Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"









Monday, January 26, 2015

Blue Skies

I finally got to see some blue sky and sunshine this weekend. Saturday night, as I was driving to meet a friend for dinner, I saw this sunset over the Lafayette River that was so beautiful, I pulled over to take a picture.

As I was taking the photos, my youngest daughter texted me to say she hoped I had seen it. Isn't that so cool? We both saw the same scene and were struck by it in the same way. A lovely moment.

Sunday was so clear and beautiful and I was lucky enough to have time to take a walk on the beach and enjoy it, as I got in a bit of exercise. (Truthfully, I dislike exercise, but walking on the beach in the sunshine was bearable, since I have to do something.) The sun was warm enough to hint of the coming spring, even though much of the East Coast to the north of me prepare for a winter snowstorm. I wouldn't mind getting a little snow, but I think it's highly unlikely.

Gracie loves to sleep curled up on our bed; it looks like she's trying to say, "Please, can't we just snuggle a little longer?"

And I finally got a decent photo of my sweater; the back is almost done. If I keep at this rate, I'll be done by the end of February, I think.

Today was the second teacher workday in a row, and to be honest, I didn't really need it. I had planned quite a bit ahead of time and was pretty well set with my plans and copies, so I had to make sure I didn't make a mess for myself. You know, start clearing out clutter, only to run out of steam or time, only to just shove everything under a table in a big pile. This has happened to me more often than it should, so this time, I was careful. I went in a little late, took a long lunch break, (I actually spent it walking!) and then left early. Voila! In order to try and add a little pizzazz to the start of the new semester, I even hung a "The Party's Here!" sign on my classroom door. If nothing else, it'll get the kids thinking when they walk through the door.

 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Beginning Again

I just wrapped up the first semester of my 18th year of teaching and I'm glad again for the fresh start I get so often in this crazy career of mine. Teaching really does allow me to start anew over and over again and I think that's a bonus. A bonus I'm not sure I can live without, to be quite frank. For a myriad of reasons, I've been struggling a lot the past month or two and this is my chance to reframe and reset my outlook. I've always been an optimist but lately that feeling has been slipping away and it's scared the hell out of me, to be honest. I may need a medication tweak, something I will address with my doctor at my next appointment, and if so, I'll definitely tweak away. But until then, I'm going to try to address this ennui with ensuring I'm getting enough sleep, fresh air, and eating right from the new diet plan. Maybe it's just the after-Christmas blahs, maybe it's the health changes, or maybe I am actually struggling with a bit of depression. But I wanted to keep whatever it is out in the open, especially since you are all so supportive and honest as well. This too, shall pass.

 

 

Meanwhile, I continue to knit. This is a bad picture of a beautiful hat, Thicket, done up in a skein of The Fiber Company's Road to China Light. Love it.

I'm also at the arm hole decreases on the back section of my Edie sweater. I hope to photograph it tomorrow, if the weather cooperates. My weekend plans are knitting and maybe cleaning out a little bit of clutter. Definitely knitting though. You?

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This Week's Health News

As one of my friends just told me, "I can't catch a break." I broke out in a rash on Sunday, tried self treating, and ended up at the Urgent Care at 8:00 a.m. in order to get a steroid shot before I scratched all the skin off of myself. I also got a 6-5-4-3-2-1 pack of prednisone and another prescription for itch relief, which simply seems to make me drowsy but without the hangover effect of Benadryl. And the steroid shot has made me ravenous. Anyhow, we think the culprit this time was either the off-brand "Bounce" dryer sheets or the laundry detergent All Free but with added Oxi. I normally use the plain All Free but figured the Oxi wouldn't be a problem, but I'm guessing I was wrong. I'm now on my fourth load of laundry, as I needed to re-wash a everything with my old faithful All Free and a boost of Dawn dish detergent to get rid of any irritating residue. I was planning on a vinegar rinse, but the nurse suggested the Dawn and I'm really hoping she knows what she's talking about. Also running through extra plain water rinse cycles. Here's hoping all will be well. Did I mention I've also taken two oatmeal baths since I got home?

The hits keep coming.

In other news, I browsed in Barnes & Noble yesterday and one of the books I skimmed through was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up; it was a little out there, what with thanking your socks and undies for working so hard, but it is a good way to think about all the stuff we own and spend so much time caring for and finding places to store it all. It did inspire me to clean up my dresser drawers, but of course I got to do it all over again today when I re-washed it all. I did, however, get rid of a few things, including winnowing out one of my bookcases. Although the author suggests a more drastic method, my feeling is that every little bit helps. Besides, my full time job does eat up a good chunk of my time.

Off to bed now, and hoping I have no more medical surprises in store any time soon.

 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Still January

I don't remember struggling through a January as much as I am this year; maybe I should read my archived posts and refresh my memory. I am having trouble finding my joy right now and I don't know what I need to do to change that. The weather has been pretty bleak, so I know that's one reason. I'm hoping to take a hike at a local state park today and see if that helps, as I'm sure it will.

My knitting isn't exactly a cheery color either, as I'm working on a sweater using a charcoal gray yarn. I think it'll be a great neutral piece to add to my wardrobe, but exciting it isn't. I wonder if I should start something in a brighter yarn choice to break up the relentless gray of this January.

