Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of fireworks...do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

I saw some pretty good ones last night!  The people a block over were shooting them in the street and it was like they were in my yard.  

I used to be easier to trigger, but I have mellowed with age.  I tend to only get really fired up when someone is unfair to someone in a position of less authority.  This is usually when it comes to students, but can show up in other forms, too.  


2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?


I'm not an outdoor person.  I certainly haven't thrown any outdoor parties, and every time I think I'm going to one, I talk myself into some AC instead.  It's humid here and I just don't enjoy the heat.  

In that vein, the key to an outdoor party is cool weather or access to a pool!


3. What does freedom mean to you?


To me, freedom means that I have the right to have opinions, even if you disagree with them.   And vice versa.  One of the most frustrating things to me right now is that no one is open to actual discourse on seemingly any topic.


4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?


The thing that annoys me most is when people use cell phones as an excuse not to have manners or be present with people.  


5. What's your current summer anthem?


I have been listening to Glorious by Macklemore, There's Nothing Holding Me Back by Shawn Mendes, and Cut to the Feeling by Carly Rae Jepsen pretty heavily on my walk playlist.



6.  Insert your own random thought here.


It always feels like the summer ends quickly after the 4th.  But by the time we get there, I'm always ready to get back to work and see how the kiddos have grown over the summer..   

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Goals Check-In #3

I'm in a much better head space than the last time I was here. While I never turn a blind eye to my anxiety, it does ebb and flow and this week has been much better.  Even better, I've made progress on more than just one of my goals.  Let's check in!

  • Read more. -  I have finished four books in June and still have a couple of days left.  Check the Book Challenge tab to see just what I've been reading.  
  • Turn off the TV.  -  The TV is still on at least some of the time.  Seriously, watch GLOW on Netflix.  I was sad that there were only 10 episodes, honestly.  So great!  But I've been listening to a ton of podcasts in the last couple of weeks, too.  My true blue will always be The Popcast (check them out in the sidebar to the right), but I've loved Broadway Backstories, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Theater People, The Broadway Cast, Young House Love, and That Sounds Fun with Annie Downs.  
  • Lose weight/Eat right. - I'm still down right around 20 pounds, but I'm not discouraged because I am changing shape/gaining muscle.  Yesterday, Sister and I did a six mile walk before breakfast, and while I enjoy walking that was much longer than a normal workout.  Eating right isn't terrible, but I also don't deprive myself.  For instance, during last week's adventure I had 3 AM fresh donuts, Ben and Jerry's and Cracker Barrel french toast for breakfast two days in a row,  It was a delight!
  • Learn to cook. -  I made hamburgers while baking half a dozen sweet potatoes yesterday.  And all of those were just prep to eat for the rest of the week.  Does that count as cooking?
  • Prep curriculum. - July is going to be my month to work on curriculum.  We have a workshop next week, so I'm hoping that will give me the jump start I needed.  Because I have completely vacated thoughts of school planning since school let out.  
  • Go on adventures.  - Sister and I went on a 36-hour road trip last week.  We left in the middle of the night, drove to Tennessee for an appointment, then stayed the night in Pigeon Forge before coming home.  It was crazy, but it was an absolute blast!  This weekend, I have some time carved out for my bestie, Amber, and I'm really looking forward to that.  

It always seems like summer goes fast once we get to the 4th of July, so I'm just buckling in to enjoy what's left before it's back to that school day grind!  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Goals Check-In #2

This is a space where I intend to be honest, so here goes nothing. I am not doing so hot with my goals overall, minus improving my health at the moment.  Moreover, especially this week for some reason, I'm really struggling with mental spin out.  If you don't know what I mean by that, let me explain.  

I've always struggled with anxiety.  I used to have hyper-realistic nightmares about failing tests long after I was out of school.  I tend to latch on to the worst-case scenario of most situations, and prepare as though that is the inevitability.  I'm a bit of a raging hypochondriac.  Depending on where I am in my life, anxiety manifests in different ways.  Currently, I spend a lot of my time alone.  I don't have a tremendous amount of friends in my life right now, and those that I do have are traveling or don't get their summers off.  My sister works the night shift, so half of any week I'm sleeping while she's working or vice versa.  And that leaves me alone with my thoughts, and I don't always need to be alone with my thoughts.  Now, let me say upfront that I am not a danger to myself or others.  That's not at all what I'm talking about.  Now feels like a good time to include that I am a control freak, and I do not handle change well, at all.  And here's the thing about life--it often changes quickly and without the courtesy of even sending advance notice.  (Preferably on engraved stationery, please and thank you.)  All of these things have been building into the greatest anxiety sandwich you might ever want to behold. And I've ponied up to the table ready to take it down in one gulp.  

