Sunday, January 14, 2018

working, walking and a sick kid

Why is it that I have grand plans and then life gets in the way?

Work started up and every day night comes before I run out of things to do.  I usually go to bed at 9pm to make sure I get enough beauty rest so as not to scare the children the next day.  But, sure enough I still have way too many things on my to do list and writing something that would interest anyone but me doesn't seem to make the list.

a view from the path I take

I am working on my teacher of the year essays.  There are a lot of them and the problem isn't that I don't have something to say about each topic, the problem is I have too much to say.  On the first set of essays that I wrote to win teacher of the year for my district, I could manipulate things and adjust the margins and shrink the font.  My daughter showed me a trick where I could squish the letters together and squeeze a couple of extra sentences onto the page so that the page limit of 2 pages really meant almost 3 pages of writing if it was standard 2 inch margins.  Now, the new format is a PDF where the margins are set and it is double spaced.  When I tried to copy and paste what I had already written, it expanded into 4 1/2 pages.  I have so much to cut out that the original essay doesn't make any sense.  I'm a teacher after all and have a lot of stories to tell!  I know I get that from my dad who has written volumes and that's only about what he had for lunch yesterday.

This area drains the subdivision I live in

I have a goal to lose 12 pounds in 12 weeks and while that seems like a very achievable accomplishment, just putting my mind to something isn't really working well.  I'm cutting out donuts and sweets that are everywhere at work.  Almost on a daily basis someone brings something yummy to work and it is rude to not eat what is offered.  I've been trying on and buying dresses for when I eventually win the National Teacher of the Year and get to go to the White House and meet the President.  I've found several dresses that I love but which are a bit too tight.  Have a dream and knowing that if I lost just a few pounds the dress would look much better is a great motivation.  However, I do have to win the title of National TOTY first.  There are quite a few steps to take to get there and only one teacher out of the 3 million will get that honor.  Even if I don't win, I still need to get healthier and eating a donut every day isn't the best option for optimum health. 

Because it is a drainage area, no houses will ever be built here.  Several houses in my area have gates to allow access to this path so very few people walk back here. 

I keep bugging my dad to watch what he eats.  He has heart failure and diabetes and his doctor has been bugging him to cut out the sweets and salt and sometimes it's the good food that make life worth living.  It's a Catch 22.  You enjoy living because of the food, but it's the food that is killing you.

So, I'm trying to cook healthy food that also tastes great.

I bought an Instant Pot and have found that I enjoy trying new recipes that cook quickly and also taste great.  My family isn't really into trying new things and my husband would be happy eating a tuna fish sandwich every day.  He has the same turkey sandwich, banana and cup of Raisin Bran every day for lunch 7 days a week.

I'm also trying to exercise every day, mixing things up with a 10 minute app I have on my phone that takes me through different whole body workouts and then walking.  I've been getting 5,000 steps in every day this year so far.  That's a big improvement over last year where I was lucky to get in 2,000 most days.  I'm trying to be more active in the classroom and instead of having the kids come up to me while I sit at my desk, I will go over to the students and move around the room more.  I am more tired at the end of the day but try to resist the urge to plop myself down on the couch and take a nap.  I will have a cup of coffee with hot chocolate in the afternoon.  The caffeine doesn't keep me awake at night.  I can sleep through anything.  As soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm out.

I had grand plans this weekend to get a lot of stuff done and then yesterday when I got home from the grocery store, my youngest was complaining that his hips hurt.  He's 13 so I figured he just didn't want to help carry in the groceries.  Then, he said his head hurt and he had a cough.  Sure enough, he has the flu.  Today was Binky Sunday and I still had plans to go, but then he started throwing up and said he was too weak to get up off the bathroom floor.

A phone call to the doctor and he is now on Tamiflu.  She said it should shorten the flu by about 1/2.  I've had students out all week with this one, so maybe he will only be sick for 3-4 more days.  He says the cough is the worst part.  He has a fever and headache too.  Poor little guy.  He's almost as big as me, but when he gets sick he's still my little guy.

So, my friend Carla saved the day for Binky Patrol and watched over the ladies as they sewed quilt tops and I cancelled the students who were going to come and cut fabric.  I will have them work another day after school.  Or, maybe next weekend.