***After writing the above this morning, I did indeed have a pretty good day. Steve and I walked for an hour in First Landing State Park, but instead of walking on soft trails, our walk was on hardtop, mainly because we missed the turnoff for the trail we wanted and by the time we walked back, I was done. We went to a Whole Foods and got lunch from the salad bar, and then went home. Steve got his nose out of joint at me, so rather than hang around the negative energy, I decided to hang out at the new library. I parked quite a few blocks away so I could walk a bit more, then just puttered around downtown, and ended up with a trip to Target. I wanted to buy the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up, but couldn't find it. All in all, a nice way to spend my Saturday, especially since I have Monday off.

I want to thank my cyber-friends for the comments and support of my new normal. My dietary restrictions aren't that awful; from what I've read, a Mediterranean diet and limited sugar will be the best way to allow my liver to heal. In other words, a diet that I should have been on already and isn't that difficult to maintain. It's just that I want to eat like I'm still twenty. I think having to face my age and body limitations is the bigger reason I'm struggling, but as I'm an optimistic person by nature, I know I'll come to terms with it all sooner rather than later. I just finished eating a can of garbanzo beans that I roasted at 450 degrees and were delicious, filling, and easy as pie to make. I've rediscovered the taste of frozen fruit in sparkling water, and am trying some new teas, such as a chocolate chai that almost satisfies my sweet tooth without any calories or sugar. And as I said, living this close to the beach in a climate that is temperate means that getting outside to exercise is not really a problem, so all in all, my life is still a good one.

 

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Blahs

How has your January been? I've been adjusting to my new dietary guidelines and while some days are good, I really haven't been my normal, positive self. It's a bit of a challenge trying to make dinner after working all day, especially when so many of my go-to meals aren't appropriate anymore. I am using the MyPlate app to track my calories and exercise, but since we've had so much rain, I haven't been walking as much as I should, and some days it all seems just too much work. But as I really don't have a choice, I start over again the next day. I know I'll get better at managing it all and soon enough it will be spring and I'll have more opportunities to get outside.

 

Steve and I went to the opening of the main library for the city of Norfolk last weekend, and it was quite a lovely experience. The old building was razed about two years ago, in part to make room for the light rail, and in part because it was terribly outdated. The new one is a beautiful blend of high tech with some old architectural details, and it's full of light.

Not sure if I shared the details of Steve's Christmas hats or not, so here they are. This one is made from Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance, and the pattern, Ancient Mariner Watch Cap.

The one he wore on our trip to Baltimore is the Koolhaas pattern, by Jared Flood, and it's super dense and warm.

 

Also can't remember if I mentioned it, but my youngest has moved in with us for a few months and that means her cat, Fern, is with us as well. Although she and Gracie don't really get along well, this past weekend both of them declared a truce in order to take a nap with me. Either that, or they weren't aware they were sharing the same space.
And just for fun, here's my sweet Grace, napping on the couch. I love her little face so much!

 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reconnecting

Steve started a tradition a few years ago in which we take a couple of days away after Christmas to reconnect with each other, after the bustle and stress of celebrating Christmas with our blended families. This year, we went to Baltimore, and it was lovely. We walked a lot, both for exercise, and also to give us a chance to talk and enjoy the fresh air.

The waterfront is such an interesting place, and the sky was beautiful Friday night.

I saw a cute yarn bombing/decoration in the Federal Hill area.

We visited the Walters Art Museum, in the Mt Vernon neighborhood, and it was a very nice way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Saturday.

 

That evening, we went to a New Year's party at the house of an old school friend of Steve's, and on the walk back to the hotel, I was enchanted by the twinkle lights in her neighborhood.

We walked along the harbor front the same night, and although it was in a drizzly rain, it only added to the sparkly lights that were strung everywhere we looked.

 

On the way back home today, we stopped in Alexandria to eat lunch, take a walk, and to visit fibre space. I bought a pattern and the yarn to make myself a short sleeve sweater, my first project for 2015.

 

I'm really happy with the work I did this weekend to accept my liver disease diagnosis and the modifications I am making to my diet and my activity level, and I'm feeling quite optimistic, which is to say, back to my normal frame of mind. Hope your new year is off to a great start as well.

 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long, 2014

I don't have a lot of negative feelings about 2014, despite the fact that both of my parents underwent treatment for cancer. The good news is that both are considered to have beaten their cancer and are in excellent health. The fact that I still have both of my parents is a wonderful gift and I'm grateful for it.

I have a wonderfully supportive network of friends and family, including my husband, Steve, and my lovely daughters and stepchildren, and I do work that I'm very proud of and am passionate about.

I just found out yesterday that I have a liver disease that can only be managed with diet and exercise, so while I sulked about it for about 18 hours, I'm grateful that I can do something about it. The plan is to follow a Mediterranean diet and exercise at least three times a week, so I started today with a forty minute walk on the beach I love so well. I always swore that if I lived this close to the beach, I would walk on it every day, and it's way past time to make good on that promise.

 

 

Happy New Year!