Sunday, March 1, 2015

clinging to trees- the winter edition

Here is a perfect example of what I said in my last post.  My life is infinitely more exciting when I am doing things that scare me.  I was not too worried here- it felt safe and stable, but I would not have gone one step closer to the edge.  Not a centimeter.

Clinging on Madeline Island

THIS, however, at Copper Falls, on really snow, slippy, platforms and sheer drops and other sorts of horrifying, height related terrors was a cling.  Maybe not to a tree, but my hand is hooked on the railing.  And it was cold!  But mostly, heights.

Clinging at Copper Falls!

Ok, NOW I have to finish a project.  I have been avoiding it and/or working sporadically on it and I just need to finish it.  There are all SORTS of things I would rather be doing- and I can come up with so many things to entertain myself. SO, off I go. I mean it really this time.  Really.

Be a joy giver and be brave!

Oh what a day it was!

As you could probably tell from yesterday's post- I needed to get the hell out of Dodge.  And I was not disappointed with my day from beginning to end.  It was sunny, even if cold.  I was properly dressed, I had the right amount of cameras with me- that would be 3.  We had good traffic, and I think I only blew by 1 or 2 slow drivers!  We chose the exact right trip, at the exact right times in the exact right places to avoid crowds and clutter and snow (it is snowing today) and we got the seats we wanted at the coffee shop and the cafe!

Yesterday's adventure began with me scooping up the Mad-English teacher, my partner in all things travel north and photo taking!  And turns out to be alternate driver extraordinaire, because I needed the help.  COULD I have driven all over (except not over the ice road)??  Yes. Was I happier to be resting the elbow that I said I would not complain about, and for the most part did not until we were driving home?  OH MY GOSH yes.  But we are not complaining, so....  I can NOT thank him enough for having mercy on my soul- or at least my- um, never mind.  You get the idea.  :)

Copper Falls

There is a story to this...... Lol another time 

View of the side of the falls

We headed north and our first stop was Copper Falls State Park.  By the time I got there I was giddy with excitement.   We drove into the very familiar driveway to me, except everything looks sooo different in the snow.  And somehow we ended up in a place that eventually made sense to me, but the MET, who had only been there once, seemed to know right what we were doing.  Of course paths led to where we needed, but there have been more than one time I drove or walked the wrong direction.  And there was no cell service.  Lol. If you ever go somewhere new with me, be prepared to be the person to tell me what to do!  HAHAHA  I am no longer embarrassed by this!  It is my way of perceiving things and that is the way it is.  Thank heaven for my map functions on my phone!  But that is another story.
Part of the river bed

Copper Falls was COLD, y'all.  SO VERY COLD. 0 in the sun- way colder in the shadows of those evergreens.  But it was still beautiful and breathtaking.  The falls are frozen and covered with snow, so you can't see them super well.  We were there a smidge too late for the good warm morning light, but that is ok. The trip there was worth it.  We strapped on our Yaktrax and I had a snowshoe pole (I forgot mine on the kitchen table.  **eyeroll** But we only really needed one)  It was a great hike and up and down hills and it felt so damn good to get outside and in my element.  So that was awesome, and then I was STARVING.


Gulp down a banana and a piece of dark chocolate and we set our sights on Bayfield.  We, of course, drove through Ashland, which was fetchingly beautiful.  We reiterated that we probably would have come up and partied for the Book Across the Bay, but in reality would NOT have done it since it was a negative double digit windchill.  We may be crazy, but we are not stupid!  (My apologies to anyone who did the BATB)  After making ourselves feel better about THAT subject, onto the north we went.
First quick stop was round one of Coco's to pick up bread.  We have a littttttle problem with the Cheddar Potato bread and the Rosemary asaigo bread and their SOURDOUGH, so we always get it fresh on the way through so it isn't gone when we get back.  We may have pressed our noses against the dessert case and left some drool marks, but that could all be a vicious rumor, too.  Then we headed up to the bestest little coffee shop ever- the Big Water Coffee Roasters coffee shop where I literally raised my hands in the air as I walked in and exclaimed a big old YAY I"M HERE!!!  I did and I am not ashamed and the baristas were amused!  We had the last 2 blueberry scones of awesomeness and some coffee/hotchocolate and sat by the window and watched the world go by- and probably posted stuff on twitter and facebook.  Had we been there 2 hours earlier, it would have been packed. So yeah, perfect timing.

