Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blustry Cold Winds

This week has been a real change in seasons. At the beginning of the week we were enjoying mild weather, warm mornings and much time outside. For Tuesday's election day, we went to the polling station with no need for a jacket, although with the time change this week, it is darker an hour earlier. By the end of the week the highs are in the 40s.

Oh well. Winter is destined to come in the weeks that follow. At least we did not experience the blizzards that they did in Colorado, Nebraska and the Dakotas this week. That same storm is now hitting Illinois. The one thing I look forward to when winter arrives is the two week break the little boys and I get from school and work. Once the break is over, winter is just something to endure. Although it marks the beginning of winter, I start counting down the days until spring arrives. Now I am just looking forward to enjoying Thanksgiving Break which will be five days of family time and then three weeks later winter break will begin.

Joe is in full swing with both remodeling and winterizing his house. He has been in training all week which means that he has had evenings off to work. He has today off as well before he starts back with his normal schedule. He is putting a wall up in the kitchen where once there was a sliding glass double door. They finished with the inside wall this morning. The door that they took out yesterday led to the deck that Joe has taken off to extend his driveway. They picked up the new furnace and they will install it as soon as they build the stand for it.

Rick started a new job this week. It is not his dream job by any means, but it is close to home and pays enough to get his bills paid. The nicest part is that it is a day job. His past jobs have always been night jobs and now he can get his internal clock to normal after nearly four years of working the overnight shift. He won't have to work weekends or holidays either.

Friday, November 7, 2008


What an awesome responsibility. Being solely responsible for every decision that is made in your own life. What is it that makes you get up in the morning and do all that needs to be done? Then consider other days you might get up and sluggishly take three hours to do what could easily be done in 30 minutes. What happens when you let something that you need to do slide for an hour, a day or even longer? Every decision, every act, and every lazy moment shapes the way your day goes and the direction of your life.

You have hundreds or maybe thousands of decision to make every day. Some are pretty trivial. Should you wear your black slack s and a sweater, or your blue pant suit? Some decisions effect others or the world at large. Should you use paper or plastic, or better yet, your own reusable bag? And more than you may think, most of your decisions effect your life journey. Decisions on how you spend or save your money, how much schooling you work to receive, how often you think of others when you make decisions or if you are the center of your choices. Will you stand at the rudder to guide the direction, or will you let a sail lead you in whatever direction the wind blows? Do you pray and give control of your life to the will of God, or to someone else? Do you plod through life checking off a never ending list of things to do, or do you live from minute to hour either taking care of what you want to deal with hoping the consequences are small, or worse yet jumping from one dramatic moment to the next dealing with things because they have become urgent and now you have to deal with them? You do have a choice. It is you, and only you, that decides.

I think that there should be a balance between planning and spontaneity in life. There are things that I need to do because I am responsible for doing them and then there are times in my life where an opportunity or experience presents itself and I just do it because it sounds like fun or it would be a good experience for my kids. There are times when I plan for an event, and then circumstances happen and I have to choose to follow the plans with a level of compromise or just give it up and go to plan C.

An example in my life comes with eating habits. I enjoy good food and I have a need to practice good nutrition, so what I called good food ten and twenty years ago is not the same as it is today. Do I plan my meals carefully or do I just make choices as the mealtimes (or snack times) come? I am usually a creature of habit, so eating the same thing at the same time each day is often my reality. I try to vary dinner meals a bit, but breakfast and lunch are very predictable. Even my weekly lunch out is a routine, though it is a treat. My colleagues from my team and I go out to a Mexican restaurant close to work. The tradition was started as I joined the team, but even though I am working with a new group this year the event continues regularly. If someone outside of our group plans something else during our weekly set time, we just plan to do it another day. It is not to be missed. On the downside of being a creature of habit, I will run into a course of time when the good eating habits are nonexistent, and it takes a bit of effort, as well as a strong will or motivation, to get back into doing what is right and my habits may need some planning and preparation to put back into practice. When I don't make good food choices, my health is being put into jeopardy. When I do eat things that aren't so good in moderation, I find a balance and can more easily live a healthy lifestyle.

