Monday, January 26, 2015

JANUARY CHECK ... HOW IS THAT DISCIPLINE GOING?

This is the very last week in the very first month of a brand new year.

Wait!  How did that happen, exactly?

When did I blink?

Wasn't it just Christmas?

I set out to not necessarily make a bunch of resolutions I wasn't ever going to keep.  Instead, with the new year, I decided to create a WORD OF THE YEAR.  That word for 2015 is/was  DISCIPLINE.

Ahhhhhhh!  Discipline.  It's a tough one for me.  I knew it on the outset.  It was going to kick my butt.  I just knew it would.

But rather than wait until the end of 2015, wherein, I will focus on the big picture and all the ways I didn't meet my word of the year challenge, I thought it might be more helpful to have monthly check-ins.

Give my faithful readers .... all ten of you .... some insight on how the first month has gone.

In a word ... EEEEHHHHH!

It hasn't been a complete wash, but it hasn't been great.

Here is how it's not been great:

  • I'm at the highest weight I've ever been
  • I STILL can't stay awake to read more than an hour.
  • I am having difficulty portioning out my dinners -- the worst part of my day.
  • I have difficulty fitting exercise in every single day.  
  • My house still isn't completely organized.
  • I haven't finished my GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL.
Yet, here are some great things that have occurred:
  • I have made enough freezer meals to last me the next month and a half.
  • I have kept my bathrooms relatively clean for the last two weeks (a feat for me, ladies and gentlemen!).
  • I have taken one night a week to write sections of my GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL.
  • I am walking at least a couple of days a week.  
  • I have been putting folded clothes away close to the time they were laundered.  That's a big step.  
Discipline must come in baby steps for me.  If it doesn't, then I fail completely.  That's just how it is. 
So, that, ladies and gentlemen, is my January check-in.  Much work to do, but gosh!  Look at me toddle!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DISCIPLINE ... MAKING OR BREAKING ME

I said my word of 2015 was going to be DISCIPLINE.

Y'all.  This word. I  can't even.  It's gonna kill me.  I swear it is.

I am not sure why this concept is so hard for me.  Other people manage it with little to no thought to the whole process.

Me?

I kick and scream and whine and moan and groan.

I mean, why can't I just do it?  Like the Nike commercial.  On paper, it seems so simple.

Like the to do list I created yesterday.  It went something like this:

  1. 2 loads of laundry
  2. dinner
  3. lunch and coffeemaker for tomorrow
  4. kitchen clean up
  5. yoga at 7 p.m.
  6. writing at 8 p.m.
  7. reading/bed at 9 p.m.
Okay, so I got one load of laundry in, and far as I know, it's still there.  Dinner was easy.  I ate left overs, but I barely cleaned up the mess, meaning, there is a dirty coffee cup in the sink.  Lunch was easy, but I never got the coffeemaker set up until just before I collapsed into bed at 10:30 because, well, I forgot.

I started writing at 6:30 p.m., and was at it until roughly 10:15 p.m., with some breaks. 

No yoga. 

No reading.  

The list seemed so easy.

My brain?  It made it hard.

I've come to the conclusion that I am going to be driving the struggle bus on this one for awhile.  So, I suppose I ought to buckle up and hold on tight.  

Sheesh!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BATS IN THE BELFRY

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., I had a day off.  I, like many teachers in this fair country, would love to spend the day reflecting and such, but life being as it is, we are busy hitting all those appointments we can't take during the day 'cuz, well, we teach and stuff.

Thus was my day yesterday while I was running to an oil change appointment, paying bills, baking, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and welcoming Scott the Furnace Dude into my home to change my specialized furnace filter and do general maintenance on it -- it is 22 years old, Scott said yesterday.  He said it like I should be expecting impending doom. Like the world would end.  He said this right after he hollered up from the basement, "HEY MEGAN!  MEGAN!  COME HERE!  YOU ARE GONNA FREAK OUT!" 

I am here to tell you, people, nothing, I mean, NOTHING good comes from some one telling you, after having his head stuck in the bowels of your furnace, that I must see something that will freak me out.  I maintain, if it's going to freak me out, why are you showing me?  It's a basic human question in my mind's eye.

So, I drop what I was doing and meet Scott at the top of my basement stairs, wherein, he says excitedly, "Megan!  I've never seen in this ... ever!  I'm not even sure how he gotten in there."  It was then I looked down at his gloved hand which held a decidedly dead bat.  A bat.  A BAT, people.

All I could think of was:

  1. How did he get in there?
  2. How long has he been in there?
  3. And I need a picture of this!
Scott, wasn't sure how he would have gotten in there, and to answer the question about how long he'd been in there, his reply was "Well, he doesn't stink any more."

