Companion Communication

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Unsplash

He’s texting and calls out, “spell upholstery please”

I answer, “u-p-h-o-l-s-t-e-r-y”

He asks for more –

a-d-r-e-n-a-l-i-n-e

h-a-l-l-e-l-u-j-a-h

d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s

Outside, the owls – a traveling pair – coo

I wonder if she has to spell for him, too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frivolity

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We have a natural tendency to be preoccupied with things and competition (Mine is better than yours, I make more than you, I’m good at this, what are you good at?)

But there comes a time when this comes to a natural conclusion (perhaps a little after adulthood), and can be replaced by something deeper: Finding your essence identity (spiritual dimension).

The material and form identities still exist, but they should no longer give you a sense of who you are.

Lighten up. It’s just form. You never cease being you and there’s no need to get excited or stressed about the forms that happen in your life.

(Eckhart Tolle)

If Only…

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The 15-year-old daughter says, “I want to start going to the gym.”

Incredulous, I ask, “Are you sure you want to go to the gym?”

“Well, I want the effects of going to the gym. Is there a pill out there that tastes like watermelon Jolly Rancher that will make me look like I work out?”

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror

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Stage I: Messy Art Journaling

 

Hey there, preening girl!

“beauty” is destined to flee

“Real You” will remain

 

About this poem: as I age and raise teenage daughters, I realize the stage where I was distracted by the issue of physical appearance played a “hyped up” role in identity.  All that time and energy directed toward something I was really not in control of could have been invested in cello playing, writing or reading a good book.

I’m also keenly aware that I still care more than I would like to – I exercise now with the goal of building and keeping muscle/strength but aesthetics still has some play in my intentions.

Our culture idolizes the young, which is silly because being young is fleeting and not based on wisdom or experience. It’s just dumb luck.

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestion

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This week’s suggestion is an overall recommendation to “go for it.” Stretch yourself. Take a risk. Invest money and time in yourself to be better.

I’ve been teaching for over 11 years and the subject of pursuing “National Board Certification” has come up multiple times. Each time, I dismissed it immediately, based on what I had heard as simply “extra work” for an empty title. But the people who have been saying that are people who did not pursue the NBCT. 

Recently, a colleague (who IS certified) spoke highly of the program. I attended two meetings this week and I’m now completely ALL IN. I’m going for it. I don’t even care about the title or the actual certification. It’s the process….the four modules will require me to create, re-create, and reflect on my teaching process with students and their parents. I have discovered a renewed sense of respect of the profession. Teachers create the certification process for NBCT. How refreshing: Teachers having control of an education program.

Yes, it it will require a huge time commitment. But it will be worth every minute to gain a heightened awareness of my teaching process: be the best teacher I’ve ever been, be able to mentor others, gain confidence and forge new friendships on district, state and national levels!

If there is something you’ve been considering, but worry about the time or expense, ask yourself, “What is the cost if I don’t do it?”

 

Some trivia: Did you know that although Arizona is often in the bottom 3 in terms of investment toward public schools, we rank anywhere from 12th to 16th in number of National Board Certified teachers in the nation? Teachers in AZ are working hard in their profession – despite the bum rap – for our students.

 

Security!

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From MS Tech

If you don’t have two-step verification on your email and social media accounts, I strongly encourage you to do it now! It’s an easy guard against fraud.  I realized that I have not done this because I my financial accounts have not been violated. But that’s dumb…why wait for it to happen?

If you have a Google account, go here: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/

Follow the directions. It’s easy!

On Facebook, go to Settings.

Under Security and Login, you’ll see:

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Click on edit and follow the directions. It’s easy and well worth the security you’ll have.

Adding another layer of security to your online accounts is free and easy. It will add just a few seconds to log in, but is nothing compared to the time and expense of recouping your identity and credit if breached.

 

 

 

I LOVE This…

“September 04, 2018 2:21 pm

One order of large fries with a side of Asian representation, please. Over the weekend, 21-year-old college student Jevh Maravilla noticed a lack of representation in the posters at his local McDonald’s. He then decided to take the matter into his own hands. Maravilla and friends took to creating a fake (yet incredibly professional-looking) McDonald’s advertisement featuring themselves, and get this: the faux poster went unnoticed for 51 days.”

 

From Hello Giggles

Bullet Journal and Financial Tips

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Thought I’d take a chance and be vulnerable. Share.

Above, my journal entry for yesterday and today.

Below, my financial tips that have helped my husband and me reach our goal of $1,000,000.

I know it’s totally taboo in America to talk about salary and net worth. But I really want to help people who struggle with money. 

I’m a teacher, for Pete’s sakes.

