Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Break Begins

Spring may not yet be here officially, but although there is snow falling this morning, I know that Spring Break is here. I think I have more things planned for this week than is good for any one person, but if I get to sleep in a few times, I think I can make it. I will keep you posted.

Today we are going to celebrate Joe A.'s 25th birthday. His birthday was actually Wednesday, but as he works the evening shift, today was the first day we all have off work. I think we are headed down to the Rain Forest Cafe at the Oak Park Mall. We did the T-Rex Cafe last year, and he wants something different that his little brothers will enjoy.

Joe L. is in Missouri for the annual spoonbill fishing trip. The season run starts today, and he and a few buddies are fishing in the cold rain. Fish stories are to come, I am sure.

This school year I took over as the Math Club sponsor at my middle school. Yesterday, I supervised the Math Club's Pi Day Celebration after school. Pi is used to represent the irrational number you get when you divide a circle's circumference by its diameter. It is often estimated as 3.14, thus March 14th is Pi Day in the Math World. The Math Club members had decided to have pie--in fact they had a pie tasting contest. Wow, I never guessed that kids would get so excited about baking/making pies. A few kids brought in store bakery bought, but most of the pies were made by the kids, some with very little help from their families. The kids voted for their three favorites and it was a close competition for the top five spots. In the end the winners were French Silk in first, pumpkin in second, chocolate pecan in third, cherry in fourth, and lemon meringue in fifth. Not surprising is that the homemade pies rated highest and took all the top spots. I bought a 20 question electronic game for the top winner and all the students won Frisbees (the first Frisbees were pie plates thrown in a contest/game in Connecticut, and were made by the Frisbee Company). I think we will do this again next year with much more going on, now that we have lived it once. LOL

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Webster describes initiative as the first step, or the ability to get things started. I have written in the past about setting goals. That is really a good place to start, but once the plan is in place an action must be made to fulfill the goal. It doesn't have to require that the goal is met immediately, but that the goal is being worked on, baby step by baby step if need be, until the project is complete or the goal is reached.

In my past perfection, I would often freeze at the fact that I would not be able to complete something, or I would start with the assumption that I would FINISH the task what ever it was, and I would finish it with what ever the cost to me and other priorities. I have now learned to break jobs into smaller tasks, to do what I can in the time I have, even if if is only ten or fifteen minutes, and be content with the results that I get. In reality, I am getting so much more done this way in all parts of my life.

I have also discovered that I will never get anything done if I wait until I feel like it. I have to admit, there have been many times that that was my excuse. I simply didn't feel like getting something done, and since it wasn't a "have-to" at the moment, something else, and not necessarily something more important, was done instead. I have learned a few lessons over time and now I like to live by the Nike slogan, "Just Do It." If I get started it will eventually get done. Each time I work toward a goal I get closer to meeting it. If I don't get started then it has a negative effect on me every time I think about it. In fact, I do not enjoy lolling around, if I haven't taken initiate with my ongoing goals.

Odds and Ends

My big accomplishment yesterday was to get the shopping done. Instead of going myself, which is the norm, Joe, Ray and Danny went with me. It took a lot longer, but Daniel really loves to shop. Raymond only likes to shop if he has something on his personal list, but he got some exercise following the cart around.

This shopping trip was quite challenging for me as our back refrigerator died last week. We had to shift a few items to the neighbor's freezer and pack our kitchen freezer and fridge until there was no space left even for more than two ice trays. I am currently in the market for a new one to replace the one that died, but I have to figure out exactly what I want. Can I get by with just a freezer now in the pantry, or do I want to get another large side by side as I had back there before? I wish I could find a model that had a larger freezer area and a smaller fridge area. That would be my ideal. Actually what I would really like, if I had a larger area in my kitchen, would be to get one of those large French door refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom and then get just a medium sized freezer for the pantry. To do that I would have to lose a row of cabinets on the top and bottom. Of course that would lead to a major kitchen renovation and I don't think that is happening anytime soon.

So I had to retrain my brain not to shop for weeks ahead, but just what we need this week. I really hate to shop so this is really difficult for me to think I will have to go back and do it again so soon. I do have to think about the fact that I am blessed to have the refrigerator I do have (that is 13 years old and small but still running), and that it is full. I am also grateful that I have a full house of family that is here to eat meals and be a part of each others lives.

To update the illnesses around here, most everyone is on the mend. Joe Joe is going back to work today, although he is not 100%. He spent the day Thursday in the doctor's office, or at least waiting to be seen, as he had called for the appointment the day before, and with so many people sick going in to be seen, it was difficult to work him into the schedule. It was rough but he made it through the day. The little boys have lost their coughs, which is a relief, but Raymond still has a lot of congestion in his head. Steven and I are now dealing with allergies, which is what I am suspecting may be happening with Raymond. Joe was sick last weekend and had a few down days this past week, but he still rose to the occasion in working on the driveway, yard and a few other helpful tasks.

Now to give an update from the ice storm damage and our yard, we have been just stacking up the limbs that came down in December. I am so overwhelmed by the number that had come down. If we were to burn it, it would be a really large job. Hauling it away seems a big job as well. The piles just from the sycamore tree would fill the large trailer ten times with some of the limbs far too long to fit on the trailer at all. Even the smaller trees lost limbs. We will wait to see how they progress when they get their leaves to see if any need to come down. I suspect we will need to lose at least two. At this point I think we will need to burn some of the limbs and haul some away. Now we will have to wait for a wet and windless day to start burning. It has been much too windy over the past two weeks. My yard looks so sad. Everything is brown or gray, and the trees look like they are no longer proportional. Some trees lost their tops and others lost limbs from varying levels. I am really waiting for when everything starts to green up; I hope it will look so much better.

The sun is shining today. Although it is still quite cold out, I feel a bit of energy to get something accomplished. With the time change I will need to work hard to turn in a little early this week so that I can get up and off to work in the dark mornings for several weeks until the days stretch out to mornings being well lit by the sun. The Spring Equinox is less than two weeks away, and Spring Break is just a week away!