Sunday, October 28, 2012

 Michael and I have been discovering new places to hike at - these photos are from last weekend when we hiked around Lake Whitaker. It was mild and sunny - just perfect. The colours have peaked and now there is a deep carpet of leaves everywhere.
 Usually I get melancholic during the fall season BUT this fall has been different. Can you believe I am looking forward to WINTER??  Yes, indeedy! We have had such brilliant weather this year - it all began during March  break when Michael and I went to visit the trailer I used to own and which now belongs to friends.  The weather just got better and better through the long spring and the never-ending summer. Just in the past two days has it been cool enough to put on a jacket. Remarkable, really. I find myself waiting for it to warm up again as I am so used to it being warm (or HOT) every day now.
 So that is why I am looking forward to winter. I am ready for a change of season and I can hardly believe I am saying that - ME - the lover of summer!

I am going to go out on a limb here (HAH! get it?) and predict that every leaf that is still attached to a tree branch around here will have fallen by next weekend and will be residing somewhere in Manitoba...or perhaps the Arctic! Hurricane Sandy is on her way and she is one of the most massive storms to ever trundle her way up the Eastern seaboard.  Her winds are not overly strong but her size is incredible - she is 1,000 miles in diameter and set to wage such destruction she will make her way into history books!  By Thursday we should be feeling the effects of all of her windy and rainy fury and by this time next week the trees should all be stripped clean. I just hope that they remain standing and that no one is injured or killed!
 Lake Whitaker is a little piece of heaven on earth. I used to come to the perimeter of this conservation area with my dad to pick elderberries years ago and had never hiked here before. Michael and I have circumnavigated the lake twice now - it takes about 3 hours, or more depending on how many side paths we take. The lake is quite small but the carolinian forest and the pine forests extend quite far to the north.
 My feet with my favorite Blundstone boots are peeking through a thick carpet of leaves.
 The geese love it here. And the blackbirds must stop here on their migratory path as the cacophony of sound was almost overwhelming at times.
 This week was pretty good - I am working hard at creating a structured learning environment at school and have made a lot of progress.  The powers that be have given teachers FOUR half-days of release time this year to work on a PLC (Personal Learning Community) project and so I chose to continue to work on structured learning of course. Last Friday was my first half-day. I got up at my usual time (5:15am) and was working away on my living room couch by 6am. It was a wonderfully productive time - being able to work for 4.5 hours WITHOUT interruption was fantastic! I am really making headway!

Shortly after I arrived back at school on Friday a friend arrived who is helping me to implement structured learning by helping to train my educational assistants. This friend helps at a number of schools and we used to work together for a few years. We see eye to eye so I know I  can count on her to pass on my strategies and methods in the same way that I would. By the end of the school day I was actually feeling JOYFUL!! Yes, joyful!

My regular readers know that last year was a tough work year for me and I ended up taking some time off due to the stressful work conditions.

I want to mark the day - Friday, Oct. 26th - as the day that I said to myself again -"I love my job!"
 You can see by my photos that I am always trailing behind Micael! It's because I stop and take so many photos!
 I love this photo - you can see little areas of light close up, in the middle ground and far off in the distance. What is Michael thinking, I wonder?
 Getting out for hikes every Sunday really saves my bacon. I get so caught up in the day to day grind during the week and it's so tempting to just lay on the couch with a book or watch something on Netflix. (By the way, I discovered the TV series "Jericho" the other day - wow, I love it!)  But, once I drag my butt outside I'm so glad I did!
 Just love the brilliance of these reddish-orange oak leaves against the blue sky!
 Do you think they're poisonous?? Even so, they are so CUTE!
 Walking though the pines on millions of dropped needles - so quiet...
One thing about walking on fallen leaves and needles is sometimes you're not sure if you're still on the PATH so I'm always happy when we come across a little bridge - yes! We're still on the path!
 This is where one side-path took us - how idyllic!

 Back into the woods - and I found a little green man dancing a jig!
And a little brown man! :) Well, not so little!
 This photo has a "holy" feeling to it I think...out of the darkness and into the light!
Some of the migrating birds - they moved from tree to tree overhead - filling the air with their constant chirping.
The light at the end of the tunnel - another side-path. At this point my camera battery died, aren't you sad??

No hiking this weekend - it's wet and cold...and wet. Blecch! And I've been on my own for most of the weekend so I DID INDULGE in some couch laying and some TV watching ;)  But I also rode my recumbent bike for miles and miles and miles just so I could break even with all the calories I consumed. I'm trying to get in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week which is the minimum we need according to "the experts".  I spent two days after classes in the cardio room at school - I alternately ran and walked on the treadmill, used the elliptical and did some resistance training. Far exceeded 150 minutes. Although it's great to get the exercise I do it mostly for managing stress. I really do feel better after working up a good sweat and I don't have to pay for a gym membership.

One of these days I'll do a financial update. I am sticking to a budget and while I spend, spend, spend it's mostly for school and I'll eventually be reimbursed. I hope. If I find the correct forms to fill in and haven't lost any receipts.

Well, I better move along. The dryer buzzed and there's more laundry calling my name. And so is lunch!! Have a great week everybody and thanks for reading my post.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm not dead...

I just look like I am!
This is the first Friday night since school started that I haven't crawled into bed at 8pm.  Nope, here it is, 8:50pm and Michael and I are sitting at Starbucks catching up on our social media sites. But not for much longer. We'll soon be heading home as Michael has a training session tomorrow morning in food handling. He is working as a youth support worker and its just one of many certifications he has to acquire.
Me, well I am still working about 70 hours a week but can see the light at the end of the hallway ....sorta.  By the time I get home each day my brain is totally empty and I go through the motions of getting myself ready for the next work day and creep between the covers with a book. I last about 5 minutes and then turn off the light.
I have much to tell you about and really miss you guys! I hope, in time, I can become more regular in my posting but I'm not going to make any promises to post 3 or 5 times a week or anything.  But I will make a comeback, you CAN count on that!

Happy weekend my friends!