Latte and scone in the sun
Our favorite spot to sit!  We missed you Laurie!

So my nervous excitement was about to come to a fever pitch as the MET took over the wheel and drove ourselves to Madeline Island.  The thought of driving over there when we take the ferry all summer still freaks me out.  And LAKE SUPERIOR!  I can't help it and I do not know if I will ever drive it myself.  Maybe. FREAKY clear ice, little snow cover but it was a gorgeous day.  We headed to the Parks, because I had been clued in about this from photos my FaceBook friend, Linda, had been posting online.  It did not disappoint!

Ice ROAD!!!

The first park was the Big Bay Town Park, and that is flat on the water.  I had walked up these beaches a few times this past summer.  It is so beautiful and a wonderful beach with really good grounds.  And eventually I will be sea kayaking there, because- well- kayaking.  Anyway, the ice was fabulous.  I will let the pictures speak.

Canoes and kayaks in repose

Love the starkness of this

Big Bay Town Park- beach

NEVER saw anything like it before.  I was stunned.  It was SO windy at times, and just biting cold when one has on one's flip top mitten/gloves and one takes so many pictures that the fingers don't get a chance to warm up.  THAT did  not keep us from walking on the ice chunks a good long way down the beach. The elbows NEVER entered my head- for good or for bad.  LOL.  In other words, I was walking around on all that slippery without the cleats and mostly paid little attention in my excitement.  Until I turned around to go back and then there were all these oh shit moments.  This is pretty typical for the Mad Art Teacher!  Part of my charm, ya know?

Blue shelf Ice

Blue Ice
After getting our fill of that magnificence, we headed over and around to the Big Bay State Park. We had already paid our state park fee for the day, so we were good.  The look of that Park is way different and we hadn't been in that one before.  I mean, during the summer, you don't need anything more than the 2 miles of beach.....  This one had cliffs of red stone- maybe sand stone?  Anyway, it was breathtakingly beautiful.  The set up was such that I didn't get too many waves of fear of height terrors.  Unlike Copper Falls, where I got lots of them.  I said to Adam on the way out of Copper Falls how my life has gotten way more fun since I started doing things that scare me to death. SO true!

English teacher in his element

Big Bay State Park
Like a puzzle of ice

Again, amazing photos, a great little walk, recharge our selves with a piece of chocolate and off we drove down the Island to the Ice road and over again.....

Bayfield from the frozen lake

We were THRILLED to get to Coco's as starvation had set in.  We had their outstanding dal and roasted potatoes and did not even have room for dessert.  If you have never been to Coco's while in the north, do it.  There are so many options for everyone, and the food is fresh and homemade and downright awesome.

I could eat this for lunch almost every day!  YAY FOR COCO'S!
The last step of the trip was to hit up the Chequamegon food coop and we picked up a few yummy things that can't be found in Park Falls.  Whew!!  We had to try to keep the conversation going and the radio loud, as we were so tired on that drive home.  We did fine, fussing around with the radio station, cussing out slow drivers  (oh wait, I think that was me- lol) and generally zoning out until we got  back to Park Falls.

Still bundled up from the day!  And so tired
When I got home I began editing these pictures, I just couldn't stop myself.  I left a lot of photos on the SD card, it is so hard to choose. I need to clear a lot of pix off my computer and free up space as well.  I posted some to facebook and to the Wisconsin Photographers facebook page and had a fun time talking about the day through the pictures.  I was so surprised to see over 200 like on the Photographers page last night!  That is truly an honor, as the talent in that group is spectacular.  I am a rank amateur next to some of the things that they do.

