July brought me back to my blog, officially! I did some reflecting this summer and decided I want to find more things to be joyful about in my life, and reading and my blog brought me happiness and contentment. I was a little under the weather with gastro issues for about two weeks, which prompted me to demand a future appointment with a gastroenterology clinic. I foresee another endoscopy and colonoscopy in my future. We have also been doing all the things to get rid of fleas. Poco seemed to pick up just a few, so it was easy to get under control. I am having to save up for a $4300 transmission replacement after already sinking $1300 into my car with replacements and maintenance in June. It’s a CVT, so there is no rebuilding – it’s all or nothing. I’ve got a little less than half from my summer school pay. I squandered my last few weeks of summer staying up late and sleeping in while re-watching Downton Abbey. And of course the end of the month brought all manner of technology PDs to have a leg up for this coming school year. Lastly, Baby A is doing great and is now 14 weeks. I’m still convinced it’s a boy and will be a big baby.
Average Rating: 2.8 Pages Read: 1,528 Favorite Book:Brown Girl Dreaming
I think I’m going to forgo any previous challenges I used to participate in until the new year. I have set a Goodreads goal of 12 books for the past couple of years, and I have met that goal this year. Most of the books were read during our Texas Snowstorm Shut-Down in February when we had no power, heat, and water for a week or more. I spent the time snuggled with the dogs underneath 4 or so comforters in bed the entire week. Plenty of reading time!
The month started with some last-minute to-dos before I left for my cruise. We went down on 4th of July and sailed out of Galveston on the 5th for Cozumel. I enjoyed it, I just wish I had gotten good sleep leading up to the cruise so I could have maximized my time on board. I splurged and went to the spa with a good discount. It was so nice! I also wish we had splurged and done one of the excursions. We went to one of the cheap resorts instead and just sat on the beach and swam all day. I love that picture of my brother and the one of him and my mom. I LOVE her picture at dinner. I am so glad I bought them, even if they were crazy expensive.
The week we came back, all of my plumbing decided to be the jackassiest jackass. My landlord was going to set up the water line to the fridge…and ended up jacking up my sink plumbing two days after I came back. I had a leak for two whole days. I had to empty the bucket every 3 hours or it overflowed all over the kitchen. 😦 When the plumbers finally came the day after the appointment, that Friday afternoon, I showed him the weird thing I just discovered in my bathroom…water would come up the sink when the toilet was flushed. It was sewage. Not a big deal, they would come back on Monday to fix it all. Well…Friday night my brother yelled at me about 10:30 before he and my mom were about to leave. My bathroom had exploded with sewage coming out of every aquatic orifice! It was so disgusting and it wouldn’t stop. I had to go to a hotel for two days until it was all fixed and cleaned. Then there were more issues with the sink and the original plumber came back and fixed that. Y’all, I am paranoid now any time water won’t drain.
I spent most of the month getting both of my parents on board with smartphones, upgrading from flip phones. There have been learning curves, and my dad is just being a turd. He called me one morning and woke me up wanting my help, got mad, and then tried hanging up on me…except he couldn’t. He didn’t know how!
I have spent A LOT of time with my mom just doing things for her or her doing things for me. I have enjoyed it. She has been over more in this past month than she ever came when I lived with David and the other roommate for a year and a half. And this is why I wanted and needed this move. While the expenses are adding up, I don’t care. I needed this for me. About time I do some nice things for myself.
I spent a lot of time this month just watching TV, on my phone, and sleeping. I did some work in my bullet journal and got everything in line for August. All of my copies for the first six weeks of school arrived…
We also found out this month that our district’s copy center is no longer. We are always shamed every year about how much we copy or print on our campus (and exactly how much that costs) and how the copy center saves us SO much money…and yet they are taking it away? I am convinced that the new Super is trying to clean up and make the district budget look fucking amazing and non-school employees will not know what is now gone and how detrimental it is. So…what happens when just ONE of our campus copiers goes down now??
