Archive for the ‘relief’ Category

Yesterday I had a fantastic Saturday:

  • Zumba in the morning
  • Headed to Los Gatos to pick up our latest wine club offering at Flemming Jenkins with Ish.  We stayed for a free tasting, just because.
  • Lunch at Willow Street Pizza to have their amazing summer salad special – skirt steak with peaches and goat cheese on mixed greens with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum!!!
  • A quick trip to Benefit to buy some new lipsticks.
  • A trip to Walmart to look for workout clothes – more about this on Bella on the Beach.

I was gone from 1:20pm to 6pm.  I was so tired when I got home, but as soon as I drove into the driveway, I noticed that my back door was open.  Not just unlocked, but OPEN!

At first I thought someone had broken in, so I quickly went through the duplex and saw that nothing was out of place.  (Well nothing that I hadn’t left out of place to begin with).

Which means that I left for hours without locking my door!!!  Stupid!!!!

I know exactly what happened, thinking back.  I was running late to meet Ish and I was trying to put the windguard up in the back of the convertible so that I could have the top down on the freeway without ruining my hair.  I couldn’t get the darn thing up (gotta read the manual) and I finally said, “F-it, I’m so late as it is, I need to go NOW.”  I remember putting the windguard in my little pantry area, and I thought I closed the door, but I definitely don’t remember locking the deadbolt.  One of the “tricks” with my back door is that it doesn’t close unless you really pull it.  I must’ve thought that I did, but I obviously didn’t.  When I looked at it, the bottom lock was “locked,” but that doesn’t really work unless the door is closed.

The thing is, I always lock my doors.  Always.  Always have.  Growing up, we lived in a really affluent area of the city with a very small crime rate, but we always locked the doors as soon as we came in the house.  Even in the middle of the day when we were all home.  I continue that habit at my own house, and always have.  Better safe than sorry.

Now what’s heart-warming about what happened yesterday is that even though my house was wide open and asking for someone to come in and steal the many valuable and expensive things I own, no one took a thing.  I live in a neighborhood that has a ton of foot traffic, much of it by homeless types who look like they’ve just gotten out of some sort of halfway house.  Some of them look crazy (literally), but they’re generally harmless.  Still, I make sure to keep things locked up, because you never know. It was such a relief to know that no one came in and took anything.  People respected the house.

I’ve always felt safe at home, and now I know that I truly am. That said, I still plan on locking the doors, just to be sure.


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Ever since I started my weight loss blog, I’ve been writing much less frequently on this one.  Because weight loss is my main focus (almost like a part-time job), it makes sense that I have more to write about that topic than any other.  Still, sometimes I feel badly that this blog, the one I started blogging with, gets pushed back to second-class citizen status.

One thing that seems appropriate to write about here is how I’ve been doing on my quest to “get a life.”  Last August, I wrote a post where I vowed to take back my life and stop living to work instead of just working to live.

I’m happy to report that I am now a reformed workaholic.

It wasn’t easy.  At first I felt like I was really sloughing off on my duties at work.  “I really should go to the play this weekend.” “The students would really like it if I went to that football/basketball/soccer game,” etc.  Instead of feeding into this guilt trip I was laying on myself, I just said no.  I took myself off of the numerous committees I had been serving on and kept only those that I felt were the most important.

Did I feel like I was out of the loop?  Yes.  Did I crave being “in the know” the way I was when I served on lots of different committees and attended tons of school events?  Sure, sometimes.  But that feeling of being slightly out of the dialed in group was well worth the time and energy I found now that I wasn’t spending so much time and effort at work.

It was a strange year for me because CTLB, my best friend at school and one of my best friends in life, left.  I felt a lot lonlier than I had in the past 4 years, when were were “joined at the hip.”  But before you start feeling too sorry for me, I do have an amazing group of friends at school, and we all eat lunch together every day, so it’s not like I sit alone in my classroom and grade papers while I eat a stale sandwich.  (That would never, ever be me, by the way).  We also had a new principal this year, and that made for a lot of changes.  Good changes, but still, there were a lot of things going on this year that left me feeling out of sorts a lot of time time.

But my life outside of the work day was fantastic!  I found that I had tons of free time, and I used it to try new activities, reach out to old friends and make some new ones, spend lots more time with my family, and just enjoy myself by doing whatever I wanted to do – riding my bike, reading a great (or trashy) book, watching movies, cooking, etc.

It seemed idyllic until the school said they were looking for someone to teach a “summer school after school” class.  I saw dollar signs and knew that if I taught the class I would have the money I needed for a down payment on my new car AND I wouldn’t have to work this summer.  So, beginning after February break, I gave up 60 hours+ of free time and taught the class.  (This may not sound like a lot, but this is on top of teaching 5 other classes.  Not to mention grading and prepping for 6 classes).  It is something that I’m glad I did (for the money), but will never do again.  It’s just not worth giving up that much of my life.

