Friday, August 30, 2013

Constants and Variables

Or how I felt like a failure this morning because the Internet went down last night

***this was written EARLY today and I have since recovered nicely.  But it is part of how I roll, and I thought it is interesting to address regardless.

Now this is the stupidest thing. But I realized on my walk this morning that I felt like a failure and the day hadn't even begun.

Of course there is a reason for this, and I eventually figured it out.

My life, I decided – like everyone else's, is full of constants and variables. In fact, I am a variable in itself. I truly some days do NOT know why I feel a particular way. I just feel. It explains a lot doesn't it! :) Constants make me feel like my life has a tiny bit of structure and I can bounce around in the walls of that structure.

So this morning I wake up and the Internet is not up. It went down last night during a thunderstorm....  It is not my freaking router*, so don't worry.  (I will be chatting with my Centurylink representative soon).  And when I don't have my feedly, Facebook, Loseit and other things to amuse me for a half hour upon rising I feel totally out of sorts.
*It was a simple fix, and I refuse to go there...

So it appears the Internet is a constant.

Constants in my life (aside from the Internet) include my incredible support system who give me more joy than I can describe. If you are reading this, you know who you are! :) And I have a few..... but god forbid - they have occasionally a life of their own, and so if they are not lurking about, I know that I will be talking to them later. And the road goes both ways and it is good!
Exercise is also a constant- that is about all I need to say about that! It is a daily or almost daily occurrence. If I am not doing it, I am planning for it or wishing for it.
Food and sleep is the same- If I am not planning it I am wishing for it. LOL
Joy- yeah.
Visual matters- I am always seeing art things, so that is absolutely a constant to me. I don't just see my coffee cup, I think about the way the light falls on it and where the shadows are and how the colors are altered- constant.  I get so distracted at times. Photos, drawings, paintings, etc.....  it can be a problem.

So when some of my constants are disrupted, it sort of throws me for a loop.  And THIS boys and girls is when the variable issue kicks in.  And I guess by variables, I mean how things can get F-ed up so fast it boggles the mind.  Lol

Now how does this make me a FAILURE when the internet is down? Well that is a good question. As I started my walk to day, I was somewhat delayed by an unexpected chat with a friend from the past on FB messenger (thank heaven for 4G!) My PLAN for the day was to get in a minimum of an hour of walking (more like an hour and a half) and then a trip to a farmers market, lunch with the hubs and my Mad-English teacher friend Adam, gym, school, make the beds up for the kids and then sit up and wait for them. So the hour walk was shortened to 45 minutes and by then I am projecting myself forward to the gym and the fact that I have not been in there for 2 days and that threw off my work out plan and they aren't open on Sunday or Monday. And I am behind behind behind on weightlifting. As in I have legs, chest and back to do.  I"M BEHIND!!!   BOO. Which means I want to spend a ton of time at the gym and I REALLY need to go to school. A LOT. Which means of course that I can't spend as much time at the gym as I'd like. Which makes me feel really behind. And speaking of behind- school. I remember the days when I used to by this point have all my lessons arranged for the entire semester. THAT is when I had just elementary school. Oh those were the days. Or when I used to teach just HS and a few elem classes and I would have until Christmas planned..... Now that I have everyone in Park Falls I have the first 2 days of HS planned and the first 2 weeks of elementary planned.... so yeah, speaking of behind. And failure. And not doing the job I used to do, of course I have like a job and a half (like we all do at that school) or maybe even a job and ¾. And then I fast forward to the school year where we again have our Wednesdays after school tied up for 45 min this year, and when am I going to get in ALL my lifting and when am I going to continue writing the whole new plan I have for my High school and maybe I need to occasionally be home to wash clothes and say hello to the MA who allegedly lives in my house. And how about my walking, and ballet and dance class. This all washes over me like the ocean and I feel like a failure at 6:30 am, because my internet is down and I didn't have my daily dose of Nia Shanks telling me to be the best I can be- a beautiful Bad Ass. And sometimes it is that simple and that complicated.  Ugh. I need to text my fitness buddy right now!!!

So now I am going to go ahead and get ready to go to Minocqua and post this later when my stupid Internet is back up.   

