Friday, January 17, 2014

Making Progress

Today I made it to one of my savings goals. I got some help on two fronts for freelance writing, and a bonus from school. It's strange, but it seems that a lot of things are helping me make these goals. It's as though it's meant to be.

I really hope it's meant to be.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


So I made it today: no gluten! Also, I ran 4.5 miles and got my fingerprints done for my overseas employment background check.

I also finished book 4 out of 50 for the year. I'm feeling pretty good!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not gluten free

Not by a long shot. But we ate well - Greek meatloaf tonight, with zucchini, onions, and tomatoes, and carrots with basil. Added some sweet red wine - perfect!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hiatus on working out has officially ended

So... I took a really long hiatus from working out, due to winter. I also have not run since December 1st. It's so cold outside right now – 19 degrees this morning – and I know that traditionally, I don't exercise during the winter months. But I'm going to resume tonight.

My goal for January is to work out four times and run four times. If I manage to make my goal, I will get a movie night.

Here's my work out for tonight:

Three sets of:
30 Jumping Jacks
20 body weight squats
10 push ups
20 walking lunges
20 ab bicycles
10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug)
15 second plank
30 Jumping Jacks

Gluten-Free, not Paleo yet...

Chobani blueberry yogurt
1/4 cup walnuts

Right now, we're focusing on eliminating wheat and gluten. We'll worry about dairy soon.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Doctor

We wrote imitation poems based on Jack Prelutsky's The Witch. My students did a whole range of beautiful poems, everything from comedy to tragedy to poems about food (Los Tacos, yes!). This one is mine.

The Doctor

The TARDIS slips, time vortex trips
through all of time and space
The Doctor lies but never dies
and wears a changing face

The Doctor flies through starry skies
His companion is Rose
With Captain Jack, who rarely lacks
A host of evil foes

The Daleks say "Exterminate."
With Angels just don't blink
The Sontarans are on the run
The Doctor's yells "Just think!"

Geronimo or Allons-y!
He's always leaping in
to set to right, to fight the fight
He doesn't always win

For though he's odd, this lonely god
will burn like fire and ice
Unless he finds some peace of mind
he'll pay a weighty price

Back to the beginning, Paleo style

I knew we were onto something when my daughter, 15, said, "I miss eating Paleo. I like the way I feel when we're eating well."

So we begin anew today:

Half cup walnuts
Half sweet potato
One banana
2 cups coffee (tea for her)
1 tbsp honey

For lunch, we're having Indian, which will include rice. For this, I must remind ourselves that we can transition slowly.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

#36 from the Lifetime List

Sing Karaoke
"Just Like Heaven" by The Cure
Ego's Austin

Gluten-Free, Day Three

Fail! I ate veggie pakoras - not gluten-free.

So, I'm starting again tomorrow.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gluten-Free, Day Two

Well, I managed gluten free, but I ate french fries and popcorn.

Not. Good.

Starry Night

One of our writing prompts last semester was to look at Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and write a descriptive narrative as though you were witnessing a scene.

I always write with my students, but I have six classes, so usually I try to vary up my approach in each class. This poem was written with my eighth period class after I had tested out different moods, characters, and time frames for the painting.

I like this one the best:

Starry Night

Limbic system
spangling gangleon
alight in
synaptic fury
in brilliant
twisting chaos

Burn out
my retinas
score my heart
in swirling

at night
the fuse
to let it all go
it spins
it twins
a diaphany
of plasma spasms
leaping chasms
and missing abysses
to frantic blisses
of cosmic kisses
and dancing a
half mad
all curvish
each blindly
kindly entwining

filaments feeling
each one
sparking embers
always remembered
that first
bursting truth

of his lips
on mine
infinitely defined
amid the sublime
and all that's divine
like a star
at its birth
all joy and all mirth
this starlight infusion
this fiery confusion
that settles upon
us and finally
brings us
to the

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gluten-Free, Day One

All I want is pasta and garlic bread.

A Selfie to Start the New Year

New Year's Resolutions 2014: Simplify

Before going into the goal setting business for the new year, it's always good to look back at the year past for perspective. 2013 burst at the seams. It was complicated. It was messy. I did things that scared the frell out of me. It set things in motion that will change our lives forever.

I keep trying to look at 2013 objectively, trying to find simple phrases to sum it up, but it is not working. The biggest news is that I fell in love. We started dating one year ago New Year's Day, and I resisted falling the way a Gladiator would fend off an onslaught of lions. It didn't work, and I fell. As with an onslaught of lions, I got gnawed upon along the way. You can't fall in love and remain unscathed.

In March of last year, in the throes of being in love, I realized that I needed to make some choices if I wanted to move forward with this new and important relationship. I went through my phone and Facebook to purge all the contact information for every person who ever broke my heart. I'd been trapped in the Phantom Ex loop with too many guys for too long, and it was time to put an end to it. I did, and I feel better. Again, it felt complicated and painful, but it's not really. It's about simplifying.

Maybe that should be the focus this year: Simplify. I'll keep that in mind as I'm writing this year's goals.

Other things that happened this past year: We lost our lovely Beast kitty to cancer. Matt and I held him in our arms until he drew his last breath. Beast purred until the moment his heart stopped, leaving this life as he lived it, a giver of love and comfort. Katrina and I traveled to Europe and Big Bend, and got paid for our photography and the story of our trips. My new boyfriend and I jumped out of a plane, climbed mountains, kayaked rivers, and drove all over the state of Colorado. I said goodbye to the best group of students I've ever taught. My first group of students, including my amazing student teacher, graduated from high school.

