Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Five - Post Thanksgiving Edition

From RevGalBlogPals:
Ah, the day after Thanksgiving--groan! Fortunately, I love Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving is the American holiday when the greatest number of people travel somewhere else to celebrate. I am posting this from my son’s home in Minnesota where we are recovering from the food shopping and the preparations and the meal and the clean up. It is difficult to think of anything requiring much energy today, and I am enjoying my sweet baby granddaughter, so I will keep it simple. For those of you not in the USA, I apologize for the nationalistic tone of this Friday Five!

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?

We were home. Our oldest son drove up from Providence so it was just 3 of us. It was good to have him home, but I grew up with lots of family around for Thanksgiving. It doesn't seem quite holiday-ish enough with only 3 around the table. I didn't even get out the good china and all the accoutrements, and we ate in the kitchen instead of at the dining room table that seats 10-12.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?

The only meat course was turkey --- a beautiful fresh 20 lbs gobbler. It was prepared in our traditional way -- roasted under foil for 6.5 hrs in a 325° oven. We had "in the bird" stuffing and "out of the bird" dressing made from a bag of Pepperidge Farm Countrystyle stuffing mix. Of course I add my own touches - celery, onion, bay leaf, capers. And we had mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, mashed turnips, steamed pearl onions, gravy, cranberry sauce, and apple, pecan, pumpkin, and mince pie. (Just for the record, we thought our son's housemates were coming with him. We also made extra so he could have leftovers too!)

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?

Pie-picking! Leaving the pies out for the evening so anyone who needs just a little nosh can help themselves. And of course, the quintessential turkey sandwich -- spongy white bread, mayo, turkey, and iceberg lettuce.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?

NO! NO! NO! NO! I NEVER SHOP THE DAY AFTER. Actually today I got up early and went to the Wellness Center for "Turkey Burner" water classes. I did 30 minutes of muscle toning, 45 minutes of water aerobics, and 40 minutes of water relaxation.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?

My Christmas decorations go up the first weekend in Advent which isn't til next weekend. They stay up until Epiphany. I abhor the present practice of starting the holiday shopping season in October and have gone out of my way to verbally complain about the music and decorations to customer service departments in places like Penneys and Sears and Walmart.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Not much happening in this corner of the world

For a short, easy school week, it felt quite long. It started with a 4 day weekend - Nov 9 was a "comp" day to make up for all the hours we put in for parent conferences and Monday was Veterans' Day. On Tuesday we had a regular school day and then held parent conferences until 7 pm. Wed-Friday we took our 6th graders to a terrific outdoor educational school - Boston University's Sargent Center --- for 3 days of great outdoor experiences. Unfortunately for the kids, Thursday was a day of torrential rain. Friday was sunny but wintery --- temps in the high 30's. They had a blast despite being soaked on Thursday and chilly on Friday!

Today was a chore day at home - it doesn't look like we did a lot, but much of it was "behind the scenes". In other words, we went through some storage areas and threw out a ton of stuff that we'd accumulated over 30 years. I also got several loads of laundry done, went to a Weight Watchers' meeting (I lost over 6 pounds!!!), and completed some paperwork that needed attention.

Tomorrow is our Thanksgiving service at church, church council meeting, and then in the evening is our community's Interfaith Thanksgiving service. That's a tradition that goes back about 30 years and rotates between 3 churches. Tomorrow night's service is hosted by my church. The service is well-attended and is led by our local UCC churches, our local Catholic church, our local Jewish leader, an Islamic leader, and the local Friends' meeting. Last year, in the absence of a pastor from our church, I was part of the leadership. This year all I have to do is provide the Spanish translations for the benediction. . . .

El Senor te bendiga y te guarde
May the Lord bless you and keep you.

El Senor te mire con agrado y te extienda su amor
May the Lord make his countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you

El Senor te muestre su favor y te conceda la paz.
May the Lord turn his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Friday Five - Unbusyness

Sally at RevGalBlogPals writes this:

I am writing in my official capacity of grump!!! No seriously, with the shops and stores around us filling with Christmas gifts and decorations, the holiday season moving up on us quickly for many the time from Thanksgiving onwards will be spent in a headlong rush towards Christmas with hardly a time to breathe.... I am looking at the possibility of finding little gaps in the day or the week to spend in extravagant unbusyness ( a wonderful phrase coined by a fellow revgal)...
So given those little gaps, name 5 things you would do to; care for your body

I just joined Weight Watchers to get additional support for my weight loss battle. I also recommitted myself to getting at least 100 minutes of aerobic exercise every Monday-Friday, and to get back to strength training twice a week.
2. to care for your spirit

