Thursday, November 9, 2017

Morning Routine: Transitioning to Habit

I stopped near Corvallis to take this picture last week. I couldn't believe the sunrise! 
I've been commuting an hour and change to work 5 days a week for almost 3 months now. The most impactful element of this change has been my morning and bed time routines. I very purposefully created routines before school began, and have implemented and tweaked them with as much authenticity and dedication as I can muster. As it stands, my morning routine is particularly effective, and I am noticing positive changes in my life and attitude that I am attributing to the current schedule.

5AM Only 1 snooze allowed
This is mostly for Ben's sake, but I reap the benefit of not wasting 15 or 20 (or more!) minutes trying to drag myself out of bed. 
5:07-5:17 5-10 minutes of yoga
 This was originally part of my hope for my routine but I struggled to do it without any sort of structure. When I went to Halloween Glowga with the amazing Mikki Trowbridge she recommended the YogaGlo app as a fairly inexpensive on demand yoga app with good teachers and a wide variety of lengths, styles and more. I've only been back on the yoga train about a week, but I think it's going to stick. I may go into a more in depth review of YogaGlo later, once I've got a bit more experience with it under my belt. 
5:17-5:40 Dress, shower, do hair & makeup, brush teeth
After yoga, I might shower (I don't shower every day, my body doesn't need it, and I don't like to dry my skin out, or waste the water. I may just wash my face, or I may not...). I have a pretty simple beauty routine, which typically takes 10 minutes or less, depending on how much I have to do, and whether my eyebrows need touching up. 
5:40-5:50 Prep coffee/breakfast, collect lunch items
I've been doing Bulletproof Coffee, but I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with it or not. When my current bottle of the branded oil is empty, I'm going to return to my normal routine  (regular coffee with half and half and a protein shake) and see if I notice any negative changes, as I didn't notice any significant positive changes with the bulletproof coffee in regards to energy, efficiency or weight loss. I'm pretty good at making sure I've pre-loaded the coffee so it's already brewed when I come downstairs. I usually already have prepped any lunch materials and so I only need to pull them out of the fridge (or fruit bowl!)  and place them on the small table near the front door that I use as a staging area. I also place my phone or other items that I don't want to forget in that staging area. 
5:50-6AM Meditation
 I had the great pleasure of doing Light Watkins' 21 Day Yoga Meditation from Wanderlust. It was the most approachable, enjoyable guided meditation I've ever  done. I haven't purchased the videos (yet!) because I can't justify the expense just now, but I recommend the series to anyone! When it was finished, I did a few with the Calm app, but didn't enjoy it as much. Fortunately YogaGlo has dozens of meditations, so I've been using those the last week. 
6:00-6:10 Anything else?
On a good day, this last ten minutes is for me to glance at my Facebook, play a move on Word with Friends or some other silly task. My kitties usually climb all over me during my meditation, and I think the cuddles are almost as important as the meditation itself. 
 Often though,  something has delayed me and I am running behind, or once or twice a week I leave early so I can get gas before hitting the road.

6:10 Say goodbye and hit the road
The last thing I do before heading out the door is I kiss Ben goodbye and tell him I love him. I'm typically in the car and on the road by 6:20. 
I have noticed that I have been more relaxed, less reactive and more able to find humor in my job lately. The nature of the routine, being predictable and second nature, and the inclusion of meditation and now some yoga, are going a long way in helping me to be more centered and receptive. I'm really proud of my routine, and in turn, the dedication I've had in the evening that allows me to be set up for this early morning success.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Making Friends

When I moved to Salem four years ago I knew that some friendships would be tested, others fall away, and still others become stronger. I anticipated I'd need to make new friends too, in my new town.

Awesome group of friends, celebrating my birthday a few years ago.
When I returned to Eugene this summer I also anticipated that I'd find myself being invited to do things and having a full social calendar once again. In particular I imagined my close friends and I would hang out, get drinks go do things. I didn't really examine the reasoning behind this impression, it just felt like it would be so.

That's not what's happened. I adore the time I get to spend with Ben. I am so thrilled to be with him, and to be back in Eugene. But I'm lonely too.

Upon reflection, of the close friends I spent time with before moving, two have moved away, one's currently on tour working her dream job, and another doesn't seem to have a lot of time for friends or socialization right now.

I find myself lonely, and once again faced with trying to make new friends as an adult. I didn't expect that. So what is one to do when your close friends don't seem to be available?