Cut to evening- relaxing on the couch, arms absolutely so dead from a marathon weightlifting frenzy, with beds made, swiss chard blanched, apples eaten, horse fed, farmers market visited and lunch eaten.  OH and dinner grilled!  Now why was I so worked up this morning???  You felt like a failure before you even got going on your day?  What kind of a maniac are you anyway?  I'm pretty sure you need some therapy....  eh, never mind.  You can figure this out!  BREATHE woman BREATHE!!!

And the JOY will follow you!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Understanding your Mad Art Teacher 2.0

Tonight is our Open House at school- and I am not ready.

I am ready for the kids and the parents to come in and look at me and my room, sort of, but I am so not ready for school to start.  So therefore, I am incapable of sane decisions, rational thought and ability to complete tasks.......  this boys and girls is how this art teacher rolls.

So what are the peculiarities of being an art teacher in September (or late August)?

Especially this particular one, who has a minimum of 6 different classes a day- with her preparation time mushed into her lunch (not good- just trust me on that) and who is constantly wanting to do something different.

Every year I start off wanting to redo my entire curriculum and lesson plans and my way of doing things and that does usually occur at the beginning.  Then you pile on things like- homecoming, staff meetings, committee meetings, IEPs, interruptions, firedrills, inservice days, fall leaves, butterflies and shiny objects and you have plannus interruptus.

This year I have sort of on a whim purchased a new book (collective gasp- don't tell anyone that it is an actual hold in your hand, not a virtual, book- not to be viewed on any sort of a device) that has given me a slightly different angle to my High School classes.  I am very excited about this and I hope that it will pan out with the students I have this year as well as I think it will.  So when I get to school today it will be my job to totally reorganize my lesson plans for the majority of my classes.

This year I also have a minimum of 3 classes per hour in the High school.  Yes, you read that right, and one of them has 4.  Now granted these are smaller classes but the total in my room is good sized.  How am I going to manage this?  Well I think I have a plan for that-

I also plan to include some app based projects and we are going to go on a field trip (fingers crossed for good weather) soon!!!  All of these things will make for some stressful moments I am sure, as I try to make myself 2 people.

My problem is that I am too damn visual for my own good.  This is how I get myself into things- I see and my brain kicks in and then I do things and plan things and then I feel like I am meeting myself in the middle from all the comings and goings.  And then I get to go to the elementary school!

I know how the first 2 weeks will go there, so I am in great shape!  HA!

Anyway, after cleaning up after the cleaners (who do a fine job but have never quite managed to put things back where they found them) and putting away boxes of supplies, and then cleaning up after a "workshop" that was held in my art room (wouldn't you think grown-ups who are supposedly responsible adults could put things back where they found them) and hunting down the items that I hid last spring (in some cases not well enough) I barely have my room usable right now.  And there is that lesson plan thing.  And then there is the endless rounds of meetings that are cramping my style and my set up time and that is where working in two buildings is a real bummer.  And in a couple of ill advised  comments and a general feeling of panic to add to my day and now you can see why the Art Teacher had a meltdown of epic proportions yesterday that included a massive rant and temper tantrum that left 2 Mad-friends surprised and snickering at my lack of joyfulness (not in a bad way- it was sort of funny) (sort of) that led to me collapsing in a brain dead heap of uselessness that could only result in a slightly cleaner house and nothing much else accomplished.


So, I found a blog yesterday that amused me in many ways (this person could be my new best friend if we lived near each other, I am positive) but this particular part of one of her posts is very appropriate for  today. Many of her posts would  not be understood by the public at large- it is definitely something that gave me a chuckle and is alarmingly true!!  if you do not understand or do not find this amusing, you need to go to bed and wake up fresh and then try again.  If not, then maybe this is too art teacher specific as well.  But I could read it again and again!! Hehehehe

Oh yes, and so it goes!

I love the beginning of the school year- it is such a time of promise and potential!

So fire up the coffee pot and lay out the healthy snacks (please don't feed me cake or cookies- for I am weak at school and I do NOT need them) and break out the paintbrushes.  It is time for school to start!

And that will bring me no small amount of joy

Monday, August 26, 2013

I am?

I had an interesting thing said to me today.

There was a nice little gathering tonight after our first day of inservice at a cute little place in town called the CCC.  The CCC is the Chequamegon Canoe Club- a little bar and restaurant that has good food and occasional local entertainment.  They are pretty cool- an independent bunch who runs the place!