AND I sent some pix into Channel 9 and after a 5 week hiatus I had a pic on the weather again last night!  YAY!!  What a nice way to end the day.

clinging to the overlook at Copper Falls

More ice road ice!  eeek

SEESTER ROSE!!!  We walked on this beach- right here!!!!

I needed that day to be normal again.  I needed that to begin to trust myself again, without some one watching me all the time.  Asking me if I should be doing that.  Not that I don't appreciate and really like the fact that people are worried about me, but I need to be in control and in charge.  To make my own decisions, decide on my limitations and do really stupid things if it makes me happy.  Which it frequently does. And to spread my joy in the best way I know how.  And then go outside and go for a hike!  Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My gifts from the universe

This was going to be a whole different post- but things have rolled around in my mind this morning, fueled by excitement and a whole cup of coffee that was consumed in about 3 minutes!

I am headed to Bayfield today and I am so excited.  Excited by the trip, getting to my summer stomping grounds, driving the ice road (EEEEEEEEEEK) and the prospect of  normalcy. I do not want to say EVER TODAY- oh my arm hurts.  I plan to just do.  Do what I can and do what I want.  Be active, be outdoors, be free from my couch.  I can hardly wait.

So this brings me to gifts- there are a lot of them.  Did you know the universe gives you things at just the right time if you are open to it?  If you decide that you do not have to be what anyone or everyone thinks you should be and let most inner self be- amazing things happen.  This is what I am choosing to believe.

First gift is understanding how much I love to move and be outside.  While I am dying to get back to a gym, seriously I can hardly stand not going, I must be outside.  I am meant to be walking and hiking and snowshoeing and gardening and all the things that I have made part of my life- always or in the last few years.  I have put on some pounds from sitting around and making myself feel better with macaroni and cheese with chocolate for dessert- and guess what.  I'm fine with that.  I will undoubtedly take it off starting today when my activity level can start to improve.

Second gift, related to that last part,  ultimately if you are happy with yourself as a person, make peace with some demons from the past, come to terms with the fact that you are a kick-ass human whether you weigh 15 pounds more or less than last year- that weight JUST. DOESN'T. MATTER.  I have divested myself of blogs and pinterest boards and facebook pages that imply that I am not good because I do not look like ___________.  Fill in with whatever fucked up image that the media wants to insert.  UP THEIRS. I am not a project and I do not need fixing thank you very much.  People think (Lol, mostly my students) I am awesome just the way I am. People like me because I am a happy lunatic!  And I think its a lot of fun. Thank you universe for this lesson and the opportunities and situations that have surfaced because I was ready to have them. Health is everything and weight is beside the point.

Related, I have totally stopped with this crazy ass food obsession that everyone else seems to be so into  now.  Other than being vegetarian, which suits me perfectly- I realized when I was going through all this (I covered a lot of subjects with myself) that I have no desire to become carnivore in any way. I do not mind making meat for my family, even though I won't and never have actually touched it too much. Lol.  But all that clean this and gluten free that and rules and organic and blah blah blah- eat good food most of the time and don't think about that crap.  You should not spend 3/4 of your waking life thinking about food.  There is too much other stuff to do.  But  you know- I have chosen that path, you all can do what you want, because eyes on our own plates, man!

Next, I have to be vague about this because it is not my place to discuss it- but we really do need to practice compassion.  A person I know is going through something big that they are not willing to talk about. It is a complex situation.  I want to say something about karma, but I realize that really we do not know what path a person is walking down.  We do not know what is really going on inside them, and maybe the most difficult people in our lives need us to be understanding the most. Never saw that one coming.

So as I am ready to get up and get moving with camera equipment, yak trax, snow shoe poles, boots, scarves, mittens, and coffee money, I want to remember to truly be aware and in the moment here.  There is no place for food obsession or judging other people harshly or other negative crap that comes my way.  Well except for people who drive slow and they cannot be tolerated!  :)  I am so anxious to get going, so I will!  My adventure buddy will be ready and I am taking pictures - LOTS of pictures, and probably a selfie or 5!!!