Awesome!

Either, he'd not been there that long, or there is radon gas seeping up through my basement floor and is preserving all the dead carcasses of the animals that were once living and found their demise in my basement ... and there have been a lot.  

All I could think was that if that thing had some how found a way into my living space, I would have had to burn the entire place down!  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

LONG DIVISION AND DEALING WITH THE HARD STUFF

There are a few things that I do not look forward to teaching fourth graders every year.  They are

  1. Long division
  2. Fractions
I remember learning those two concepts, er, ATTEMPTING to learn those two concepts, and they ruined my 10-year old mind.  I mean, tore it to shreds ... "left little bits of gray matter splattered on the wall" sorta ruined it.  RUINED.  IT.

So, I empathize with the kid that thinks I pulled this stuff out of left field and threw it at them.  

Yesterday.  Well, there aren't words for yesterday.  Day 2 of long division and oh my!  The confusion.  The frustration.  The utter despair on their faces.  Melodrama times at least 2!

At the end of Math, I sat them down and was all, "Listen guys.  Let's take a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and realize that we're going to practice this again tomorrow.  No need to get frustrated and upset.  Tomorrow is a clean slate.  We'll get back at it, and we're going to be that much closer to getting 'er done!"

They seemed cautiously optimistic.  Well, most of them did.

Fast-forward to last night, where I came to the realization that poor choices on my part have led to some not so great consequences.  Yeah, like gravity, poor choices always begets (begots, begotten, I'm a little shaky this one, folks) nasty consequences.  

I was whining to my partner in crime/best buddy/BFF, Elly, and she was all, "Baby steps, my friend.  Baby steps."

Okay, she didn't really say that, but we are good at reading between each other's lines, and those were totally what she said between the lines.  

As I looked at my clean slate for today ... as I crafted my goals to accomplish today, I realized that the pep talk I gave my 4th graders yesterday was coming back to bite me in my butt.  I was asking them to look at today as a new, clean slate where we could get back at it and make the most of it, but I wasn't ready to do the same thing for myself. 

It brings me to a question:   Why are we so daggone hard on ourselves, ladies?

We are willing to give others in our lives do-overs. Stupid fools that will never act any other way than FOOLISH, and we are willing to give them ten thousand do-overs.  But ourselves?

Nope.

No can do.

You failed; therefore, you are a failure.

Life.  It's a fickle thing. It isn't a bed of roses, and most of the time, we all fall in a vat of poop and come out smelling, well, like poop.  

Yet, every day dawns bright (well, unless you live in Michigan, and then give up on seeing the sun anytime between now and, ummm, say May), and it's stretched out before us to make better choices.

It's hard stuff, life is, but baby steps, taken one tenuous step at a time, gets us stronger and stronger, and before any of us know, we're running head-long into the next adventure.

It all starts with the baby steps ... 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

Yesterday, it rained. Yesterday was your typical Monday. How does that song go?  Rainy days and Mondays always get me down?

Raise your hand if you just loathe Mondays.

Oh my laaaaaawwwwwwwdddddd!  Why must Mondays be so aggravating?  I don't get it. It's just one day in the big, long week of days. But seriously, folks. The aggravation.

I got to work yesterday morning and remembered like 10 things I needed to get done before 7:20 a.m.

See what I mean?  Aggravating!

So, it was a typical Monday.

Yet, it ended with me completing all the things on my list. Granted, I never left school until 5 p.m., but again, all the items?  Done!  

I made it home, and let me just tell you.  I made some potato soup Sunday night.  Talk about thrilling to come home knowing all I had to do was warm up a bowl.  It's the simple, little things, people.

The kitchen was cleaned up in record time.

A load of laundry was washed AND dried.

The dishwasher got it's thing done.

I was able to sit down and read.  READ.  And here's the kicker.  I didn't fall asleep in the midst of reading ... well, at least not until I crawled into bed and read for awhile, but that doesn't count.  I swear it doesn't.

One of the things I am trying to do in 2015 is stress less about stuff.  Despite a crazy, insane TO DO LIST kind of day ... despite the fact that Mondays are beyond aggravating, I was able to make it a good ending.

So, on to Tuesday.  A new day, a clean slate.





Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A YEAR OF MANTLES

I dreamed up this idea, over Christmas Break, when all crazy ideas are dreamed up, to create a monthly mantle-scape, if you will.  I got on Pinterest -- where all crazy ideas are given legs with which to run -- to find some fun ideas for mantles.

For my January mantle, I really wanted something to transition from a cozy Christmas living room to the stark post-Christmas feel that always occurs when all the decorations are put away.

