Monday, December 31, 2007

Post #200!

Today is my 200th post. I wasn't sure what I was going to write - I wanted it to be classy and inspirational. Then again, that's not really me, is it? So I figured I'd just do what came natural and go from there.

For the last several years, I've had the same New Year's resolution: Recognize good advice when I hear it. I have had trouble with this my whole life. However after three or so years of this resolution, I haven't come very far. I am still far too pigheaded and stubborn for my own good. So what should I resolve to do this year? I think I am going to become cliche and do what thousands of Americans do every year - I'm going to lose weight.

It shouldn't be surprising - if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I've been unhappy with my weight for a long time. I'm not huge, and I look okay with my clothes on, but I'm not confident at all. I'd like to be. I know what I really need to do is up my physical activity level. I'm sedentary. That is only going to make me bigger. Ugh. I read somehwere that you only need to have 100 extra calories a day to gain ten pounds in a year. Holy crap! It doesn't seem fair that it's that easy to put on weight, and so frigging difficult to take it off.

So in the next few weeks, my blog will be changing. Nothing major, but I need it to reflect this new resolution. It will still be titled Caring for Bear, and most of my posts will be their regular random bits. However I'd like to add some things to keep me motivated and show my progress. Because there WILL be progress. I'd also like to set some goals - goals are important in anything you do, I think. Here's what I have so far:

Under 170: Dying my hair a rich dark brown, eliminating my grays.
Weight I was when I met Bear: The book "Couch to 5k".
BMI under 24.9: Free weights.
Weight under 160: My car gets detailed.
IF I get back under 160, the prizes will have to get much bigger. But for now, that's what they are. What do you think? I think if I can get under 160 by my birthday (June 22), I deserve a new swimsuit - from Victoria's Secret. A two piece?

To get there, I am doing the following:
  • Food journal: I will write down everything I eat and drink, it's calorie and fat content. I know how many calories I should be eating a day, as well as how much fat.
  • has an awesome calculator for BMI, so I will be testing that, too.
  • I am also going to weigh myself each morning.
  • I will take measurements of my arms, legs, and waist to see where I'm shrinking. When I have all that info, I will post it.
  • I may take pictures, but if I do I'm only going to show them to you when I have the AFTER shots to compare them to.
  • I will start wearing my pedometer again, trying to get to 5,000 steps a day (at least in the beginning).
  • Riding the stationary bike 20 minutes, every day of 2008. No exceptions, no excuses. I'm trying to find a digital calendar I can put in my sidebars to show you. We'll see how that goes.

If you can recommend anything else, please let me know! I need all the help I can get. I'm hoping that 2008 will be the year I finally get my act together. Wish me luck!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Dear Lynn,

When I joined the staff at Rite Aid last September, you were my trainer. As I navigated the tricky world of cigarette sales and cycle counts, you provided a never-ending supply of support and cheer. The more I got to know you and work with you, the more I was struck by what a genuinely kind, caring person you were. It seemed every time I turned around you were helping me bag, bringing me a copy of next week's schedule, or assisting me with my nightly chores. I remember thinking, could you be real? Could you really be as sweet and caring as you seemed? You were. And what's more, you were a great story teller. Every shift we worked together I had stitches in my sides from laughter. We got in trouble for standing around talking instead of working like we were supposed to. It was so wonderful to have someone to talk to after more than a year of isolation at home. You gave me a connection to this area, a reason to enjoy living here. Without you, I would without doubt still feel very alone. I enjoy working at Rite Aid because Rite Aid means you. And you, my dear, are a rockin' good time.

Now you are leaving Rite Aid. I know you have to take this new job opportunity - it's what's right for you and your family. I admit that I was floored when I heard - to me, Rite Aid will always mean you, even after you leave. I probably haven't handled the news as well as I should - I know I haven't, because every time I think about it, it makes me want to cry. I almost feel as though you are leaving me as much as you are leaving Rite Aid. I know it's silly, but I can't help it. I am afraid that without you there, I'll lose that feeling of connectedness, and I don't want to. I know that I can come visit you, and I hope that I will. It may be selfish, but I don't want to lose you from my life. You make me feel worthy and deserving of good things. Very few people have done that for me - thank you for being one of those few.

