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17 Weeks

Four months and one week…that’s how much time has passed since November 13th when I broke my ankle.

Each week brings me closer to a full recovery, but I am still a long ways out.

This past week, I learned some painful, yet powerful lessons.

Last weekend, I thought I’d be all that and did three very tough weight lifting routines.

I’d wanted to start Body Beast ever since I’d been sidelined in November.  I had done chest and triceps the previous Friday, legs that Saturday, and biceps and back that Sunday.

To make matters worse, I spent about seven hours on my feet on Sunday…cooking four different recipes.

Boy, was I hurting when Monday rolled around.  I always say that it’s not the day after a workout that you’re most sore but the second day after.

This was me on Tuesday…standing like a gorilla because I couldn’t straighten my arms from Sunday’s bicep workout…

My ankle was a hot mess from Saturday’s workout, let me tell you.  It was so bad that the outside of my ankle…the side where I have my plate, was hurting.  This side rarely gives me problems.

When I got to physical therapy on Monday afternoon, I was doing some serious hobbling.

My physical therapists were not happy, and because I’d done too much, they weren’t able to add new exercises to my regimen.

The ice and stem therapy when I finished that day were much needed.

I struggled all week with my ankle…all because I’d tried to be my former, overachieving self.

Here’s what’s hard for me…remembering that, although my ankle might feel okay while I’m doing something, the effects of being on my feet or doing whatever it is I’m doing don’t hit until later.

I have to start thinking about the after-effects, which is so hard for me because I feel as though I’m missing out on stuff.

Sigh.

So, last week was frustrating, and I might have had a pity party or two when nobody was looking (and even when someone was).

The Mr. got a bit upset with me and fussed…in a loving way (ahem).  He reminded me that I am only four months out from breaking my ankle.

Yes, I can walk.

Yes, my limp is getting better.

Yes, I can drive and do some things.

The key is the word “some.”  That doesn’t mean all, and it doesn’t even mean that those “some” things are going to be to the full extreme that I’ve done them in the past.

YET.

One day, I’ll be able to.

Just not yet.

Just like I can’t wear pretty shoes for very long, so it’s tennis shoes and dresses, on the days when I feel like looking uber-professional.

Don’t be jelly of my fashion style.

Before I left my PT session on Wednesday, I was instructed to take it easy over the weekend…to not do any more than a mile without checking to see how I felt (it had been my intention to get started on my S.P.E.W. virtual race…six miles…broken up for me, of course).

I took their words to heart and went home on Friday determined to be a better patient.  On my way in the house, I stopped to smell the roses…literally.

It had been a tough couple of days with work stuff, and I listened to my body and crashed in the recliner.

Then, I did NOTHING on Saturday.  I stayed in my pajamas and read my new Neal Shusterman book, Scythe.  I had started it Friday night after the Man in the Brown Truck delivered it and finished it early Saturday evening.  It was FANTASTIC!

There were a few twists I didn’t expect, which made this a real page turner.

I took a bit of time out on Saturday to watch the movie If I Stay, which is based on Gayle Forman’s book.  I read it last summer and enjoyed it.  It was a heart-wrenching book.  The movie didn’t disappoint except in a couple of places where things strayed from the book a bit.

Gambit chose to interrupt my “me” time periodically throughout the day.  Being in the recliner puts me at the perfect level to give him a good scratch or two.

All of the resting made a huge difference for my ankle, as evidenced by the fact that you can see most of the bones in my foot.  They’re usually slightly obscured by the swelling that seems to be a constant part of my world right now.

As I type this, it’s Sunday afternoon.  The Mr. is grocery shopping, and I’d like to try to make a couple of things.  We found some recipes that don’t look like they’ll require a lot of standing-up time.  My fingers are crossed.

This journey is reminding me of the importance of rest.  So often, I, along with most of America, use the weekends to try to catch up on tasks that aren’t able to be done during the week.

My body, however, tells on me.  I need the kind of rest that requires purposely sitting down and not doing a whole lot of much, whether it’s thinking or finishing chores.  Everything gets done eventually…it just doesn’t have to be done now.