I knit. It's a very centering activity for me. I also have recommitted to regular lectio divina reading of the weekly lectionary. And I am trying to consciously stop whatever I'm doing when I see beauty - and give thanks for it.
3. to care for your mind

Hmmm....this one's a little tougher. I guess this one's more job related right now. I am trying to learn some new job skills -- or at least trying to more consciously develop some new ways to deliver instruction using differentiated instruction. I have been good at teaching kids using the multiple intelligences, but now I want to try to figure out how to teach more kids at their individual levels, rather than the one-size-fits-all model we've tended to use. That's not to say I haven't every modified instruction by any means. But my lesson modifications have tended to be "downwards". I want to learn how to modify "upwards" for those kids who need more challenge.
4. to bring a sparkle to your eye

Yarn shopping!!! And planning a few "play dates" with friends - whatever the form of play might be -- dinner out (or in), a weekend away, a theater excursion, etc.

5. to place a spring in your step

Getting my house cleaned (not necessarily by me!) And hiring a personal chef to make all the healthy meals we need -- keeping me out of the meal preparation routine completely.

Enjoy the time to indulge and dream.... and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?

I've already started a few of these ---- even #5. My neighbor is looking for a way to earn some extra cash, and she has offered to come in for an hour or two every week to clean bathrooms, and the kitchen. How can I refuse!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Feelin' Glum

Glum describes a depressed, spiritless condition or manner, usually temporary rather than habitual:

That's how I'm feeling today. I'm not exactly sure why. It might be that I joined Weight Watchers and wasn't pleased with my starting weight. I've been working hard for most of the year on losing weight, and had managed to lose 35 lbs. Since school started however, some of those pounds have been found again, and I'm tired of all the planning ahead I have to do in order to eat. I joined WW because my work place offered a 17 week program and I decided I needed the support of others. But when I went today I looked around and realized that of the 15 or so of us there, most probably only need to lose 5-10 lbs, not 150 lbs. It made me feel worse than I already do about where I am right now in the weight battle. I left the meeting and did 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise at my fitness center. Usually that gets the endorphins going. But I came home tired, and feeling like I will never succeed. I need some positive self talk but haven't got the energy tonight to do it.

I shouldn't be glum - I have a 4 day weekend ahead. I plan to do some shopping with a friend, and lots of knitting. And of course some grading papers. There's a church supper on Sat. night, and big events on Sunday at church. Next week will be an easy week at school too--- classes on Tuesday, and then 3 days at a local outdoor education center. But somehow all that just makes me tired.

I even had fun with my kids at school today --- something that's happening a lot this year. I'm really falling in love with my job again.

But tonight, I'm glum.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More Warm and Cuddly

Iro Mitts
Originally uploaded by dswgr6
I made these cozy mittens out of left over yarn from my ruana. They were quick and easy. I made one in the car on a short trip and the other the next evening. You can link to the pattern Iro Mitts in my notebook on Ravelry My ID is dswgr6.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Five

Mother Laura writes:
Songbird just had an interview for a "vague and interesting" possibility, and More Cows than People is doing campus visits for doctoral programs. There always seem to be a few RevGals applying for new positions, and I just got my first call for this year's preliminary interviews for college teaching jobs at the American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego coming up in a few weeks. It's for my dream job among this year's offerings, and I am flipflopping between excitement and nervousness. So please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for everyone facing such conversations, and share your thoughts on the wonderful world of interviews:

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?

I haven't had a lot of interviews, but the one I remember was when the town selectmen interviewed for the position of tax collector. I was in my late 20's and I was pregnant with my first child (who is now 27) I remember the head selectman asking me how I would care for my child if I got the job. I was quite incensed that the question should even be asked! I replied, "I don't think that's really any of your business. How do you care for your children?" Needless to say, I didn't get the job!

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?

I have been on several interview teams - as part of pastoral search teams, part of interview teams for teachers, guidance counselors, and even principals. I'm somewhere in between ---- I have to admit that when I was last on a pastoral search team, I didn't even want to interview one of the candidates. His profile didn't impress me at all. However, I was in the minority and we interviewed him. I was blown away in the interview! We ended up calling him and he served our church well for over 10 years. He was an excellent pastor, a wonderful mentor and spiritual director. I shared the story with him several years into his ministry with us.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?

I don't find phone interviews particularly helpful. I need to see faces. I have done a couple of phone interviews as the interviewer, but have never been the interviewee.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?

Best advice? Be yourself. Worst advice? Tell them what they want to hear.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?

It's been so long since I've been on an interview - the last one was in 1995 when I interviewed for my present teaching job. I don't remember any special rituals other than practicing.