All in all, I loved having my life back.  I felt like I was a better teacher because I could look at things from a well rested, happy point of view.  I plan on doing more of the same this coming school year.  Actually, it should be even better because I’m only teaching one honors class, which will dramatically cut down on my paperload.  Can’t wait.

Ok, enough writing, time to get out there and LIVE!

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Lately, I’ve been hearing that question a lot.  This is the first summer where I haven’t signed up to work, and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m looking forward to actually getting one of the full benefits of teaching – an entire 2-month period of time off.

My mom in particular is worried that I’ll get bored.  She knows me too well, because when I get bored, I start to spend money.  What better way to ebb boredom than to go shopping, right?  Well, not this summer.

This summer I plan to do nothing.

And by “nothing,” I mean that the plan is no plan. Nothing too specific. Mornings spent reading the newspaper while sipping coffee. Walking. Working out. Swimming. Biking. Lots if activity & focus on weight loss. Keeping the house super clean and organized. Feeling like every day is a Saturday, even when it’s Tuesday.  Thursday morning WW meetings. Seeing friends. Buying produce and flowers from the farmers market every Friday. Overusing my Netflix queue. Music in the Park. Cooking healthy, delicious meals for myself every day. Laying in the sun reading a captivating book. Shopping, but trying not to spend too much $.  Starlight Cinema.  Buying a new car in August when my current lease is up.  (I’m thinking a VW Beetle convertible would suit me perfectly).  A tiny bit if tweaking my current curriculum. And lots and lots of writing on this blog and BellaOnTheBeach.

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

— Henry James

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2008 was quite a year, wasn’t it?  So many challenging things occurred around the world and here at home, but we made it through.  Some of us just barely, but we ARE here to live again another day.

Personally, 2008 was a pretty good year for me.

  • I started on a serious weight loss journey that involved trying the South Beach Diet, medically supervised fasting, Medifast, and finally Weight Watchers.  I lost a lot of weight, but more than that, I gained a whole new perspective about how I wanted to live my life.  I decided I wanted to live in a healthier, happier way.
  • I graduated with my Masters in Educational Leadership in May.
  • I bought a beach cruiser and rediscovered how much I love riding my bike.  It doesn’t really matter what the destination is; it just makes me feel happy to feel the rush of wind as I pedal as fast as I can, or slowly cruise by.  I love looking at life and the things around me at a bit of a slower pace than normal.  It’s like I’m taking time to breathe when I’m on my bike.
  • I went to CTLB’s wedding in Connecticut in August, and I was able to travel all over Massachusetts (Cape Cod, Boston, etc).  It was a trip I had been looking forward to for at least a year and half, and it was awesome.  I can’t wait to go back to  visit CTLB and her new hubby at their new place in Southie (South Boston).
  • I made sure that my life had more balance.  I left work at work, which was HUGE for me.  Never before in my life have I had the sense that work is just work (although I love it), but that there is so much more to life than your profession.  I am still working towards figuring out how to define myself past what I do, but I know that will come in time.
  • I started cooking for myself. All the time.  Delicious, healthy dinners.  And along the way, I discovered that I not only enjoy cooking, but that I’m really good at it.  I can’t wait to try out a bunch of new recipes (at least 1 a week) in 2009.  (I’ll be writing about those on Bella on the Beach, if you want to check them out).
  • I started reading again in earnest, once I no longer had grad school books to read.  I’ve borrowed a ton of books from the library since May, and truly, it has been one of my greatest pleasures.  I even started a book club with some friends, something I had always wanted to do.  I really like the discussions we’ve had about the book choices.  Plus, it’s a great excuse to get a wonderful group of ladies together for an afternoon.
  • I organized my life.  Top to bottom.  Floor to ceiling.  I feel in control, at ease, and happy.

Even with all of the positive things that happened to me in 2008, I am really looking forward to 2009 even more.  I have a terrific feeling about this upcoming year.  For myself personally, I think it’s going to be MY year, filled with many new triumphs and discoveries, capped off in October with my 20th high school reunion.  But thinking in a more global sense, 2009 means change.  Change in political leadership in our country, change in our perspective about how we should live our lives, and change in the way we deal with nations and people around the globe.

Tonight, New Year’s Eve, I am a bit sad that I don’t have that traditional “date,” but I know all good things will come in time.  HE is out there, I just have to wait and not settle for the Mr. Maybes of the world who might distract me from HIM.

As we welcome 2009 tomorrow, what is the thing you’re most looking forward to?

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I had told myself that there was no way that I was going to go out with the masses yesterday to go shopping, no matter how good the deals were at the mall.  Instead, I stayed home, all warm and snuggly, and did some online shopping.