Anyway, we were there as a whole staff and a few of us were standing around chatting and one young elementary teacher was lamenting the fact that her knees hurt right now and she wasn't sure how she was going to handle the race that she was planning to enter soon.  She was discussing pros and cons to a long and a short version of the triathalon she is involved in....  and so she was saying how it is really hard when you expect your body to react in a certain way and how disappointing it is when your body doesn't do what you want----  "you two are both athletes, you know what I mean."


/Who me?/

" HA that's for sure...." and the conversation continued.

 I tucked that little nugget away for further thought.

Seriously, no one has called me an athlete before- I have gotten a taste of it through weight lifting, I feel like I might do well at that, but for someone to so matter of factly call ME an athlete without qualification is amazing...... and most interesting, she doesn't know me any differently.  She has only known me since I lost weight.

So I guess it is official, right?

It is an interesting thing, this transformation stuff.  There (obviously) are still so many times that I still think the way I always did for so many years.  My brain just doesn't know sometimes that I can walk that far, or climb something or even sometimes make a huge step up or down from one plane to the next- just simple, ordinary things.  I have solved the being able to judge my clothing size problem, but the physical thing is somewhat tougher.  I do get stiff knees and occasionally cuss as I walk down a set of stairs.  But as a rule, I can do what I want, but old old habits and ingrained thoughts are hard to push away.

I am now beyond the weight LOSS transition, and I am into another sort of journey.  I didn't know what goals I was going to have for the year back in January, because I needed this time to change in my mind. I am just beginning to understand that, and a simple matter-of-fact statement - this assumption- helped me realize it.  I have begun wanting to ride a bike, do some more rigorous hiking, continue with my body 'sculpting" such as it is- lol- and branch out a little.  Basically add a little variety.  AND I am SO doing the Dirty Girl Run next year and maybe will get in a color run somewhere too!  Fun!  I feel my focus returning as I tuck away my outdated thoughts and replace them with new knowledge.

And I will do these not so much feeling like I can conquer the world but that I have conquered myself.

And that means I guess I AM!  And athlete?!!   Who knew??


Huh. Well isn't that is a joy!

First day

This is going to be short and sweet, as this laptop is making me really warm!!  NATURALLY, it is ├╝ber hot this week, since we will be trapped in school.  And so of course people have been asking me if I am anxious to get back to school.

There is no easy answer to this.  The obvious answers are both YES and NO- but it is a yes and no.  I love teaching my kids, I love the energy, the creativity and I love my coworkers.  I don't like meetings, I don't like grading and the other busy work that goes with the job.  I love learning new things, I do like the challenge of finding best practices in teaching to a point, and I enjoy finding ways to connect with kids, but some of the extraneous things that accompany the job are deadly to ones joy.  AND people who think they can do it better are welcome to come in and walk a mile in my shoes.  I double dog dare you.

I THOROUGHLY love finding new ways to involve good technology in my teaching- which will be a challenge this year.  At least to start.  We lost our friend and colleague Mike Garvin this summer.  Our IT guy, our tech guru, our visionary friend who was responsible mostly, for pushing us into a truly cutting edge position in the realm of educational practices.  Our tiny little school is truly one to one computing.  The kids all have their own laptop or device to use during school.  Is it a perfect system?  Oh no, but it is amazing!  People here have no idea how progressive we are!  I don't think people in the community have a clue as a group, we are truly preparing our kids for a life that is going to be their reality.  If you don't like it or "believe" it or think they need it up here, well, you are kidding yourself.  So we as teachers are trying like crazy to stay one step ahead, and continue to prepare to teach in a whole new way at times.  Because you can't just switch up everything all at once, and like we all know- different people learn in different ways. Technology is NOT the best way to teach to everyone, but certainly it is a valuable weapon in our arsenal.

I am looking forward to continuing my elementary art blog, use twitter and Instagram and who knows what else in my HS, and generally be an advocate for integrating technology in our school day.  BUT i want it known that this girl is a hands on, draw with your fingers with pencil and paint with a brush, kind of teacher.  We can do some tech projects, but we also NEED to use art supplies!!!

So as we begin our new year together, we will muddle through and do our best.  And there will be a lot of joy!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer musings- part one

I am missing writing in this blog!  But of course I have been doing so many things that I have not have time, so that is good I guess.  But the irony is that the more stuff I do, the more I want to reflect on it!

Smith Lake

And then I keep doing things and taking pictures and want to write more and it really is a cycle, but such is this summer!

