with your pie making project.

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JPONCIN 11/18/2012 9:03PM

    What a cute skunk! Nice work!!! I hope you're feeling better in time for the holiday weekend!!!

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SPOOKY_GIRL13 11/18/2012 9:00PM

  Oh, that's just too darn cute. It turned out awesomely! I hope your squirrel goes well, too!

Also, glad you got the downtime you seem to have needed.

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DOR2BFIT 11/18/2012 8:32PM

    Oh! I was so scared that Stella got skunked! We had a book at our bookstore that had instructions for knitting different dog breeds- I really wish I had learned to knit like that! So cute! emoticon

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YOBOELI 11/18/2012 8:27PM

    That is so cute

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LMB-ESQ 11/18/2012 8:26PM

    Cute skunk! And yes, I thought you meant Stella :-) Glad you had a relaxing weekend for a change... you deserve it!

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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:
playing music
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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLDERDANDRT 11/19/2012 4:43PM

    Happy relaxing, my friend!! emoticon to you and please give Stella my cuddles!

Love your Twinkie diddie!! emoticon

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MCGS62 11/19/2012 9:14AM

    You mean the doll house went for less than $30-- Oh dear there should have been a reserve placed on it -- that was a lot of work !!

Love the twinky card if I had some money though I would be looking into buying the patent and equipment for making twinkies some one is going to make a lot of money in a state that appreciates small employers and the right to work

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ROCKMAN6797 11/18/2012 10:31AM

    You must be so proud to work at such a great school!

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IUHRYTR 11/17/2012 9:56PM

    I didn't go to kindergarten, but would enjoy learning all those things even today. Sounds like such a fun and demanding school. I'm confident your students will never forget their experiences with you. emoticon, Chris. -- Lou

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MERRYMARY42 11/17/2012 7:28PM

    loved the blog and love your school, I want to go there emoticon emoticon

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EVWINGS 11/17/2012 5:18PM

    What a delighful blog this is. Thank you so much for sharing. I remember my normal in kindergarten. We went to a zoo that was located in our county and where the children could close to thew animals. We also visited dairy farms and learned milk making process. So I would have to say animals were our normal. Your school sounds just wonderful. I would have loved to have one that expressed the arts.

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CLAIREINPARIS 11/17/2012 5:06PM

    It sounds like a fantastic school, where you are teaching! I would have loved to study in such a school!
Enjoy the end of your weekend!

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0309COOKIE 11/17/2012 5:00PM

    Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself with such nice activities. Loved the card.

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DOR2BFIT 11/17/2012 2:09PM

    Your blog was delightful! Thanks! Your students are truly blessed, and if they don't realize it now, they will look upon those years with fondness. emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 11/17/2012 1:12PM

    So glad you had such a wonderful start to your weekend! Thanks for the intro to Ruthie Foster, I had never heard of her, but I love soul and blues!

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MARY1313 11/17/2012 12:42PM

    I am sitting here listening to Ruthie Foster! I'm hooked! she is amazing!!!

good weekend plans. eh....can I have your chicken veggie soup recipe??

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OVERWORKEDJANET 11/17/2012 12:31PM

    Wonderful play on the twinkies.
Does it mean we WILL seen the end?


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KOMAL53 11/17/2012 11:31AM

    Sounds like a full Weekend!!!Loved both--the Ruthie Foster link and the Card at the end!!Have a Fun time--doing things you enjoy!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DHUNTER49 11/17/2012 10:55AM

    that's a hilarious card at the end of your post! have a lovely wkd :)

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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.

Mission Possible.

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROCKMAN6797 11/18/2012 10:30AM

    I certainly hope you were able to center yourself Chris. I was battling a cold this past week and I think I won! Thank goodness for these zinc tabs, they really do speed up the healing process!

