Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fast Food Revised



Since I've been working my time in the kitchen has been greatly reduced. There is a part of me that doesn't mind and also a part of me that has missed my soulful, culinary cre8tions! I worked full time, with two children for 9 years. When Pryce came along my dream was to be able to stay home full time. It was an easy decisions though I deeply missed the social aspects of my teaching career. All moms are working moms. Period! If you are a mom, you work and most of the time it is not just in one place or one job, there are many. I knew rejoining the work force would greatly expand and shift my perception and alas, I was not let down.

I've felt slightly guiltly for the abundance of convenince food that we've been consuming so I whipped out the knife and baking sheet and went to town on three large sweet potatoes. I've wanted to try this out for a while now though I needed to be home for more than one hour to pull it off! Food can be fast or at least can seem that way if you cook it slowly while you are attacking other chores. The only labor intensive aspect of making roasted sweet potato chips was peeling, slicing and seasoning the goods. I did this about as soon as I walked in the door so by the time I was done helping with homeworking, moving laundry, reorganizing the kichen, clearing some counter space, packing lunches and walking the dogs, our tasty, wholesome meal would be ready! Within an hour we could all smell the delicious aroma of olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg covered sweet potatoes coming from the oven. Pop them out, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and voila......Fast Food Revised. At least it seems fast since I was occupied with other chores!

I am seeing things from a different view this month and has become clear that if I were working outside the home full time, I would be spending a lot more money on convenience foods and services. I don't think I would be saving much of my income because the first thing I would do is pay someone else to clean my house! I haven't had the slightest energy to do so myself! I would also be eating out as much as possible and buying more packages, mre's. It takes time, creativity and a heck of a lot of energy to run a household and hold down a job! Though I appreciate and welcome the added dollars in my bank account I can see a lot of old, unsupportive spending habits have croped up; "yes, go ahead and bring me a Jimmy John's sandwich and those tasty salt and vinegar chips, I don't feel like cooking tonight!" or "hey kids, want some hot dogs and spaghetti-o's again tonight?" or "just leave the mail on the counter, I'll sort through it....... next year..........." yes. I would become very lax in my home-keeping, child-rearing, and culinary skills if my energies were spent outside of these luscious walls! I understand more of what living to work or working to live means!

I have several intentions in mind for the windfall of income that I'll be getting (if you really know what teacher's get paid, you'll see the humor in those words!) Every bit helps though and after February, my Journey expenses on the credit card will be knocked out. Victory! So while my paying job ends, I see a lot more work opportunities piling up; sadly the payment is only my emotional satisfaction for checking off one more item on my to do list. Oh well, at least we'll be eating well again!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not So Driven


I am the first to admit that I have great plans and great schemes for my future but I don’t see myself as a “driven person” or someone who is on a mission. My goal is to simply enjoy life and find happiness in everyday living. I am easily motivated and have lots of passions and projects that excite me but I’m not a fan of drama or complications. I love creating and crafting, I have fun finding new uses for old things. I have many, many experiences that I am ready to embrace and lots of places to go, people to see and goals to achieve, but that feels like its all on a little sabbatical at the moment. Sleep has become one of my secret fantasies, and sitting on the couch with my feet up just about makes me quiver. My busy schedule and the continual juggling of responsibilities leaves me fantasizing about a few things; what would it be like to spend an entire day reading or knitting or ...........? Well I can’t say that on here, my children could read this someday! Since I feel like I’ve been moving at the speed of light, I’ll just say I am ready to sit for a spell with little to do.

I get that there will always be chores around here. The laundry never ends, the dishes continue to get dirty, kids need fed, animals need tended to, kids need fed, husband needs help outside, kids need fed, the dogs make messes to clean up, kids need fed, socks need washed, groceries need bought and put away………you get the idea. I think this cowgirl is ready for a real retreat somewhere in the mountains or by the beach, maybe back at Yellowstone Lake, any place where the only thing I have to do is get up and smile or maybe not get up until noon! (now that is really turning me on!)