Have a wonderful, joyful day, my friends.  Drown out all the noise and be true to yourself.  THAT is the way to be a true joy giver.  XO

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oh YaY! Friday!

I really am not a person to wish away my week.  Let me edit that to say, I do wish away Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but only when I'm perched looking towards an afternoon of noise- I am fine when I am in the midst of it.  I had someone state at a class this past summer, in the midst of my Lymes disease fog, that each day of the week, collectively,  is 1/7th of your life.  So enjoy every single one of those days.  So, as I don't feel negatively about Mondays (I like them!), I don't pine for Friday either.  I  REALLY like Friday, as I get to eat with grownups, I have a good productive prep time and we all wear more casual attire.  Yay for jeans and boots!!  But it is really another day in the rhythm of my week.

 Anyway, I am SO HAPPY today is Friday. This has been my first full week back and I am a wreck this morning.  (If any of you know what I had for dinner last night, let me tell you that wine and cheesecake has little to do with how I feel, so there!!  ;))  My arms are very stiff and I think could be a little swollen.  I woke up a badillion times last night, my weirdo feet went from freezing to sweating about 5 times and all in all I am NOT well rested.  Washing my hair was uncomfortable, and I am just a little off.  If any of my siblings read this- this is not an opening for responses, Lol.

Compounding the issue of a typical week, of course is that we are working afterschool I have been doing scenery with the kids for the musical.  We have a good start, but I enumerated the things we still have to do and my right eye started to twitch.  If any of you need me next week, you will find me back stage.  I plan to bring food and water and basically hang out until someone pushes me out the back door to my car.  Cell service is dicey on the stage, so good luck with that.  I have a big week coming up AND I have to begin clay with my little ones.  I am thinking of how to get my clay set up so I don't have to lift the 50 lb boxes.  My mind is always working through things like this, no wonder I wake up distracted with sweaty feet.

I would have taken today off, but I have not seen my Friday elementary kids for 4 weeks, or maybe 5.  I can't figure it out myself right now..... since January 25 at any rate.  And since that is one of my favorite Elementary days, I just can't wait.  Fortunately, I have a custom of no stage painting on Fridays, we all need a break, and after a quick stop at the grocery (more freaking lifting, good grief) I am going to go home and dive under a blankie on the couch and sit in my little corner of the sectional.  and rest!!!

I have an adventure coming on Saturday, because indeed I don't heed the good advice that myself and every living person in my life would give me, as in: rest for the day.  NOPE  I am BUSTING OUT OF HERE, BABY!!!  If I don't get out and do something fun I will lose my mind.  And so I am, and you will find out about it on Sunday!  Or on facebook Saturday, depending on if you do that or not.

Anyway, here is to another day of joy and coffee and advil and kids and by the looks of it, SUN!!  I hope you find some joy in your day as well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Catching Up: The Sleepy Edition

I realized it has been a while since I did a little update here- once school began, holy smokes have I been running from the beginning of the day to the end.  And there is no sign of slowing down!

As you can imagine, I have a lot of things to catch up on at school.  Being gone for 2 plus weeks has taken a toll on many different aspects of my job.  I REALLY need to take down displays and put new ones up, but that is the LAST thing on my mind right now.  I have to post progress reports by Friday, and that is the first thing that will need to be done. I am always playing catch up on my planning for lessons.  I have posted barely anything in the elementary, tho they get the majority of my prep time.... Oh boy.  Then there is the after school work I have been putting into prepping and painting scenery for the play.  I go home and kind of crash.