I attended two three trainings this month, one of which I got paid for. I got Google Educator Level 1 certified and attending this training for Seesaw, which now I’m thinking I won’t really use. The same day that was happening, the Level 2 was happening. I’d rather have been doing that.
My mom and I also sent off my brother (the one pictured above) to basic training. We went down to Ft. Sam Houston and someone actually turned in the damn list and we weren’t turned away. We waited around most of the morning and then they did their final swearing in, signing contracts, and then he was gone. Unlike my older two brothers who are Infantry, my youngest brother is going into the medic side and is at Ft. Leonard Wood. This time around we won’t be going to Ft. Benning, but it is a shorter drive to Missouri. My oldest brother (in Africa) is trying to orchestrate my parents and a coworker into buying some Brahman cattle and a cattle trailer for him (with his money, just doing it for him).
Obviously, VERY little progress has been made since March. I am very confident that I won’t meet many of my challenge goals this year, unfortunately. Also, I’ll take this opportunity to officially announce I am completely dropping the Audiobook Challenge.
Heeeyyyy girl! I have been officially gone since April 8th, but I haven’t done a monthly chit chat since February. I am happy to say I am back! I am slowly easing back into reading and blogging, but at the same time I’m trying to make a plan and be productive so I don’t fall off course.
I have moved – again – into a beautiful two bedroom house that I love. And Baby loves stalking my neighbors and their cats. All of a sudden, there are now a million “emergency” potties needed. *sigh* She gets tired of me griping at her and after a while she’ll go on. I am mostly settled in, I am only needing to do a few things: get my kitchen table out of storage, set the printer up, hang wall decor, unpack and decide what to do with box of pictures, albums, and frames.
I also taught summer school in June for three weeks. The kids for the most part were well-behaved, but some of these boys are in for a rude awakening when they hit high school. Overall, it was a successful run and I’m glad I applied for it and got the job. My (work) partner K and I also got everything for our on level and advanced classes sent off to the print shop for the entire first six weeks of school. We felt like such badasses. We’ll be thanking ourselves come August when everyone else is 1) scrambling to get their rooms put up and 2) scrambling to find time to plan and 3) scrambling to send stuff to the print shop knowing it won’t come back in time and 4) scrambling to figure out what the hell they’re going to do now. Yep, teachers are just plain old scrambled eggs!
Now I am preparing for my cruise (I leave on 4th of July for Galveston) and getting my reading ignited again. Oh, and the mountain of bills I can’t pay. Anyone else feel like that?
Obviously, VERY little progress has been made since March. I am very confident that I won’t meet many of my challenge goals this year, unfortunately. Also, I’ll take this opportunity to officially announce I am completely dropping the Audiobook Challenge.
I missed A LOT of days in February. I had so many medical appointments and then I was sick again.
I had my sleep study at the beginning of the month, and then went back the following night for the titration testing. I’ve had a CPAP three weeks and I love it. My doctor was right – I definitely feel the benefits later in the day. I’m no longer tired and falling apart like I used to be. I lost six pounds in the 10 days after first getting the CPAP! I’m hoping some weight continues to fall off. My A1C also went down. I keep being praised and told 6.2 is awesome, but I do really want it maintained under 6.0.
I spent more time with my bullet journal in February than I think I did in January. I set up not only my March pages, but I also went back and created several of my collections I planned for in January but never touched. I love how some of them turned out! I still have a few more to do, and I hope to do those by spring break.
My yearbook kids are working diligently to make progress and submit pages. We’ve submitted 19 pages to date, and I have at least 8 I need to proof and go over with a fine-tooth comb and then submit. We are totally stressing because we have only two weeks left…and 45 pages to go. We’ll get it done though. They have really pulled together in the last two weeks.
I lost a whole week of January, and it still seemed like it kind of drug along. The first week back was a slow transition into teacher workdays. All of our regularly scheduled meetings and meetings and meetings were cancelled. One of our SPED paras passed away on NYE night. He was such an amazing, wonderful man. Almost our entire campus attended his memorial service.
The next week my partner was sick and then hospitalized. I was going out of my mind because they could not get her body regulated. I was terrified she was going to die.
