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Monday Gratitude

24 Nov

Good morning,
It is Monday, again. And although this is a short week for me-two and a half days- I am trying to not look forward to Wednesday 11:45am – when we all get off work.
This Monday, I am simply trying to be thankful for this one Monday. Thankful for the fact that I am up, alive, healthy, warm and loved. That I am not hungry or scared. I am safe, living in a house in an amazing neighborhood. Thankful for the fact that I have somewhere to be- my job and my university, afterwards.
Monday’s are tough for me, period. I work for 8 hours then I go to the university and sit through another 5 hours of doctoral classes. Well, you know. For a while, I stopped seeing the forest through the trees and got disconnected from my life values.
Today I will try to e connected to who I really am, and to go through this day in touch with my life values.
Have a great day, everyone!

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Hello, November

11 Nov

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NJEA Convention in Atlantic City

6 Nov

This Thursday and Friday New Jersey teachers are flocking to NJEA convention for some professional development, collegiality, technology updates, networking, reflecting, best practices and strategies and, of course, some soul searching with colleagues and presenters.

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I have been to six full hours of learning. Although I feel a bit tired, I just love it! And although I have gone down to Atlantic city by myself, I have met up with a few colleagues, from both my job and my doctoral program.
All of the workshops have been very stimulating but, of course, I have my favorites. One workshop was dedicated to the amazing thing called CHANGE and what steps to take in order to implement it successfully.

Plenary session has been conducted by a world famous speaker from Finland – Pasi Sahlberg. What a fascinating presentation, and so inspirational. There are so many things that Finland is doing right and the U.S. Is doing wrong… For instance, the U.S. looks at this whole idea of education as competition, while in Finland the approach is completely different – they look at wellbeing and success of individual child.

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Hubby has been checking in with me periodically throughout the day. I miss him. I have also been tweeting away any takeaways from my workshops.

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At this moment I am sitting at Atlantic City Bar and Grill that is a restaurant famous for its’ seafood. Guess what I am having? Soft shell crabs, of course!

I am sitting alone. At first I was like “ok, this is weird” but hey, a woman can’t eat alone? It just so happened that no one has been staying for the second day of the convention. Except me.

After dinner, I went back to the hotel. For a while, I stood by the window, brushing my teeth, looking down at Atlantic City. Such contrast. Blinking lights of casinos next to unbelievable decay of half-way houses, run down apartment buildings and empty parking lots.

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My mind and body needs rest. Today was a day well lived. And for that, I am thankful.

Saturday gratitude

2 Nov

Lately I have been so busy that I may have fell out of touch with my values. I felt uncomfortable, scared, vulnerable. Partly because some petty problems arose this past week – a company screwed up our bill, condo association raised their fees, co-workers were hostile and uncooperative, research papers came back, crushed. But. But. The bill was straightened out (their fault). Association have not raised their fees in 3 years and it only added about 11 dollars to our bill, co-workers will get over their problems on their own, research papers will be edited and sent back. It’s life. Something always comes up. Always. Just when you think you have everything under your control, something happens. One thing or the other. I think the secret is to look at those small, petty problems with a philosophical outlook- they come and they go kind of approach.

Yesterday, A and I went for a lovely, fall walk. Although it was cold, the air was so fresh and the leaves so magnificent!

Fall. Saturday. Pumpkins. Party.

26 Oct

I have read somewhere that reflecting on life on a regular basis is beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.

As I lie in bed, I give thanks for the day well lived and for having this opportunity to relax and think. Hubby is watching TV downstairs and I am cuddled up with my computer in my bedroom. A warm feeling envelopes me as I write.

Today was a really good day. I was up early at 6am and started doing housework. I then called my mother and talked to her for about an hour. For those of you who know about my relationship with mom, also know that it is strenuous to say the least. But today we had a good conversation.

Apart from putting in a couple of hours for my doctoral work, I also had time to enjoy this beautiful day. For instance, I raked leaves 🙂 wpid-20141025_143006.jpg          wpid-20141025_143328.jpg       wpid-20141025_143319.jpg

Although my hubby has a leaf blower, I chose to use a rake. My arms were aching at the end. And I even met a wooly bear (see above). He was shy, I put him into the grass.

Then, our neighbors had their annual Carve Your Own Pumpkin Party and Contest… The gist was, you come, you bring your own pumpkin, you carve it, you compete with other people. We decided to carve a clown from “It” by Steven King, and here are some photos that describe the process:

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The party itself was a lot of fun as well. I think Joelle and Quinn spent at least two weeks planning this thing – I mean, they thought of everything! Seating arrangements, tools for pumpkin carving, design ideas, snacks, drinks, heating lamps, fire pits, Halloween lights, contest prizes!

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Everything was beautiful, color coordinated and nicely arranged. When we were all done, pumpkins were places on the front stairs of their house, and all of went it to have dinner. After dinner (which consisted of hearty dishes like macaroni and cheese and chili), we all came out to judge our pumpkins:

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Our “It” clown didn’t win but we love him nonetheless 🙂 Here is A., with our pumpkin, before and after 🙂

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We had an amazing time, thanks to our neighbors that hosted this unique party.  How was your Saturday night and what do you do to enjoy this beautiful time of year?

 

 

I welcome fall…

28 Sep

Fall is officially here, and I couldn’t be happier. Yesterday I snapped some pictures outside, and my hubby and I have set up our fall display.
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Also, this weekend we have made a fire a few times, and my cat Apollo was perplexed by it. The fireplace gives me a remarkable feeling of coziness.

IMG_1808.JPGAnd in the backyard, roses are blooming… They were not blooming so much in the summer, but in the fall they are covered with blooms! Go figure… They probably like this cooler weather?

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I also went outside to stargaze for a bit on Friday night using the Sky Guide app and found out that right above our house are two huge stars- Vega and Deneb. I have always been eyeing them thinking what are those?… That night it was so clear, and, after turning off all the lights in the garden, the stars looked even more pronounced.
Although I am head and shoulders deep in grad work this fall, I still plan to take time to enjoy all the beautiful things fall brings my way. For instance, apple picking, corn maze, fall hiking, pumpkin carving, and fall photography sessions.
I welcome fall in every way. What about you? What are some of the things you love about fall?

Fire pit is critical for fall…

22 Sep

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Enjoying the fire last Friday night 🙂 ahhhh it’s the little things in life…

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