I see no sign of things slowing up for a few weeks, either.  I went to a class this past Friday/Saturday that I need to give some attention to soon.  I have a little homework that needs to be finished and submitted.  The class was a physical test of endurance, too.  I drove for just shy of 3 hours both Friday and Saturday.  My arms did surprisingly well.  But I had a little pillow to rest them on as I drove- that worked great.  The pillow was not as helpful when sitting in front of a table for extended periods of time. Something about that is just uncomfortable for me.  But there were frequent rest breaks and it was an upbeat way to spend some time and learned some very valuable things.

Over the past few weeks I have added many successes to my list of things I can do again.  This past Monday I added opening my own garage door and feeding the horse back on the list.  I am going to have to have the MA transfer the new feed bags into the bin for a while yet.  I can fairly easily deal with the heavy school door with keys and bags.  I can carry my groceries, if I double check to make sure they aren't too heavy, and if they are, I use two hands.  I can carry a can of paint with 2 hands as well, so yay for me.

I have also found a host of weirdo things that I cannot do, which I think I went into previously. I just discovered that cutting a microwaved burrito with a freaking fork has been added to that list just yesterday.  Color me irritated.

I specifically asked the doctor yesterday (appt. was in Park Falls- YAY) what and how I should be doing and thinking when I am going through my day.  Obviously if I have pain, I should not do something. The thing that I was wondering about, they thing I was wrongish about, is what about the plain discomfort - and for lack of a better word- pressure that I feel when I do some things that are pushing the boundaries, or just trying to eat lunch?  It's a big old back-off-a-bit-Debi for that situation.  I thought that trying to increase my strength by pushing the boundaries a little would be a good thing, but I have been instructed to WAIT  until the discomfort is gone.  About another 2 weeks.

To say this is exasperating is an understatement, but I will do the good thing for me and be aware.  I have found many ways around the discomfort by adjusting the way I do things, and that will have to do for now.  I also have a exercise, so to speak, that I can do a few times a day to stretch all the necessary parts in my arms.  Range of motion is where it is at baby.

IN two weeks I have another appointment including x-rays, yay for me I guess, and we will see if all those little cracks and smushes have fixed themselves.  Meanwhile I will live within my limitations, and actively seek ways to work around them.  By mid-week here, I am beginning to feel the fatigue of my profession and not falling asleep until late last night didn't help much in that regard.  But that is my own fault!  :)  One more cup of coffee and I will me on my way.  Bright eyed and all that.....  or at least  upright and mobile.  I have come to the conclusion, just this second, that I am looking forward to a time where I can get attention for the things that I can and do do, and not for what I can't do.  In the coming 6 weeks I have a play to attend to and at least 2 art shows to put up.  I am not liking looking at the limitations that might slow me down.  Sh*t's getting real here, to put it in the pop culture vernacular.

So, I have to get myself up and going- see what the day brings, embrace what ever comes.  And I have awesome get away plans for this Saturday, so while I am not wishing away my time, I do have an adventure in the works.  and it is about freaking time!!

Until next time, embrace your joys, the expected and unexpected....the planned and unplanned.  And then pass some of it along to others.  You never know when someone is going to need it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

late day, long week, getting better

OH my goodness, this was my first week of full days and my lil self is TIRED, folks!

So what has happened the last few days? Basically last week I did half days and no after-school because I was toast after only a half day.  Friday I stayed HOME and rested, which I totally needed, and then I had of course, Saturday and Sunday.  Monday was an inservice that I attended, and then this week I have been at school all day and then after school for scenery.

I have had good progress in many ways.  I can put on my own socks, I am much more comfortable driving.  I can bring the phone to my ear and not have to have it on speaker.  All sorts of good things!  I was utterly fried on Tuesday, but Wednesday and tonight isn't quite so intense.  Well, not so far, but sleepy is coming.