Thank you for making me feel as though I've come home.

Yours Truly,

Friday, December 14, 2007

Secrets and Surprises

At work this year we are doing Secret Santas. A small gift every day this week has found its way into my mailbox - the first day a magnet for my car and Crystal Light To Go packs, the second day a thermos for my coffee (I've been using an old Bob the Builder kids' thermos), yesterday a GIANT Hershey Kiss, and today a photo frame snow globe with two pictures of Bear and I in it. The pictures come from my Myspace page. I had an inkling who was getting me these gifts (I only showed a few people the Bob the Builder Thermos), but wasn't sure until today. I re-use the gift bag I receive to give to the person I have for my Secret Santa. As I was transferring the items in the teachers room, an Ed tech said, "It's a good thing I didn't write on it, then!" And then she realized what she said. She looked crushed, but I couldn't stop laughing. I was not upset at all! She's so funny anyway, I was actually quite glad she had picked my name. I've received great gifts!

Today after lunch, the Adult Ed teacher stopped me in the hall. "Did you still want to teach an Adult Ed class?" she asked. "Heck ya I do!" I replied, in one of my less grammatically correct utterings. She went on to give me the details. I am going to teach a fifteen week English course for High School credit. Most of the students will be juniors and seniors in high school, as well as a few adults. I have complete executive control over what I teach! It will be one day a week after school for about three hours. I have to come up with a course outline and a syllabus. I start at the end of January. The pay is $900, payable upon course completion. I cannot tell you how excited I am! This is what I really want to do - teach kids that want to be there the things I think are important. I will help them become better readers, writers, and thinkers. They will learn, they will experiment, they will have fun. I can't wait. This is also an awesome stepping stone to teaching classes at KaTech, the community college up the road, other adult ed classes and eventually college classes once I have my master's. I am positively giddy today. In the words of Jerry Spinelli, "WAHOO!"


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Doesn't it seem like everyone is tired? My kids are saying it, I'm saying it, my fellow teachers are saying it... what is it about this time of year that makes us so tired? I am in study hall right now and I'm fighting just to keep my eyes open. I don't know how I'm going to make it home - maybe I will have to buy a coffee for the ride. I have to work at Rite Aid tonight, too, so I'm mentally preparing myself for an incredibly loooong night. Ugh.
On the plus side, Christmas Vacation is only eight days away!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Love Him!

I do the laundry in our house. The laundry basket is in our rather small bathroom. I only have time to do laundry once a week, so it is a struggle to keep the clothes in the basket and not on the floor. I work hard to pile it up so the floor stays free for walking. Ever since I moved in, I have been trying to get Bear to follow my example and stop throwing his clothes on the bathroom floor and leaving them there. I hate stepping on his dirty socks when I get out of the shower! After months and months of "gentle reminders", Bear is finally starting to get it.
Yesterday when I got home I separated the laundry into different piles - light, medium, dark. I wasn't going to shower last night, so I put the piles on the floor. The plan was to pick one pile up at a time and deposit it into the washer. Simple, right?
Then I got an invitation to go to the local high school girls' varsity basketball game. I had to leave the laundry where it was. No big deal, I thought, I'll do it tomorrow. At least it's all sorted! When I returned home, I got ready for bed, putting my dirty clothes in their respective piles. Bear had gone ahead of me, so I looked to see which piles he had put his clothes in.

I found them all in the laundry basket.



Friday, December 07, 2007

First Snow

Here are the pics of the first snow storm of the year. We got about twelve inches by the time the storm ended (about 36 hours of snow). Usually we don't get a snow like this until January or February. This year the snow is early and plentiful. Whoopie!

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What do YOU want?