Last time I put myself out there, auditioned for a play, went out to yoga classes. It feels strange doing that in my home town, and for all of my hard work last time, I'm not sure how many of those relationships I forged will bear the test of time. Maybe that's not the important part.

Makes me wish there was a tinder for female friends in their 30s.

Monday, October 2, 2017

5 year mission

I've quite deliberately spend the last several years without a so-called 'five year plan'. I made this choice in the aftermath of my seperation and divorce as a way to give myself some much needed space to reconnect with myself. So much of my time during my 20s was spent looking to the next big thing, planning for the future with my husband, or trying to achieve some self imposed goal. Part of what landed me in an unhappy marriage feeling miserable, was my lack of flexibility when it came to my plan, and what I thought I should be doing with my time. I felt that because I'd said I wanted something at one time, I was obligated to follow through on it. 

The intervening time, I've taken the opportunities that have come, and tried to learn more about being in the moment. (Still a lot of learning to do there). I've taken a job that wasn't what I thought I wanted, and found it incredibly rewarding and incredibly stressful, I've focused on my music in new ways, gone on adventures all over the nation, taken different approaches to my health, become engaged in my union, and had positive and negative experiences in every avenue I 've explored. I've become more secure and centered in my identity, but no less sure of what I want to be when I 'grow up'.
The time has come for a new 5 year mission. Mine's not as exciting as that of The Enterprise. Strange new worlds and new life are not what I seek, but it's time for me to stop just going with the flow and decide what direction I'm going.

There's a lot of things I don't know. But I want to start with what I do know. 

  • I want to continue to work with young people in education
  • I am passionate about serving students that are marginalized or otherwise under-served by institutionalized learning. 
  • I do not want to be a classroom teacher forever
  • I need to step away from the 'front lines' of teaching the most difficult students soon
  • I am not done learning and expanding my skill set
  • I am excellent at teaching my content, I have room to improve my communication with resistant and unengaged learners. 
  • I am interested in learning more about restorative justice, culturally responsive teaching and trauma sensitive schools
  • I am a union supporter, but I don't see union leadership as my path
  • I will continue to be present for, and support my partner in his goals.
There are a few things I want to explore to help me decide where to go next. 
  • Pursue Restorative Justice Training
  • Consider the options for transferring to a comprehensive school for the 2018-19 school year
  • Learn about what the process to become an administrator would entail
  • Ask questions about what other career paths in education could look like. 
Finally, I've gotten a lot of good advice over the past few days as I've been considering my future. 

  • Stay in the moment, be present. 
  • Don't take things personally, especially not from students
  • Continue to push myself to improve, regardless 
Any other words of wisdom as I embark on the next stage of my journey?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Summer Goals - An Autumn Review

Found on Agate Beach, Port Orford

At the beginning of June, I wrote in my bullet journal 5 summer goals. All SMART goals even! Super achievable things I wanted to do with my 'off' time.

This summer did not turn out to have much off time.

1. Complete Always Hungry Solution Phase 1 CHECK!
2. Lose 7lbs by the end of August (3 months)
3. Put a poem to melody (write a tune)
4. Weekend away for Ben & I CHECK!
5. Blog every week

Let's reflect, I accomplished 2 out of 5 (sort of).

Eclipse shadows
I did successfully do the Always Hungry Phase 1 (with a tiny bit of Phase 2 food). It felt great to get back to healthy eating after a few months of making do with a lot of take out, processed foods and sugars and carbs. I even got back to running during this period of time. Unfortunately, immediately after finishing Phase 1, we spent a week with Ben's brother and most of the healthy eating went out the window. We were up in Salem partially for some family stuff, and also to play a gig for an Eclipse party! The eclipse was an incredible thing to witness, I can't express how glad I am I got to be in the path of totality, but in the mean time the celebrating got a little bit out of hand.

Going right along with not sticking to those eating plans, I did not lose 7 pounds. I was staying right around the same until August. Between travel, extreme heat (we had more then a week when we were in the high 90s and 100s) and many late nights (resulting in sleeping later) my exercise routing also fell to the likes of summer. Then, near the end of the month, the smoke from wildfires made running a literal health hazard. I've gained weight this summer, which means I'm nearly as heavy as I was before I joined weight watchers so many years ago in the first place. I've broken down and joined a gym near my house so the smoke won't stop me any more, and I'm back to tracking my food on weight watchers. Now just to re-break the sugar habit.

