Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Part 1

It was a very good year.  It's hard to choose my very favorite moments. Here are a few:

This about covers the first half of the year. Look for part 2 to come!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Moves like Jagger

I had a fantastic Christmas. I have a ridiculously generous family, who showered me with gifts like new cold weather running tights which I enjoyed on yesterday's run, beautiful new boots, plenty of reading material for my off time and not one but two bottles of my favorite lotion which is only available at the local artists' Christmas store once per year. Thank you, thank you!

While I love all my gifts, the ones I'm having the most fun with so far are my not one but two copies of "Just Dance 4." For the second year in a row my husband and my mother got me the same gift. Last year it was identical boots, this year, identical dance games. Does this make it a tradition?  Anyway, I have one for the PlayStation 3 from Sean, complete with the "Move" and two fancy new controllers. Mom went all out and got me an XBox and the new game to go with it. Yes, as I mentioned before I have a ridiculously generous family.  I've been enjoying doing a compare and contrast between the two systems and there are things I like about both.

What I'm loving the most with both is the fun I'm having playing and getting a good workout at the same time. Do I have the Moves like Jagger? Officially, no. But I'm having a blast and even Sean is currently playing with me and he's getting pretty darn good too.

Who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

 It's that time of year again where we all gather together for delicious food, friendship, family and celebration. Here are a few images from Chowder Fest 2012 and Christmas morning. I feel exceptionally lucky to call myself a member of this clan. Merry Christmas to all!

May 2013 bring as much joy as 2012 has to this family.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reflection on Madness

This morning I awoke to a blanket of snow giving our world pause to stop and reflect on the chaos that seems to have overtaken all that used to be safe harbor.  The all holiday movie channels focus on the hope of the season, while the real time news blares the loss of hope. Sides are taken, lines are drawn, the talking heads spout madness about why everyone is wrong regardless of position. I want to scream for all of them to just stop talking for the sake of talking and listen. Pause and reflect on the madness. I've had to ask my husband not to watch the news before I go to work. It clouds my purpose and heavies my heart in a way I can't take to the job with me. It's not what the kids need and it's not what I need. They need to know they are safe, they need to feel normal and protected and I can't demonstrate that when I'm thinking of the news. I have spent the past several days planning window coverings and the best places in the room for hiding. I have moved furniture for easy access to block entryways. I have devised a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. I don't think I'll stop preparing, even if I get to Plan Z. I will never stop prepping until I know the threat is gone forever.

You see, I am one of the people who dedicate their lives to teaching your children. I don't have children of my own, but even if I did, I couldn't be any more dedicated to the students in my care. I celebrate their victories, I mourn their losses and I spend my days giving them my all. And yes, just like those dear teachers in Newtown, I would do anything to protect them. You see, that is what we do. We dedicate our lives to these children, to our children, for the betterment of society. We do this because we want the children of today to have the same opportunities for greatness that we all had. That is my wish, my hope, my dream for your/our kids.

However, things are changing. Kids are being forced to grow up too fast. Time that used to be spent with friends and family sharing ideas is spent playing violent video games, far to advanced and real for them to understand the true desensitizing scope of normalcy they are portraying. Video games are not real, but I'm not sure that the kids understand that anymore and it scares me.  Please parents, monitor their games and their screen time. Shut off the tv and open the lines of communication instead.  Send them outside in the fresh air to play. Encourage them to use their imaginations.

Artificial relationship built in space are becoming the norm. "Friends" are made online. What is an online friend anyway and why are kids allowed to even be there? The online world is just one more way for kids to grow up too quickly. Cruel words, threats, artificial alliances, all cloud the judgement of already vulnerable minds. Words are quickly typed out and whether intended or not can leave scars or open doors that can't be undone. Please parents, know where your kids are online and what they are doing. Monitor who they talk to and limit they can go.

We all need to take the time in this life to pay attention to each other, to protect each other from harms way and to value each other. Let's stop pointing fingers and rather come together in rational thought and words to figure out how to make this world a safe place for all of us. I will continue to do my part to educate our future to be independent thinkers, problem solvers and caring citizens of this great nation. I will protect them with all that I have so that they have the opportunities to be all they can. There is no greater gift than to have made a difference in the life of a child.

