Sunday, October 31, 2010

heaven is under our feet

We went away. Far enough away that it was like a different world. A world where the nearest Starbucks is 35 minutes away. A world were there is nothing for vegetarians to eat (especially vegetarians with digestive issues). A world where "guns, bait, and ammo" seemed to be strong selling points. A world where Wal-Mart was the shopping mecca. It should have been a nightmare.


We were high up atop the hills, in the woods. There weren't many other people around. There wasn't much noise at all, unless you count the birds and squirrels and other animals scampering about. We never once turned on the television (although we did turn on the computer). I slept 10 hours, 12 hours, and 12 hours for the three nights we were there. I stopped on a run to stand by a deer, then stopped again to wait for the group (flock? gaggle?) of pheasants to decide what side of the road they wanted to be on. We spent four or five hours each day hiking stunning, rugged trails, with the cold breeze and shining sun our only company. We sat in a mostly dry, rocky river bed and ate a gourmet lunch of granola bars and dried apricots. We stumbled back into our little room sore and smiling and happy. It was heaven.


I came home rested, relaxed, feeling better, functioning (a little) better. And I hope, hope, hope that I can make this feeling last longer than just today.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

pack it in and let it go

I am falling apart at the seams. (Really.)

I am one giant, twisted, painful knot from the nape of my neck all the way down to the lowest point of my back. It is bruised and raw from where the acupuncturist tried some slide cupping this week to loosen things up. (It didn't really work.)

I've had a headache, the same one I think, since Monday morning. (It might be longer than that, I'm not sure.)

My digestive system? I think it's on strike. (It's getting me back for the massive amounts of sugar I've consumed in the past two weeks. Okay, three weeks. Whatever.)

I know there is a thing called "sleep" but I'm not quite sure what it is.

I feel like I'm on a treadmill, and it keeps spinning faster and faster, but I'm just not getting anywhere.

My boss saw the cupping bruises on my neck, peeking out of my shirt. He asked what it was. I told him it was what work is doing to me. He asked if there was anything I could do about that. I said "Quit?"

(That's really not an option.)

So instead, I'm packing up and getting out. For awhile, at least.

Fall break is here, and Hubby and I are finally taking our aborted hiking trip (the one we were supposed to take this summer before the Jeep bled to within an inch of her life).

I am going to try (so so hard) to relax. Is it funny that relaxing will require effort? But it will. Because I haven't been able to relax in months and months. I will work to get my brain to shut down - to not think about the things at work or home left undone, the things waiting for me to return. I'm going to do my best to be in. the. moment. The current one.

I'm hoping that four days in the woods helps me feel better. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually.

I think I need "the tonic of wilderness."

So I'm going.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


This weekend was my niece's second birthday part. It was a costume party. Hubby's costume was The Edge. (How awesome is that?)


Fall break is coming up, and we are finally going to take our hiking trip. This weekend I bought granola bars and peanut M&Ms and water and a new pair of hiking type pants and other random things to pack for a hiking trip. I was smiling the whole time.


Today I went to my favorite cafe and asked if they would make a cake for Hubby's birthday. They said yes. It will be all kinds of chocolate, with a Sting-type theme. I am almost giddy about this cake.


When I was ordering the afore mentioned cake, the cafe owner informed me that they are going to be having a poetry reading and they would really like for Hubby to be part of it. I am beyond giddy about this.


This past week, for the first time in my life, I played hooky and took the train into the Big City for the day. I met up with Coffee Friend, who now lives too far away for us to see each other. But she took the train south and I took the train north, and we had ourselves a day. I took her to my favorite vegetarian restaurant. She took me to Anthropologie. It was lovely.


I now have an Anthropologie wish list. It includes a $128 owl cookie jar. I don't think I'll ever own this cookie jar, but it makes me smile to look at the picture.


Hubby and I finished out the weekend with a post dinner walk on the beach.