Speaking of now…the Mr. just pulled into the garage which means for now, I’ll be starting work on those recipes and then hunkering down in my recliner to watch a little NASCAR and, perhaps, enjoy a quick nap.

Thank you for your continued prayers as I press on in my recovery. ❤

Bruiser – A Book Review

I recently finished reading Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman.

This is the tenth book that I’ve read by Shusterman.  His books are chock-full of deep meaning and heart-wrenching themes.

Bruiser is no exception.

This book tells the story of a young man named Brewster who has a unique ability.  When a girl named Bronte befriends Brewster, strange things begin to happen.

Brewster’s relationship with Bronte and her twin brother, Tennyson, changes all of their lives in unexpected ways.

This book is told from the perspectives of each main character, as well as Brewster’s younger brother.

Oh word, but I rode a roller coaster of emotions with this book.

My heart broke for Brewster, as I saw the pain he allowed himself to go through because of his love for his brother and friends.

I grew angry at Bronte for trying to mold him into the person she wanted him to be.

Tennyson’s selfishness made me want to knock some sense into him!

What was most frustrating was Bronte and Tennyson’s inability to see what was clearly before them.  Grrrr!

As I think about how this book’s themes apply to real life, I’m surprised to find that most people are just like the twins.  We settle ourselves into our cozy lives, happy when we find things that satisfy us.

We foolishly allow ourselves to use things in our lives to mask the pain and heartache we face each day when, in reality, we need that pain to find our way through the difficult circumstances.

Ultimately, I saw a correlation between Brewster’s selfless sacrifice to that of Christ’s.  If you read the book, you’ll understand what I mean.  Shustermann never mentions Christianity, but one can’t help but think of it as this book reaches its climax.

I will probably do this book as a Read Aloud next fall.  The messages about not judging people by their reputation and not jumping on the bandwagon ‘just because” will ring true to my high school kids.

It rang true to this almost-44 year old gal, that’s for sure.

Stumbling Through the Hodgepodge

Brrr…it’s chilly outside…even down here in Florida!  Yesterday, when I left for work, it was 21 degrees!!!  That’s crazy!  My school district allowed students to be called in absent due to the weather, and many took advantage!  I had between eight and ten students out per class.  I really enjoyed working with the few who showed up!  Can we please change the class size amendment?  Every student got one-on-one help yesterday, and they thrived!

Anyhoo…you’re really here to read my answer’s to Joyce’s questions, so let’s get moving!

1.  Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they’d like to see banished from the Queen’s English.  Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse or just general uselessness (go here to read more about how the words were chosen).  Here are the words/phrases they’d like to see banished in 2014-

selfie, twerk/twerking, hashtag, Twittersphere, Mr. Mom, T-bone, ____on steroids, the suffixes-ageddon, and -pocalypse added to anything and everything, from the world of politics the words-intellectually/morally bankrupt and Obamacare, and from the world of sports the words-adversity and fan base

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you’d like to add?

Ohhhh…I would choose twerking!!!!!  Can we also erase the stupid dance too?  The kids look gross doing it, and adults who try to imitate it are even more disgusting.  They make Elvis look mild!  Everything from the name AND the dance disgusts me!

2.  What one unfinished project nags at you begging to be completed in this new year?

I can’t really say that I have unfinished projects.  I’m pretty much a see-it-through-until-it’s-done kind of person.  If I had to select a task that I’d like to do this year, it would be to clean up the spare bedroom.  It’s gotten a bit out of hand.  I’ll do that this summer after school lets out.

3.  When did you last have a bowl of soup? What kind? Homemade or from a can? What’s your favorite soup?

I last had a bowl of soup a couple of days ago.  I’m finishing up a large pot of the Black Bean Soup that I make.  I posted it here, with the permission of the Daniel Fast‘s author.  It is homemade.  I do use beans from a can, but the other veggies are fresh.  This happens to be my favorite soup.  Yum!