Today as I taught a lesson to my current 5th graders I was stopped in my tracks as a stranger walked into my class. He had a visitor's badge on and a friendly smile and it only took me a moment to recognize the former 4th grader who hated school, who had to be coaxed out of bed each morning by his mother with bribes and promises for good report days. I remember asking his parents at open house that year where his "off" switch was, to which they chuckled, "if you find it, let us know." That boy is now 16 years old and he had to go to two different schools in town to find me today. I can't tell you how happy I was that he did. You see, for me, he is the one. There may be others, I may never know, but he is the one whom I believed in even when he didn't believe in himself. That's what he came back to tell me today. He wanted me to know that he was doing well and that I was the best teacher he ever had.  Did I teach him great facts? No, but I taught him he is a great person. That knowledge is what will take him far. I hope I see him again. It is now he who has taught me to believe again. To believe in the hope for the possibility that we can make a difference and that the events of last Friday will never happen again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Will Run for Hot Cocoa!

What happens when your husband casually mentions to you one day last week that he noticed on his bus ride home (GO GREEN TEAM ROSS) there was an Ugly Sweater run in town? Well, you jump on your computer and research it so that you can be involved in the glorious spectacle of course!

Which is exactly what I did. Unfortunately neither Sean nor I have actual sweaters, but we do have some pretty hideous christmas vests from last year's Chowder Fest. Annie however demanded that she have an actual sweater for the event. Since she is a Montosorri child, we indulged her. Rescue dog's need their self esteem!

What we weren't anticipating was the 35 degree temperature and attempts to snow this morning as we lined up. However, it was such a great event with so many happy folks out to support a local charity that we couldn't possibly change our plans. We are die hard Oregonians after all. We lined up with the other sweater, pj and Christmas bag clad misfits and headed out on one of the most fun spirited 5k's I've done in a long time!

Sean of course won then entire event, big fat shocker there, and Melinda and I came in 3rd and 4th over all.  Annie continued in her father's footsteps finishing as first dog. She of course thanked me in her acceptance speech, after all she couldn't have done it without me. I've raised her well.

Here's the pictures if you need the proof.

Cheers All!

This could have been our Christmas Card!

The original Triple Bunnies Reunited

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mission Accomplished

I made it to the sign! I've been to Las Vegas seven times, but this is the first time I've ever actually gotten to the sign. Ironically, I was here 3 different times this trip, but that's cause we drove out the first night and then we ran past it during the race as well. 

After months of training, Melinda and I (with Dan and Sean in tow), were ready for the big half. We had some great fun staying with the Croft relatives for some generous hospitality. We hit the expo first where we wandered through miles of swag and the latest gadgets as far as the eye could see. Never being ones to turn down a photo op, we gave Sean the primo armpit placement.

Next, carbo loading and some tourist time.

Then before we knew it, race day was upon us! Looking good Team Triple Bunnies!
Here's the before of the entire motley crew.

Gosh, no, we aren't Nike sponsored athletes, but thanks for asking.

The race itself was much more challenging than I had anticipated. Running in a sea of 25,000 people requires one to pay more attention to their feet, road conditions and close proximity runners, and less attention to the strip at night than I had hoped. The constant wind of 25 mph followed by gusts of at least 30-40mph was less than ideal, as was the cramping in my foot I had the pleasure of battling from mile 8 on. However, the atmosphere more than made up for it. The energy of the bystanders, runners, bands and the event itself more than carried me through. Plus, let's give props where they truly belong. Melinda is the real reason I made it through. That girl can push, drag and insult me through anything. I love ya with all my heart and I'm ready to do this thing again my friend! Thanks, as always, for you!

Our secret strategy of the night was counting Elvis road kills. Every time we passed an Elvis, we'd high-five and get a little bit of his Elvis soul to carry us through the crazy, windy night. They seemed to travel in pairs and we ended up with a cool dozen Elvis' to put some marshmallow fluff in our step. We finished, not quite meeting our goal time but pretty darn pleased with how we did given the conditions!

We rounded the night off with some well earned SWAG and some pretty cool hardware was sported by all.  It was tough and so were we. Vegas baby! There is nothing else quite like it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Procrastination is evil

I have always been a procrastinator. Sometimes I've had to work a little harder to make up for it, but it's always been my fault so I've been willing to just deal with it.

This time things are different.  I have been muddling my way through grad school for about three years now.  Big mistake! I should have powered through and got it done sooner because now  budget cuts and time constraints require me to take 6 credits and possibly my comprehensive exams all during Winter Term.  Can you say hell? I can't imagine how I'm going to survive it, but I know I will. It's just going to be really ugly.

