I Used to LOVE Tuesday…

Tuesday was always my favorite day of the week.  It was a perfect day.  It wasn’t Monday, for one.  It is my day off.  And the kids are in school.  Which means I got an 8-3:30 to myself.  A wonderful, glorious day.  Drop off the kids, then play all day.  Or lay around.  Or shirk my responsibilities and quilt with Heidi.  Or whatever.  I used to bust my hump on Sunday and Monday to get all the laundry done and get bills paid for the week so Tuesday would be free of all responsibility.

But Tuesdays are just not what they used to be.

I started working out.  Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Which means I have to get up and go on Tuesday now- drop off the kids at school, then torture myself for an hour.  But that still left most of the day.  But now Heidi works on Tuesday, so my favorite playmate is unavailable.  And my son is in middle school now, so he is home by 2:45.  So, I still have from 11-2:45 on Tuesday.  But the last two weeks, I have had paperwork to catch up on.  So I have been in front of a computer doing work- work from 11:30 to now.  And that is not fun. 

Then comes 3:45.  Here is Tuesday:  Pick up the younger kids from school.  Make a quick dinner.  Homework.  5:45 take one kid to wrestling.  7:10 Take other kid to wrestling.  7:30 pick up first kid from wrestling.  8:35- pick up second kid from wrestling.  8:45- try to get everyone to bed.

I know- many of you have it much worse.  But Tuesday nights are enough to make me crazy.  And I am crazy enough already.

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My give a damn is broken.

This makes it very hard to focus on anything that I should potentially be doing.

Like writing a cheerful, uplifting post. Or doing the dishes. Or making lunches for tomorrow. Or grading papers (which I must do tonight).

Chocolate. I need chocolate cake. With chocolate frosting.

Sigh. Even my imagination isn’t good enough to pretend that grading papers is really eating chocolate cake.

This will obviously be listed under totally random. Next post should make more sense. Maybe.

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True Friends

Hopefully everyone knows what it’s like to have at least one very close friend on whom they can count, no matter what. I am extremely fortunate that I have several (and this isn’t including my awesome family). Today I was pondering just what it is that makes special friends special. This is a variation of a thankful post… things I love about my friends:

  • the ability to talk or not talk, and still feel comfortable with each other
  • talking about everything and nothing, in conversations that can last a really  long time (even on the phone! 🙂
  • the knowledge that they know all about me, and they still like me and choose to be my friend
  • enjoying each others families
  • listening to new music because my friends like it
  • sharing things we like with each other: books, music, movies, fabric
  • knowing that even if we don’t talk or see each other for a really long time, we can still pick up as though we haven’t been apart (this one’s especially for Kris!)
  • being able to laugh together, cry together, and agree to disagree if necessary

Most of all, I am thankful that just talking to one of my friends can lift my spirit and make me feel good, even if we don’t talk about anything significant. They provide support just by being who they are. Thanks and I love you, my friends!

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The post whose title I had to change because I was getting weird links from bizarre sites….

I skipped Zumba this morning, because I had grandiose plans of riding on my trainer for a long period of time. If I’m going to do a full hundred miles in the Trek 100, I need to start doing longer training sessions, at least until I can ride outside again.

I didn’t exactly follow through with my original plan. Um, really I didn’t follow through at all. I had prime rib for dinner, followed by chocolate cake… And I didn’t ride on my trainer at all. In fact, I was pretty lazy all day. I can’t believe how guilty I feel for skipping my workout two days in a row!

I suppose it’s good guilt, since it means that I’m conscious of the need for regular exercise. This is both for my health and my sanity. Andy told me that when he gets upset, exercise is his outlet. (I have only seen him upset once in my life, and it was many years ago. Even then, he was very calm. He truly has the most amazingly positive outlook, and lets very little get to him. I only wish I was like that!) Exercise has become an outlet for me in the last year, too. There are days when I get home from school and can’t wait to get on the bike. Riding hard for half an hour cures many frustrations. I can’t wait until I can get outside and do some real riding again, and when it’s light later so I can go for longer rides.

Of course, then I can try out my new road shoes, too. I checked with my favorite bike shop (Grafton Ski and Cycle) to see if they can get Speedplay pedals, but it’s not looking too good. One of the guys said I can buy my pedals elsewhere, but I have to come back for everything else. I like the people at the shop, and it’s good to keep the business in town. Besides, they know me by name, because it’s a friendly sort of place…

…and because I have spent waaaayy too much money there!