Then the next week we had MLK day followed by an ice day. Then I was sick with the flu that then turned out not to be the flu but some other unidentified thing. I was out basically the whole week.
I went to my first diabetes class and learned in just my Whataburger meal alone I’m eating 3-4 times the amount of carbs I should be consuming in one meal. Did you know a roll from Texas Roadhouse (or other comparable steakhouse) is TWO of your three allowed carbs?!?! Y’all. I’m gonna die. My entire food group is carbs…and ground beef. Girl likes her hamburgers. I am trying to really watch my portions and also what time I eat. I have three more classes to go to.
I thought I was going to get all my credit card debt paid off this month by transferring my balance to the credit card I have a 5.99% lifetime APR on. NO. That was false. A lie. While I still would have taken advantage of that offer at the time, it did not specify that it was in fact not for my lifetime, but the lifetime of that balance transfer. I was kind of pissed after being so positive and hopeful that I was finally going to get everything squared away, especially since I have to buy tires this month. I was going to use my income tax refund to pay for that and put the rest on my loan payments. That won’t be happening. I do feel a little better though. My laptop will be paid off this summer and I only have about $1800 left on one of my loans, so there will be more money I keep come summertime. I did change up what Plexus Products I am purchasing and dropped the cost by $50. If I still am not seeing improvements by June (1 entire year taking the products), I am going to cancel it all.
I have also been losing my mind over UIL. I’m the coordinator for my school and we had a pitiful turnout this year. So many of our kids didn’t show up to the competition. Next year my school hosts the competition and we brainstormed some ideas to put in place for next year to be better. I am starting to also see small gains with yearbook. We have 6 pages submitted and several almost ready to go. We need to work on some more!
December was overall a good month for me. My students finished their fall PBL and I took 19 kids to the elementary to read their manuscripts. They loved it. I also had my observation, but it was on the day we had classes visiting for my students to present their manuscripts, so it won’t count. Perhaps if my appraiser had come in the actual legally required window, we’d be all done with it. (Yeah, a little salty.) I had a major upset with the yearbook program, and my kids and I are just like “Whatever.” I am so proud that I have a GREAT group of kids this year who are very supportive of one another.
I did receive some amazing and some disheartening medical news this month. I had an appointment with a new pulmonologist and he was phenomenal. My sleep study is scheduled and he is very adamant about addressing my needs and resolving my sleep issues. Finally some relief! I also scheduled an appointment with my PCP to start on anxiety medication. It was a big step that I have been talking about for months but kept chickening out on. I finally had enough and made the appointment. When I went for the appointment, my doc backtracked to my bloodwork from October. My A1C was 6.5. He diagnosed me with diabetes and put me on cholesterol medication. I went back the following week for an anxiety medication. Another relief!
During the holidays I slept A LOT. It was marvelous. I spent a lot of time snuggling with my two pups. Baby was diagnosed with arthritis, ironically in one of her front legs. I was amazed that Cera didn’t destroy anything while she was home alone for Baby’s vet visit. I think she is finally learning! She has also figured out how to ask to go outside to go potty instead of sneaking off to do it in the house.
This was the first Christmas I actually got to spend with The Man. He always flies home to Boston for the month. Our holidays were low-key and simple. He got both of us FitBits and I have been tracking different things, like my sleep and food. I got some other practical gifts, like a fuzzy bathrobe and the pregnancy pillow! No…we are not pregnant. The Man got it in an attempt to better my sleep – and my snoring! I have liked it for the most part. Often I’ll lay in bed at night reading or playing my game before going to bed, and it’s perfect because I have a pillow on each side to support both my arms on and can relax a little more. The Man says he thinks it’s helping with the snoring as it’s been much quieter most nights.
We went on our 2.5 mile walk every other night in the cold weather. Even though I hate the cold, it was very invigorating!
While I only met one of my challenge goals, I did fairly well on several others. I was disappointed I didn’t meet my Goodreads goal this year, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I did read a fair number of my holiday reads, and I was impressed with my numbers for NetGalley. I hoped to get to 35 books (and I would have if I’d met my Goodreads goal), but I’ve got a plan for my 2018 challenges in place. I’ll be saying goodbye to the Shelf Love challenge while adding a few new ones that help me focus more on my main goals.