Professionally, things are complicated. I'm unhappy with the state of our education system. I love to teach, I love my students, but I feel that I'm not really teaching. More and more, I'm a remedial reading teacher, when my focus in eighth grade should be writing and literature. It's too much to illuminate here because I could get seriously bogged down. I will say that Katrina told me in October that she feels if I don't change professions soon, she feels this one will kill me. Not literally kill me, she said, but spiritually. My daughter is ever-astute.

Which brings me to another passion, one I've neglected in 2013. I wrote almost nothing all year. Until August, when I wrote a travel article about cruising the Mediterranean, I had written perilously little. No poems for Poem A Day, no NaNoWriMo, no fanfiction, nothing. My novel languished untouched. Finally, in December, I wrote two chapters on The Single (Dating) Mom and another travel article about Big Bend. This is definitely something I need to remedy in 2014.

Enough, then, with the review; let me get down to business. Simplify, dammit! Simplify.

Personal Resolutions

Travel – We rocked on this goal. We wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise, and we did. This trip was not as carefree and poignant as London, Paris, New York, or Glasgow. We struggled with spending money the whole time, an issue that didn't trouble us much in previous trips. I'll just say that nothing—and I mean nothing, not even water— is free on a cruise ship. Another thing – the airport in Italy is a nightmare within a nightmare. The only good that came of the riot we endured (Not kidding here; we were trapped in a riot) was that of 500 angry travelers, only my fourteen-year-old child kept her head and tried to find a solution. It taught her that she truly is as exceptional as we've been telling her all along. 

The trip wasn't all bad, though. We were up all manner of mischief in Rome and Pompeii, we lived like queens in Barcelona, and had dinner with strangers in Amsterdam. We also swam with octopus in the sparkling waters of Dubrovnik. So we did have our moments.

In addition to our Mediterranean trip, Katya and I went to Big Bend with our family, and Aaron and I went on an epic road trip to Colorado. I feel like my feet never touched the ground all summer long.

This year's travel goal combines work and travel. We want to go to South Korea. There's more to this, and I can't go into it fully for various reasons, but this one's going to be enormous. As I told Aaron today, I've never dreamed a dream so big before. He said, “Yes you have. You just haven't realified one this big yet.”

In addition to this, Katya has goals of her own. She is going to Boston alone for four days in April, and then will spend a week in New York for a screenwriting workshop in June. Big, big plans for our intrepid travelers.

Television and media – So last year, I mentioned that we've supplanted TV with social media sites, particularly Facebook and tumblr. This is true, but I don't know yet if I'm going to set goals to limit them. The only thing I need to be aware of is that the hours I spend on tumblr and Facebook could be better put to use writing or doing research for travel. I'll just resolve to be more mindful of my time.

Reading Goal – Ye heavens, I love this goal. It's the one solid thing I've got. This is the fourth year running that I've upped my game in reading. In 2013, I read 46 books, meeting my goal. In 2012, I read 42. In 2011, it was 40. This year, I'm aiming for 50, which will bring my life total to 512 books.

Health Resolutions

All right, this year, I did something I did not believe possible in the health category. I ran a mile in 6 minutes and 28 seconds. I ran a 5K in 47 minutes, and a 10K in 98 minutes. I started a Plan with goals and strength training. It was awesome. Until... November kills my workout schedule. Every year, the time change throws everything out of whack. I become a lazy, carb-hungry grumpy Mama who only wants to sleep and watch re-runs of Buffy.

So it's January now, and I'm going back to my Plan. That, plus the Paleo diet and my health goals will continue as they had last year: maintain, be healthy, work out, and run. I've devised a monthly goal system based on the number of times I run and work out. This continues to be successful, so I'm keeping with it. I'll try to post results here, too. 

Career Resolutions

I already mentioned that I did not write last year. I did get published and paid for writing, though, so that's a step up. This year, I need to explore the possibility of self-publishing Reprieve. I also want to encourage Katya to write more and find some place to publish her stories, poems, and songs. She's old and savvy enough to begin this process on her own, especially since I suck at it. Truly.


So last year, I mentioned in my summary that I had not been particularly fearless in 2012. Therefore, in 2013, I vowed to follow Neil Gaiman's advice to take more risks. Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for. Life was a tilt-a-whirl, and I went for a wild, wild ride. I was less agoraphobic, less neurotic, still a cat-marm, and I've still managed to wear the letters of the keys of my new Lappy's keyboard. The comfort zone has narrowed and may soon be nonexistent.

Am I happy? Yes. I am happy, in a different way from two years ago. I think back to the summer of 2012, of all those hours resting on the front patio, dreaming and dreaming of love and creativity and far-off places. Life is fantastic and my imagination is bursting.

So here we go once more into the breach:
  1. Travel – South Korea, Boston and New York for Katya
  2. Be more mindful of social media usage
  3. Reading – 50 Books
  4. Fitness – Continue the Paleo life, continue running, continue Nerd Fitness
  5. Writing – Write on, ever on. Self-publish? Maybe?

Happy New Year, Everyone. May 2014 be blessed!