Lesson of the day kids, don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


You have to love a day that starts like this. The second annual Ross participation in the Turkey Trot, a local fun run to benefit families in need. We pushed ourselves into the 10k race this year. That worked out well for both of us.

I ended up with my first ever 2nd place in my age group. Wow, who knew getting older could be so great for me. What you see there is my first ever Corvallis race ribbon and a tasty bag off Great Harvest rolls. Nice prize considering I don't really like pie! Win-win! Before I could feel too big for my britches over my win I also want to share the other news.

This is the 2012 Turkey Trot 10K Master's Champion. While I beat out all but one female in the 40-44 age group, this handsome man beat every single man over age 40 in the entire 10k race. Woohoo. I'm married to a rock star. I already knew that but it's nice for him to get the recognition. This picture does not do his trophy justice. If you want to see it better you can check it out here:
 Sean's Trophy

How does a couple top a start to a day like this? Well we round up our favorite people and celebrate all that we have to be thankful for. Boy do I love this motley crew.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope you all had a wonderful day doing what you love with those you love. This holiday is going to be a very hard act to follow!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fall Running

The weather has turned in the valley. The rains have arrived and the air has a noticeable bite to it. My favorite running season is quickly coming to a close as the leaves turn from bright to drab and the color disappears from the sky. Winter is now just around the corner. With that comes the need for some changes in my running routine. The first of which is the summer miles put on my shoes have caused the need for the two beautiful pair displayed above. Unfortunately ASCIS has made the brilliant move to completely redesign the most successful shoe in their history. The new show doesn't work for me at all so I've started using every spare penny I can find towards purchasing up the old stock of the ones I love. At a minimum, they will get me through to the spring release when hopefully they will realize their dismal failure and return to their roots!

The next issue is the darkness that greets me before I even leave work. Luckily, my running partner has prepared herself for this issue:

Those people over at Ruffwear in Bend must truly have dogs that do everything with them because when I went looking for a night time running vest for her they had exactly what I was wanting in my mind. Amazing!

Finally, the real reason I run...Welcome back my tasty and beautiful friend:

All hail the Red Cup. It's what got Melinda and I though 12 chilly, windy and somewhat wet miles last night. It's also the reason our last mile was the fastest. The closer you get to a Starbucks, the quicker your speed. I hope there's one at every mile marker in Vegas in two short weeks.

On a "D'oh" note about fall running,Sean took Annie on a trail run this morning. Had we thought ahead better this could have been avoided:

Next time we will take her straight to the dog wash after the trail run and bypass her favorite chair. For once the extra money we spent on the stain resistant coating paid off. After it dried, the mud cleaned right off. Poor chair!

Thanksgiving is coming up this week and this year after one more day of 12 hour hell tomorrow otherwise known as parent teacher conferences, I have the rest of the week off. I'm so excited! It's been an insane few weeks and I'm really looking forward to a quiet week at home with my daughter!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Things are looking up. We just books a tower spa suite at the MGM for our post race Vegas extravaganza. What happens in Vegas is surely gonna stay there! M-Cat is already posting the drink menus in my e-mail.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This is it?

Sitting at my nephew's fall band concert balancing 48 writing samples on my lap I come to the full realization of the insanity that has become my normal. I rationalize this by the thought that music is observed with the ears, not the eyes or the mind really. The important thing is that I am here. It doesn't matter how present I really am, I'm in the audience and for now that has to suffice. Forget the fact that it is also my sister's birthday and yet I spent the entire dinner with thoughts of all I need to do flooding my mind.

I have gone a little insane. What used to seem ludicrous has become commonplace with me over the past 10 weeks or so. I have gone from managing a class of about 30 or less 3rd graders to a total student load in the mid 70s. I have stacks of papers higher than most of my former beautiful shoes on a daily basis. It defies the human brain to think of this in any rational sense.

I feel like I am constantly in a dream. I am completely overwhelmed yet I try to appear competent. I know I'm failing miserably. I miss my carefree summer. I miss my home life and my new dog. I miss running in the daylight with my dear running friends. I have a half marathon in less than three weeks and I hope that I don't have pneumonia by the time it finally gets here.

In the back of my mind a flame is beginning to burn. "What are you doing?" it beckons. Why are you working so hard. This shouldn't be this hard. I worry that if it is this hard then I'm in the wrong profession. But if not this, then what? My head reels at the idea of completing those 6 looming credits to finish my masters and keep my license, and then I stop in utter panic at the idea of not. It's a juxtaposition and I don't know which road to take.