4.  Snowed in, snowed under, snow job…which one most applies to your life in recent days, figuratively speaking.

I’m feeling a bit snowed under right now.  Next week, we have semester exams.  It’s a stressful time because I am trying to prep my students for that as well as get in more writing practice.  We have FCAT writes in about a month.  My focus is shifting, though, to focusing solely on reading skills, which students MUST have to pass FCAT and, thus, fulfill their graduation requirement.  I’m not saying that writing skills aren’t important; however, when I weigh graduating versus writing for one test, graduating comes out the winner.  After exams, I have to finalize grades and set up for the second semester.  This, in actuality, won’t be a big deal.  I’ll keep my same students, and we’ll just continue with our next unit.

5.  What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen, or at least one of the funniest?

The movie that keeps me laughing the whole way through is Thirteen Going on Thirty, with Jennifer Garner.  She was perfectly cast for the lead role, and her innocent expressions crack me up!  My favorite scene is the Thriller dance, which I’ve shared on my blog before but happily do so again.

6.  In general, would you say you’re clumsy?

I am very clumsy!  Grace definitely isn’t my middle name!  I constantly have bruises on my body from running into furniture.  I suspect that I live life too fast…always dashing from one thing to another.  It’s another reason for me to learn to slow down.

7.  Elvis Presley was born on Hodgepodge Day (January 8th) back in 1935.  Are you an Elvis fan?  What’s your favorite Elvis tune? If that’s too hard, which Elvis tune do you dislike the least?  Click here for a list of his songs.

What a tough question!  I’ve loved Elvis from the time I was a wee thing.  There is a picture in my baby book of me dancing to one of his records.

My favorite song would have to be Always on My Mind.  What an achingly beautiful song.

8.  My Random Thought

Every time I get paid, I spend about $30 dollars on new books for my classroom.

The Mr. has often complained; however, I’m still a fairly new teacher trying to build up my library.

People who don’t work in the education field often think teenagers are not appreciative.  That is often true.

I’ve seen something magical happen, though.

My students are reading…

Without complaining.

They’ve learned that they can put a book on the wish list I have posted in my room, and I will eventually buy it.

When a student begins reading a new series…one in which I only own the first book…I will often order the second…and the third…and on and on until I have the entire series purchased.

While I was on Christmas break, I received another shipment of books.  Inside was the second book in the Lorien Series.  The first book is I am Number 4, which you may have heard of.

One of my boys read it and wanted to start on the second one, which I didn’t have at the time…hence the order I placed.

When he walked into my classroom on Monday, I proudly held up the book.

You should have seen the smile on his face!

What shocked me, though, was watching him pull two books out of his backpack.  He had borrowed them from me before we went on break.

I asked if he had read them, and he assured me that he had!  He told me that he loves to read but that he doesn’t have many books at home.  He loves that I have a lot of books to choose from.

That, my friends, is why I buy books every time I get paid.

The kids do appreciate it.

They love having books that have been recently published.  They love books with relevant themes.  They yearn for them.

I’ve got kids reading everyone from John Green to Rick Riordan.  They are reading James Frey and Neal Shusterman (I’m not a stalker, but I have a grand plan to purchase every single one of this gifted author’s books).

It is such a privilege to watch my students develop a fondness for certain authors or series.

It’s worth every penny I spend.

A Hodgepodge Full of Good Manners

I like Joyce’s questions this week.  They aren’t too taxing on the brain, which I really appreciate given that we are now very much into the routine at school, and I am feeling, oftentimes, overwhelmed.

Let’s cut to the chase and begin!

1.  When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important?

Being a Southern girl, I really like when people say “Ma’am” and “Sir.”  Teenagers, especially, melt my heart when they inject a ma’am into a conversation, and I find myself less likely to write someone up if that person has said this one simple word.

Another manner I think is important is not talking when there’s a meeting going on.  I’m shocked when people sit and have small conversations during faculty meetings!  Trying to teach in a classroom when children are talking is distracting.  Sitting in a meeting trying to hear what my administrators are saying is equally difficult.

2.  Let’s open a proverbial can of worms…Common Core.  Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)?  If so, care to share your thoughts? In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues schools (in your home country) face today?

