Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday Fog

The thick fog that covers the land makes it quite difficult for me to get to work on time. Traffic on the highway slows this morning to about 40 mph. It is just past the point of the morning when the day begins, but clouds make it difficult for the sunlight to stream through so many layers of the dust and moisture. On the highway, it is difficult to see how many vehicles are preceding mine, but from time to time a get a glimpse of a very long line of taillights, and then the light quickly fades. We move together, in and out of the clouds that are hanging, clinging, permeating the blacktop and surrounding landscape. Our caravan, in our brief moment out of the cloud, view a vision of trees that are off to either side of the roadway. The trees are thickly frosted, and have a promise of a radiance of their own if only the light would send a stream of energy their way. They seem to be wanting the fog to lift as much as I do. We drive into the next fog bank.  I can barely see the small truck that is directly in front of me. The outline of the tailgate brightens and dims over and over as the traffic changes the pace of travel throughout the drive. I look at the clock on my dashboard thinking that the trip is taking longer than the extra five minutes I had allowed. I reset my iPod so I am listening to some upbeat music as the twenty minute podcast has ended and left the air hanging quietly. It is too silent until the selection is made. The familiar rhythm of an old favorite brings a smile to my face and soon our entourage melds into the traffic of town as we join local traffic. The fog thins, but is still a frame of all that I can see. I pull into my parking spot, and the fog tries to follow me into the building. I push it farther behind me as I walk into the glow of florescent lighting and smiles of favorite people. The fog evaporates and is left outside to battle the sun for dominance of the day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Training

I had a training meeting this morning, so after spending an hour after work yesterday preparing for a substitute to take my classes half the day, I enjoyed an extra 45 minutes this morning at home before I had to head out the door. The training was great, but the nice part was the information was relevant to what I am doing now, and I had some of my brilliant colleagues to collaborate with during the activities and discussions.The district did have a continental breakfast there, but after my morning shake I skipped the bagels and donuts, and ate a banana and had a small glass of orange juice. Two fruits down for me!!!! I was very, very good.

I returned to school in time for lunch (leftover pasta and yogurt) and a plan session, taught my afternoon classes and headed home in record time. A very good work day.

My body training started in the late afternoon again today. I was a bit of a slug this morning, too, since I had stayed up so late last night. After work and dinner I did my NEWO with Jonathan Roche's DVD and called it a day for my workout.

There is still a foot of snow that has yet to melt in our yard. Raymond's poor trampoline is bulging from the weight. I hope it bounces back after the thaw.

The boys and I have been enjoying bird watching. The bird feeder in our yard attracts all kinds of birds and over the past weeks the birds have been very hungry. My favorite visitors are the cardinals. We had at least four pairs of the red birds that show up this afternoon at the same time. I think the birds are getting the word out, because every day there are more birds than the day before.

The melting starting yesterday with temperatures just above freezing. Today we were not that fortunate. Icicles hanging from the house over five feet long. The day started out foggy and dreary. The day ended dark and dreary. I am so hoping for promised (forecasted) sunshine tomorrow. And a warmer day too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Made It Through Monday

Jillian Michaels - 30 Day ShredFinally back to work today. It was a bit of a relief to return to a normal routine. I was up at 4:30 (that's a.m. for you people who sleep until it's light outside) and at my workout in the great room by 5. Today I again tried the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. It is a kick your tushy workout for sure, and I only worked the level one session. There are two higher levels that you progress through after doing the workout four or five times in a week, and you progress to the next level when you are ready. With the 30 day title, I interpret it to mean about 10 days at each level, so next time around I should be ready for level two. As I am mixing up my DVD workouts I have noted that this is not my favorite, but it is definitely challenging. And I am a sucker for a good, healthy challenge.

I didn't do much toward my own happiness today. Well I did write two blog entries, snuggled with the little boys as they fell asleep, and watched the new episode of House with Joe and our three oldest boys. But I stayed at work far longer than I liked (and finished), had to run to the store since Joe didn't get around to it yesterday (and picked up my coffee I was nearly out of) and didn't get home until the boys had already had their baths, had their stories and were just tucked into bed for the night (did I mention we snuggled for a bit?). A productive day I suppose, but I'll need to work on getting home extra early tomorrow.

Grandma Gann

My mother's mother's 89th birthday is today. She is one of the loveliest people I have ever known, and up until the past few years she has been my biggest cheerleader and has listened intently to every word I have spoken in her presence. If you know me well, you know what a feat that is, and I so adore being the center of her world if only for five minutes or a half hour at a time. Actually I am happy to share the bright beams of her attention with any of my family.