I simply didn't decide to sit down and write a tune. This terrifies me. I am so afraid that it will be hard, or I won't be good at it, or I won't like what I write. My brain runs in every possible direction to avoid being forced to write music. Despite the fact that I would love to perform my own music. I can't pin my brain down, but it's fear of mediocrity is strong, and my rational brain can't convince the scared little perfectionist inside that failure and writing crap is just part of the journey and that I can't get anywhere if I don't just start!

Wave watching on Agate Beach
Ben and I did a wonderful job of doing this this summer! First we spent a week with his brother, which was more about him spending time with his brother then us getting away, but it was a much needed time to just relax without the to-do list of home. We also enjoyed our camp out the night before the eclipse, though it was just one night, we had a romantic evening, and got to witness a once and a lifetime event together. The real trip though, was to lovely little Port Orford on the Southern Oregon Coast.
Port of Port Orford, Dolly Dock 

We stayed in an inexpensive motel with a lot of ...character. But had a blast exploring the little cafes, beaches, parks and historic sites the town had to offer. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny with clear skies during the day. Windy off and on, but not so much it was unpleasant.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse

We met with friends who had recently moved to Port Orford and are building a tiny house there, enjoyed the Crazy Norwegian toured the most westerly lighthouse on the Pacific and watched one of the only Dolly Docks in the world lift a boat out of the sea!

Port Oford Heads Viewpoint
The final goal needs no explanation. This is my first blog post since May, clearly I didn't blog each week. However, as the seasons turn, I'll make some new goals, and perhaps my resolve will fair better for the fall.

Friday, May 5, 2017

De-cluttering and Eclectic Statement Pieces

I've been continuing to try and trim down my wardrobe, and I've come across a puzzling conundrum.

I live and die in my fashion choices with bold statement pieces and stand out looks. I'll find amazing deals on unique tops, shoes or dresses... and then need something to go with it.

I find myself finding something, falling in love with it, but having to buy a top or cardigan to match it. I love my statement pieces and don't want to give them up, but I also recognize having a dresser full of clothing I only wear one way contradicts the philosophy I am pursuing.
A t-shirt for any situation!

What's the happy medium here? Perhaps I keep only my favorite statement pieces, or I specialize my stand out pieces into color palettes and rotate them, similar to a capsule wardrobe?

I continue to struggle to find a color palette for my wardrobe, which most de-cluttering how-tos have as step 2 or 3 on the path to organized minimalism. Though I'm currently very into jewel tones, particularly forest green, navy or royal blue, and burgundy.

I look forward to using my upcoming move as an opportunity to experiment with this. Perhaps using the hanger trick of seeing what I truly wear, or leaving things in boxes (sorted by type) until I go looking for them because I WANT to wear them. I know me, I'll wear things I haven't worn in ages, just so I have the excuse to keep them.

In the mean time I'll continue to mull over the balance of statement pieces and how to integrate them into my soon to be curated closet.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Welcome to the rest of my life?

I've always been fortunate to feel like my body was reliable. I could count on it to carry me where I needed to go, behave predictably, do whatever physical task I needed. I feel betrayed over the last few months. I've never had health problems before, and suddenly I've almost met my insurance deductible by April, and I am dealing with pain!
Some friends and I took a hike last week, I really felt that the next day!

I recognize my privilege here. There are people dealing with real, serious chronic pain every day, but I've never experienced this before! 

I've been dealing with hoarseness, sore throat and voice issues since September. It turns out I have vocal nodes, and am slowly working to heal my voice. 

Right now I am experiencing a mysterious foot pain. It's incredible how much foot pain effects your mood and energy. And yet I just have to take it easy, and wait to see if it goes away. 

More then ever before I feel it in my brain and body when I've drank alcohol the night before. Not the mega hangovers of a college days party, just a dull fuzziness, and physical heaviness, and some achiness. 

So I guess this is aging? Suddenly no longer being able to rely on my body like I once did. Having to pay closer attention to every little pang or sign from my body to be on the lookout for issues. 

I'm starting to notice a change in my skin, more grey hairs on my head, it's harder to lose weight, harder to stay up late. 