Parent teacher conferences start tomorrow night. It's why I'm such a stress ball and why I'm balancing 48 papers on my lap while trying to listen to my nephew's music. How can I prepare to meet 75 sets of parents? How do I put into acceptable language "your child needs to be less of a dick?". How does someone who is in charge of children even have such a thought in the first place? Again, I feel that square peg in a round hole doubt. Why is it so hard.

Then I read a paper that sends chills up my spine and I get a different kind of flame. A small glimmer of hope. What if one of these budding authors have the potential to change the world. What if I can make some tiny difference in even one of them. Clearly not in the life of the dick, but perhaps one of the others, who may otherwise go unnoticed. I just don't know.

Tonight these are the ramblings of a slightly mad woman. Tomorrow with the light of day, perhaps I will see my course and have a better understanding of which direction I shall travel. For now I will just have to be content with picking up yet another paper, and hoping for the best.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


This was the scene today at Zach's Cross Country State Championship meet. The weather started out with us but quickly turned to rain showers. We had it pretty good though because Zach ran with the Super Champs division who got to go pretty early in the day. This group was the top 6 racers from each school. He earned it too. I have never seen him run like he did today. It was amazing how much he has improved even over this season. He paced himself with the fastest kid on his team for the first km or so. Then he dropped behind a bit but continued to push himself. When he got to the final stretch he opened it up and picked kids off one at a time as he sprinted to the finish line. He beat his previous P/R by 20 seconds, which is HUGE! I was so happy to get to be there and greet him down on the track as he crossed the finish line. He was a Rock Star!

Some days I am in awe of the life I have with my family around me. I am one very lucky girl. I need to remember this when the rest of my life is zooming out of control.

Way to go Zach!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beaver Nation (less one)

It's Game Day here in Cornvally. The Beavs are going for their 6th consecutive win, a feat unheard of since before 1939 so as you can imagine, football here in Beaver Nation is a very big deal. Annie and I are ready with our jerseys on, our fight song memorized and our OOOO SSSSS UUU hand gestures perfected. Yes, everywhere you go in town today is a sea of black and orange. Everyone is so excited. United we stand with the goal of 6-0! Well, everyone except my husband. WTF? First off, how can you not be excited about the fact that the Beavers are finally on a winning streak. We've waited forever for this. Second, um...are you not a male? Isn't football more of a boy sport anyway?

I asked him why he didn't want to go party with the family tonight to watch the game and have dinner and he gave me this excuse..".I don't want to be out there that late."  OK, what are you 90? Seriously, the game doesn't start until 7:30pm so I'll give you that it's going to be a late one, but come on, it's Saturday night. Granted, our customary Saturday night involves being asleep by 9:30 but just once we could live it up. Somehow though this excuse doesn't really hold water for me. So I waited a bit and then tried again.

"Why don't you want to go watch the game tonight?" I asked again. This time I got a different excuse. "Because I'm not really a football kind of guy, I'm just not that into it."  Um...ok, yeah, that's why there is a suitcase full of 1970s NFL football cards in the top of his closet, complete in those see through collector sleeves that he has carted around to every house we've ever lived in. Yeah..not a football guy.

So now I'm trying to decide if I want to go watch the game with the fam all by myself and leave him to wallow in his detest for football until he trods off to bed at 9:00pm here all alone or if I should suck it up, stay here and just lock myself in the spare room to watch it.

Mom's house has chex mix though....... I think I'll probably be leaving the football hater here.  I may not love football, but I love the Beavers and I love Chex Mix.

OOOOOO SSSSSSS UUUUU, Fight, Fight, Fight!
Go Beavs!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Got Speed?

Today was the Great Pumpkin Run that I've been so excited for. It was really well attended and the rain held off for the race so that was fantastic.

So was the performance of this crew:

In that group of folks you have a 10k first place in ages 13 and under, a 5k 2nd place in  Men's 40-49 (8th place over all), two 4th place age groupers (Stafford 10K and Me 5k) and an incredible Mom/Daughter racing team who finished the entire 5k together with no tears. I'm inspired and so thankful to be part of this clan.

I'm pretty sure my new P/R is a direct result of this:

Ignore my hairy arm which shows up much worse now that my beautiful summer tan has already faded away. That little watch is so awesome!  I'm really excited I had it to distract me considering my ipod died instantly even though I charged it all day yesterday. Damn gadgets!