And by “some,” I mean A LOT!  I got gifts for everyone on my list except my parents.  I don’t know why, but those two are always the most difficult people to buy for.  I think part of it is that they’re always so generous with my sister and me, and I want to make sure to give them gifts they’ll really enjoy.  Of course, they’d appreciate any gift I give them, but I want to make sure to find them that special thing.

I don’t want to mention the gifts that I got, because most of the people I bought for read this blog, but let’s just say, I think they’ll all be pleased.

I feel so good to know that almost all of it is done already.  Now all I have to do is wait for the items to arrive and wrap them.

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One of the perks of being a teacher is having long weekends and other vacations from time to time.  This weekend was one of those times.  Unlike so many of my friends and family who won’t be getting even 1  day off for Veteran’s Day, I got 2.

So what have I done with my glorious 4-day weekend so far, you ask?  Not a whole lot of anything.  Which is exactly what I needed.

It seems that for the past month, every day of every weekend has been jam-packed with parties, dinners, events, etc.  Which is all fun and great and everything, but once in a while it’s nice to just be at home doing NOTHING.

Well, not nothing, exactly.  So far this weekend I’ve:

  • Completely reorganized my closet to move out my warm weather clothes and replace them with cool weather ones.  The problem with this is that I don’t have a whole heck of a lot of clothes that fit me anymore.  But this is a good thing!  It means I’m quite a bit smaller than I was last year at this time, which is exciting.  I have quite a bit of clothes that I’m thinking of swapping/giving to someone.
  • Done a ton of laundry.  I had so much to do that the washer and dryer have been on for the past two days, practically without end.
  • Finally finished reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.  It was supposed to be my book club book that we were going to meet and talk about last Sunday, but since no one had finished it yet, we put off the meeting until this Wednesday.  The only probably is that now AM and I are the only ones who can meet. If you’re looking for a good, long book you can sink your teeth into, this is the one.  I absolutely loved it.
  • Spent too much time and too much money on QVC.  I really don’t order things from QVC ever, but somehow I got on some list that sends me emails about when Bare Escentuals or Philosophy is going to be featured on air.  Saturday night happened to be when Bare Escentuals was on, and being such an admirer of their cosmetics, I had to tune in.  I ended up buying a great holiday collection of colors for a really good price.  And I ended up getting some Amazing Grace items as well.  (These weren’t featured, but I started clicking on QVC.com and, well, $70 later….).  I have to say, it’s DANGEROUS!  They make everything sound so good that you’re tempted to buy way more than you should.  Thank goodness for “easy pay” and for the fact that I’m smart enough to only buy products that I know I love.  Otherwise I could’ve gotten into even more trouble.
  • Begun grading some essays.  Yes, I know, I said that with my new plan, I wouldn’t need to bring any work home.  Well, the plan has been working really well, but I have gotten a bit backed up with essays because I have an essay on The Crucible and then we also had a district-wide writing assessment in the same week, so I’ve had 6 sets of essays to grade.  I figure taking one day of this 4 day weekend to grade isn’t so bad.  Plus, it helps so that next weekend (the weekend before grades are due) I’m not so stressed.
  • Almost finished Thin is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel.  I have mixed reviews so far for this book.  There are parts I love and can totally relate to, and then there are parts where I feel she has completely overshared.  And that’s saying something, coming from me.  I’ve been accused of “oversharing” myself.  Overall, though, I’m glad I’ve been reading it, and I’m equally as glad that I got it from the library rather than paying for it.
  • Caught up on all my t.v. shows.  Last week was such a crazy week that I hadn’t really watched any of my normal shows.  I had episodes of Desparate Housewives, Gossip Girl, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty, and Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style to watch.  Now, many of you may be saying, “you watch too many shows,” and you’re completely right.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.  🙂

The plan for the rest of today is to finish grading, finish the laundry, go to the grocery store, and get in a workout.  Tomorrow I’m meeting my sister to go shopping and have lunch, since she has tomorrow off.

It’s been so nice to feel like I’ve had enough time to get everything done.  October was such a long, busy month that it’s nice to be in November, when we get two longer breaks.  Finally a bit of breathing room.

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I don’t think I can put into words the overwhelming feelings of joy, hope, and happiness I’m feeling right now.  Today America made history by electing Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.  I felt empowered to vote for the only person who can lead our country out of the depths of dispair and into a new time of hope.

I know that Obama’s road ahead will not be an easy one for so many reasons, not the smallest among them being the color of his skin.  But for tonight, in this moment, I just want to revel in this victory.

The fact that Obama won in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania shows that we as Americans truly believe in the change that he has emblazoned within our hearts.

I know that now, with this great man as our leader, we can change our country for the better.  I know we will rise to the challenges ahead, filled with the optimism that comes with this new day. I know that we can achieve the American dream, and prepare a better future for our children.

I have never been prouder to be an American.


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