I know what I want for Christmas. It's not a lot, but it is kind of expensive. I want a USB cable and memory card for my phone so I can put mp3s on it. That way whenever someone calls me, I hear a ring tone specific to who they are as a person. Isn't that clever?
Every Christmas, I wonder what other people want. not people I buy for, as I'm pretty sure what they want, and what I'm going to get them (not always the same thing). I want to know what strangers want for Christmas. And what they REALLY want, not just what they are asking for. Most of the time, I tell myself not to get something that catches my eye. Maybe it's too expensive or frivolous. Many times I just feel too guilty getting something for myself and not for someone else. Whenever Bear wants something, I usually encourage him to get it. new clothes? Sure. A CD? Absolutely. Most of the time I don't even mind that he gets those things more often than I do. I think the last shirt I got was a free gift in September for helping out at the Maine Reptile Expo. Before that? A seven dollar Rese's Peanut Butter cup shirt I bought in March or April from Wal Mart. But that's not the point.

When I cast my mind back to think about the last thing I really wanted (besides the phone stuff), I find myself thinking about a pair of jeans. They were CarHart jeans, triple stitched, boot cut, and low rise. I didn't even try them on because they were thirty dollars, and I didn't have that kind of money to spend on myself. Bear and I were at Reny's, a discount store that specializes in work clothes. Bear had received a clothing allowance from his work and that was the money we were spending. I knew if I tried them on, I would want them, so I didn't. I also knew that they would be gone a couple of days later, so there was no way I was going to get them. I sighed, gave them a last pat, and walked away. I'm not sorry I did that - I really didn't have the money. but when I think about what I really, truly, honestly want - those jeans are it.

Commercials tell me that I want jewelry. Maybe I'm supposed to want that, but I really don't. It's too expensive and I'll probably just lose or break it anyway. Plus, I'm really not a jewelry kind of girl. Or a make up kind of girl, or a manicure kind of girl. I do enjoy the occasional pedicure (I've had one in my life, and it was for a wedding), but that doesn't really make a good Christmas gift. "Here, honey, I bought you some time to have a complete stranger fix your toenails. No one will see them because it's winter in Maine, but enjoy! Don't forget to shave your legs before you go... you're getting kind of hairy." Yeah, right. I'll pass. I don't want any of the "traditional" female gifts that the media says I should want. There's a future post there about how un-womanly I am, but I'll save it for another day.

Because I don't bow to the edicts of the media, I am curious if other people do. What do you really want for Christmas? Tell me in the comments... I'd really like to know.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Snow Day!

Today is the first official snow day of the year. At 5:12 this morning, my principal called me to tell me that there was no school. After I hung up the phone, I rolled into the warmth on Bear's side of the bed and snuggled him. Soon he would have to get up and snowblow the driveway before he left for work. In the predawn darkness, we held each other, my head tucked under his chin and our fingers entwined. Half an hour later, when the alarm went off, Bear sat up to look out the window. "It hasn't even started to snow!" he exclaimed. "Look, the cars are bare, the streets are bare... I thought I was going to have to get up early, but I don't have to." With that, he tucked himself back into bed and held me for another half-hour.

It was heaven.

When he did finally get up, I got up with him and made him breakfast. We watched the news. The weatherman said we are going to get 12-18 inches of snow today, so Bear gave me instructions to snowblow the driveway before he comes home. "And don't forget to cover the heating oil pipes," he cautioned me. I smiled and kissed him, and he stepped out the door. "It's starting to snow!" he called back to me as I shut the door behind him.

So now here I sit, blogging while fresh biscuits bake in the oven. I will use one to make a breakfast sandwich (something I never have time for), the rest I will put in the fridge to be used later this week. I have presents to wrap, cleaning to do, a sweater to knit, cats to cuddle, Christmas music to listen to and goodies to bake. I love the feeling a snow day creates - a day out of time, a bonus day... a day where ther are no "must-dos," only "feel-like-doings". And this snow day is before Christmas, so I'm filled with holiday cheer.

This is a great day.