We changed our insurance this year and are now using a Health Savings Account so we have to pay for everything up front until we reach our deductible which is $5200 for the family.  The Tamiflu cost $166.00.  The poor pharmacy assistant couldn't believe how expensive it was.  She thought something was wrong and tried running it again.  Then I explained how we had to pay for it up front.  I think it will still be cheaper than what we were on before because we were paying $1600 a month for insurance.  Crazy!  Now we pay $1300 but our school and union just settled our contract for this year and we are going to get a 3.25% raise and get an extra $100 added onto our medical insurance.  Good thing it's only numbers on paper that don't really have real meaning or value.  Imagine if you had to carry around that many pennies!  Or sea shells, or gold bars.

I guess I should go sterilize the bathroom and try to keep the germs isolated to just my son.  Or perhaps it is hopeless and I should just accept my fate.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


My sister had a goal last year to walk 2017 miles. That breaks down to about 5.5 miles a day or just over 10,000 steps a day. She lives in Colorado where it gets cold!  I have to say I really admire her for accomplishing that goal. I tried to get 5,000 steps a day and some days I was lucky to get 2,000.  I don't know what it is. Maybe it is the mental part where you have to psych yourself up to get up and get moving or the physical part where you get out there and get all sweaty or the part where I can easily find 57 other things I'd rather be doing so I sit on the couch and get nothing done. I've tried getting up and going for a walk first thing and then it's too cold and the. I've tried waiting until after work and then I'm too tired and I've tried walking in the middle of the day but who wants to get sweaty when you have to work?  As you can see I'm really good at making excuses. I know I will be healthier and feel better if I just get moving but my couch is just so much more comfortable. 

I bought a Fitbit on January 2 and so far have taken a walk the last three days. How long will it keep me motivated to keep going? I'm not sure. But I will celebrate the little victory. 

I've got some increased stress right now and I know that a little exercise is good for that too. There was an incident in my classroom that I thought was taken care of before we went out on break. I got called into the district office yesterday because the parents are still upset. The problem won't go away until we go back next week because the student was suspended during finals which means as teachers put grades in this student watches his straight A's drop to C's. That's stressing the parents out. Once he takes his finals things will be right in the world again. 

And my dad has not been feeling well for more than a month. He has heart problems and has been having troubles catching his breath. He is having edema and has been into see his regular doctor to the emergency room and to see his cardiologist a couple times each over the past several weeks. It's really hard being in California and him being in Colorado. My sister is in Colorado but doesn't like the doctor so has only gone with him to the emergency visit once. 

My brother is going out to visit in a couple of weeks which will be nice but it isn't like being there myself. 

When will someone invent a teleport machine?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hat making

I've started making hats again. Every Christmas break I have a little time to sort through the donations that have come in since the summer and I always vow to use up everything before the next round gets dropped off. I have a big box of yarn and since most of the country is frozen solid I figured there is someone out there that could use a nice warm hat. It is a little silly here in Northern California where is was 60 degrees today to be modeling this double layer winter cap but I guess if you were sick outside over night this would keep your ears warm. It takes about 29 minutes to make with my knitting machine and uses up a skein of yarn. Now to win the lottery so I don't have to go back to work and can stay home all day!


Monday, January 1, 2018


I heard on the news this morning that the worst thing you can do is post your resolutions on line.  Well, here goes...

I've been away from blogging for a long time.  Mostly because I've been so busy doing so many other things.  I'm still quilting and still teaching and still doing everything else that I've been doing.  I taught an extra class last year that almost drove me over the edge and that just made me so tired.  I'm not sure how I made it through the year.  Having the extra money was really nice, but the money always got spent on things I'm not sure of.  I have lots of extra stuff and now need things to put the extra stuff in.  Isn't that the way it always goes?  You get stuff and then spend all of your time organizing and dealing with the stuff so have no time to enjoy the stuff you have?

So this year I have to again learn to deal with the stuff I have and not get as much stuff to deal with.  That's a never ending resolution.  A lot of the stuff is given to me and I have a really hard time turning down free stuff.  Because I make quilts for charity, when someone offers me free fabric and yarn I can't tell them no, I have enough.  What is enough?  What if I never got another piece of free fabric again for the rest of my life?  Would I have enough fabric and be able to use up all of the fabric that I have now if I sewed 8 hours a day, every day from now until forever?  I bet I couldn't use it all up if I tried.  But, there is something inside that says, take the free stuff.  What if you run out?  Tragedy!