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The inundation

My first week of full-time teaching went very well, although I was inundated with all of the wonderful tasks that are presented to most teachers. I had to write up a couple of students for texting in the classroom. One stood right in front of me texting this afternoon. Every time I encounter a student with a cell phone in class, I tell the student to give it to me. Every one of them so far has refused! It puzzles me, because if they just hand it over, they are only written up for electronics, but if they refuse, they are also written up for insubordination. This means a detention, but electronics just result in the phone being taken away for a period of time (this is done by the office, not the teacher).

The other thing I was presented with this week was cheating. I caught several students cheating this week, one of which was on an exam. I hate liars and cheaters, so I don’t tolerate it at all in my class. Thanks to the one who cheated on a test, I also had to make my first parent call this week. Fortunately for me, the mom was very pleasant, and obviously concerned with the way her child was acting.

So far we have texting, cheating, and a parent call. I also had some in class issues that I dealt with right away, and by this afternoon we were definitely settling into a good routine. The students are great, no matter what their ability levels are, and I find myself trying to encourage even the most difficult students. Granted, there are some students who make it very difficult to like them.

The way I know teaching is the right profession for me: yesterday morning when I was thinking about my day, I thought of the students as “my kids.” Not in the sense of biological children, of course, but meaning that I feel a definite sense of responsibility for them. I teach because I love the students, and inspiring just one to take a greater interest in the world around them is one of the best feelings ever! Teaching isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. I have a whole new understanding of my parents when I was growing up. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

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Further (mis)Adventures in Skiing, and the Teaching Takeover

The weather in Wisconsin has been very warm for the past few days: it actually reached 50 degrees one day, when the average high is closer to 30 degrees. This of course means that the snow is quickly disappearing. Unlike many other Wisconsin residents, I am sad when the snow starts to go, especially this early in the season. I have bike fever, but I’m not ready to totally give up skiing for this winter!

To take advantage of the remaining snow, I went skiing at Riveredge this afternoon, right after school. The weather was fine, but the trails were icy and crusty. They weren’t horrible until I got to a lightly traveled area, and then I pretty much hiked through the woods on my skis. There was very little gliding, and a whole lot of stepping over branches and around trees. One section had only been snowshoed, so there wasn’t a ski trail, but I managed. This time was fun, just like last time was, but I had a little mishap again…

The trails were packed and slick, so any downhill area was very tricky. More tricky than usual, since I am not good at hills anyway. There was one lovely straight section with a downhill slope that I thought would be fine.

Except. (not again!…)

It was super slick, so it was hard to slow down with any control. I fell and landed weird. Nothing is broken, but my shoulder is sore. I actually fell quite a lot today, which bothers me less and less, as long as I don’t have an audience. Good athletes learn how to fall properly, right? That may be the closest I ever get to being called a good athlete. 🙂

On a totally different subject, I took over teaching duties for my two individually taught classes this week. There have been a couple of instances of students trying to push me, but they are learning when to back off. I truly enjoy all of the students in both classes, even the difficult students. I love being back in front of the classroom! My first love is the subject of biology, but teaching is a close second. Most of the students have accepted me as the teacher without any qualms, but there are a couple who prefer the routine of their regular teachers. We’ll get used to each other.


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Zumba!! then Kopp’s…

My friend Brooke teaches Zumba, which is a Latin dance-inspired aerobic workout. It sounded like fun, so I decided to give her class a try this morning. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun! Getting the steps etc. down was tricky, but the music has such a good beat that it’s easy to get into it. I don’t know if it would have been as much fun if somebody else had taught it – Brooke is a wild woman, with a great sense of humor. I will definitely try to go every week. It is also an incredible workout: an hour of fairly intense cardio, which of course meant that my face was bright red.

I don’t know exactly what it is about my body, but every time I do strenuous exercise my face turns red. Really red. Like fire engine red. Glowing, even. Often people will ask me if I’m okay. Yes, I am fine, just hot pink. One of the women in the class said I should have a t-shirt made that says, “yes, I’m fine!” Brooke said that she was a bit worried during class – I hadn’t warned her ahead of time that this often happens. Fair skin, capillaries near the surface of my skin, and warmth just do not mix well!