After the race we all needed some refueling so we headed over to Nutcakes in Philomath.

Yep, that was one fantastic day! Thanks family for the inspiration and fun! I look forward to our next family adventure.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Looking Up!

My last few posts have been a slight invitation to my pity party.  I'm please to say that the party is over. I think I've managed to make it out of the dark and back into the light with the help of my family, Annabelle, the best dog ever, my friends and many miles on the roads and trails around town.

Having battled anxiety issues the majority of my adult life, it is always a pleasure to exit an exceptionally stressful stage. I hope that this means that I'm starting to get the hang of this job again. It's also super helpful that both of the mom's are through their surgeries. It's an awful feeling to not be able to help.

I'm really excited because tomorrow is the last school day this week. Friday is an unpaid cut day and I'm so excited. I'm really ready for a long weekend.

The best part? I just got an e-mail that this little baby is now available.

It's the Garmin Forerunner 10 I've been waiting months to be released. Basically it's a GPS watch for Dummies. I'll take that label and one watch please. No bells and whistles, just time, distance, calories, pace. It was a bonus for me to learn I can do intervals on it. Win-Win.

If I survive this week I'm headed straight for one of these babies tomorrow! I can hardly wait to test it out in the Great Pumpkin Run!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


It has been an insane few weeks. Turns out changing grades, halls and schedules is much bigger of a deal than I thought possible. I'm 5 weeks in and still trying to find my footing. After 8 years as a teacher, it's really hard to admit I feel like it's my first year again. Luckily I'm on a great team with really supportive co-workers. It's just so bizarre to feel completely out of my element. Plus, 5th graders can actually be kind of jerks. Sorry, that sounds insensitive, but I'm just in a little shell shock.

The rest of life is going really well. Sean and I have been having a blast with Annabelle. She is such a great dog. We couldn't be happier.

We've even run a few races in preparation for the big Rock and Roll Vegas Half in just over 2 months. I actually took first place in my age group in the Timber Ridge 4 miler last weekend. Here's the after shot of me and my former teaching partner Laura, who I miss like crazy.

Next week is one of my absolute favorite races "The Great Pumpkin Run." It's the 22nd annual and I've done it for about the past 12 years or so. I used to walk it, but I've run the past several years. I hope to keep running for many, many years to come.

Honestly, truth be told, running, family and friends are what is keeping me sane in this time of stressful transition. You all know how much I hate change. This overload is about to send me over the edge. Thank goodness for running shoes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


That's how I feel my life has been going lately. Faster than the speed of light. I'm not going to lie, it's been a rocky start this year. I'm really enjoying my new team, but the transition to an entirely new subject area and grade level is much more challenging than I anticipated. Couple that with some behaviors that I haven't had to experience before and I'm not sure that this is going to be fabulous.

Luckily I have things like the Las Vegas Rock and Roll half to distract me for the next few weeks. Thank goodness.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Star Struck!

This is Chrissie Wellington. She is a 4 time World Ironman Champion who just so happened to be giving a talk at our local Tri shop. The crazy happy smile on her face was there the entire time. She was happy all night. She gave great advice, had an incredible story to tell and was by far the most inspirational person I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

I think I have a little crush on her now. I'll tell you something though, she has inspired me to pick out that sprint triathalon I have always wanted to do but have been too chicken to actually sign up for.

She also gave Melinda and I some great advice for our Half Training: "Run Hard, Run Happy."

Ok Chrissie, we will.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Goodbye Summer

Today is my final day of Summer. Knowing that I don't have enough time in the day to fit in all the things I'd like to do, I started out with my favorites: Running, Melinda and Annie.

We officially began our training for Vegas today with a scheduled 4 mile long run. We decided to be different and started downtown at the skate park which just happens to be next to the dog park. From there we ran through town, campus and out to the covered bridge before turning back. On the way back we went all the way to the river and ended up running 4.6 instead of only 4. Rock Stars we are! Then we let Annie head over to the dog park to torment some poor unsuspecting dogs while we entertained ourselves with the show.

After a quick check in with the brewing boys, I headed home and got cleaned up. I'm now getting ready to head out again and see what sort of back to school deals I can get on some supplies I need for my new classroom. I hate spending my own money to outfit my classroom, but I hate more not having what I need. So,goodbye new clothes and hello glue sticks and labels!