I'm still happy to be in my 30s, the wisdom and comfort in myself far outweighs the aches and pains, but this aging thing is starting to take it's toll. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Getting away with it

Sometimes as a teacher, your accidentally find yourself painted into a corner. Or you stepped on a land mine with a student, that you didn't know would trigger a blow up, and if you'd known it would have such a big response, you wouldn't have chosen that molehill to die on.

Today I founds myself in a situation like this. I was helping two students get started on an assignment we began yesterday. They had struggled yesterday to work on it, and so I was standing nearby,  gently pressuring them to get their materials out, and go to the correct webpage so that they could start the assignment. They escalated their avoid ant behaviors to the point where one boy was just repeating 'go away, go away', in a dismissive and rude tone.

I realized then that the trap had been sprung. I was nearly sure that if I walked away, they would do the assignment, but that meant letting them get away with the rude, disrespectful behavior.

I paused. It was like that moment in a TV show where the world goes into slow motion and the internal monologue voice-over kicks in mulling over the decision. I could keep fighting this, almost certainly feeding the escalation to the point where I was going to have to kick one or both of them out of the classroom, with referrals to boot. Or, I could walk away, get what I originally wanted (them to do the assignment), but give up a little bit of control or power.

I walked away. But I'm still not sure if it was the right choice. These boys have some serious lagging skills having to do with dealing with critique, and transitioning to new activities, and responding to instructions. They don't have the skill to respond well to my gentle pressure. Them telling me to GO AWAY is their version of trying to get to work. But am I in turn teaching them that they can be rude to others, show disrespect to teachers ( and by extension, coworkers or supervisors in the future) and get what they want?

No answers here, just questions. In the moment, I think I made the right choice, but am I trading the success in today's assignment for more failure in the future?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fear of parenting, side effect of teaching?

For a lot of reasons, that I won't get into here, I am thinking a lot about the possibility of adoption children, rather then having biological children. Reasons span from personal, to political, to social justice related.

But it is a scary proposition. I know you truly never know what type of child you'll get. What the genetic lottery will put together, but some things, like health during pregnancy you can control. You also know what health problems you and your spouse's family have that are risk factors.

I had a student that was adopted. They could be delightful and thoughtful, clever. They also had attachment disorder, serious emotional issues, fetal alcohol syndrome... I don't know their family, or their situation, but I do know their parents are at their wits end for what to do with the child. Having a kiddo like that scares me. I know that any child can have issues, but seeing children like this one, or other kids at my school, makes me afraid of the challenge I'm opening myself up for by becoming a parent at all, let alone an adoptive parent.

I'm so glad that I have waited to have children, and I think I want to be a mother. But it's also a scary prospect.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Clear Messages

Part of my mindfulness goals involve finding ways to do less. Be less busy. Be more intentional with how I spend my time.

Now my health is telling me the same thing. I've struggled with repeated sickness, a hoarse tired voice, and missing work for going on 5 months. I've been to the doctor, and eventually got a referral to an EMT.

He was delightful, gregarious and instantly sized me up with astonishing accuracy. "You are used to being able to do anything you want, and you aren't able to do that right now". He kept comparing my voice to Ferarri, in need of fine tuning.

Long story short, I have some small vocal nodes. He said it's nothing to be astounded by, and that someone who did not specialize in singers may not even had seen them. I also have some antibiotics to take to kick some minor sinusitis, and am supposed to call him back in a few days and let him know if I want allergy testing or a CT scan to determine if there is more making me unwell.

The message is loud and clear though. I need to be more conscientious about how I use my voice, and how I use my body.

I also received the first prescription I've ever heard of for voice lessons from a doctor.

Time to take care of myself and respect my instrument. And now, off to bed early.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Why is Minimalism always so bright white?

I'm very excited to be embarking on a journey towards simplicity with A Simple Year. It coincides with a lot of my goals around decluttering my home, preparing to move in with my partner, simplifying and de-busying my life, and being more deliberate with my finances.

I've been reading a lot more blogs about simplicity and minimalism when it comes to fashion, wardrobes and homes and a commonality that I keep seeing is white, black and pastels.
Source: via

Don't get me wrong, I love a good black and white, especially in fashion. It's classy and clean. But I am a vibrant and colorful person.

Why is every single blog about minimalism and decluttering seem to think people want a pristine white (boring!) decor?

Where are my minimalists that love color and art? Clean surfaces and fewer items, a streamlines closet, everything in it's place. But with vivid design, textures and maybe a vintage feel?

Anyone help a girl out?