It has been a lot of fun, I will say.  And today I am going to continue what the DH calls my on going summer party... and I know he means to tease me.  But hey!  I have a lot to do during the school year and it is my summer and I will do what I want to!  :)

So since I have a few summer posts in me- summer wrap ups I guess you could say- what am I going to do with this one??  TOTALLY random things.  I have some more serious posts that I probably will write but I am still composing and deciding on my voice for those, so I'm going with what pops to mind.

First today I am going to spend the day with my friend Cat, who I have NOT hardly seen all summer.  We usually manage to get to something somewhere a few times- so today it is a trip up to the big lake and Little Girl's Point.  I am excited.  Lots of people from Park Falls go up there and I am anxious to see it! Picnicking, picture taking, beach combing and reading on the beach (someone pinch me- I haven't sat and read all summer) are on the agenda- oh and like I'm not taking my camera bag..... HA!

Secondly, as I go and pour a second cup of coffee, I have found a serious love of my life- a fantastic discovery in a little white bag!!!  It all started with that trip to Bayfield with my teacher friends the Mad-English teacher, Adam, and the Mad-Chemistry teacher, Laurie.  We stopped at that awesome cafe called Coco's in Washburn and I had a sublime fried egg sandwich with pesto (serious yum) and the most fantastic coffee!!!  Well come to find out that the coffee is roasted (single source coffee beans!) in Bayfield at Big Water Coffee Roasters.  AND THEY SELL IT TO MERE MORTALS!!!  The kind I am addicted to right now is the Sumatra Mandheling.  It is so so good.  sigh.  sip.
My house is being sided and beautified right now.  I do have a post about this coming- it is becoming the same gorgeous grey that the garden shed is.  (somehow that sentence sounds funny- and somehow I think that the word "is" is not supposed to end a sentence, but oh well)  

I also have 2 very awesome new trees in my yard- that was fun to go and choose them.... I have another River Birch, to which I am emotionally attached (I love the exfoliating bark) and a COOOOL as can be weeping Crab Apple.  I love the weeping forms of trees and now I know how to keep them weeping and not shooting for the sky!  Duh- cut the rogue branches off.  

One thing that concerns me, and for some reason I am not hysterical about it, is the fact that instead of dropping a little more weight during the summer I have in fact gained about 5 pounds.  Now I am not sure what the heck that is about, but for whatever reason again - I am now choosing to lose it!  I am so calm about it.  I have no real cravings as I cut back my calories a little, and I am not pleased with the fact that my cute jeans are  a little tight, but on the other hand I am already losing some of the weight.  I am so weird sometimes- I wish I was a lot more stable in my whims, wishes and moods, but we all know that won't be happening.  I have had some interesting conversations and read some things that have concerned me with all the crazy things that people get thinking when they are trying to either lose weight or maintain it and I am starting to think that the more you follow "rules" or a "diet" or cut carbs or go low fat or .......... fill in the blank.........  the crazier it is. Seriously, eat what you like only not much of it.  And get off your tookus and move.  I personally am a weight training advocate (surprise!!!!!) and think that by doing some amount of weight lifting you will up your calorie burn, energy level and ability to do your every day activities with ease, but ANY activity is better than nothing.  I read in a health blog recently (and I cant find that particular article right now) that people need to stop vilifying themselves because of the food they have put into their bodies.  I mean an online friend had a breakdown almost about a couple tablespoons of pasta salad!  That poor thing. No one should use their food intake as a measure of their self worth.  Good lord.  It is food- you control it not the other way around.  But I understand,  I have been in that place myself.

Anywho, I have a busy busy week next week.  Our staff is again changing at school- one young teacher has gone to be in the same city as their significant other and so a young person from town gets a crack at teaching at the High School.  I am going to be a mentor again this year, which is always an interesting thing.  There are a badillion new staff members due to moving, spousal job changes and retirements and of course there is the death of our dear friend the IT guy.  Ugh, we miss him so much on both a personal and professional level. He was an outstanding human being.  

And people, I seriously have no idea when I am going to get all my stuff set up in my room.  I will take volunteers from the audience!!!  HAHAHAHA  (no seriously, I have this really good Sumatran coffee I can share......  )  Hey I have time, I will pull it together at some point this week.  But I think there might be one last summer excursion over to Minocqua next Friday.....  :)

OH I have been making pickles, too!  It has been a lot of fun- so far I have 3 kinds going. THAT will be another post soon.