Ahhh…you just had to go there, didn’t you, Joyce?  I think that the intent of Common Core is good…to toughen up the standards and make them the same across the country.  What I disagree with is the testing.  Our children are tested every time they turn around, and it’s ridiculous.  Teachers (myself included) have our instruction frequently interrupted by said tests…to the point where we can’t even teach what they are being tested on!  Do I think there should be standards and accountability?  Absolutely.  I went to school with kids who would not have graduated, and probably rightly so, if such things had been in place.  They would have been identified as having learning problems and helped, I hope.

I think our schools are facing a problem with micromanagement.  Let the teachers teach without nearly so much oversight, paperwork, and meetings.  It’s a very overwhelming job as it is.  Those things make it even harder.

3.  Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why.

Honestly, I don’t follow celebrity fashion, so I have no answer for this one.  I wear what I want and don’t pay much attention to what others are wearing.

4.  How are you affected by the changing seasons?

I’m not really affected at all.  I layer up as it gets colder, but I’m usually wearing a sweater anyhow because I’m cold-natured, so the weather changes don’t affect me too much.  I will say that my hair is easier to straighten during the winter because a lot of the humidity is gone.

5.  Scariest book you’ve ever read?

I once tried to read Pet Cemetery, by Stephen King.  I was much younger…barely a teenager.  I don’t think I made it past the first two chapters.  I’ve never tried to read it since.

6.  What time of day are you most hungry? What’s your go-to snack?

I don’t get hungry too often.  I don’t eat breakfast nor lunch.  Food is such an inconvenience to me, and I love it when I fast.  Yes, I realize that I have food issues.

If I’m going to snack, I’d prefer to have chips and salsa.

7.  Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent? Which do you find harder to deal with in others?

I am fiercely independent, which puts me at odds with people because I do not like to get help.  Now, I will ask for help, when I’m teaching, but really, I like to work on my own.  I think it’s my desire for full control of my life (and God laughed).

I find needy people to be extremely annoying.  I don’t mind helping, but please at least try to learn while I teach you and then let’s move on.

Yes, I’m a bit impatient too.  🙂

8.  My Random Thought

During the past seven days, I have received two new books…both third installments in their respective series.  I am one happy girl!!!!

Everfound – A Book Review

Everfound, by Neal Shusterman, is the 27th book I’ve finished this year.  It is the third and final installment in the Skinjacker series.

If you have never read any of Shusterman’s books, I strongly encourage you to run to your nearest bookstore or open up your browser to your favorite online book retailer and GET ONE OF HIS BOOKS!!!

Everfound is the fifth Shusterman book that I’ve read.

Every time I order one of his books, I sit with baited breath awaiting its arrival.

Such was the case with Everfound.

This series deals with children who are stuck between life and death.  For whatever reason, they don’t make it to the light.

The main characters – Allie, Mikey, Nick (The Chocolate Ogre), and Mary – are in a battle.  Allie, Mikey, and Nick want to help the children find their way to the light, and Mary thinks it is her purpose to keep them away from it, safe in Everlost.

The final book touched me very deeply.  At one point, I actually cried.

The climax of the story will leave you both stunned and amazed at Shusterman’s creativity.  He cleverly utilizes historic places, weaving his tale to an emotional end.

This is a must-read…for ALL ages.

Everlost

In the wee hours of the morning, I finished book #19 for 2013…Everlost…by Neal Shusterman.

This is the first in his Skinjacker series.

I’d recently finished two of his other books, Unwind, and Unwholly, so I was eager to see what he had cooked up in this book.

Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed!

The book tells the story of two teenagers, Nick and Allie, who are killed when the cars they are in hit head-on.  However, rather than going to heaven, they become stuck in some other sort of afterlife, where they quickly discover that there are new rules for existence.

This book had so much imagery, that it wasn’t difficult to imagine myself stuck in their existence.  Shusterman paints a distinct picture between the land of the living, and that of the Afterlights.

Although this book belongs in the genre of Young Adult, I was immediately pulled in, and I think any other adult would be as well, as the theme is one that any person can identify with…where will we go after we die (for the record, I know WHERE I’m going…wink…)…what happens if you don’t know.

I’ve already ordered the sequel, Everwild, and it should be making its way to my house any day now.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

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