At some point I need to grocery shop, finish cleaning the house and do the most dreaded task of washing the dog. For a girl with such a beautiful name Annabelle is one dirty dog. At least she knows how to have fun.

I guess I better get to it. The day is tick, ticking away as I sit here typing. I don't want to waste a second of this fantastic summer.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making a Dent

Yesterday I woke up painfully aware that I hadn't actually accomplished much of anything this summer other than gaining a few pounds. Considering that wasn't actually on my to do list I figured I better try to power through and check off a few accomplishments to show for my summer besides my great farmer tan.

Not knowing where to start, I moved to the back of the house where I found this:

Our laundry room! I know, clearly it has been inhabited by a nomadic tribe of misfits for the past 14 years. With a little elbow grease, a Goodwill bag and a large recycle can I made it look like this:

So much better. The box on the top that still looks messy is filled with our candle making supplies which I inherited from my Grandmother. While we haven't made candles for a couple of years, they are the top quality molds and supplies made back when we didn't live in a throw away society so there is no way I'm parting with them. I'm sure we can make candles again now that we can actually see that we have those great supplies! Thanks Grandma!

After my success in the laundry room I moved to the kitchen where I cleaned out Sean's booze cabinet. I'm sure the OLCC does not permit me to post those pictures so I won't. It's amazing how many bottles we managed to keep up there that had like a table spoon left in them. I'm sure the neighbors will be super proud to live next to us come next bottle recycling day when I drag that mother load out to the curb. I can feel the property value dropping already.

By this time Annie was in full on pout mode because in her eyes I hadn't accomplished a damn thing yet today. No walk, no run, no play. Luckily Melinda and I already had plans to hike so we headed out and did a cool 4.3 miles trekking all around Bald Hill. Of course any Bald Hill hike has to end up at the tip top at some point.

Annie was a little camera shy and annoyed by the wasting of time stopping for a picture.

While I was hiking I got a text from Jim asking if we'd like to meet at the dog park in a little while. Knowing how much I still had to accomplish on my to-do list at home I did the only thing I could and said "of course."

Annie and Hobie tore it up at the dog park. Initially they had the entire park to themselves. Border Collies are hilarious to watch when they play. They pretty much take turns herding each other around the expanse of the park, barking, growling and in Annie's case leaping back and forth over the top of Hobie as they raced around. I think she would have actually made a good cow dog cause she circles wide and then comes in at the heels. She had to take several swim breaks running over to the kiddy pool and hopping in. Poor Hobie couldn't figure out what the heck she was doing. Finally after successfully avoiding my work for about 2+ hours it was time for me to get myself back home.

Luckily we no sooner had walked in the door when Mom and her dog Jackson popped in. Annie, who had clearly been deprived of anything fun today wasted no time in giving Jackson a tour of her vast yard including the way she can leap through the 1x1 foot hole in the lattice up on our deck. Jackson having about 30 pounds on her was happy to try as well so it became a game and part of the running route. Great Annie, thanks for that. I do appreciate the fact that they somehow managed to miss Sean and Stafford's new variety of hops they planted just on the other side of said lattice.

Finally I made it back inside and back to work. Surprisingly I was able to finish two junk drawers and two more cupboards in the kitchen. I think the kitchen and laundry room are now completely done. Nice.

Today I head back into my classroom so nothing will be accomplished here at home. I'm meeting with my new teaching partner to start planning for the new school year. Maybe the productive train will continue and we will get a ton done and I'll even get my desk organized so come Monday I'll be ready to hit the ground running.

If not, hey at least the booze cupboard is well organized should I need to hit it when I get home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Speedy Summer Days

I glanced at the calendar today and am in shock to learn that this is already the 21st. How did this happen? What happened to my lazy summer? I'm down to the last 3 days of my summer break.

I've been packing in the fun where I can. We spent a couple of days on the Metolious river last week with Sean's Dad and Crystal. It was beautiful and relaxing and a great time filled with humbling scrabble games and laughs. We must do that more often. Well, minus the scrabble game of course!

Unlike years past, this school year is a big change for me. I've actually ventured into my room a few times this month and I'm so glad I have. Every time I go I find myself more excited about the upcoming year. I'm in a new hall, on a new team and at a new grade level. I think it's just the ticket I needed to jump start my attitude about work.