I don’t make a lot, but I also don’t spend a lot. I started my career in radio and I made $17,000 a year. I ate pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I developed a food allergy. Of course, I was unable to save for retirement during that time. I don’t have regrets: I met Gloria Steinem (she’s a goddess!), the lead singer of Simply Red (he was a jerk) and Lou Diamond Phillips (swoon)!  I befriended Steve, our Program Director, who encouraged me to be a writer. So, I don’t regret that year, but it was an entire year that I did not save or invest money.

My next job: administrative assistant in a money managing firm. Wow, did I learn a lot. I learned about stocks and investing and I started my 401K.

There are two things I recommend you do ASAP:

  1. Start a financial spreadsheet with every asset you own…how much you own. Also, keep track of your debt (credit cards, mortgage, etc.) and make a plan to pay them off immediately.
  2. Another Must Do: start an IRA. Contribute to your company’s 401K.

If you can, find an excellent financial advisor. We did this and I attribute much of our success and wealth to him. You’ll need to do research and be financially savvy. NEVER simply hand over your finances to someone. ALWAYS know what is going on with your money! And don’t be shy about telling him/her what you want to sell and what you want to purchase.

Owe Vs. Own

Guess which one you want to grow?

Maybe you have a lot of debt. Maybe you have no debt but very little savings. Whatever you dream for yourself, you can do it! Just make a plan and begin.

Picture Day

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My 15-year-old daughter was describing her picture day at school session to me.

“The photographer had us put our feet on this tape for what must have been a ten-foot person. Then he told me to point my shoulders to one lamp, but look at the other lamp. And he yelled, Keep your back straight and look over here! I think he took a picture of my profile. ”

 

Sunday Suggestion

Host a Sunday Jam Session

Happening now: six teenagers in our dining room, jamming on violins, viola, and cellos. They love playing together so much, that they arrange to meet weekly…driving almost one hour one way to each other’s houses. Proactive and unpaid.

Here they are during a concert in July:

 

Who says kids these days are just on their phones?

 

 

 

Set Yourself Up

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Fish in Seeweed – watercolor pens

In training our new dog to like her crate, I randomly place tasty treats inside and keep the door open. When we first got her, she refused to go in – most likely because it reminded her of the kennel where she lived with hundreds of other dogs.

But quickly, she grew to associate her crate with treats. Only happy things happened there: some peace and quiet, a warm bed and chicken jerky.

We can do the same for ourselves. We can create positive associations to activities and places that are good for us that we might not feel so great about right now.

There are a group of cyclists that ride by my community every morning around 5:30 a.m. Most likely, they don’t think Ugh, have to wake up early and go riding again. Instead, they might associate this activity with camaraderie, friendship, and a feeling of vitality.

The ultimate power lies in knowing how to train ourselves to be better.

 

Sunday Suggestion

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I’ve been pushing myself lately to be as productive as possible at work and at home: teaching, preparing for National Board Certification, participating in a video coaching study, painting, working on two books and publishing this blog daily.  🙂  Exercising in the morning actually makes me feel more energetic so that is how I start the day. The days end with cooking dinner and cleaning up.

But I’ve been feeling…unsettled….a bit anxious, even. If I don’t get to all my tasks, I feel down on myself. I’ve been feeling like the proverbial hamster on her wheel: running and getting nowhere.

A few days ago, I was waylaid by the flu. I gave a talk Thursday night to parents for Curriculum Night and then collapsed when I got home.

Of course, I was majorly bummed and nearly distraught: I don’t have time to be sick!

Bedbound, I realized the grace in being forced to slow down. Obviously, my body is trying to tell me something. Unable to clean the house, paint (properly), write or workout is a good exercise in just being. Illness has forced me to get more sleep and in stillness, I’ve watched the monsoons each night in all their glory: thunder, lightning and rain.

So, today, my Sunday Suggestion is to slow down. Maybe whittle a task or two off your “To Do List”

Say “no” more often. Ask for help. Take a walk instead of checking email. Hang out with positive, quality people. Plan a day to do nothing but enjoy yourself.

It might diminish the anxiety. It might help you find your center. It’s already working for me.

 

 

 

Feeling Stuck

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I’ve been feeling stuck in my writing and my art. Doing the art in Lisa Congdon’s “Messy Sketchbook” Creativebug class has loosened me up. But I think I need to do more of it, and more yoga, too.

 

 

Student Council Elections

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Unsplash Photo

I say this every year during Student Council election time: Adults could take a cue from these 4th – 8th graders when it comes to running a campaign.