As I go through the week, I know I will be getting up at 4:30 a.m. to workout and then getting ready for work on most weekdays. I will have a tall cup of tea before I leave the house and make another one to go. I pack one of about three combinations of foods for my lunch, take a shower, put on clothes that I set out the night before and brush my teeth, put on make-up and then do my that order...every day I go to work. Then I straighten up the bathroom, put a load of clothes in the washer, and make sure that the little boys are ready for the day. I am NOT a morning person, but there is much that I do in the morning since I can work on automatic with a fresh energy, and my routines are less likely to be interrupted by meetings, errands or guests dropping by to visit.

When I get home at the end of my day, I unload everything that does not belong in my vehicle. Trash can not live in there and so it just goes out at each stop at home as a habit. My kids get the same directions when we return home. The exceptions may be if we get home late when the little boys may be sleepy or after a day trip or vacation when there is much to unload. Then I need to set the goal to get it cleaned up before I do anything else. It is a habit that saves me time and energy in the long run.

So as you are planning out your day and making choices, remember that it is important to have a set of routines to guide you in things that keep you on track. It is important to know what matters to you most so that you can give attention to your priorities. Daily chores, getting out the door at a set time, preparing quick healthy meals all take time and planning but are made more efficient with an element of routine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Rick celebrated his birthday Monday, but we went out to dinner on Sunday as Joe had the day off since he is doing training this week and is on Monday-Friday first shift. The boys enjoyed mussels, salmon, shrimp and scallops along with the traditional Eastern fare.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sleep, Sleep, Need Some Sleep

Okay, the clocks rolled back an hour this past weekend, and the clock in my head is ready to shut down earlier than I would like. The problem with that is the list of things I have to do is no shorter than it was last week. I am not having such a hard time with getting up in the morning. In fact the little boys are still getting up according to their internal clock, and they both have been up at near 5:30 a.m. the past two days.

I am making it my goal to leave work during daylight hours (which gets harder as the winter solstice approaches) so I can see natural light each day. I do not have windows in my classroom this year, so missing the sun is very possible if I work past five. This week I am driving to school in daylight so I will enjoy that for a couple of weeks before we are reduced to the shorter December and January versions of day. So as my mind is shutting down earlier, I will try to get to sleep earlier this week and pack all I can into a smaller amount of time in the weeks to come.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week of Reality is Here

What is a reality check? It is finding and planning what I can do with what I have as resources this year. It often involves setting priorities with my time and money. Every year seems to have a bit of different circumstance for our family. Change has come as children join the family and as they grow older and change interests, jobs change from time to time, important people in our lives move in and out and sometimes back in again and the focus of what is most important at a given point are sometimes slightly altered as we grow more mature and are presented with varying life challenges.

I think that with Election Day looming this week I may have to face a reality check of sorts with how I am going to make decisions based on who has the power in my country and state. As there have been some irresponsible decisions made on the part of a couple of the federal and state level representatives, I have to plan more conservatively for the months ahead regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's elections.

Now back to this week's checklist which includes these tasks for today;
( ) Getting my Christmas letter written (I have the paper already)
( ) Updating my Christmas card list and writing and addressing one fifth of the cards (yes I have the cards, but still need to buy my stamps as soon as I get the number of Christmas cards count)
( ) Creating my Christmas list and starting the gift idea planners for those on my list
( ) Read the "Simplify Your Holidays" article
( ) Change the batteries in smoke detectors
( ) Pack up all the Halloween decorations and extras

Balmy November Beginning

November has come in with the most amazing weather. It took a bit of time for the thick fog to lift from the landscape Saturday morning, but once it did there were clear blue skies overhead and a bed of prickly cushion underneath as a half dozen kids, one big sister and some adventurous parents set out on a hay ride to enjoy the multiple hues of the season in the early autumn afternoon.

It was planned that we would enjoy hot cocoa after the trip, but it was much too warm when we returned to even consider drinking something that would warm us further, and we ended up picnicking with pizza on the patio while the kids played, mostly outside. A couple more neighbor kids joined in the play as the afternoon went on, and it was a party atmosphere until dinner time. When it was time for friends and cousins to go home, there were some long faces, and not one kid ready to call the day done, including the ones that live here.