I better get going, I have to start gathering my things for my excursion to Lake Superior.  Not that I have to leave for a few hours, but I have to start putting things into a pile.

And I am sure you can only take so much of my aimlessness. 

Pictures and recipes and more musings are sure to be coming.

And perhaps a bit of Joy

One of my everyday joys!

Be someone's joy today!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A few pictures

I have taken a ton of awesome photos lately and I have barely done a thing with them.

So in order to rectify that wrong I will begin by putting a few here.  These are just a few, as I MUST WALK!!!

I just have the need to put these out!  My joy has mostly returned, people!  whew!

More pix and explanations to come!  :)  And a bit more joy.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ups and Downs

Life is full of ups and downs, isn't it?  I always forget that when I have a couple week long up time, that I am in for a crash.....  There is always some minor thing that triggers it, but it is like my release valve has to be tripped.

My giddy summer is coming to an end.  My happy time of exercise, eating too much, frolicking where I want, traveling here and there and blissful peace is at a halt.  I am staring another school year in the face  and my brain is beginning the transition.  It is not a peaceful or easy change......  it is troubling, it is difficult and you who do not know me, you who are not teachers, you who are not free spirits should not judge.  Don't tell me about my summer "off", do  not insult me with your- Oh it was bound to end.

I have the need to decompress, to eat chocolate and sit and sulk and I will feel better tomorrow

Except for the 10 pounds.....

I really feel like crying

I have not exercised for a few days, for reasons somewhat out of my control, I have not eaten badly, but I have not eaten real well.  I had a great weekend, but I am always under a lot of pressure, external and internal.  People disappoint me, surprise me, and break my heart.  I sometimes feel trapped and I need to hide or run.

So, if you don't like unhappy posts, sorry

I am not thrilled with them either.

where is my joy today?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Momentarily paralyzed

I am facing a short term crisis,  of course of my own doing.

My house is about to be resided.  I have known about this for a while.  I need to move stuff away from the walls outside, move things from next to a window that will be removed, things need to be rearranged and set for this. I have almost nothing done, and I still have to go get some cash, groceries for the MA and yeah.... pack.  So WHY am I blogging about it??  Because when I am suddenly overwhelmed, I avoid things.  Which is just this side of insane.  And I have the urge to eat chocolate, bagels and anything else that I can find.  Plus play mindless games on facebook, but at least I am not doing that right now.  And I really want to rearrange my closet, too.

I am traveling to see my son, daughterinlaw, GRANDGIRL, and my mom.  My sister will be coming too, so this is a big old win for me.  And there could be shopping.....

UGH.  I have to go now, as I have about a million more trips up the stairs to do and go to town and pack.  Now why isn't this done already???  Oh right- I went to Madison for the day on Saturday and spent Sunday recovering from that trip, and another stressful thing that I just won't go into.

Ok, now that I have identified this problem, and I have talked myself out of a chocolate covered bagel I will drink a big glass of water and continue on my moving and rearranging and packing.  Yeah, I better get moving.

I'm hoping to find some joy later in the day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happy birthday Jon!

Happy HAPPY Birthday to my joyful oldest baby boy!

Don't worry honey, 31 really isn't all that bad!  :)

sorry for the poor photo quality- picture of a picture...

What a joy to raise this boy!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Raw Pad Thai Salad

I must say that the look of this was what attracted me.  I am a sucker for bright colors!!  :)  I came across this wonderful recipe at "Oh She Glows" and it is great!!  Pretty pretty!!
I loved the whole julienne with a device idea that she discusses there, so I found a nice little tool that will do that..... and yes I bought a kitchen item for use in one recipe!!  I will use this again!  :) 

 Safety note!! Keep things on your cutting board, don't hold the veg in your hand......  just trust me on that!

Basically, you shred, julienne or slice very thinly zucchini, peppers, carrots, onion (not shown) and cabbage.  Add some edamame and then make the dressing......


I used my fake "Magic Bullet" as I only had crunchy peanut butter, though I am not convinced that chunks of peanuts or almonds would not be awesome. And of course I was in a hurry and forgot to take a pic of the dressing ingredients and/or finished dressing .... 