I hear myself when I'm spinning out.  I know what I sound like.  (Like I should be in a bunker in a tin foil hat, more often than not.)  But, that doesn't always stop it.  The good news is that since I'm on a reasonably successful health kick, I haven't been using my two favorite methods of shutting off the anxiety, food and alcohol.  I've been filling that gap with obsessively checking social media and reading the comments of other people who may actually be in bunkers with their shiny, shiny hats. And while it's calorie-free, it's not doing much for my mental health.  Ironically, I thinned out much of Facebook during 2016, so my feed is mostly businesses selling antiques and comfy t-shirts (I see you, Ruby's Rubbish).  But Twitter might as well be Pandora's box right now.  Part of it is that things happen there in real time.  No sooner has something happened than you have video and first-person accounts, and all of the commentary on it (SO MUCH COMMENTARY, and everyone's an expert).  I love that about the medium, but it's also something that isn't great when you have unlimited time to obsess.   So, I'm really working on thinning out who and what I connect with there simply for my own sanity,  And I will continue to wrestle the beast, and keep out of the tin foil.  

On with the check-up, such as it is:
  • Read more. -  I have finished half of one book.  I have good intentions, but a short attention span.  I am starting a new one today.  We'll see how it goes.  
  • Turn off the TV.  -  I think this may have been an unrealistic goal, peeps.  I have been medicating with a lot of TV repeats.  Whenever I'm feeling low, I watch comedies.  I'm firmly camped in Parks and Rec, Designing Women, and Mom.  I will say that I have been listening to some podcasts, which both gives this quiet house a little noise and brings other happy/interesting conversations into  my life.  So, I guess that's a little progress?
  • Lose weight/Eat right. - As of this morning, I am down 19 pounds in 39 days.  I walk a lot while I watch TV, and have even been getting up crazy early some mornings to walk with my sister.  
  • Learn to cook. -  Nope.  But I am eating well.
  • Prep curriculum. - I have only thought about curriculum once since school let out, and that was because I went to work to sign some papers and someone asked me a question.  But I am going to get to work on that in the next couple of weeks.  
  • Go on adventures.  - Sister and I have an adventure on the books for next week.  More about that when it gets here.  Otherwise I have been watching a lot of t-ball games, which are their own kind of adventure.  
I will be back sometime soon with hopefully more progress and updates.  Thanks for sticking with this post if you made it all the way to the end.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Work

I promise this isn't going to become a fitness blog.  However, as this is my space, I get to decide the programming and tonight we're going to talk about what I've been up to the last 26 days.

The last 26 days I have logged every bit of food that has gone into my body and drank more water than I ever thought possible.  (Seriously, no sodas in nearly a month.  Not even a sip.)  I've clocked every minute of exercise.  I've counted every single step.  I've compared this week to last week and the week before that to see where I can improve.  I've crunched more numbers than can possibly be healthy, and read every chart and graph the apps have offered.  I've treated my body like a science experiment.  And in 26 days, I've lost 16.4 pounds.

Now, before we start up the confetti cannons, I should let you know that I have a long way to go.  Very long.  Ideally, I would like to reach my first goal (60 pounds gone) by my 36th birthday this October.  It also means that when we go shopping for bridesmaid dresses I will be ordering one much smaller than what I would order right now.  Once I reach that goal, I would like to try to lose even more, but what I want most is to be as healthy as possible, no matter the size.

I love how I feel right now.  It's work, but it's the best kind.  And if I already feel better, imagine how it will feel when I hit my goals farther down the road.  I've got to stop now because I'm getting up at the literal crack of dawn to go walk with my sister and I need my rest.  (I totally log my sleep now, too.  I'm such a weirdo.)  Just wanted to share.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Goals Check-In #1

I know, technically, it's not even summer vacation yet.  But I felt like this was a good time for a baseline check of how things are going in each of my selected areas of interest.  I'll try to do this every couple of weeks this summer to keep you, my dozens of readers, up-to-date and to keep myself honest.

  • Read more. -  I haven't started reading yet, unless you count the books I bought for my nieces. But it's on starting Thursday.  I haven't completely organized my reading list, but I'm looking forward to a lot of time in my sun room reading this summer.  
  • Turn off the TV.  - Not doing so hot on this one either, but I am exercising while I watch, so that's an improvement, at least.  I mean, Netflix released the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt this weekend and I got hooked on their new true crime documentary, The Keepers.  The Lemonade episode of Kimmy is so great (and the season as a whole has some great laughs).  But let me talk for a minute about The Keepers.  I still have two episodes left and I am so intrigued by that entire story.  I don't want to spoil it with too many details, but it's a murder mystery involving a nun, but so much more is revealed in the process.  I highly recommend the series.  
  • Lose weight/Eat right. - I'm doing really well with this particular goal.  I've lost 13.2 pounds since I started about two weeks ago.  I'm watching what I eat (using the Lose It! app) and exercising a lot (thanks, Fitbit!).  I still have a long way to reach my first goal, but it certainly doesn't seem like such a pipe dream anymore.  
  • Learn to cook. -  Okay, I'm not really eating junk, but  I'm also not really cooking yet.  I've pinned some recipes that I'm interested in and I'm looking forward to having plenty of time to work on them.  
  • Prep curriculum. - I'm in the "gathering up what I need" stage at the moment.  Of course, I also live very close to my school, so it's not like I can't come trade out when I needed.  I am looking forward to putting together some fun projects for next year for a several of my classes. (At this point, I'm not even totally sure what all I'm teaching next year, but I am working on what I know.)
  • Go on adventures.  - With my sister having time off each week, I'm guaranteed an adventure or two at some point.  I'm also going to be hanging with the nieces a lot more, so who knows what we might be up to?!  
I'm well on my way to summer vacation!  Wednesday is my last official day, so I'm looking forward to not waking up to an alarm on Thursday.  I will check back in on my goals Monday, June 5.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...
Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