My earliest memories of Grandma are of me sitting in her lap while she told me interesting stories, shared how she and her brothers and sisters worked and played in her childhood, revealed her dreams, and always gave unwavering proof of her love of me by holding my hand in hers as she talked. I can remember her trying to explain to me that while my sister Anne was older than me, I could one day be bigger than her. I really didn't get it until years later remembering her words. I must have been only four or so. Other memories include the strong scents of her kitchen. Pumpkin pie spices and mincemeat always remind me of watching her baking when I was about five. The smell of mint takes me back to visits to her herb garden. The sound of her laughter takes me back to sitting in the kitchen watching her reading letters that her family or pen pals had sent her. I remember thinking how much I wanted to write letters to people. It seemed to bring such joy to her. Sadly, although I do write a lot, I do not write many letters. And funny that most of the letters I have written have been to her.

As I hit that confusing age of 13 our family moved closer to my grandparents. We would spend time in her garden as I shadowed her, weeded, harvested, and talked about all of her favorite flowers and herbs.  Afterward we would sit around drinking the sweetest sweet tea as she talked with me about things she had read or seen, and she would also give me some of the best advice I got in my life. Like how to make chocolate cake taste good even on the third day (serve it with pudding), how to decide if a man is husband material (see how he treats his mother and sisters), and how to get smarter (read, write, do puzzle and play challenging games like Boggle or Scrabble as often as you can).

I remember snuggling up in the softest quilts as I was growing up, too. I don't remember what happened to the quilt that she made for me, or the one she made for my doll when I was about seven or eight, but I can still picture their patterns and blend of colors. My mother also makes quilts, but I obviously had some gene defect because I have no skill with a needle, let alone the artistry required to be a quilter. I am very fond of the small lovey-sized quilts that my grandmother made for my four oldest boys. Each quilt she created had its own story, its own personality and matched the temperament of each boy who delighted in dragging it around as a cape or wrap, throwing it over a table or chair to create a tent or fort and later to have it draped over them as they napped.   

It has been very difficult for the past several years for me to see Grandma fade from her role as a vibrant, creative and witty spirit as she continues to slip in and out of the here and now. She is no longer at home, and when I go to visit her now, I am ever hopeful that she will find some comfort and recognize me as one of her "folks". I am delighted, ecstatic,  if she recognizes me for me. If I can get a giggle, or even a chuckle out of her, I feel my mission is successful. Even if she thinks of me as one of the neighbors she is so fond of, we have a good visit. January 11, 1921 was a very great day. Dorothy Ellen came to be a part of the world and later became the mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother to a bunch of lovely people I call my family. Mwwaah Grandma, I love you so.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Soothing Sunday

I really like to look at Sunday as the beginning of my week. What happens today usually sets the tone for how things go for the rest of the week. An ideal Sunday includes a combination of renewing my spirit and getting prepared for the rest of the week. Sometimes my efforts are a big flop all the way around, and sometimes I start my week prepared and mentally refreshed. Days of being able to actually renew myself have been pretty lean this past autumn. I am hoping to improve that this year by keeping ahead and delegating as much as I can. I think today was a success as I seem to be refreshed and prepared. I hope the rest of the week follows suit.

I need to spend some time this week reflecting on my basic plan for the week. I need to get it where it works for me. I usually do my Weekly Home Blessing (see FLYLady for how it works) on Sundays. And I think that it works for me. I am home and have the block of time, and usually can get someone to give some assistance. It is also the day that I plan what I am going to wear each day (if it is a work week)  But I think I am trying to do too much on the weekends (like lesson planning and meal planning and bill paying) and really need to focus on using an hour each day just to get targeted stuff done. Maybe if my energy level stays up, I will be able to make the plan I should be using more effective. I'll keep thinking about it as this week plays itself out.

I am happy to report another success with moving somehow for yet another day. I did a 40 minute Interval workout using my personal trainer Jonathan Roche's NEWO system. I used the music from Podrunner Intervals (available for free to download on iTunes). I have also added to my Sunday to-do list planning my workouts for the week as Jonathan suggests. I plan to do one workout each day this week. I am feeling stronger than I did last week. It is nice to be making positive changes and not just sitting around wishing that I would.

I am doing some reading to work on my happiness goal. I have been reading F. LaGard Smith's The Daily Bible since the first of the year. It is compiled in chronological order, and I have read it through three different times in the past decade or so.With all the time I've had off from work lately, it has not been difficult to keep up. I have read the Bible through many other times, but I have also stalled out on the book of Genesis while beginning to read through the Bible more times than I can count. I have several other books, four actually, I have yet to start that are sitting on my desk ready to be read. Three of them were written by favorite authors. I have a couple of books I would like to read for the Literature class that I teach as well that should be fun. light reads. And I have also been online, with all of this time on my hands, looking at several books, and I am working on a wish list that should have me reading good novels well into the summer months.

Ahhh, Sunday. The beginning of what I have decided will be a wonderful week, whatever comes my way.