There are also a number of things I will change next time:

1. a little salt would have been good I think.....
2. some kick of heat- cayenne, pepper flakes, sriachi sauce, something just for a tiny bit of spicy
3. I will replace the water with a couple tablespoons of light coconut milk.
4. Either add some chopped peanuts or almonds or not "blend" the chunks out of the crunchy peanut butter and almond butter that I used.

It was so crunchy and light, but very satisfying.  Wonderful summer side or a meal the next day!  :)

 Rainbow Raw Pad Thai

Yield: 2 large servings (this is also really heavy on the dressing- pour with discretion)
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced- I used tiny cute lil peppers
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 3/4 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 white onion- thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds** and/or a teaspoon of sesame seed
  • Optional topping of chopped nuts of your choice

For the dressing 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup (creamy or chunky) natural peanut butter and/or almond butter ( I used half pb and half almond)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 2 tablespoons water  -- definitely consider coconut milk
  • 2.5 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I used more like a tablespoon)
  • **cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes or some sort of hot sauce for heat

1. Prep vegetables. Add the zucchini, carrots, pepper, and cabbage into large bowl. Add edamame and onion.  Toss
2. Prepare the dressing by processing all dressing ingredients in a mini blender or a whisk. The blender will smooth out the dressing.  I am thinking nut pieces would be nice. Pour over veg and toss.  Add only 2/3 - 3/4 dressing at first.  A lot of water will be released by the zucchini in a short time.
3. Top bowl with  hemp and sesame seeds, and chopped peanuts, cashews or almonds perhaps??  Enjoy!

**note about Hemp seeds- these thing are so tasty!  And are protein packed- worth finding and trying in all sorts of things.  I put it on my cereal with blueberries sometimes........  YUM

You will definitely find some joy in this one!

And another week begins...... ready.......... GO

Apostle Islands and/or Bayfield AGAIN this week???  I should think so!!

So here in Park Falls, once Flambeau-rama has ended so has summer as far as the locals are concerned.  These lovely people up here really need to be more positive.  This is one of the times that I still don't consider myself a local, even though I have lived here longer than I care to admit.  Now don't get me wrong, I like living here most of the time.  Hey, no place is perfect, right?! But this whole "well,  once you hit Flambeaurama, the summer is about done." mentality drives me just a little nuts.  It is only the 5th of August for pity sakes.  And then they ALL start talking about the "S" word.  Talk about joy stealing, sheesh.

So my week-

The first thing I really need to do is sweep up all the dog hair, sand and grass off the floors from the weekend.  Shove the dear MA out the door, and get at that!  He actually took most of Friday off (shockeroo) and so there is even more of said flotsam and jetsam than usual...... well, I imagine the doggies could have had something to do with it as well.

I get to continue my birthday JOY and have lunch with my partner in tattoos- Nettie- then hit ye old gym.  NEW program there, headed towards even more heavy lifting!  :)  Ah life is good.  I had planned to walk this morning, but it was raining, which was a great thing. We NEED a bit of rain, now.  So I will do that later!

I do need to start moving some things around- soon- as my house is about to undergo a major transformation: siding!!  Mostly, I have to figure out where to stash my mosaic materials for the time being.  I hate to put it away away, but it will need to be moved for the event.  Plus there are a couple interior walls that need to be addressed a new window, a new door on the side......  a few things.  Plus finding a new frig (long story) and  few other internet searches are needed to find just the right house and garden shed items.

One of the days this week will involve a trip up to Bayfield again to get  raspberries!  Oh that will be so sad to go up to that gorgeous location and we might be FORCED to eat breakfast at Coco's again......  It'll be hard, but we will muscle through!

Wednesday will find me involved in an S word activity- I have to go through mentor training up in Ashland.  We have quite a few new staff members this year, and they need mentors from experienced staff, sooooooo  we have to be officially trained.  Really though, they just need someone to help them with our Infinite Campus and to bring them treats in about February when you want to simply fly to Florida for the day (Adam: we DO need to do that) or lock your door and not allow the students to enter.  But, I'll go to Ashland with my favorite Mad-Science Teacher EVER, have some coffee at the Black Cat and enjoy lunch somewhere cool.  Yes, I think I will!!

Later in the week there is a potential trip to Madison for the farmer's market (bahahaha) and just some general weeding, art work, possible cooking, lots of exercise and any other thing that might happen.  It is after all summer and you never know what might crop up!  Let the joy continue!

I can also feel a photo blog post, as I have not published too many lately..... and you KNOW I have them.  I just haven't edited them all.

