Monday, September 15, 2014

That Hint Of Fall



















We awoke to a crisp, foggy morning, with the unmistakable feel of Fall in the air.  The sun has yet to burn through the mist, so the birds are wending their way through the hazy chill to our feeders in little dribs and drabs this morning.

There are so many things that need to be done today.  But the chill in the air makes me feel like curling up under a blanket and hibernating.

I have put on my cozy Ugg boots and a heavy sweatshirt in an effort to stave off turning on the heat.  It isn't quite time, yet, but this morning I can really feel that winter is coming.

Today will be spent catching up on laundry and schoolwork, for I am behind on both, with a dash of getting things clean and set back up again for the week ahead. 

This school year, it feels like every day is a race to see if I can make it to the end of the week with anything left in my tank.  So far, the answer to that is no.  My doctor told me that the back end of chemo and radiation, especially treatment that came so closely together like mine had to do, may take several years for my exhaustion to ease.  The mental clarity is coming back, but the physical recovery from the breast cancer treatment is lagging.  Not certain what, if anything, can be done about this except to grit my teeth and keep trying to move forward.

Today feels like a good day for some hot cider.  First time I've been able to say that in months.  It really is starting to feel like Fall.

(Photo via Pete.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Kitty Giggles





Because this morning, I woke up and needed a giggle. I thought everyone else could use one, too.

This kitty is too cute!  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Fragile We Are





How fragile we truly are.

In memory of all those lost, their families and friends, and in hope for peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Canyon Sunrise




















Because sometimes you wake up in the morning and need a reminder that there was a time when you felt rested, relaxed and in harmony with the rest of the universe.

This picture does that for me.

Still sifting through vacation pictures as I get time.  This one jumped out at me last night as a big "ahhhhhh" moment from our trip.

Enjoy!

(Photo by Christy Hardin Smith, who has decided that she is definitely not a morning person and is very grateful for coffee at the moment...)

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Bird Feeder -- Hooray!



Spent an hour this morning digging a huge hole for a 4x4x6 post for my new bird feeder.  Am certain the neighbors really appreciated the early morning hammering, but I wanted to get our new bird feeder in before it got too hot today.

And...voila!...the Heath Grande Gazebo Feeder, in all of its glory.

It has a screw-on cap, so the squirrels won't be able to just lift it off and gorge themselves (she types hopefully!).  The sides that hold in the seed cannot be raised up unless the top is taken off first, which also ought to slow the little furry fiends down a bit.  The lip on this is very small, so it is also designed to make it tough for pigeons to perch and feed -- which is good, because they make a mess and drive me bonkers.

The best part is that this holds up to 20 pounds of seed.  This will hopefully reduce the need for trudging back and forth so much through the frigid ice and snow this winter.

So far, only a little chickadee has found it.  But I am hopeful that the ravenous winged hordes are soon to follow.

Blogger disclosure:  Links in this post may include links to my Amazon account.  Purchases made through these links - including the Amazon search in the right-hand column on this blog - contributes a few pennies to me, which are then used for purchases for the school library.  Thanks so much for all of your support!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Turning Over Some New Leaves



















The start of the new school year is rough:  the schedule is suddenly crammed with a million things alongside a little too much work travel for Mr. ReddHedd these days.  Laundry management, better dietary choices and a little exercise are all choices that come at a premium these days.

But making the effort to make new and better habits stick really does pay off.  At least, it feels like it does only a few weeks into the new school year.

Just making sure that I am eating a lot more fruits and veggies -- some at every meal -- has made a world of difference in my energy levels the past week or so.  Not seeing the payoff on the scales, but hope springs eternal, right?  (Getting used to the chemo-induced menopausal metabolism has been a challenge.  This was way too early for me to have to adjust to this, let me tell you.)

For far too long, things have been completely out of balance for me, as I run, run, run from one goal to the next without really considering the long term ramifications of spending so much of my time being so driven in a concentrated fashion. 

What I learned in the chemo aftermath is this:  the unimportant noise needs to fall away, so that you have more of yourself to give to the things that are most important.  That includes making time to take care of yourself, even while you spend so much energy taking care of the needs of others ahead of your own.