This is what they do:

  • Stick to positive actions they want to actuate;
  • Talk only about what THEY stand for and how receptive they will be to help the community;
  • Give heartfelt speeches despite their fear of public speaking

…and candidates who lose tearfully congratulate the winners.

It’s an endless source of inspiration and hope for me. I feel optimistic and happy about our future because these kids have huge hearts and really put themselves out there.

We adults just need to be better role models for them.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestion

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Having just adopted (another) pitbull mix dog, we realized she’s pretty wild. When we walk her around the neighborhood, people react with mixed reactions: delight, fear and a combination of both. She’s cute:

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However, she has a very loud, ferocious bark and it scares people.  Barking at our guests is absolutely unacceptable and we’re working on it.

Luckily, there are numerous effective resources on the internet:

Cesar Millan is always a surebet;

If your dog bites;

Teach your dog tricks!

Working with your dog is invaluable. There are no shortcuts. Believe me, it’s challenging and I’ve been tempted (more than once) to simply purchase a “shock collar” or something that will make it all easier. But I want her to be well-trained and reliable. I want to be able to control my dog.

So, it’s off to purchase more treats and do the work. Each morning, I play fetch with each to get their exercise in. As Cesar Millan says, their bodies need to be exercised so that their brains can work well!

 

 

 

Romantic Interlude

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“What’s wrong with dad? He looks like he lost his best friend.” Josie says.

I look at my husband sitting at the end of the pool. He does look forlorn.

 

“Are you OK? You look sad.”

“Yeah. I’m just considering the preseason injuries the 49ers sustained. It doesn’t look good.”

“Oh well, I’m sure sitting here worrying will help,” I chuckle.

“And we have the pool cover on wrong.”

“I’ll help you turn it over.”

“And I’m still fat*. I look in the mirror and I just don’t want to be this fat.”

“Why don’t you exercise? Make it fun?”

“No, it’s too hot for fun.”

“OK, Eeyore. Have it your way.”

 

We both laugh.

 

*see post about his weight loss. He’s lost over 15 lbs in the past two months!

Sunday Suggestion

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My high school daughters pack lunches instead of buying school lunch. They have no access to lockers, so they have to carry everything all day. Tupperware takes up a lot of space in their backpacks and this year, they told me they don’t want to use bulky plastic containers anymore. They requested disposable sandwich bags.

This, when I told myself I wouldn’t buy those disposable baggies anymore. They’re bad for the environment! They’re wasteful!

So, I just purchased two sets of these:

Wegreeco Reusable Sandwich & Snack Bags – Set of 3 – (Odyssey)

It’s $11 for a set of three. It saves you money. It’s better for the environment. It’s stinkin’ cute. Do you need any other reasons to ditch the plastic ziploc bags and use these instead?

 

 

 

 

This Just in!

Academy

For the fifth consecutive year, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies is pleased to announce it is ranked the #1 Middle School in the State of Arizona!  This ranking is based upon 2017-18 AZMerit test scores of 700 Arizona middle schools. According to the test results, Mesa Academy ranked higher than 99.5% of middle schools in Arizona, and is ranked first among 11 middle schools in the Mesa Unified District.

Additionally, Mesa Academy’s elementary school, comprised of grades 4 and 5, holds its 2016-17 score at 98.9%, and is ranked #2 out of 1104 Arizona elementary schools.

The Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies is an MYP (Middle Years Programme) International Baccalaureate school that provides its 433 students, grades 4 – 8, with rigorous, high-school preparation courses.   The school is located on the corner of Power and Brown Roads in East Mesa.

 

School Digger analyzes statistics from National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Arizona Department of Education.

 

Appetite

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My husband of twenty-one years decided to lose weight. At 6′, he was at his all-time high of 220 lbs. The impetus for change? He saw a picture of himself that a friend took and didn’t like what he saw.

There are several ways to slim down: cut calories, increase physical activity (exercise!) or both. Hubby is choosing to cut calories.  Through research, he’s discovered that in order to reach his target weight of 180 lbs, he cannot go over 2,000 calories.

2,000 calories to a man who has eaten anything he wanted whenever he wanted is a drastic change.

In the past two months, he has stuck to this limit most of the time. He’s now down to 204 lbs. and finds the sacrifice worth it.

As with most things in life, what you do consistently will yield results: both good and not so good. When he chooses to eat a big slice of cake or ice cream, he foregoes dinner.

Doing the right thing is most painful when we think of our appetites in terms of what we are sacrificing, but we usually succeed when we focus on what we “gain.”

Quality Time

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She’s so busy with work and friends

We might butt heads but always make amends

I rise with the sun, while she’s deep in hibernate

How to connect? A quick brunch date!