I love my day job but I know that it will end in the not so distant future. Working outside the home is giving me a broader perspective of what I want to do when I am no longer getting up at the crack of dawn to walk dogs, feed kids, throw in a load of laundry, tidy up the kitchen and then spend the day teaching and pick up where I left off at 7:45 am! Hummm....... I wonder what I should do next? What fun project is waiting ‘round the bend? Gosh there I go again, I can’t help it, motivation is there, its just a little hidden! I guess it doesn’t matter much since all I want to do right now is a little bit of nothing. Bring on the campfires, tunes, friends, food and fun. I think I’ll start there.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Picking Up Where We Left Off



I forget sometimes that progress is gradual. It takes a while to get where we want to go. Maybe road blocks and delays are just ways of ensuring that what we are asking for is really what we want. I find that sometimes I want something so bad that it is all I think about. I also find that the more I want it and harder I search for it, the more elusive it can become. Its usually when I forget about it, let it go or become distracted by some other quest or drama that what I was obsessing about comes right through. I am speaking mainly of my craft room but there are a few other things that could apply too!

I have become pretty disctracted with other events and details in my life right now so I haven't really spent much time in the basement, or in my craft room. I've dreamed about this magical room for years! It was very near fruition last year though the time line for an available handy man ended; rodeo season arrived, cows went to grass, wells didn't work, fences didn't hold and our time, energy and focus literally went out the door. My creative juices were directed toward keeping a garden alive, canning and writing a newsletter to name a few.

We did use the space for wrapping Christmas presents and I've done a couple of scrapbook pages but really haven't done much else. Its become a catch all, everything from games to books to papers to whatever has gotten tossed in. I figured I'd get to it eventually. All that creative drive, obsession, push-to-get-it done, just fizzled. Today, it was the last thing on my mind, what I most wanted was a nap, a glorious afternoon nap and.........I got it.

I woke up to the sound of a saw outside! A few hours later, I have half of the wood flooring in the craft room in! It looks great too. I think I've found my new favorite place in the home, that is after I go through the process of cleaning and reorganizing it, once again.

I find it funny that when I finally just let go of what I was hoping to accomplish, released the resistance and time line, it came through pretty darn effortlessly. Maybe that attached garage is just around the corner? Ok. I won't push it tonight.

If anyone is in the mood to scrapbook, knit, sew or chat, come on by, we have a really cool room to work in!
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sensing Home


Today was the 2nd day of 2nd grade and a milestone as I finally DID NOT hit the slump around 2 pm that has plagued me for the last week (even before I started teaching again). I've been excessively tired of late and part of it may be due to the change in my diet and now the regular meal times. I don't remember ever eating on time for the past, oh say, 11 years! I often put off eating or eat after my family does or clean up one more thing or do one more errand before I sat down to have my meal. It feels almost like I am becoming a............clock watcher! gasp! Ok, its me. I don't think any of us really belive that will happen for the spirit that lives in this body but I am putting up a gallant effort.

I did notice the classroom feels a lot more like home than I thought it would and the kids are to be given credit. They've all opened their little hearts and welcomed me in, so much that I almost feel like I am a 5'8" second grader! They are all so sharp and so excited to learn. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. Being with children who naturally have positive, innocent perspectives is, I must say, a breath of fresh air. I don't feel I've become cynical or negative, its just easy to realize that we can get into a habit of fear and worry and all the other things that come with being an adult. Personally, I've forgotten how fun it is to do science experiments or write silly stories just for the sake of a really good giggle. (Let me tell you, the BEST gigglers in the world, have to be in second grade!) It is easy to loose our inner child in the rush of each day, working sometimes just to keep our heads above water. And after a while, it's just not any fun. I am learning a lot in a short time and making each day count. I appear to be the teacher but I think we all know (short ones included!) that this is just one big learning experince for ALL of us. Already I am remembering what it is about being a child that I miss; the magic of reading, the wonder of words, the unknown, fantastic experinces that are just waiting for me to find and best of all, friends. The joy of human connection is one of the most precious and important gifts that any day offers. A smile, a hug, a handshake, a high-five are all excellent ways to boost someone else's day, and your day to boot. Suffice to say, I feel at home in the classroom again.