The week of Halloween leading into the first few days of November saw me in Urgent Care and in extreme pain. incredible pain along my forearms, with huge welts under the skin. I was diagnosed with radial styloid tenosynovitis de quervain. The tendon from your thumb to your elbow is extremely inflamed, making even the smallest everyday activities excruciatingly painful. It is very limiting in what you can’t do – changing gears, carrying your purse, unhooking your bra, writing – anything you use your hands for. Of course, like always when you visit or call for the people who know how to fix things, your issue resolves itself miraculously quickly. Seriously, I caught my principal checking me out at our faculty meeting the following day trying to gauge me against the “if I can’t get dressed in the morning, I’m not coming to work” pain level complaint I gave him via text the night I went to Urgent Care because I totally was able to actually pick up a pen and write by that point. To anyone not abreast of the situation, I looked like a total liar.
I dealt with my ticket at the beginning of the month and realized how ignorant I am about how the system works. I think a course – even a short crash course – be given in high school. I’m an educated person and I felt like a complete idiot because I’m the good kid – I never get in trouble, so I don’t know the proper procedures with requests and timelines if you contest the citation. Screw my mom for raising me to be accountable and own up to my mistakes! Next time, though…not happening. Besides the fact that there shouldn’t be a next time, but people in this area CANNOT be trusted to 1) use their cruise control to regulate and maintain a constant speed and 2) actually drive the speed limit and not 15-20 below and 3) do #1 and/or #2 while also refusing to allow you to pass them and continue on your journey at the legal speed limit.
I met with my money man last month, too. I feel so smart saying that. I have a money man. We reviewed my existing Roth retirement (with a different company) and I felt much more comfortable with this individual and their policies and procedures regarding my money so I set up to transfer to this company. I have been paying into my Roth for 40 months and only accrued $111. That’s pitiful. What I really like about my money guy is he and his partner are trying to educate teachers on how the TRS (Texas Retirement System) for teachers works and what your retirement really looks like. Y’all, it’s a disgrace. I have been paying in for five years and my school district also puts in a paltry number and I have less than $15,000 in. BTW, I am forced to pay into this system – it is not optional. And it is the only retirement my school district will honor matching. Every year the percentage we as teachers must pay in increases. Again, not optional. And there is only one school district in all of Texas that pays into Social Security – so that is not an option during retirement years, either. But I am very nervous this money will not be there when I retire. The other thing I like about my money man is he is not just setting me up with this additional retirement; he is literally helping me map out a financial plan for life so that I am golden during retirement. I have another list of tasks to bring back to him before we meet again and I get better projections.
I got some really good news last month. Tests have come back good two years in a row. Since 2011, I have had to go three times per year to have cells monitored, and one visit per year was to have biopsies done. In 2015 there was a new test conducted showing the cells were worsening. I went into 2016 asking for action and preventative measures. I didn’t want to wait around for cancer to catch up with me. My body has regenerated good cells FINALLY on its own. I was told it would take two years – it took almost six! See the reason for worry? I am now two years in the clear and I kicked cancer to the curb. I pointed out to my mother that it’s ironic that my tests have come back good ever since being with The Man in a positive, nurturing relationship. There are many studies that tie mental and emotional health to physical health, and I believe this positive, supportive relationship has helped. That’s the only thing in my life that has changed. Now I am back to annual appointments.
Average Rating: 3.3 Pages Read: 1,597 Favorite Book: Hope at Christmas
September Visits – 930 | October Visits – 1,097 | November Visits- 1,547
I am SO glad I participated in the Black Friday Book Bonanza Giveaway Hop! I was on the fence about participating, and I am glad I did. I visited every blog participating in the hop giving away items, and I had a SURGE in visits, too. Like, look y’all! I haven’t had more than 1,200 visits since September 2016. It’s amazing – and I hope all the new readers and followers stay around now that the giveaway is over. Hiiiiiii!