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IUHRYTR 11/17/2012 9:52PM

    Feel better soon, Chris. -- Lou

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OLDERDANDRT 11/17/2012 9:22AM

    So sorry to hear you are ill!! Anything in the lungs is just awful!! I feel ya! Also, sorry about the stress with the symphony, too. What a shame with you having the reservations in so early!
Happy Thanksgiving ( coming up) and I do hope you get to practice, practice, practice your music and R~E~L~A~X!! I know you love your music and it can be, in & of itself, a meditation!

Health and love, my friend!! emoticon

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MARY1313 11/16/2012 8:51PM

    WOW I just listened to Ruthie Foster! Love her!

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MARY1313 11/16/2012 8:50PM

    dang! sorry you are not feeling well. Loved the picture of Son and Girlfriend! I like that saying too.

Hope this weekend's relaxing events help you to heal up some.

By the way, what a mean thing to say to a student!!!


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GUITARWOMAN 11/16/2012 12:22PM

    Oh, Illness and Murphy's Law on top of it!

Slow down if you can, and get well. Your students, family, and guitars will thank you.

What is it with guitar teachers? They can be downright nasty. You have never lived until one of the annoying bunch has used scotch tape to position your left hand thumb on the correct part of the neck.

Oh well, lucky he didn't use duct tape. and, you know, I do have a rather good left hand position......

Take care.

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LMB-ESQ 11/16/2012 10:14AM

    Oh, stress and busyness.... they do get you, don't they? I'm sorry you were sick, glad you're feeling better though, and glad you got to spend the time with your son and his GF.

I went on a field trip yesterday with a bunch of high school kids. (Haven't done a field trip in ohhhh.... 10 years???) It was fun, but exhausting. We went to a bunch of different places and the biggest problem we had was that the people we were visiting with didn't seem to understand that we had a schedule to keep to. That, and the bus nearly stranded us after our first stop. Field trips... always an adventure... Glad yours ended well and you all enjoyed your concert.

I agree... you have to SLOW DOWN! Love your meditation sign!

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MCGS62 11/16/2012 8:27AM

    Glad to hear from you I was just thinking that you had been away too long !!

E has that same flu/cold symptoms 3 days now it seems to be fading but it did put her down for 2 days
REST REST REST dreams are a form of meditation too

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    You know what you need to do...do it.
We tend to take care of everything else in our lives except ourselves.
Love the background picture!

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DAWN14163 11/16/2012 1:41AM

    Yikes what a stressy day! Glad the concert made up for the hassle getting there.
Enjoy your weekend, relax, focus on you, be kind to yourself x
emoticon emoticon

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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/16/2012 1:20AM

    This blog so reminded me of when I gave up my Tai Chi class because I was too busy. My teacher said I should give up the busyness and he was right. I had no control over my workload and I contracted an injury that has plagued me ever since, and cost me many many thousands of dollars in reduced earnings.
You live and you learn!
You will find a way Pudle, if you really want to.

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UMBILICAL 11/15/2012 10:52PM

  family matters most.

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0309COOKIE 11/15/2012 10:43PM

    Sorry to hear you are down with the flu. Hope you get to feeling better soon.

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A Stress Vent

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:

emoticon Get my walks in every day.

emoticon Eat a good breakfast each morning.

emoticon Read before going to bed.

emoticon 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. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 11/9/2012 9:46AM

    So tough to find time for ALL of our interests and pursuits...but KUDOS to HAVING all these competitions for your attention! :-)


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SCOOTER4263 10/27/2012 11:50AM

    My husband once remarked that *his* mother vacuumed the house every day...all I could think was that the poor woman must have had a miserably boring life (and I pointed out that he knew where we kept that vacuum and how to use it, so he should feel free.)