I ran 7 miles yesterday


U2 in on shuffle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

you capture - orange

Orange is just such a fall thing, you know?
I love fall.
Have you noticed?


see more at Beth's

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

musings on education

I have to say, I'm sick of teachers being made the scapegoat/punching bag/reason for "what's wrong with education in America." The teachers I have seen throughout my life have been amazing people who care passionately about children and, really, the future of our world. They have been people who give more of themselves and their time and their lives than most others would ever consider giving. Are there bad teachers out there? Yes. But they are the exception, not the rule.


There seems to be a misconception out there that teachers can simply wave their Magic Teacher Stick and make each and every child a perfect, straight A student. This is a ludicrous and unfair assumption. Teachers see their students a limited amount of time each day. And, really, they can only work with what they are given. Granted, most teachers will bend over backwards and jump through hoops of fire to help their students learn and achieve and become caring, responsible people. But.... What about kids who come from families where no importance is placed on education? Where kids go home to empty houses each day? Where there is no one helping them with homework, or even making sure that homework is done? What about kids who consistently misbehave? Who consistently disrupt class? Who do not or will not do their school work? Who are absent from school more than they are present? There's that old saying... You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.


There has been talk for some time of "merit pay" for teachers; where salary is based on students' standardized test scores. This seems ludicrous, too. What about students like Little Johnny, who works hard every single day and has a great attitude and tries his best in everything, has wonderful, caring parents who work with him and his teachers, but will never pass a standardized test because he simply does not have the IQ to pass a standardized test, but will go on to be a fine, upstanding, productive citizen because of his great attitude and work ethic, despite having not passed any standardized test. What about Little Andy, who is very bright and capable, but completely unmotivated and apathetic and has no one at home who cares about that (or, seemingly, him), and no matter what anyone at school does or says, he will not put effort into his school work, if he does any school work at all, and when he takes a standardized test, uses the bubbles to try and make a picture of a gun.


If there is going to be a merit pay system for teachers, I think there should be some kind of merit system for parents, too. If a child misses a certain number of days of school, doesn't turn in a certain percentage of homework, receives a certain number of disciplinary actions, etc., then someone comes to the home and informs the parents that they are not doing an effective job of parenting, and their child will be taken and placed with a family who can do a better job. Kind of like the charter school option.


I saw a segment on a news show recently where a teacher had just totally lost it in his classroom and was screaming and throwing things to the ground. This was a 21 year veteran teacher who had come from a family of teachers. Everyone was commenting on the teacher's behavior. No one seemed to be saying anything about the disrespectful way the students were behaving before the teacher snapped. And I couldn't help but totally and completely understand why that poor fellow had snapped at all. After all, how long, how many days/weeks/months/years can a person be de-valued and disrespected before they are just done? And that's what I see happening. Each year there is a little less value and a little less respect for teachers and the teaching profession in general. Does that seem wrong to anyone else?


I don't think businessmen have any business at all telling educators how to educate children. After all, teachers aren't in the business of turning a profit. Teachers go to work each day to help their students become kind, caring, respectful, intelligent, thinking people.


Teachers are only one part of a child's education. The parents and children need to step up to their responsibilities, too. A table with just one leg can only balance for so long before it falls down.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

just breathe

This past week was the hardest (thus far) in a string of hard weeks. I wasn't sure I'd make it out in one piece. But I did. Maybe not in the best of shape, but I made it. (I think the line I'm looking for is "I'm not broke, but you can see the cracks.")

Hubby has been coming through like a champ in all of this craziness, taking up slack wherever I leave it laying around. (Which is everywhere.) Wednesday he showed up at work, 10 minutes before a meeting that promised to not be pretty, with a venti soy hot chocolate. I think he saved my life then.

But I still wound up at the weekend feeling, in no small way, the physical toll this space in time is taking on me.

And when I found myself at Sunday morning, already starting to fret about what hadn't been done yet, as well as what needs to be done in the week to come, Hubby pulled me close. Then he cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed, dusted, and did dishes.