A friend once told me that you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can or should help anyone else.  Because if you aren't taking care of your own needs first and foremost, eventually you will collapse and be no good to anyone else.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings






































Yesterday evening, The Peanut cheered at her first football game.  As you can see from the big smile, she enjoyed it despite being in the hot sun on a swelteringly humid and hot day.

I don't think that smile left her face all evening.  Truly.

Sitting on the sidelines, gratitude hit me like a wave.  For so long during my breast cancer treatment slog the last few years, there was always that fear lurking in the back of my mind that I would not get to see her grow up, that I would miss little moments like this with her along the way.

But I am here and, as far as we know anyway, am doing well.

Here is to more days like this to come in the years ahead.  Take a moment today to count your many blessings, because it truly does make the day seem so much brighter as a perspective on the world around you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Do The Fandango





Because some mornings, you wake up and you just need your Muppets fix.

Bohemian Rhapsody.  Muppet style.

Gets me every single time.  Enjoy!

PS -- First football game is this evening, and The Peanut will get her first chance to cheer.  Send some extra good thoughts for no rain, or we'll be soaked through by the end of it.  Parenthood is not for sissies...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Busy And Cheerful


























School has begun, and my teaching duties have started into full swing.  The Peanut has had cheer practice practically every day since the start of August -- yes, I am officially a cheer mom this year, hear me whimper.

Given that I am severely hair challenged, if we get through this cheer year without a major hairstyling meltdown, I will be most grateful.  But I am not confident on that score.

Plus, the ginormous cavalcade of crazy that is the Italian Heritage Festival is this weekend, and The Peanut will be singing in the children's chorus every day, and in a parade, and doing other stuff all weekend long...which means I'll be doing stuff with her downtown amid the hustle and bustle all weekend long.

Sorry for the scanty posting of late.  But you can see why finding time to blog has been a challenge. 

(Above photo of The Peanut at her football program cheer photo shoot yesterday.  Just before we had to go to chorus dress rehearsal.  Aiiiyeeee, she is no longer my tiny little Peanut.)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Finding Creative Space





















The past few days have been a bit of a blur.  On top of it having been the first week of school, so I've been up early for classes resuming and lots of library cleaning and straightening, but there has been more added to the mix:  The Peanut is doing junior high cheer, and they have had practice pretty much every day for the last two weeks at this point, gearing up for football season.

That's right:  mom's taxi service is back in booming business once again.

What I have been trying to do this week is figure out how to bring the whole crazy scramble back into a more ordered balance, so that there is time around the edges for a little creativity and maybe even some family relaxation time.  But that is a tough thing to do when there aren't a lot of spaces for that in an overloaded schedule.

Because it is the beginning of the school year, things are still a bit of a jumble -- as they are every year until the full schedule gels into a more coherent whole -- so I am trying to be as patient as I can until we settle in to the new routine.

It's funny how difficult it can be to find any sense of balance in the day to day at this point in the year.  Even knowing that this will eventually settle in as the new normal, that level of patience can be hard won as you rush from one thing to the next at the very beginning.

Which makes finding some creative space all the more important, I think, for happiness and sanity over the long haul.

It is when I forget this that things begin to go awry.  Especially if I am putting everyone else's needs so far ahead of my own that I can't even find myself amid all the chaos. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just Imagine



























We have a day filled with thunderstorms ahead of us, if the weather reports are anything close to accurate.  The sky outside is gray and the wind is picking up, so much so that the birdies are being tossed about a little bit amid the blustery gusts.

It is a perfect day for crawling back into bed with a good book and a cuppa tea.

Remember when you used to do that as a kid on a bad weather day?  I did that all the time, curling up with a book and losing myself in its pages for hours on a snow day off from school or a rainy weekend day.

We lose that a bit as adults, with our endless "to do" lists and rushing from one task, one commitment to the next.  One of my goals this year is to make time to savor the little things -- like some uninterrupted fun reading time -- a little more frequently.

Now, if I can only figure out how to tackle my endless "to do" list a little more efficiently, perhaps I can get to that book that's been lingering on my nightstand a little too long...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Up and Out


















The adjustment to super early school mornings is going to take a little longer.  It was all that I could do to get myself out of our cozy bed this morning.

Newsflash:  still not a morning person.

There will be a need for more coffee for the forseeable future.  That is all.

(Photo via song zhen.)