My kids shake their heads and beg me to stop.  They don't know what they are going to do with it when my time on earth is up.  They will be the ones begging someone else to come and take the stuff.  I recently took three truck loads of fabric from a nice couple.  The man's mother died 7 years ago and he was finally ready to let go.  He hadn't touched anything in the house in 7 years.  Can you imagine letting a house sit for 7 years?  That's 7 years of house payments, or even just the taxes on an empty house.  The wife was very thankful that I was taking so much, but now my garage is overflowing.  I'm thinking of having a second shed built, but what I really need is to find others who can use the fabric so that it doesn't just sit for years while waiting to get used.  I have a network of people who help me, but they are smarter than I am.  They will take what they can use in a month-which isn't very much and then come back in a month and take a little more.  They know it will be there next month.  And if not, they are not sad.  They will go to the store and buy what they can make in a month, or not.  They aren't drawn to having to make things for others like I am.  I'm not sure what it is about 'doing' for others that causes me to fill every nook and cranny of my house with stuff so that I can't walk without stepping over boxes of fabric and yarn. 

I should really pick out the best and give away to others without feeling like I have to save every little scrap.  There has always been another phone call offering more.

Other news since my last post is I was awarded my district's Teacher of the Year.  I would guess there are 400 teachers in my district.  I've been teaching 27 years and have grown a lot as a teacher.  I had a rough start and learned a lot over the years.  I love what I do and am honored to represent the teachers in my district at the County level.  I'm hoping to go on to State and then National and be able to recruit others into this profession.  While teaching doesn't pay what it probably should, there are other rewards money can't buy.  Watching kids grow up in front of me and discover their God given gifts is something not everyone gets to witness.  I love the interactions I get to have every day.  I never know what my students are going to say and I laugh every day.  Every single day.  Even on the bad days, I laugh.  How many other jobs are you guaranteed for that to happen?  Some days I can't believe I get paid to do my job.  As a physics teacher I play with hotwheels cars and tennis balls and blow up balloons and let them go.  We drop eggs and hope they don't break (with a little skill, they don't) and I make enough money to feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.

As a biology teacher, we took yeast and watched balloons expand as they made CO2 and ethanol (alternative fuel) and discovered who took Jerrell's iPhone by examining evidence left at the crime scene and analyzed biomolecules in the food samples left behind after lunch.  We run around outside and see how exercise affects the rate of CO2 production and breathe into a garbage bag and then time how long it takes for Bromothymol Blue to change color.

I never have kids ask, "When are we going to use this in real life?" because they are having too much fun. 

But, then the state changed the credential program and now I have to take a test to teach the same thing I've been teaching for the past 17 years.  Wish me luck.  This old lady needs to study and pay over $100 to take a test so I can keep teaching.  Sounds to me like the State of California is in need of someone to pay off a debt and who better to do that then a whole bunch of teachers.  There are a lot of us and at $100 each that adds up.  Hopefully if I get to be the Teacher of the Year for the State of California, I can talk to the head of the State department and we can work something out.  Maybe he will see how silly this whole thing is and 'grandfather' all of us old teachers in or something.  Until then, I will study and do my best.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

quilting and oil changes

I'm sitting at the speedee oil change place for the third time this week. I only have one more car so at least I'm almost done hanging out here. I'm getting to know these guys well. What else am I supposed to do with my time off? What do people who work full time year round do when they have chores to do?
I guess they make time to do the necessary things to make sure things run smoothly. 

We also had an air conditioner repair guy come out because we have a two story house and the upstairs and downstairs wouldn't work at the same time. Turns out the air conditioner is working fine. It is the ducts that need replacing. Or so says the fix it guy. $5200 to fix it and we will be getting a second opinion. Or just tuning one story at a time and praying for cooler weather. 
We have mice and rats that get into the attic since we live so close to a big field and they may have chewed some holes in the ducts   

The joys of home ownership




Friday, June 23, 2017

she's off

New adventures await!
It was hard to watch her drive away.  I know she's only moving to Southern California, but she's not coming home again to live.  She is starting a brand new chapter in her life and I'm not at the center of that chapter.  She's all grown up.  She doesn't need me like she used to.  My help isn't necessary any more.  Things are the way they are supposed to be, and I know I did a good job raising her to be strong and independent and capable, but somehow feeling less needed still hurts a little.

