Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Version 2.0

     It's summer again. Actually it is almost exactly half way through summer for me. I used to love summer as a kid. All kids do. We used to get three entire months off for summer vacation; beginning in the early days of June and lasting until the Tuesday after Labor Day. Now THAT was a summer. Now we get out in mid-June and return to school in mid-August. Of course we now get three weeks off for Christmas (excuse's called Winter Break) and an entire week off for Thanksgiving (which they still call Thanksgiving Break) and a week off for Easter (which of course can't be called Easter Break but Spring Break) that , at least in our district, includes an additional day off for Good Friday. But, I digress...back to summer.
     Last year in May I wrote a blog called "Summer"
In that post I recounted all the things I had on my list of things to do during the summer. As a teacher, I think this is a fairly common thing for us to do. There is just not enough time in the school year to get done, all the things we want to do. Looking back at that list, I had a lot of things I wanted to get accomplished and I did get some of them done but not all of them. (To be truthful, I really didn't expect to get them all done; too much pressure!)
     I don't know what happened this year. It was a very stressful school year. We had a lot of issues with negotiating between the CTA Union and our district (I try not to get into the politics of it all but it does reflect on our daily teaching, and I think on the kids also.) This brought up conflicts between the staff. I eventually just had to back away from it all, close my class room door and teach, which is what I am there to do. One of the main issues in dispute (beyond the issue of a pay raise which is always at the front and center. Come on... we hadn't had a raise in 7 years!) was the district's action of taking away the ability of us choosing our own schedule, which we have been doing every other year for as long as anybody can remember. We ended up going from our lovely block schedule to what is called the 5 and 2. A 6 period day where one teaches 5 periods with a prep during the day and an additional prep before or after school. This necessitated revamping all the curriculum and ancillary lesson plans. And we didn't have much time to do it all. A very stressful time, indeed.
     Which brings me to the list making for the summer.
     As one can see from the list, I didn't take this year as seriously as I did last year. As a matter of fact, I didn't even come up with a list until my husband, Doug, bugged me about not having one. (Yes, he makes fun of my summer list because it is usually, o.k. always, over the top with expectations, and he knows me well enough to know I will not get them all done.) So, here, in all it's glory is THE LIST FOR SUMMER 2014! Items in no particular order, certainly not in importance!
  • Clean my keyboard (I actually got that done this morning!)
  • Sleep late as many days as possible. Check! (How about all but one so far?)
  • Leave stuff where I've been. Check! (This is called Jody happenings)
  • Not do the dishes Check! (If I leave them for any longer than a couple of hours the kitchen fairy does them: Doug.)
  • Drink more than one cup of coffee in the morning. Check!
  • Try to make Biscotti again. (Nope.)
  • Play in my sewing room. Check!
  • Clean out bathroom medicine cabinet. On my list for tomorrow!
  • Read. Check! On my 4th book.
  • Go out to breakfast. Check!
  • Go out to lunch. Check!
  • Go out to dinner. Check!
  • Play with cat. Check!
  • Harass Doug. Because I can. Check!
  • Work at quilt show. Check!
  • Change toilet paper rolls as needed. Check!
  • Write blog and novel when I feel like it. Check!
  • Swiffer floors when I feel like it. Check!
  • Visit with friends. Check!
  • Go to garage sales. Check
  • Not think about school. Well, mostly check but as all you teachers out there know, this is virtually impossible. I have done some research and some new lesson plans.
  • Stay up late. Check!
  • Finish all the episodes of Breaking Bad. Check!
  • Go to the movies. Check!
  • Eat popcorn. Check!
  • Get the mail. Check!
  • Check email. Check!
  • Play "Words with Friends." Check!
  • Play "Hanging with Friends." Check!
  • Play "Chess with Friends." Check!
  • Get my nails and toes done. Check!
  • Check my Facebook and post pictures. Check!
  • Visit Melody (my Acupuncturist) Check!
  • Go shopping with my Jennifer. Check!
  • Talk with my best friend, Nancy. Check!
  • Miss my David. Check!
I think it's great that this year's list has been so successful! I have three weeks of summer left and really, don't have anything to do except make Biscotti and clean out the medicine cabinet. Yay!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


     I hear them calling from the pantry. I hear them everyday. They are hard to ignore. Crispy, salty, yummy potato chips.
     At this current moment I have 4 types of chips in my pantry, because you know, one is just not enough. I need ( like that word need?) to have a selection that I choose from everyday. Oh, please, let's be frank here...I put a little of all of them in a bowl, a smorgasbord of chips, to enjoy with my afternoon iced tea or coffee, a good book and, if I can convince him, my cat on my lap.
     I have shamefully gotten into this habit in the past school year. Coming home every afternoon, and rewarding myself with this hour of luxury, which actually sometimes turns into a full on napathon (my new word; look for it soon in a dictionary because I think it will catch on!)
     Since I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and had gastric surgery three years ago, I have been battling stomach and digestive issues. I have given up so much. And one would say, "But you feel so much better. Isn't it worth it?" Well, yes. In some ways it IS worth it. I physically feel better, but on the inside my whiney, food-addicted self has not been a happy-go-lucky girl.
     Since doctors were not helping me solve my body's issues, I started going to an acupuncturist who is trained in Oriental Medicine. The first thing she had me give up was dairy. ACK! No cheese! It helped my issues. The next thing I gave up was gluten. I do not have Celiac Disease (I really feel for those that do) but my system sure liked being without gluten so, we decided I have a gluten sensitivity. Two wins! I lowered my intake of sugar, leaning more toward Stevia and honey. That helped also. Three points for the better. I've lost weight. Yay! Not going to be on a commercial or anything for rapid weight loss but every pound has made a difference.
     I tried many of my favorite things when I became food sensitive, just testing the waters, like a good food addict would. Through trial and error (more error than success unfortunately) I have discovered I can eat my home-baked gluten free bread but most of the store bought brands do not like me. I have learned that taking the time to make crackers was a complete failure. I have come to the conclusion that I do not have the "gift" just like I found out a long time ago I do not have the "gift" to produce flakey pie crusts. You bakers out there, you know what I'm talking about. Some people have it some people don't. That's just the way it is. I tried some lactose free dairy items...found out that it is not the lactose (sugar) in the dairy I seem to be allergic to but the casein (protein). Even in some of the dairy free products the manufacturers add casein. I found out I don't handle soy very well either, which is used in many vegan food items. And the list goes on and on, and depressingly on.
     So, one day I was sitting at my desk in my classroom and I decided I wanted to go next door to the 7-11 store (so convenient) and get an iced coffee. I picked up a bag of potato chips. Read the label. Potatoes, oil, salt. Hmmmm....I ate them with trepidation. And waited. Usually when I eat something my system doesn't like, my body lets me know in about an hour. I was pleasantly surprised as my body accepted the chips. But once was not enough to set the precedent. So I followed that up with another couple days of experimentation. Hooray! I was able to tolerate chips. So, the addiction developed (like I wasn't addicted to enough food already.)
     Now, so many people would probably tell me, or anybody that would listen, that potato chips are the worst food one can eat. I have considered giving up chips but I have come to the decision that I am done giving up. I'm taking a stand; drawing a line in the sand. On one side will be the world of doctors and health enthusiasts. And on this side will be me, with my food allergies and a smile on my face; holding a bag of chips.