I’m a little sad there is only one more month to go on my challenges! I started really making some headway with my NetGalley challenge, and I am also really close with my Alphabet Soup challenge. Next year will be my year! I have already decided to drop one of my challenges, though, in hopes of focusing better on my NetGalley.
Most of these are NetGalley books from this year and last year. There are a few Amazon books sprinkled in, but I’m trying to focus on my NetGalley books first. I really want to finish the year by 1) reaching 10% ratio for NG and 2) reading 35 books from my NG list.
How was your November? Do you already have your tree up? Have you completed your holiday shopping?
The month did not start out well for me. It opened with The Man being injured while on duty and transported to the hospital for half the night. I was left almost entirely in the dark with very few details. I was a wreck. To make matters worse, I was pulled over by the most unprofessional state highway officer that afternoon on my way to my miracle chiropractic appointment. I don’t know much more now than I did then except that all the testing came back good. This Man really does hold his cards close. Not always a good thing.
The Man also bought me the perfect pumpkin and this year I actually carved it! Last year it just sat around forever.
Otherwise, October was a busy month. My students started our novel unit, which I am very excited that we have moved through much faster compared to last year when my students were still reading at Thanksgiving. We will be done with the book and tested before November 8. What is even better is this year these kids LOVE the book. They don’t care that it’s set during pioneering days – they like the action and the unknown! We are reading Trouble River by Betsy Byars. No matter how many times I read this book (well over 40 by now), I love it with each reading.
My yearbook students co-hosted the Halloween dance (the theme was NEON), and the very next morning bright and early at our school we hosted a practice UIL meet with our sister middle school. The real event is broken up over two days in January and February, and this was just a practice run for the kids to know how their event operates and to get a true measure of where they are to keep working on in their practices. At the end of the month, my partner and I were sent for a 2-day training at our education center in Austin and it was pure heaven. We both came back very refreshed.
I rounded out October going to Urgent Care for incredible pain along my forearms, with huge welts under the skin. I was diagnosed with radial styloid tenosynovitis de quervain. The tendon from your thumb to your elbow is extremely inflamed, making even the smallest everyday activities excruciatingly painful. It is very limiting in what you can’t do – changing gears, carrying your purse, writing – anything you use your hands for. Yes, friends, even the bathroom business. PAIN. FUL. It honestly feels like the pain is in your bone. Being a woman also puts your more at risk to have this. If it does not improve, there’s going to be another visit happening.
September sucked hardcore for me because I didn’t finish any books. Seeing everyone having read 5 or more books in just one week also really got me down. I wish I could do that! Except I’m at school until 7-9pm or later every night. *sigh* But I was pretty impressed with my October comeback! I read 5 books in October. Several of you have pointed out the trend. I don’t even care! I like what I like. 🙂
Average Rating: 3.8 Pages Read: 1,479 Favorite Book: The Scot Beds His Wife
August Visits – 986 | September Visits – 930 | October Visits – 1,094
I am still changing things up in this section. I wanted to give myself a better comparison of each month, so I am going to include the visits for the previous two months, as above. Things dipped in September, and shot up to over 1,000! This hasn’t happened since March, so I’m very thankful for all of you coming around!
I’m also not listing EVERY post I did throughout the month. These are a select group of posts, but all of the posts for the month can be found in the archives by looking for October 2017.
I already resigned myself months ago to the fact that I will not finish my NetGalley goal, but I AM going to meet it next year. I’ve already started planning. I also know I won’t meet my Alphabet Soup goal either. I picked out (NetGalley) books for all of the letters I still needed back in August or so, but it is already time to move to Christmas reads, so I will start off 2018 with those books. Next year will be my year!
I don’t even know where September went. With it went The Man working on the weekends. 🙂
I have gotten to know my kids a lot better. For some, the honeymoon period is over. For others, they are as sweet and helpful as they can be. My first class of the day and my class right before lunch are both fantastic. In September, my yearbook students and I traveled only a quick 20 minutes down the road to our fall workshop. My veterans got to attend the photography track with Pulitzer Prize nominee Mike McLean. They were so in love…with his knowledge. I am enjoying this largely new group that is my yearbook staff. It is much easier and more manageable having only one class and no issues with students working on a page not being in the same class anymore.