She left this morning around 8:30 and will rent a uhaul tomorrow to get the final stuff into her apartment tomorrow

I was all set to make the trip with her and help her do all of this, but she made it pretty clear that she was ready to do this on her own.  She would tolerate my help, but it really wasn't necessary.  Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and let them do things on their own and be ready to help if asked but not overstep.  I signed the loan papers for the car, called the insurance company and got all of that set up but need to start letting go of some things.

It's only a 6 1/2 hour drive or 1 1/2 hour plane ride.

Plus, I have these guys to cheer me up.  There is always at least one of them under foot causing trouble or making a mess.  Looks like I have some cleaning to do to keep me busy today while she drives home.

Enough of this pity party.  There are quilts to be made and work to get done.  There's always dishes and laundry and weeds to pull.


Yesterday was my daughter's last day at 'home' before she started her new adventure of being an adult.  Today she moved out to Southern California.  Of course we had to spend our last few hours together doing the thing we both love the most and that was thrift store shopping.  We managed to hit three stores before we both ran out of steam.

I'm not sure if it is the thrill of the hunt or the 'saving money' that is so much fun but I have a hard time buying things at actual cost when I know I can get a t shirt for $1.99.  She can find brand new dresses for $5 with a tag still on it that says $80.  Who can pass up a deal like that?  Even if you don't need another t shirt or dress, it's a bargain and everybody loves a bargain!  Especially if they have a 50% off day.

Just look at this treadle machine for $199.  If only I had a place to put it.

She got a great purse for work and had plans to put her lunch and a good book in it.  She got a few dressy shirts.  She will be working for a bank as a program manager, which means she will be making sure everyone does their job and gets things done on time.  She has to dress up (business casual) so t shirts and jeans or sweats aren't allowed.  We looked at a lot of shoes as well.  That's why I don't wear dresses.  I have to be on my feet a lot and the shoes just kill me.  I used to wear nice clothes and tennis shoes, but when I started teaching high school and they said I could wear jeans every day I figured comfort was more important than dressing to impress.  I added about 10 shirts to my growing collection.  I plan to organize them over the next couple of weeks so I have a better idea of how many I have and am better able to find the one I want when I want it.

She also found a shelf for in the bathroom-regular price $30 marked down to $10.  It was a Target return, brand new, but open box so hopefully all the pieces are there.  We looked and it seemed like everything was there, but she won't know until she starts to put it together.  That's another exciting thing about thrifting.  You never know if you will get a deal or a steal.

My daughter loves elephants and found this cute oversized shirt which is lightweight and comfy.  She actually wore it today on the trip home.  It suits her personality.  She has quite the elephant collection.

It isn't as much fun thrifting alone.  My older daughter will be home in a couple of weeks for a few days so I will get another 'fix' in then.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

the things we do for our kids

We are having a heat wave here in Northern California. If you watch the news you would think this is the first time temperatures have reached 100 ever. They give tips on staying cool and how important it is for the elderly to stay out of the heat especially in the afternoon. 
Well sometimes when you have a mission all intelligent thought goes out the window. My daughter needs a car because she is all grown up now. She graduated from college and is starting a real job in a couple of weeks. 

So we went car shopping yesterday. It was hot!

She picked a practical Toyota Corolla and we got out of there for $15,000. 

She was really pleased with her pick and even though it took about 3 hours for the whole process it was an enjoyable afternoon spent with my daughter because I know it will be one of the last ones we get for a long time. 





Monday, June 19, 2017

heading home

My daughter is graduated and partly moved into her apartment and we are headed back to Northern California to lol for a car for her. We will do some thrift shopping to find some things she needs like a set of dishes and a couple lamps. Towards the end of the week she and I will make the trip back down again to rent a uhaul to move the bigger pieces of furniture and do some grocery shopping. 
Her apartment complex is older. You can tell because of the mature landscaping but has recently been completely renovated. She and her boyfriend have a one bedroom 710 foot place and it looks huge now. I remember when my husband and I got our first place that was 800 square feet and how we thought it was humongous. That empty feeling lasted about 2 months and then I had every nook and cranny filled. My daughter isn't a hoarder like I am so she should fit better for longer. 



Sunday, June 18, 2017

graduation time

My daughter graduated from UCLA today. She has a degree in mah and economics and has a job working for a bank in program management don't ask me what exactly that means because I always explain it wrong. She helps the different departments work together and manage their projects or something like that. She will be staying in Southern California for at least the next two years. 

At least she didn't get a job all the way across the country like my oldest daughter.