This has been an interesting journey.  I have had a few introspective things come up over the past few days.  First of all, I believe I have alluded to the fact I have been battling the whole time the feeling that I am fake hurt. That, sure there is xray evidence of these elbow things, but if I would just suck it up and get going, I'd be fine.  This is something I feel every day.  I felt like I should deflect all conversation away from myself, because for some reason I did not deserve any attention for this.  I am not sure where this all comes from.  Is it the way that I was raised?  Is it a cultural expectation that women (or men for that matter) should not be held down for more than a short time by anything. That if you are affected than you must not be trying hard enough.  It has sort of bothered me and haunted me.  I'm sure Jo, the lady at school who procures substitutes,  would have appreciated me just saying that I was only coming back to school for the mornings that third week. That full days were going to just be too much. Would have helped her, I am sure.  I felt a bit depressed about the whole thing, as this inner struggle would nudge me frequently during the day and make me feel guilty and sad about sitting around.  Maybe that was a way my brain had to wrestle me down and keep me still.  I really don't like being still all day.

With the definite victories,  there are weird things I found that bother me- like stapling,  or say, folding paper  and pressing paper folds- like when one is folding origami swans and frogs during inservices.  I'm finding ways to work around those kinds of limitations, and using those benchmarks to understand where you are in your journey back to strength.

Speaking of strength, I will be having another checkup with the orthopedic doctor next Tuesday, I have to imagine I will be cut loose after that.  I am really doing fine, I will get some advice about retraining and getting my  muscles back!

I know I had a few other things I was going to say, but the sleepies are with me.  I am feeling the effects of the day and so I will begin my nightly winding down.  I hope that you found a big share of joy today, and take the time tomorrow to give some away!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Short escape from a temporary trap

I had a real feeling of being trapped today.  Trapped in the house, trapped by winter, trapped by my inability to do much of anything.  POOOOOOR Debi, right?

The thing is that I am feeling pretty normal for the most part most of the time.  I can do a little of this and that.  I can walk around, climb the stairs, do some stuff.  Then doing the simplest things makes me remember that I am unable.  Trying to put on lotion after a shower, scrape cake batter out of a bowl, scoop horse feed out of the bag.  It is demoralizing.  I still have little hand strength to be able to press down especially.  Makes slicing from a loaf of bread (a really good sourdough, mind you) almost impossible.

Hence, trapped.  I'm sick of HGTV, sick of playing any sort of game on Facebook and tired of sitting with myself and feeling somewhat useless. I am missing my activity, my walking, and snow-shoeing, and being able to take pictures beyond the safety of the deck.  I sort of am just getting to the point now of thinking seriously about where I am going to do some cardio.  I don't feel like I can chance falling again, so for the time being I am not going to walk on the road.  For now.
round bales

The wind has died down today, and so even though it was in the single digits, it felt sort of nice!  I went out this afternoon to feed old Jacpot, and saw something down on the trail.  I had my little camera with me because I knew that I needed to do something creative, even if it was to take a few pix of the round bails out past the horse's paddock. ANYTHING would be great.  So as I am wont to do, I started off down the trail snapping a pic here and there and venturing farther down the road. The something was merely a branch that had fallen off a tree.   It felt SO good to be out walking.  I got down the path to the corner and stopped and listened.  Listened to the birds and the cars in the distance and the sounds of the woods.  Listened to the noises that I haven't heard for 3 weeks.  Noises that made me feel grounded and happy.

mouse tracks
Then I noticed as I turned around, that I had seriously cold fingers as I set off without gloves or a hat.  If I had those I would have gone a lot farther.  Like probably to the cabin.  But since my brain is still set back in January, with the darkness falling at 4:45 instead of 5:30, I didn't think I really had time either.  Strange little things that alter your sense of reality and time.

On a really good note, I got to FaceTime with Ella and Jon and Sarah tonight.  She is such a funny little girl!  She has a good time entertaining her Gramma and Papa!

Tomorrow begins a new week of school.  Fortunately we have inservice, so I have another day of arm rest.  Then I have 3 full days of teaching with 3 days of play scenery painting after school.  It will be tiring I am sure, but I need to have my life back!

Hopefully your tomorrow will bring you some joy!  Stay safe and happy!