Snow Storm!!

It is snowin' and blowin' out there!  I just went out to shovel a path to my truck and there was more than two feet of snow... granted some of that is drifts, but still, A LOT of snow... the plow truck has made quite a snowbank... I just got an email from the condo association leader to see if I am comfortable moving my vehicle so they can plow... I think it would be a smart idea to have them come do the parking lot now and then come again tomorrow... there is a lot... fortunately it is light and fluffy snow, so it is a little easier to shovel.  I will go out in a while and shovel out some of my neighbors... I didn't have to go to school today (Yahoo!)  and while I should have been doing school stuff... I have been packing boxes... I have packed quite a bit already... packing because I am going to be moving this spring at some point... hoping to move into a house that I buy, but may have to rent again because my landlord is selling this place and while I like living here, it is not a place I want to buy.  So I am trying to pack up my non essential stuff... today I packed up some craft supplies as well as board games and my fancy glasses (wine and margarita glasses)...cookbooks...and a few other things... doing it a little at a time is a good thing for me... I am contemplating packing up a lot of my kitchen stuff.. leaving out enough glasses/plates for sharing dinner with a couple friends, some pots/pans and bowls... but could pack up some of the other stuff... it will be fun to unpack everything because I am sure I will have forgotten some of the stuff I have.  I am trying to empty out/pack up things from places (Like the draws and cupboards in my hutch) so that I don't have to do it in a rush... my guest room is 90% packed up... I am going to leave most things on my walls because I don't have a safe place to store the large pictures and paintings and because I still want to feel good living here.  ..those are things I can hopefully move myself, carefully... but will have movers do the rest... I am also trying to pack a lot so that if I don't get a house right away I can put some stuff in storage and rent a smaller cheaper place until I do buy a place... I need to do some work in my basement... I have a few shelves down there that I want to take apart and take to the dump... they have gotten a little mildew on them from being in the basement... I would also like to take almost everything out of the basement so that when I move it's easier... I will leave my bike, Christmas decorations, and gardening stuff (That I have not used here) in the basement for the movers to move... because I don't have another great place to put that stuff... I also need to throw away some of my old teaching stuff... still hard to let go of the stuff I created to help kids... but I am not going back to the classroom...

So.. an update... the last post shared that I was worried that pvns is back in my left knee... I still have that fear... but I also have found that being more active and doing some of my old physical therapy exercises has helped... a lot.  I am averaging 3 to 4 miles a day of walking at work (about 1.2 miles is the morning walk I do before school starts) and some days I manage to do over 5 miles... that, combined with eating differently I am feeling better... I am optimistic about my knee feeling better... but will keep an eye on it and will likely end up back in Boston to see my doctor, but hoping to put that off for a while... Don't worry Dad, I won't wait until it is unbearable!  I am doing well with it... just keeping it in the front of my mind and easing myself into the idea of having to have another MRI and if pvns is back, what that would mean...

Work... it continues to be an interesting year.  There continues to be new learnings on a daily basis... I haven't written as much here about work... mainly because by the time I get home I need to separate myself from it... but I continue to be happy with what I am doing and see myself continuing in this role for a while. 

I hope that other folks in the northeast part of the country are staying safe and warm...


Is it back?

I said it out loud to a couple of my friends on New Year's Eve...and had shared it with Michael via text... but haven't posted anything about it here... until now... My knee... my PVNS knee... has been bothering me... and I am scared... The truth of the matter is it has been hurting off and on since mid summer, but I have attributed it to many things... including my weight and inactivity.. which go hand in hand... It's a double edged sword as people with PVNS know... inactivity often makes your joint feel better, but does little to stay healthy... and being active to be/stay/get healthy makes the joint hurt...
I am not yet willing to say that PVNS is back in my knee.. in fact I am going to deny that possibility for a while... and do some... experimenting before I give in and make an appointment with a doctor.  (Yes, I know it would take some time to get into my Boston doc... but I am ok with that...) I said it out loud to my chiropractor the other day and she worked on my IT band and hamstring, and maybe it is psychological, but I think it felt a little better after that... then on Satuday I went to acupuncture for the first time and told the needle guy about it... and he supposedly addressed it in my session... I am not yet sure if that made any difference... but I think my left  hip (one of my always painful places since PVNS began, due to favoring that knee for so long...)  feels quite a bit better... even if it is psychological, the placebo effect, I'll take it...
So... I have decided to see if I can work with chiropractor and acupuncturist for a while and also add to that some of the physical therapy exercises I did before and after PVNS surgery and when I have worked out and done well with it, have done those exercises to maintain the strength in the muscles around my knee... and I think it helped...
I am guilty of not doing much to take care of myself physically in a while... and this is a good wake up call.  I went to the gym this morning and did a few miles on the bike, then did 15-20 minutes of physical therapy exercises for my legs/knees... and am hoping that will help... I am also going to walk each day before school for 30 minutes.  I have committed to my staff that I will do that, and I am going to honor that. 
So... PVNS may be back... or maybe it's the arthritis in my knee ... or maybe it's my inactivity... or a combination of any of the above... but... I am addressing it... just not immediately heading to the doctor... fingers crossed this will help...(and optimistic it will since it felt better after the chiro and hasn't blown up like a balloon since the gym this morning...)  not sure I can face a repeat surgery...


Happy New year of Course...