Tonight I posted a picture of my favorite new gadget. My best friend, Ann, gifted me a Scentsy burner for Christmas. The pottery piece is lovely in and of itself, though what really made my heart swell was how good it feels to walk in and smell the delicious aroma of "Baked Apple Pie". I have been so busy during the day and at nights getting ready for the next day that I really haven't done a lot of home cookin'. Eventhough we were super busy again tonight, home to do chores, walk dogs, grab a quick bite before the ball game, as soon as I smelled the wonderful "home smell", my body/being shifted into a lower gear, mmmmmmmmmmm! That hit the spot and even was calorie free!

As I wind down tonight, I realize that I really have come home, not just in the classroom or here in my personal sanctuary. I feel like I just may be hitting my stride on the inside too. That's a brave thing to say, even as I write it, I can feel just a tad bit of hesitation. Maybe I am growing up enough to say that I finally feel at home being me?! I like who I am becoming and I am certainly enjoying the journey more and more. I still have questions about where this ol life is headed and what I am going to be doing three months from now! But that can wait, can't it? I have some really cool kids to hang out with and keep me entertained until March!

I turn in tonight feel fully blessed.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

My New Daytime Home


This picture was taken on the first day of school, you know, way back in August when it was plush, green and WARM! I had forgotten just how beautiful it looked and how much I didn't appreciate those warm sunny rays that I basked in!

I've started my first full day as a substitute teacher. I love stepping back into the classroom and have to say that I will also enjoy stepping out again, when the time presents itself! I adore kids and the miracle of watching them learn and grow, though today I realize that it takes a lot of energy to fuel this process. I have a renewed perspective for teachers and for moms that pull multiple shifts, (what mom doesn't?!) What I am saying is that I have no idea how I did this for nine years? I am pathetically "out of shape" when it comes to a structured day! This new routine is getting many aspects of my life aligned. The boys helped make supper tonight, creatively carved out of leftovers (no one complained because they didn't have to eat soup a.k.a. "food of the devil" to them. Lunches are prepared for tomorrow and no housework or floors have been touched. I am finding my solace in writing. One of the talents I hope to bring to the classroom is my love of reading and writing. I am working with 2nd graders so there is unlimited potential for creative stories.

Much of my big plans and ideas for the year appear to be on hold. I am still looking at getting a milk goat, maybe two. I will be planning my garden, ordering heirloom varieties and big breath here............hoping my chicken coop is just around the corner! I want 2010 to be the year I finally get to have chickens on the ol' Rafter Lazy H! Wow. Big news huh? Don't worry, I'll keep writing!
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Almost Time



Well folks the new around here is how freakin cold it is! Wow. A friend of mine did a little research and found that while we were freezing our buts off here in good ol Nebraska, Anchorage was a balmy 30 degrees yesterday. Yeah…………we’d take 30 today!

Sice I last wrote I've been on a marathon cleaning and reorganization spree. The top half of the home is now in much better shape, still trying to get motivated to get the bottom in order. Like my body, I am amazed at just how quickly my environment can get out of shape. I could blame it on the weather and winter and the fact that there are 5 people and two dogs roaming around but I notice that it seems to become just as messy in the other three seasons.........sigh.

The "get my butt in gear and get organized" mode comes every year after the holidays and espeically this year. My back to school gig is about to begin. I am blessed with the opportunity to spend two months with second graders. Though I've stepped away from the class room full time I do substitute on occassion. My friend, who happens to be my son's teacher is just about to have her baby; it's almost time for my outside job to begin. I went in yesterday for the morning and I was wipped out by noon. I come home exhausted and wondering I how did this every day for nine years?

Instead of doing the rest of the laundry and diving into more projects I was instantly drawn to my corner of the living room to carve out a little comfort in my day. With my new pooch and the old (trained) one, my knitting, and cafe mocha I stole about 20 minutes before the boys barged in the door. Super heros they are, they lasted a lot longer than I did AND they had smiles on their faces. I'm striving for that. I have to say I am a bit nervous. My bedtime is going to come a lot sooner and I suspect my organization skills will strengthen, they have to. I am sure that I will walk away with a whole new apprecation for the comforts of home. I love working with people and especially children. I also love coming home at the end of the day and knowing there is a big cushy, warm bed ready for me to dive into.

So for today, let the wind blow, let it be as cold as the Arctic Circle, we can't fight the wind and weather but we can really appreciate the comforts of home and hearth. Snuggle down and stay warm with the ones you love.
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