My house would pass health codes, but not win a Good Housekeeping seal, and I don't care. If you look underneath my beds or my sofa, I'm not responsible for what you may find! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 10/25/2012 5:36PM

    Bless your heart! Well, you've always had tons more energy than I have, so I have always kind of felt you burned you candle at both ends, but .......unfortunately, time does seem to take it's toll, huh! I know you are dedicated to your work. Just remember, if you get sick, you won't be able to work, so ........just sayin'.
Take a nice stroll with Stella at first opportunity then have a nice little power nap. The house isn't going anywhere, you fascinating woman!!! emoticon emoticon

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DAWN14163 10/25/2012 10:52AM

    I so hear you! I "retired" from teaching full time when we started living overseas. Now I just do sub work plus one or two voluntary part time jobs - and I still seem to spend my days rushing around! I can't imagine how I fitted everything in before.
Good that you are making some "me time", even if it's not much - it's so important. The housework will still be there tomorrow. Was it Joan Rivers who said, " I hate housework. You make the beds, do the dishes, and 6 months later you have to do it all again"!
Be kind to yourself!

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LMB-ESQ 10/22/2012 9:38PM

    Haha... if you're fascinating, I must be downright bewitching!

I hear you on the candle burning at both ends. But it sounds like you've got the right strategies for stress reduction. And venting here always helps! emoticon

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MCGS62 10/22/2012 8:59AM

    LOL!! Fascinating women are where it's at !! That's why they have fascinating DH's to help them take care of the house.

I know you luv the school and kids so not sure to say here, maybe hold an election and to appoint some of the kids to handle tasks--I could be a lesson in civics

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FIFIFRIZZLE 10/21/2012 9:10PM

    Hmmm. I think you are right, somehow you need to be able to decompress and ease into retirement. I know you are mostly venting here, but, for what it,s worth, here are a couple ideas.

When I was really flat out, I got a cleaner. She came every fortnight for three hours and cleaned the obvious stuff, the floors, bathrooms, kitchen, dusted. When I got home every other Friday night it was to a tidy clean home. So I invited folks around THAT weekend.

Can you make 15 minutes in your work day for your music? Can you play while your students are doing their math problems or reading or having quiet time? Or before you go to lunch? Or while they are getting ready to go home? Or before you leave for home?

Can you drop some of the tasks you don't really enjoy? Because you will have to hand over the reins to someone in a few years when you leave, so, why not start now?

Now, this might not be appropriate for your environment, but, if marking takes up quite a bit of time, can you set some tasks where students mark their own work? Or each others'? This can be good learning for them.

I hope you can make a way to slow down so that you are not so overcommitted at work. I'm sure your students won't suffer for it.


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IUHRYTR 10/21/2012 7:37PM

    And some people say teachers have easy hours. Not true. Reading, for me, is my outlet. I look forward to that quiet time before bed every night, as you do with your music. Here's hoping things settle down for you soon. -- Lou

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GUITARWOMAN 10/21/2012 7:16PM

    Oh Chris, I am so in the same place!

I am getting up at 4:30 AM to get the walking in, and by time I get home, especially if there is a Board (aaaarrrrgggghhhh!) meeting, I do not recognize myself.

I am hanging on by my fingernails for the guitar playing most days in the week, even if it is for 15 minutes.

I am lucky, I have only 10 months to go.

Be kind to yourself, do what you can for yourself.

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    You are VERY fascinating!
I feel your pain and wish you good luck. I check those darned retirement sites weekly lately. I plug in the numbers, change a few things, sigh and go back to work.

I also try this balancing act inside my head, wishing I had that crystal ball to tell me how many more years I can have fun before I can't keep up with myself! I try to imagine how much energy I'll have to do all those things I want to.

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MALA77 10/21/2012 6:24PM

    Hope you're able to find a way to destress and possible not work so much!!!


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DESERTDREAMERS 10/21/2012 6:23PM

    I love your fascinating women card. Hope you get a chance to decompress more soon emoticon

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MARY1313 10/21/2012 6:18PM

    I hope you can get some rest soon. I know that the school really takes a toll on you. I hope you are at least able to get some sleep at night!!

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LADYTWIST1 10/21/2012 6:14PM

  I feel the same way when it comes to making time for everything. working, exercising, spending time with family, cooking, and cleaning. There are just not enough hours in the day.

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