And I laced up my hiking boots and didn't worry about things for an hour.

I just walked and breathed and was.

It was nice.

I'll have to do it again sometime. (With Hubby this time.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

you capture - animals

Is it bad that I am totally and completely jealous that the cat gets to take a nap?

PS - The cat's lobster toy (the one he's using as a pillow) totally reminds me of Pepe the Prawn.

see more at Beth's

Sunday, October 10, 2010

when the numbers fell off the clock face (and stuff)

I have been alternating back and forth between the new Pete Yorn album and the new Maroon Five album.

I do not understand why Pete Yorn is not super popular. He is a amazing, versatile songwriter who puts out one rock solid album after another. Check out For Nancy, or Burrito, or Crystal Village, or Social Development Dance, or Undercover, or Velcro Shoes. Why is he not on the radio all the time? I don't understand it.

And Maroon Five? They will never be able to pull you back from the abyss at 3:30 in the morning when your heart is sobbing and you want to crawl into a hole and never ever come out again, like U2 or REM can. But they will assure that you groove all day long. (But you don't have to check out any specific songs, because they are on the radio all the time and you're probably already familiar.)


My alarm goes off at 3:33 every morning. As in every morning. The "33" is like a little private joke with myself, except that it's not funny because I still am getting up at 3:33.

I used to be able to get up a bit later than that and stretch and run and be on time for work. Now, I get up well before the dawn breaks and weave through elaborate aryuvedic rituals designed to (hopefully) get my system functioning (because of the digestive issues and all). Then I stretch. But there's no longer enough time to run (or whatever I'm doing that day), too, because the exercises I have to do for my knee take up too much time. And as it is, I'm now usually rushing in to work at the last possible second that can be considered "not late."

That, of course, means that I have to run (or whatever) after work. Which I hate. But whatever. And it means it's a challenge to eat dinner early enough that it doesn't mess with my insides too much (because of the digestive issues and all). And I won't even start on getting to bed at a decent time. I can't remember the last night I slept for more than four consecutive hours.

I'm really trying to figure something else out. Because this kinda sucks.

(I guess I could not do any of it - the running or the stretching or any of it. Except that I can't not do it. Does that make sense? I might as well try not breathing.)


I was supposed to run a marathon today. At least, I wanted to. Then July happened, and my good knee became my even worse knee.

But yesterday I ran six miles. That's the furthest I've run since July. And, after the initial couple of "getting started" blocks, I felt good. Better than I've felt since July.

So today, instead of running a marathon, I made almond snickerdoodles, and Hubby made creamy vegetable soup. Then we went for a walk on the beach.

And it turns out I didn't really need to run a marathon today.

(It was too warm to run one, anyway.)


Saturday, October 9, 2010

pools of sorrow, waves of joy

John Lennon was born 70 years ago, today.

Would the world be different if he were here to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

you capture - faces

Things, they haven't been great lately. Not even good, sometimes. There is falling apart, frustration, worry, anger... Did I mention frustration?

But sometimes, in the midst of it all, there is a moment that can make it better. Even if it's just for that moment.

see more at Beth's.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

now it's out there

Last night I said something that wasn't very nice. It might have even been mean. And I don't truly believe it. But I truly feel it.

I didn't want to say it. I tried to not say it. But, after a long time of thinking it (probably longer than I want to admit), I was pushed into giving it voice.

It hurt me to say it. It broke my heart to say it. But I did not cry. I've cried too much about it already.

I think it hurt to hear it, too. He didn't cry, either. He's cried too much, too. It made him think, though. I know he's heard it before, from people he used to know. But I think he's changed enough since that time that he really heard it this time.

I don't know what happens next; what changes, if anything changes. The changes aren't mine to make.

But it's out there. And it's good that it's out there, I think. Or at least it will be, at some point.

Today has progressed just like any other Sunday, aside from a slightly teary moment this morning. Cookies are in the oven. Soup is on the stove.

We're moving forward. Again.