I saved out some of my Christmas trees from other areas of the house, some of the garland and some white snowflakes. Over the weekend, I found the flocked buck and pine tree for 50% off!  I snatched those puppies up and voila!

You all!  If you only knew the number of times I've redone this mantle!  My sister and parents were bugged to death with "what do you think?" and "should that tree be there?" and endless texts of photos.

This is my maiden voyage of my YEAR OF MANTLES, and here is my first mantle!

I give you my JANUARY MANTLE!






Monday, January 05, 2015

THROWN OUT BACKS, LAZY CATS, and MONDAYS

Sooooooooooooo ... I'm sitting here on my sofa right now, Antiques Roadshow on the old "boob tube," The Cat curled up beside me, and a heating pad on my back.

A heating pad? WHAAAAT?

Yeah. Christmas Day, I threw my back out doing a deadly combo of things. Seriously.  It was a scary "perfect storm" of things that met in a vortex of pain to create my thrown out back.

The deadly combo?

I reached and bent at the same time.

I know.  It's pitiful how quickly things begin to fall apart when one hits their 40s.  It is a FOR REALSIES struggle, y'all.

Of course, this afternoon, while attempting to put away all the classroom Christmas decorations I'd had the forethought to pile in a giant hodge podge of a mess on some student desks the last day of school after I'd sent my kiddos all on to their families, I reached to grab a slightly heavy tub of "stuff" (that's an academic term, in case you weren't aware), I felt my back give a little.  Not all the way, mind you. Just a little.

That little was just enough to give a bit more this evening while I was trying to do something benign like opening the dishwasher door.

So, I am sitting here attempting to get some work ticked off my TO DO list, and I've got The Cat curled up beside me (a position she's felt she's not been able to maintain the last two weeks due to the furry house guests that no one asked her if she would like to have ... according to her) and a heating pad on my back, doing my level best to burn the first couple of layers of my back skin right off.

The house is quiet ... save for Antiques Roadshow on PBS right now.  Listen, don't hate.  I am expanding my horizons.  And I'm 42.  There's that.

But the house is quiet.  It's been filled with the noises of people chatting and animals playing and laughter and snoring (lots and lots of snoring) and just the buzz of humanity that come together during the holidays.  It's a good kind of noise.

Now, there is noise of a single girl and her cat, who is snoring (lots and lots of snoring), the humming furnace, churning washing machine, spinning dryer, and the cacophony of the TV sound -- and these are good noises as well.

It's hard, sometimes, to transition from the energy of a vacation (or lack thereof) and the energy of the normal, every day life.  Routine can be, well, routine.

I function better under a routine ... a schedule ... an understanding of what I will be doing next and then after that and then next ... I function better under structure. While I hate to see vacation end and family head home and the holidays become just a memory, I am ready for a routine, a schedule, a structure.

It's time ...




Sunday, January 04, 2015

MORE OR LESS

I didn't go to church today.  None of us did.  Not a great way to start 2015, but I had a screaming headache, and my mom wasn't feeling great.  So, we "fluffed the morning away," as my mom put it.  Well, I fluffed it away.  They, including their dog, slept it away!  Whatever.  They are still, technically, on vacation until tomorrow, when they head back to the great Icy Mitten.  It's supposed to be 9* up there, y'all!!!

At any rate, this fluffing time allowed me some time to do some serious world-peace-solving with my good friend ... okay, so we were sharing helpful article links back and forth across Facebook Messenger.  Listen, don't judge.  That is how we plan to solve world peace ... by world domination.

During said peace-solving session, my friend passed on her goals for 2015, which, while I said I wouldn't make goals in 2015, seem to mesh perfectly with my 2015 Word of the Year: DISCIPLINE.

I am sharing these with you now, because I just love them.  They are what I need to do while practicing discipline!


  1. Smile more.
  2. Stress less.
  3. Encourage more.
  4. Worry less.
  5. Write more.
  6. Procrastinate less.
  7. Make more.
  8. Spend less.
  9. Move more.
  10. Eat less.
These are my MORE OR LESS goals, which, when you really look at it, are all a means to my Word of the Year ends ==> DISCIPLINE.

Now, I wish I could tell you that I've practiced what I have been preaching (sorta preaching) since coming up with my Word of the Year ==> DISCIPLINE.  I haven't.  But, in my defense (if there is such a thing), I have, technically, still been on vacation. Who wants discipline when one is on vacation? 

You see where my trouble lies, no?

Tomorrow dawns bright and early (I have a feeling there will be an emphasis on early ... ugh), and tomorrow will also be a new page.  


