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.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day Of School

First day of school with Finding Nemo...

Out the door in a hurry this morning, I'm afraid. It's the first day of school, and our Peanut is set for her last year in elementary school. *sniffle*

They have to grow up sometime, I know, but does it have to go by in such a blur?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pushing Through

My bones are creaking this morning, from too many days in a row of getting up and down ladders and hefting books and heavy boxes and crawling around on my hands and knees picking up random detritus, all in an effort to get the school library ready for academic prime time.  It was a mess, and now it is much better, but my body is much worse for the wear this year.

After the last year and a half of breast cancer treatment, my muscle tone is shot and my body has, unfortunately, gotten used to a much lower level of activity.  My usual ability to push through is still there intellectually:  the spirit is definitely willing, but the body is way, way too weak for what my mind thinks that I can do.


The good news is that I could still get things done, and my room looks wonderful and is almost ready for students.  I still have some shelves to clean and books to reorganize, but overall it is looking really good at the moment.

Today will be a partial rest day.  There is laundry to do and kitchen cleaning to catch up on, although Mr. ReddHedd helped tremendously yesterday by doing dishes and a lot of laundry while The Peanut and I were at school working on my room.  The day to day doesn't stop while extra stuff gets piled on, but this year we have managed to muddle through it without too much impact at home.

We've begun making more healthy food choices in earnest, and I can feel it making a difference in me, even with the achy knees this morning.  So that's a good thing.  I have eaten more veggies this week than I have in a long while, and it has made a difference in mental sharpness, even though it hasn't shown up on the scales just yet.  Can't expect an overnight miracle, but I am happy with the direction we're going at the moment.

As in most things in life, the key appears to be pushing through whatever barrier decides to throw itself into your path on any given day. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, RIP

Oh Captain, my of my favorite scenes from the brilliant, poignant and amazing Dead Poet's Society.

No idea why the loss of a man I never met has hit me so hard, but it has.  The laughter he brought through the years with his brilliant comedy, and the tears from the serious roles that seemed to open up his soul and pour it out...the loss of that is profoundly sad and bleak.

Requiescat in pace, Robin Williams. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back To School...Almost

It's going to be a whole week of getting my room ready for Open House on Friday and making sure that The Peanut is stocked up on school supplies.

Am behind my usual pace for this time of year, and feeling the time crunch as a result.  

Enjoy a little Huey Lewis and the News while I go cover myself in dusty grime...

Friday, August 8, 2014

More Fun With Library Signage

After several requests, it became clear to me that there was interest in more of the library signs I put together yesterday.  Above is the one with Katniss from The Hunger Games.  The rest of the signs will follow.

I like to mix these up over the course of the school year, so there is something fresh every couple of weeks as they come in to class and to check out a new book. 

For each of the ones featured here, if you click on the picture, it should take you to a larger size that you could print off for your own classroom.

As I make more of these for my library, I'll try to share them for other teachers to be able to use them as well.  Am trying to come up with signs that will work for a broad range of ages -- from preK-3 to 6th graders -- and will also catch their interest in reading. 

I would like to come up with more literary-related ideas as well, so if you have a book character you'd like to suggest, I'll see if I can put something fun together in terms of a reading promotion sign.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Having Fun With Library Signs

This morning, I've had some serious fun playing around with new ideas for library signs.  Every year, I like to add a little new spice to the mix, to keep things fun and fresh for the kids.

So far, I've created the one above with Anna and Elsa from Frozen, a minion going bananas for books from Despicable Me, a photo of Katniss being hungry for books from Hunger Games, and a "kneel, puny human, some of the best books are on the lower shelves!" Loki sign from the Thor and Avengers movies.  (Thank you, Pinterest!)

There will be more to come, I'm certain, but that's enough for one day.

My plan is to do more with children's book characters, when I can think of something pithy to make a pun or elicit a giggle.  Anything to interest the kids in reading more, right?

In any case, if you click on the sign above, you can get a full sized sign to print out for your own school library. 

Any ideas for future signs?  Please do share in the comments!  I promise I'll try to share what I make as I get new ones done.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Sometimes, you get a photograph you weren't expecting.  This was one of those times.  I thought I'd just be getting a regular landscape shot when, instead, what came back through the lens was something closer to one of those vintage postcard paintings of the Grand Canyon.

Love that nature is just so beautiful when you are looking at it with the right attitude.

Life is like that as well, isn't it?  Sometimes when you look at your own day to day through a different angle, it suddenly looks a whole lot better.  Trying to keep a positive outlook can be tough, especially under adverse circumstances or in the midst of a busy run-around time.  But it is important to try to do that for your own sake, as well as the folks around you.

At least that's what I'll be telling myself this week and next as the back to school season gears up at our house.

Predictably, things have gotten busy:  the library clean-up and reorganization has begun in earnest, in advance of an open house next week; lesson planning has also begun; and we're in the middle of a home re-organization as well, as I work toward where I want things to be before the start of school.
All of the vacation photos certainly bring back that feeling of calm relaxation that we had along the journey.  May have to put them up all over the house to keep that going.  It's time to refocus a bit, but not lose the importance of balance.

That's an awfully tough thing to manage sometimes, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm Supporting Natalie Tennant for United States Senate

Just a note to say that I'm supporting Natalie Tennant for United States Senate from the great state of West Virginia.

Natalie is a friend of the family and one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life.  But more than that, she sincerely cares about the people of our state and the issues that they face. 

Spent part of my afternoon today catching up with her at a campaign stop, and it was, as always, just wonderful to chat about the issues and about her hopes for the future of West Virginia. 

Wish all politicians were half as sincere and caring about their jobs as Natalie genuinely is.

When you get to election season this fall, please consider a vote for Natalie for US Senate.  I honestly believe she's the best choice for the job and that she will work her rear end off for regular folks here in my home state of West Virginia.