Archive for January, 2010

Things to Cheer You Up After a Long, Hard Week

  • finding new mixes on
  • delicious French food cooked by a loving, handsome husband
  • sleeping for 17 hours
  • rewatching old episodes of Freaks & Geeks
  • seeing your best friend & sitting around for 5 hours just talking & laughing
  • finishing a good book that isn’t even a reread

I did all of those on this Saturday & am feeling a bit better. Thank goodness for Saturdays & sleep & husbands & best friends & books & good food.


Rainy Day Schedule

I live in Central California. Although people think of beaches & movie stars when they think of my state, I do not live at the beach & the only movie star credit we can claim right here is that George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) went to the same junior high, high school, and junior college that I attended (although, admittedly several decades apart). It is farmland where I live, acres & acres of farms surround our cities. This rain that we have been having is wonderful for all the crops & after years where there have been droughts, honestly, this rain is applauded by the residents of our area.

However, I am not a farmer, cheering because I’ll have moist soil in which to plant. I am an elementary school teacher & rainy days = rainy day schedule. Let me break it down for you, as I assume it’s been awhile since you’ve been in elementary school.

At our school, students are allowed to come on campus at 8am. That means, from 8:00-8:30am, they’re sitting in the cafeteria, talking with other students, and wishing they were on the playground. Two teachers get that yard duty, and it involves keeping the roar to a mild din & the natives from becoming too restless. At 8:30, school begins. The kids head to their classrooms where they sit through the morning (8:30-10:45). They get a 20-minute recess as a morning break, but they cannot go outside. They have to stay in the classroom. Even if they’re playing Heads Up, Seven Up or Four Corners, they’re still mostly stationary. And so, recess passes in a fashion that is not as relaxing / not as much of a break as it was intended to be (10:45-11:05). We teach until lunchtime, but lunch won’t start as it normally would because there’s no place for the kids to go to recess. That means they stay in the classroom for an extra 15 minutes. We take them to the cafeteria at 12:30 & pick them up at 1:00. Then we teach from 1:00-3:00.

If you’re counting, if you have morning yard duty (which I do, each week), you’re enclosed in a room with 25+ kids for 7 hours with less than 30 minutes of a break. It seems absolutely inhumane. I love teaching, but I need a second of quiet to decompress at recess. I can only go so many days where my lunchtime is taken up with copies & helping kids & phone calls & oops, no lunch… before I break.

I’m absolutely thrilled it’s Friday, if you hadn’t guessed.

The worst part though, is that I’m an adult (allegedly, at least). It’s about 10 times harder to be a kid & sit still for that long. I completely understand how terrible it is for them not to get up & run around, but my hands are tied & that is why I proclaim:

Rainy Day Schedule sucks.


I had read about these pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins & thought they sounded delicious. When I woke up before my husband this morning, I knew that they’d be a perfect Sunday morning surprise.

They are absolutely delicious. I added 3.5c flour (if her measurements make you nervous) & they turned out perfectly. They are pretty chocolatey (a plus in my book!). Also, I cooked them a little less than the recommended time, but I think my oven might be running a bit hot. The only drawback (if it can be seen as such) is that they make many more than 12. I have almost half a bowl left, and I anticipate that I will make 20-24 rather large muffins.

In other good news, I tried the silicon muffin liners that people have raved about online (found some on sale for $1 & figured it was worth it + they make heart-shaped muffins!). I also had difficulties with popping them out when the muffins were hot, but absolutely no trouble when they had cooled. So, mixed review!

But ignore that & bake the muffins – tender & delicious!

Screenprinting or Portland or Both: A Gorgeous Question

I’ve coveted this class ever since I started reading this blog. There’s one this Saturday with spots still as open as my Saturday currently is. It’s a little bit pricy, but screenprinting! Who wouldn’t want to learn how to do that?

I haven’t decided if I should go or not. I’d be back with time to spare before I volunteer at our theatre that night + I could get ice cream at the creamery or pastries at the bakery (two different locations, both of which I really enjoy, neither of which I visit frequently as they’re in San Francisco)…

It IS a three-day weekend (MLK Day on Monday), but we’re looking into maybe going to Portland the following week to see a friend of ours (Ivan’s three days in a row off + I could take a no-tell day). Is doing both too indulgent? Hm!

What wonderful things to have to worry about on a rainy Tuesday! Should I take an amazing class that I’ve been drooling over or visit a city I really love & people I can’t wait to see… or both!?

My Life in Hours

So, I finished the hour-by-hour tracking of my week. Honestly, I did not write something down for each hour. I only kept track of seven things that I thought I do a lot (sleep, school [my work], read, volunteer, computer games, watch movies / DVDs, cook). I was somewhat surprised.

My week in hours:

  • in the week: 168 (24/day, obviously)
  • at school / on school-related stuff (district meetings, teaching an after school program, all included): 50 (10/day, pretty strict about not doing school stuff on the weekends)
  • sleeping: 47.5 (6.8/night – Eek! – This was also quite influenced by me sleeping 10 hours last night. I need to be careful about getting more than this!)
  • reading: 10 (1.4/day – also influenced by the weekend – 6 of the 10 hours were on Saturday / Sunday, but that’s okay)
  • volunteering: 6 (.9/day – but that’s more than sufficient – I’m happy with 20 hours / month, which I handily get)
  • movies / TV on DVD: 4 (.5/day – That’s much less than I thought we spent. We often watch a little bit of TV before we go to sleep [20 minutes of a show / DVD], but it did not add up to an unreasonable amount, I don’t think.)
  • computer games: 20 (2.85/day – Hm! That’s a little higher average than I’d like. We had a lot going on with our game this week, but still. However, I’ll bet other people take their downtime reading internet forums or watching TV, so I guess that’s not too terrible, but still, a little higher than I’d like.)
  • cooking: 2 (I won’t even bother doing a by day for this. I didn’t cook anything during the week – one hour each on Saturday & Sunday. Thank goodness for my husband.)
  • total hours logged: 139.5/168 (I’m not sure where the rest of my time went? It takes me about 20-30 minutes on my way to school & 20 on my way home. That’s about 4 hours/week. I ran errands on Saturday for a few hours, maybe 3? I spend an hour in the morning each day getting up, showered, ready, checking email, etc., but still short 16 hours. I do not know!)

So, I guess I learned that I need more sleep & don’t need to worry about my downtime / relaxing time. I am doing well with the volunteering, lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking, and need to not spend so much time at school. Not terrible, but not great. I think I am going to try to do this once a month to evaluate how I’m spending my time. I was surprised by some of these numbers, truly.

Try it yourself & let me know how it goes.

Hour by Hour

I am keeping track of my hours this week. I am curious to see how many hours I spend doing my different activities (working, sleeping, cooking/baking, volunteering, computer games, reading, etc.). Some of them are much lower than I’d like (thank goodness that my husband cooks) & some much higher (not ready to admit this yet!).

If you’re interested, keep track of your hours for a week – Sunday to Saturday. Have a small, informal tally sheet going. I was surprised by mine & would be interested to know how others allot their time. I just picked a regular week (on track, nothing particularly out of the ordinary happening) & started counting. I’ll post it up on Sunday.

The Best Part of January

…is the fact that Central California is actually cold enough for me to justify wearing a scarf (of which I own many).