Friday, January 02, 2015

ANOTHER BOOK CHALLENGE!

Okay, so every year (except for last year), I have created a challenge, and then I've floated it out into The Internets, that I will read 50 books in a year.

Then, dear internet, I fail.  Miserably.

Will I never learn?

Somehow, though, I feel like I can do it this time!  I am convinced of it.

To prove to you that I can, I am going to tell you that I've read my first book of 2015!!!  

THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by JoJo Moyes

Okay, I suppose I must now admit that I might have, hmmm, how shall I put this, cheated a bit?  Yeah, so I started reading it at the end of 2014.  But I finished it in 2015, so I am TOTALLY counting it!

Anyway, I thought it was a great read.  Not as good as her book YOU BEFORE ME, but still a good read.  I wasn't sure how it was going to end, and I was a little bit surprised by some of it as the end came into view, and the plot fully blossomed.  Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking the outcome.

So, there you have it.

One down.

Forty-nine more to go!

HOLIDAYS, NEW YEAR, AND OTHER THINGS I'M MULLING OVER

My mom informed me the other day that, "You've not been writing on your blog lately."

She's right.  I've not.  I wish I had a good excuse other than the one I'm getting ready to lay on you ==>  I haven't really had a lot to write about.  Least ways, nothing funny or interesting or, well, anything.

But, I suppose, with the new year (HOLY CRAP!  How is it 2015 already!?!?!), I should attempt to turn over a new leaf, so to speak ... or turn a blank page, which, honestly, has been the problem up to this point ... a big, fat, blank page.

Being that it's the second day of the New Year (why start anything on the first day, right?), I decided to rectify this situation.  So, the first thing I did was head over to the 2014 blog roll to see what I'd written for New Years Resolutions/Goals.  Not only did I confirm that, yes, in fact, my mother was right, I hadn't written much (only 47 entries for 2014!?!), I didn't bother to create any resolutions or goals for the year.

Yep.

That pretty much typifies my 2014.

2014 was ... how do I put this ... hmmm ... errrr ... it was the year of BLAAAAAAAH.  I didn't have a plan, or much of one anyways.  I didn't have much of a motivation to do anything ... I didn't have what my grandmother use to call SPIZZERRINKTEM.  Not.  One.  Iota.

Nada.

Nothing.

Zip.

Zero.

I did lay out a goal of READING SOME BOOKS, and I am pleased to announce that I have, in fact, met that goal.  I have, dear readers, read some books in 2014.  The discovery of the Kindle app has opened up my competitive reading nature, and I find myself very willing and motivated to read!  I was a Kindle hold out.  Ask anyone.  I was a die hard, book purist, but you all!  The Kindle app!  I can't even ....

So, yay for me for reaching a goal.

I debated creating goals for 2015.  All the usual culprits came to mind:

  • Getting down to my goal weight
  • Smiling more
  • Reading more
  • More fun adventures
  • More me time
  • Save more money
  • Save more time 
  • More, more, more ... 
Then it occurred to me, where all epiphanies occur to me, in the shower, that all these goals, resolutions, things I want to do, but usually end up failing at ... all of these things are wrapped up in a word.  A vocabulary word, if you will.  

As teachers, we hear lots and lots and lots AND LOTS of stuff about building vocabulary, and how building the foundation becomes the the key to success in comprehending content.  

It stands to reason that allllllll the many things I would like to accomplish in 2015 are all wrapped into and intertwined with this one, singular word.  

It seems fitting then that I put a word out there in the universe ... the New Years Cosmos ... a vocabulary word that will become my theme or mantra or encapsulation of the year, if you will.

So, I bet you are wondering what the word is, right?

I give you ..... 

DISCIPLINE!



Now, I know what you are thinking.  "Eeeeeewwwwww!"

You'd be right.  Discipline can be a Eeeeeeeewwww sorta thing.

See, here's the deal.  We've made it Eeeeeewwwwww!

Discipline, in it's truest form, is actually a good thing.

It's discipline that requires us to get up in the morning, on time, and ready, for the most part, to head to work.  It is discipline that drives us to do our jobs well, to work to achieve greater things and move up the ranks.   It's discipline that drives us to do yard work  ...  to want to do better for ourselves and our families ... it's discipline that moves us to achieve.

I can trace all those times that I didn't achieve what I wanted to back to my lack of discipline.

It really is that simple.

So, for 2015, allllllll 363 days of it now, I plan to work on discipline.  One of the things that I discovered today was that I needed to work on the discipline of just putting things where they go!  My room.  The mess.  I can't even .... you all.  I.  there. are. no. words.

New Year -- Clean Slate -- DISCIPLINE, y'all!