I was not one of the many people who chose to go out and celebrate the stroke of midnight with large crowds of people...but I did want to do something to celebrate the beginning of a new year and the end of another... I invited a few people over for dinner and a couple of rounds of the game Cards Against Humanity, which I had never played.  I had invited quite a  few people and had also posted an open invitation on my facebook page... mostly because I hate the idea of people who don't want to be alone on New Year's Eve to be alone on New Year's Eve... As it worked out it ended up being just four of us...(me, Jamie, Suellen, and Mike)  which meant great conversation, lots of laughter, and too much food.  One friend brought crock pot lasagna, which was very good, another brought buffalo chicken dip (one of my favorites!) and I had salad fixins, garlic bread, veggies and guacamole and a couple of desserts... It was nice to have a chance to sit and eat with Suellen and Jamie.  (Mike had to work, so he arrived later.)  I am lucky to have other women in my life who are the head of their households, who are professionally successful, and are wicked smart!  Each of us has overcome adversity... I am almost 40 remember, and these ladies are in the final few years of their thirties... so of course we have all faced some challenges! And.. we have all doubted ourselves, our choices, but (thinking of Maya Angelou) as we knew better, we did better... and we continue to do the best we can do... Mike arrived later and after he had some food we began playing Cards Against Humanity... Oh. My. Gosh!  If you want more information about this game, click here.  The best way I could describe it is Adult Mad Libs.... the kids version of Mad Libs involves one person asking the other people to give a random part of speech, which later gets placed into a story, and the random words make the story pretty funny.  Cards Against Humanity is similar, in that there is a 'prompt' that includes a blank or is a question. One person plays the random prompt card and the other people playing choose (from the ten 'answer' cards in their hand) which word or phrase would be the 'best' answer.  (The 'best' answer is chosen by the person who played the prompt card, so knowing the people you play with, their sense of humor, is an advantage.) The premade cards, that list the words or phrases, are often inappropriate... and sometimes the prompts are also inappropriate... you should have a twisted sense of humor to enjoy the game... and comfort with the people you play with also helps! 
Here's an example (I will try to keep it somewhat tame...)
Prompt Card: 
      What's the next Happy Meal toy?
Here are a few random words/phrases that may be played: 
     - An Ugly Face
     - Tom Cruise
     - Dead Parents
     - Morgan Freeman's voice
     - Pictures of boobs

Another prompt:
     During sex, I like to think about ___________.
 Here are a few random words/phrases that may be played: 
     -natural selection
     - Michelle Obama's Arms
     -All you can eat shrimp for $4.99

Of course I chose some less controversial/raunchy answers, but it gives you an idea!  The game is recommended for people ages 17 + ... and should add a label: Playing with one's parents will be super awkward!  I definitely want to play again soon.  I also think having an even bigger group of people would be even better. 

Ok... so... At the beginning of a new year it is natural to reflect on 2014... In thinking about my 2014 a few highlights come to mind... my trips, Denver and Oregon... those trips are very significant to me, for many reasons... among them realizing that the miles between my Friends and I are irrelevant to our connections... Of course I wish I could spend more time with Rico and Michael, and hope to see them more in the future... Both of them were amazing hosts, generous, and helped me see parts of this country that are breathtakingly beautiful.  I am grateful.  those trips also helped me gain confidence in traveling, which I hope to do more... and also got me to do some things that involved facing my fears... I still say I had two near death experiences in Oregon...(The Astoria Tower and the ski lift!) And riding a horse was a lot of fun and takes a lot more coordination that it looks like in the movies!)  Another highlight... Time with my nephews... I was able to spend a week with them in February then two and a half weeks with them in the summer, plus a few visits in between.  I am lucky to have the connection with them I do.  They are amazing individuals and I am lucky to be a part of their lives as they figure out who they are and who they want to be.  They are so unique yet remind me so much of people in my family.  I got to go to NYC a couple of times to see great theater... I am in awe of people who can engage an audience the way people in the theater do... I love seeing shows there and love the diversity in NYC.  Kayaking, of course, is a highlight for me as well.  I love being on the water, love seeing wildlife, getting some good pictures, and allowing myself to disconnect.  I need to do that more, in the winter.. not kayak, but do things that help me disconnect from my day to day life, from work.  I hope to do that more in 2015, hoping to use art as a way to do that.  And.. a big, well, huge accomplishment for me in 2014, was paying off my student loans!  I am thrilled to have that monkey off my back! 
Of course the people in my life continues to be a highlight for me.  I have amazing people in my life.  I continue to be grateful that Betty and Jacey are a part of my family.  And I can say now...that when I go to visit Dad and Betty at the lake, I do feel like I am going home... My sister is doing so well, I love seeing her feisty spirit and am so proud of who she is, the parent she has become, that she takes time for herself and allows herself to lean on others. 

Of course the year had some difficult times... Some of my friends lost a parent in 2014... and my heart ached for them as they faced their new reality.. one of my friends continues to battle cancer... and I am grateful she has allowed me to spend some time with her and hope I get more time with her in the near future... My kids, my students, had some very difficult times... I only hope that they feel my support. 

So... hopes for the new year... well.. I am investigating buying a house... I need to move this spring as my landlord is going to sell this place and I would like to move out before it begins being showed... but that may not be possible... I would like to buy a place, but I need to see if that is feasible for me yet... I do not want to move into another rental just to move into a house...but it may have to be that way... I also hope to finish the kayaking book that is still in the works... I hope to have more social time, more fun, (perhaps a little romance?!)  and traveling would be nice, but will take a backseat to buying a house... for now... Professionally, I hope to reach out more to my community, to get parents more involved, and continue to advocate for what is right for kids. 

Happy New Year to my Family and Friends near and far...

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place