Alrightie, I need to get on with this day- I want to try and jam as much summer into the following weeks of summer as I can manage!  It is the joyful thing to do!

Until next time- Be a JOY GIVER!!!

Vocabulary list for the day:

Flambeau-rama:  Local celebration that lasts the better part of a week, always involving the first FULL weekend of August.  Beer is consumed, parades will be seen. Children (and their dogs) come to stay for the weekend.  That's all you need to know.

S word:  I think we all know what that means......

Joy stealer: Anyone who wants to suck the joy out of another's life, whether a conscious or unconscious effort is involved.  These people are generally best avoided.  But some are definitely worth the effort to rehab!

Bayfield and Ashland: Desirable destinations on Lake Superior that have great coffee, great food and LOTS of photo ops for those of us with a photography fixation.

Sarcasm:  Sarcasm- the habit of saying one thing - frequently said or written with an evil, malicious grin- but meaning the opposite.  The Mad-Art teacher has been known to occasionally indulge in this sort of behavior!  Sarcasm is implied not pointed out! So  you won't find that word in the text above, but it is implied and it is NOT the S word, which if you don't know what it is yet, then you are just beyond my help and probably need to go back to sc.......  oh, never mind.

Joy giver: anyone who -  has a smile for you anytime, will text or email you randomly and frequently,  has a positive word of encouragement, likes life and the people around them, do not seek to bring up every negative thing happening in the community, state, nation and world with the express intent of trying to convince you that life and people suck...... because it and they don't.  At least not in my world!!  :) Joy givers can be found everywhere and occasionally will have bad days.....  so don't worry.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It truly was a Happy Birthday

Birthdays traditionally are all about you!  About getting gifts, about remembering the past, about eating cake, being treated like a special person, about doing what you want to do!  And while I did a bit of this today (yeah, I know I did a bit of this for the last 2 months) I really want to mention the fact that it really should be a day of counting your blessings.

It struck me in the afternoon when I finally got back home from my lunch/massage/eye appt. that I am indeed pretty lucky.  Of course the MA tells me this all the time- and of course he is referring to himself, the comedian that he is- but I mean it in a much more holistic way I suppose.  I checked facebook and I was blown away by the number of people that wished me a happy birthday, there.  It ended up being well over 100, which is an astonishing thing!!  It could mean that I have been yakking on and on about birthday month for so long that people are thinking: thank God that's over, it could mean that facebook reminder is really an effective Happy Birthday giving tool, but I really think that I am so lucky I know such a fantastic group of people!

Besides that, I received text messages, tweets, instant messages and even a few emails, not to mention the actual people and phone calls and even a drive by stop and hug while I was walking!!  THAT is when I really stopped to smell the proverbial roses.  I had my sister and niece with me in the morning, which was the culmination of a spectacular few days with them, lunch with the hubs, a fantastic massage, visited the farmers market, where I ran into one of my best and dearest friends who I haven't seen all summer, saw another bestie at the library, got unexpected hugs and even kisses,and just generally communicated with a lot of people! During the remainder of my walk, I was thinking about all of you!  I have wonderful, supportive people in my life- people from all different places.  And I am in awe at the differences in their origins, personalities, strengths, and lives.  I have quiet friends, raucous and rowdy friends, photographer friends, fitness friends, former students, fellow loseit users, local town people, family members, fellow artists- people who are shy, noisy, fearless, happy, depressed, going through major life changes- including a major illness,  enjoying an equilibrium, brilliant, artsy, and/or extremely logical and "businessy".  And I haven't even touched on my family members.....  who need their own post, really.  ALL of you have made my life better in so many ways and I can't seem to find a good way to tell you how lucky I really am to have you in my life.

I know this is a bit sappy, but I don't care.  You should definitely know that about me by now.  I had a day that was full of joy and love and friendship and even a little tiny bit of sad. Which to me pointed out how really unimportant that cake and a bunch of gifts and even parties and things like that really are.  Because I know that I could seek out and find, or talk to all 100 plus of  you who wished me that Happy Birthday yesterday.  And that communication, that connection is incredibly amazing.

And it gives me so much joy!!  And I hope I return even a small amount of joy to you as well.

From my heart to yours- Enjoy that birthday month when it comes, everyone, use that time to count your blessings and enjoy your friends and family. Whether it is 100 or whether it is 10 makes no difference- because they are what is truly important.