I was summoned to testify again for that case from the spring…the one where I was baited on the stand. Remember that? The court date was set on the day of our yearbook trip. I was already gone another day that week, so out two days in a week is A NIGHTMARE. My anxiety was through the roof. I also had to have my “goal setting” meeting with my principal that week as well. I was so grateful the attorney called the day before the trip that the two parties settled. Hearing that news was like a physical burden had been entirely lifted off j
My dad went back to the cardiologist for pain. He was sent off with a good report. However, I’m nervous that he will ignore any future pain he experiences and write it off as the pain after-effects of the surgery and the original heart attack. He still has not started his cardio rehab or occupational therapy.
My brother also came home…again…for the fourth time. He actually followed through and filed for divorce. They have no children together, their cars are in their own name, the only thing that needs to be addressed is the sale of the house – that my brother was able to purchase through the VA. He packed his shit and went back to his wife again. As soon as that day approached, I realized is when I never heard back from him about anything. He’s talked to me and even initiated the conversation the entire time he’d been staying with my parents. The moment that’s not the living arrangement, he vanishes off the face of the Earth. It is hard on my parents to see him in pain and suffering, and do this yo-yo business, but this is the fourth time he has come home in a year’s time span – 10 months, to be more specific. Like Sunny Sweeney’s song, it must not be so bad at home. I just have to move on with my life and not expect my brother to be a part of it – and that’s hard, too.
I did not finish one book in September. I started on Treasured Dreams and I’ve set it aside. Then I picked up another book and didn’t finish before the month was out.
Average Rating: Pages Read: Favorite Book:
September Visits – 930
I’ve flipped and flopped about listing everything I posted for the month. I think I’ve done it twice now, or maybe three times. I don’t like it as much as I liked seeing other people do this. Instead, I’m going back to the old way of sharing my best posts or ones that need some TLC here. I feel like I wrote some AWESOME posts in my mad fury race in July before school started.
I did not get any of the new jobs I applied for, so I was forced to go back to my district. I was dreading it so much, but with our principal retiring and our AP moving up, it wasn’t a mixed bag of how the year would start. It’s been really, really good. I am sad and disappointed that they took all my PreAP classes away from me, but my class sizes are smaller (except for my co-teaches – which should be THE smallest), and I think we have a great group of kids this year. Seriously. We had a fire drill on Friday in the class right before lunch and they were silent as could be standing out in our lines outside.
My dad is doing better. He has recovered from his heart attack and is back at work. They are still trying to find the right office for him that is closer to home or his job. Otherwise, he’ll have to take the entire day off from work to do his cardio therapy. That means he’ll only be working 2 days of the week and that’s not good.
My baby brother is a senior this year. At the beginning of the month (actually while my dad was still in the hospital), the football coach called my mom for a meeting. He really wanted TJ to play. He played last year. TJ went to about two weeks of practices and then went in to tell the football coach he did not want to play. He doesn’t want to risk an injury (like both of my other brothers – knee injury and broken elbow) for baseball season. The coach was disappointed, but I was impressed he wasn’t a jerk to my brother about not playing.
August also brought the solar eclipse – the first to pass over North America since 1979. We got about 70% and I’m glad I went out and watched it. At the end of that week, though, disaster struck my great state of Texas. Hurricane Harvey slammed the Texas coast as a category 4 and brought massive destruction and flooding. FEMA, the Task Forces, and National Guard were activated, and we also had crews coming in from other states. There is already billions in damage, and lives lost. Please keep Texas in your prayers.
I still have not recovered from my hiatus. Last year I was hitting 1,500 monthly views every month. This year I’m doing good to reach 1,000, which only happened in January and March. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back to the viewing I had before. It makes me sad that I worked so hard to return and be active…and a large portion of my viewers no longer keep up with me. No search terms this month.