M-Cat and I have not been fabulous about keeping the exercise train going. We've both been out of town off and on for the past month and getting into that running rhythm again has been a bit elusive. It will come again though. One thing I absolutely love about M is that no matter how much time has passed (think in terms of weeks and days, not years people, we aren't that far off), we can always get back on the same page and pick right back up where we left off. Melinda is my bright spot and I so appreciate her for that.

Annie is still the absolute best thing to happen to Sean and I in a decade. We are the happiest parents and can't believe the level of calm contentedness we now have in our family. Who knew one little dog could save our world.

I'm sure this sense of peace and calm I'm currently feeling will quickly be replaced by freaked chaos come Monday morning when I officially head back to work. For the time being though I'm going to bask in the happiness I feel. I haven't finished most of my summer house projects, and truth be told, I didn't even start most of them. I may try to through a few in between now and Monday. Or, perhaps I'll take Annie on a few more hikes, meet Melinda for a few more runs and get a pedicure.

I'm think I'm liking my 40s. I've kind of lost the need to give a shit about what I should be doing and loosening up a little. I've spent an awful lot of my life trying to control things that it seems aren't actually controllable. It's time to remember to stop and just breathe.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Light a Fire

It's the start of the second week of August already. How did that happen? I know what that means. Essentially my summer is quickly coming to a close. Another teacher once remarked that August is to summer as Sunday is to the weekend. She's right. It's the time when I'm still officially off work, but it's on my mind all the time.

This year it's especially daunting because I moved classrooms and thus need to completely unpack and set up an entirely new space. I need to learn new standards, new material and plan for a class and subject I haven't a clue about. I have no idea where to even start, so I haven't yet. That really can't last much longer though. It's exceptionally sad because this has been my M.O. all summer really. I thus far haven't completed any of the big summer home and self improvement plans I had.

It turns out that while I have absolutely loved the lack of requirements of my summer this year, I crave structure. Left to my own devices, I'm useless. Rather than use this time to get in killer shape and completely reorganize my house I've gained weight and removed about 1/20th of the stuff I planned to from the house. I've spent more time watching T.V. and playing with Annie than doing much of anything else. It's possible that my beautiful new bike has cobwebs.

I need to figure out what my motivation is to get a fire lit under my butt and get myself in gear. This week I'm in charge of Madeleine while she has her Humane Society 1/2 day camp, so for the rest of the week I'm vowing to be productive at least while she is at camp. I should be able to accomplish something during that time.

Come on August, you're hear breathing down my neck. Help me light my fire. Maybe I can get a little jump from Fake Steve Perry from the band "Journey Unlimited" who played at our fair this year.

It's like he singing right to me. I feel more inspired already.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More fun than you can shake a stick at!

If you've ever wondered how much fun you can pack into a mere 48 hours, the answer is a TON! We started Friday night off with a bang in the form of a wedding of my former teacher partner Laura. It was sweet and non-traditional and 100% Laura. I wish her and Dan a long and happy life together.

Saturday morning came early after a late night at the wedding. Luckily, we had plans to run the first annual "Huff & Ruff" downtown. It was Annie's first event and we didn't know what to expect. Foolish us. She was amazing. She not only loved every single person, she was great with all the other dogs as well. We thought it was just a fun event. There wasn't any numbers or official timing so we just jogged our way through and finished in 4th place. Unfortunately the first 3 places actually won bottles of wine. Who knew. The 3rd place winner passed us while Annie was playing at the water station. If we would have actually tried we could have easily placed much higher. No worries, an excellent time was had by all!

Sunday was our 23rd wedding anniversary. I'm still trying to figure out how in the world it is possible that I've been married for 23 years. We've had a wonderful life and I wouldn't trade a thing. For Sean's birthday I got myself a motorcycle helmet and gloves and for our anniversary he got me a riding jacket. Armed with my new outfit it was time to prove to him how much I trust him and face my fear and get on the bike with him. Boy am I glad I did. It wasn't the most comfortable ride but that's the bike's fault, not his. The rest of it was a blast. Who knew I could actually love being a passenger. So much fun. We went to Alsea Falls and I'm so glad we went for it. It was beautiful.

When we got home we went to Luc for dinner. We've been wanting to go there for a couple of years now. It was well worth the wait. The atmosphere is romantic, the portions are nice and small and great prices. It will go on our favorite list for sure. I even got to try chocolate souffle for the first time. So delicious, especially once it is paired with a 10 year old white port. Perfection!

Thanks Sean for 23 years of a life I couldn't have custom ordered for myself. I adore you with every ounce of my being. Here's to the next 23!