As a pack rat in recovery, I don't know that we should be celebrating that.  I think teachers are pack rats by necessity, because I always think I'll use whatever I'm saving for school. Sometimes I do, but most of the time it just takes up space in a cabinet or crate.  So, I'm working to really thin out things at home and at school this summer.

Also, when did we get all these "national whatever day" notifications?  Why does everything need a day?  


2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?


I don't know how to change a tire. I know that I should, but I've always happily let my dad take care of most of that kind of thing.  I don't know that I should be able to do this, but I wish I could tile floors. It would be much easier to take care of that myself rather than pay someone and I really want tile in my bathroom and in my front room.  I'm handy enough, but that's beyond my skills set.


3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

I do crave sugar.  I have to have at least some in my hot tea, but will drink unsweetened iced tea.  I will use a pack of Splenda in a pinch, but I don't like the taste of artificial stuff.  I love dessert, but since I'm working to lose weight, I'm trying to be very selective about what and when I have it.  (Though they had Dippin' Dots at school on Monday, and I definitely had some.  Also, the guy who invented them graduated from my school system, so we get them from time to time.)  


4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?


Leggings.  I love them so much.  I wear them underneath my dresses and my tunics and it makes it very hard to love my jeans again.  


5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.


It's funny that you ask this question this week, because it's basically the assignment my Music Appreciation kids are working on right now.  They have to create an entire timeline, but I'm just going to stick to one memory.  

I was in the eighth grade and it was about this time of year, and our high boys team had the opportunity to play another school at (old) Busch Stadium.  School was let out, and it seems like the whole county went north for the game.  Our boys played in the early afternoon, then we had tickets to watch the Cardinals that night.  My friends and their parents all stayed overnight at the hotel across the street and we all went to this little diner/bar area in the hotel and the song "Cheap Seats" by Alabama came on the jukebox.  It was a brand new song at the time and we sang along, laughing and smiling at each other.  I can still see everyone's faces.  And whenever I hear that song, I'm instantly transported right back to that sweet moment.


6. Insert your own random thought here.


I realize this was very much my random thought last week, but by the time you're reading this, I will only have five more days of work for the school year!  And I am ready for a break from that grind more with every passing moment.  I'm ready to have my own routine and schedule!  I'm ready to not wake up with an alarm clock every day.  And I'm really ready to get to work on my summer goals!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Summer Goals

Like I said in the Hodgepodge, I'm just a couple weeks away from summer vacation.  I often joke that they have to give teachers a break so that we are willing to come back and do it all over again.  Summer is definitely about refocusing and restoration for me, but left to my own devices, I am the worst.  I stay up late and sleep later, watch too much TV and spend more time than I possibly should lounging around.  So, for this summer, I'm setting forth a few goals.


  • Read more.  -  I've already put forth the 2017 Book Challenge, but I'm only doing so-so at that. I just don't have the focus to read during the school year, so I'm going to really work on making some headway this summer.  I have a shelf full (and a Kindle full) of great books just waiting to be read!
  • Turn off the TV.  -  I love television.  I always have.  But I'm spending too much time with it. This summer, I want watching TV to be an event, not constant background noise.
  • Lose weight/Eat right.  -  My little sister gets married March of 2018.  I desperately need to lose some weight before that happens.  My big goal is 60 pounds, but I'm focusing on the daily goal of just surviving each day without completely losing it and eating an entire pan of brownies for now.
  • Learn to cook.  -  I can read a recipe, but I don't enjoy cooking.  I just don't.  But I know that to be ultimately successful at losing weight, I need to stop eating pre-packaged crap.  This means I'm going to have to be able to successfully prep and cook things that are good for me to eat.  So, that will be interesting.
  • Prep curriculum for 2017-18 - I'm teaching two different sections of American History, World History, and Music Appreciation, and while I've taught these classes before, I have several things I would like to work on before going at it again.  My goal is to spend at least a day or two a week focused on getting these plans into working order.  (And this is why teachers are never fully on break.)
  • Go on adventures.  -  I love a good adventure.  Whether it's going some place I've never been or just looking more closely at places I thought I knew, I want to go have some fun this summer!  

I know these are mostly the lame things that people always say, but I really mean them and I am fully prepared to show proof this summer as needed.  And most of all, I can't wait to get started!   (Only nine days to go!!)