move, breathe, dance!

For my Monday blog posts, I would like to attempt to continue with reflection on my goals and aspirations; while I practice setting realistic goals with achievable steps to fruition. I also need to practice self-forgiveness for those days when I just don't complete my goals. Like yesterday. I woke in Seattle; I helped some kids with their homework; I made breakfast for five people; I shopped; I drove home; I did some school work; I hung out with one of my dearest friends the whole day long; we did a face mask; we made stir-fry and noodles; we went to a potluck; and none of my goal goals were completed--and yet, what a wonderful day!

But I do need to focus my attention on two particular areas: finances and physical health. Between buying a house, moving into that house, planning a wedding, and taking classes, my finances are in a state of slight disruption, but I am at a point where I can make some sound decisions and start cutting the fat a bit, and I'll be fine. But that is goal one: Get my shit together financially.

Secondly, I am out of shape! I'm not overweight, and I'm not self-conscious about how I look. I just feel lazy. I hate saying no to activities because I feel like I'm not fit enough. I despise feeling tired and sluggish and old. So I am going to start incorporating more movement into my life.

For the financial goal, I'm going to rethink some things, but obviously, just trying to live on more of a set budget and cutting back on some of the holiday thrills and frills. Perhaps another frugal February, like last year, with no eating out, no drinking out, no unnecessary expenditures.

Physically, my plan is to do cardio at least three times a week, to meditate twice a week, and to do yoga once a week. I've been on a fairly strong start: last week I ran three times, went to yoga once, and meditated once. Tonight, I went to a cycle class at the PSU gym, where I get in for free, and already am formulating plans for yoga, swimming, eighties dancing, and snowshoeing.

Finally, and probably a bit impossibly, I want to read Swamplandia! by Karen Russel and Under the Skin by Michel Faber by mid-February, in addition to trying to read more essays and poetry. I always want to read more, but I feel that now, with a PSU class that requires little energy, one of my best friends gone for six months, and the move over, I have time to set some tough reading goals for myself. And of course there's the reading on chickens, ducks, permaculture, homesteading, and bees that I want/need to do to plan the new yard/garden!

So I will report back next week on how I'm doing, with the ultimate goal being that they become an essential practice for me and I can then incorporate new aspirations. I can say that even after only one week of being more active, I feel my mood uplifted and I feel exponentially more hungry for running, biking, walking, riding, snowshoeing, and dancing!

Other goals for when these become habits: writing more, planning the wedding, sewing curtains, embroidery, maybe finally learning to knit, more photography, and turning our yard into a little urban farm with ducks, chickens, bees, maybe rabbits, cats, veggies, fruit, Novella Carpenter style.


speaking gratitude

1. being able to listen
2. being able to offer help or love to friends
3. chickens squawking for attention
4. greeting my flaws as if they were friends rather than enemies (they're easier to work with that way)
5. waking up next to someone you love
6. fog on the hills
7. hot coffee with real cream, rather than milk
8. making new connections with people
9. homemade potato pancakes with Greek yogurt and Siracha
10. inside jokes, like "glorified butter"

What are you grateful for?



The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally, I succumbed and read this fast-paced, compelling story about Katniss, the girl on fire, and her journey into the arena for the Hunger Games, and I'm now considering pushing for this as a novel for freshmen year, with a female hero and plot and writing that, I would argue, is as sophisticated as Ender's Game (a book that I do not enjoy teaching) with its futuristic dystopia and first-person narration from the point of view of a young girl who is driven to survive and terrified to love, as she deals with the violent death of her father, the emotional breakdown of her mother, and the conflicted relationships that she encounters during the Hunger Games. A lot of interesting topics to explore in a 9th grade classroom, with students who are being taught to truly understand characterization and theme.

View all my reviews


speaking gratitude

It's Friday, and time for reflection on gratitude.

1. books, words, stories, poetry
2. friendship; friends who provide a sense of safety. they won't manipulate you. they won't tell your secrets.
3. raindrops dripping from green leaves outside the window.
4. being inside in the warmth and light during a cold rain.
5. having the freedom to make one's own choices.
6. being told that someone was saying something nice about the work i've done as a teacher.
7. pizza nights, caramelized onions, bleu cheese, pear slices, bacon, cheese, sauce, homemade crust
8. welcoming those who need a place into my home
9. sleeping in on a saturday morning
10. happy, happy hour on a friday!



Happy new year! It's now 2012, and my twelve goals have been completed successfully!

1. Blog: update and rethink blog with steps taken/initiated toward new design for the new year. Done!
2. Academics: Complete my grad. level PSU class with an A and a possible publication. Done! 
3. Painting: Finish painting the bedroom sky blue, the guest bedroom hazel green, the hallway a turquoise/teal and the downstairs a creamy latte/chocolate brown.
Done--repainted craft room in hazel green and twilight, painted dining room and upstairs hall a soft yellow, and painted downstairs hallway in Divine twilight.
4. Donate old clothes and books. Done!
5. Host a friend's Thanksgiving: Invite people over for a Thanksgiving potluck the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. Done!
6. Host some thank-you dinners for friends who have been super helpful in the past month of stress and madness. Done!
7. Unpack. Done!
8. Buy a washer and dryer. Done! 
9. Buy a new phone and get set up on family plan and teacher discount. Done!
10. Take real steps for wedding planning. 
Done. And of course, not done. The wedding's in August, so the work continues, but I spent quite a few hours on this over break.
11. Start taking photographs and publishing them again. Done!
12. Go to yoga at least 7 times. Done!

Now, how do I structure my continuing goals and what are they? If I were to simply brainstorm, I would say that they are:
to continue yoga practice
to exercise regularly
to stencil my house
to make curtains and pillows for my house
to build a bedroom closet
to host an awesome wedding and reception
to take the time to meditate, read, craft, and eat well

Maybe this week, I should try for the following:
Cardio 3x
Yoga 1x
Save the date cards

What are your goals for the year/the month/the week?