Since I had such a good workout, I decided to splurge on Kopp’s today. Kopp’s is a frozen custard place in Milwaukee. They make arguably the best frozen custard on the planet, and along with the standard chocolate and vanilla, they have two “flavors of the day” each day. Today, in honor of the Superbowl tomorrow, they had a flavor called “The Freezer.” The base custard flavor was chocolate cake batter, with added marshmallow Fluff ribbon, fudge, chocolate chip cookie dough, and pieces of chocolate cake. Rich, rich, rich. Caleb and I each had a dish, then moaned and groaned all the way home. It was yummy, although it will not replace my favorite: Never Enough Chocolate is my favorite, although I am also very fond of Double Truffel. Obviously my favorites contain chocolate. A lot of chocolate.

Which is as it should be.

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Blood, Sweat, and Bicycle Grease

I saw this phrase on a t-shirt and thought it was entirely too appropriate for my typical athletic endeavors. No blood while using the bike recently, but that may be because I have been using it on a trainer for the last couple of months. I did, however, experience a rather bloody skiing incident recently.

Sweat and bicycle grease are regular occurrences, however. Even with my bike on the trainer, I somehow manage to get the telltale chainring mark on my leg. I momentarily lean against the chain/chainring without thinking about it, even when I’m stationary. It’s the cyclist’s tattoo, so it doesn’t bother me.

I lived in Virginia for eleven years. Women originally from the south would be absolutely scandalized to know that I am talking about sweating. Down there women “mist” or “glow,” but they don’t sweat. I never quite fit in there. I call it like I see it: I sweat. It’s kind of weird: that first trickle of sweat down my backbone feels pretty creepy, but after that I don’t notice the sweat. I just mentioned sweat five times in a few sentences 🙂 What a Yankee!

Recently I started doing interval training to change my regular routine. The first few times I used a moderate gear and did intervals by changing my cadence – starting at about 75 and jumping to 90-100 for short periods. Today I decided to try jumping gears instead of cadence- from small chainring to large, leaving the cassette unchanged. I have a compact crank, so only two chainrings make it easy to jump a fairly significant amount. I definitely prefer jumping gears! It seems to work much better for strength, since I feel like I spent some time lifting weights. I didn’t do anything but ride.

And sweat.

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Snow days!

Other than when I taught seventeen or so years ago, today was my first “official” early dismissal due to snow. Tomorrow is my first official snow day, canceled this afternoon already because of the blizzard warning! Right now we have moderate snow falling, but the wind is howling. Shoveling tonight might have made tomorrow easier, but it would have been absolutely miserable. The windchill was hovering around zero a few hours ago, and the wind has picked up since. I don’t mind the cold when it’s calm outside: even below zero is okay if it’s still and I’m dressed for it. I hate the wind when it’s cold, though, and for some reason it’s really windy in this area. That was something that really struck me when we were in New England this summer – even when it’s windy there, the wind feels different. I assume it’s because Wisconsin is pretty flat, so there are few obstacles to slow or block the wind.

I felt the absolute elation that teachers feel when there’s a snow day. The feeling has nothing to do with not wanting to work: just the opposite, in fact. Missing a day of school requires that we either shift everything by one day, or re-plan everything so it will fit in a shorter amount of time. The elation comes from knowing that I can’t get to school tomorrow, so I can’t go to work. It’s almost like freedom that is forced upon a large group of people: we all feel a release from day-to-day stresses, and don’t have to think about the meeting we’re supposed to have, or the student who persistently gives us trouble in class, or even the students we love and appreciate every day.

I feel like a little kid again, all excited to be able to go out and play in the snow. Play is now shoveling, but maybe also skiing or sledding in the afternoon. Wheee!

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First lesson taught…

Today I taught my first lesson as a student teacher. It went well, although I found out afterward that my voice is too quiet to be heard very well at the back of the classroom, so I need to speak up. I’ll also go back to using the whiteboard – I was using a document camera, but it’s turned away from the class, which is probably what makes it hard to hear me. I prefer writing on the board anyway, and it’s easier to see all of the students at once. I am learning a lot from my teachers, and know that I will be a better teacher thanks to them!

Now I have to practice… today’s is “Don’t give me attitude.” I figure that’s better than “Shut up, you punk!”

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