Posts Tagged ‘grading’

September has been a really long month already, and we still have one week to go! Lately I’ve been feeling like my weekends are one day too short, and everything ends up being a big blur. I think I try to fit too much in, to catch up on too much that I didn’t get to during the week, and it means I have fewer chances to just relax on the weekends.

One of my goals for the remaining months of this year is to get a grip on my grading – my workload has tripled, and I have to figure out a way to better deal with it. I am going to attack this just like I would working out – I may not WANT to do it, but I will feel so great when I’ve finished and nothing beats the sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done. The fact is, I enjoy working out now, and while I’ll never love grading essays, I’m sure I can make it more bearable. The nice thing is, I can do them at home, still be with Sofi, and wear my comfiest clothes. If I’ve got to do something you don’t like, at least I can make it as enjoyable as possible. And I have lots of great music to keep me going. And maybe I can host a “grading night” with some colleagues to make it fun and social. So really, I just need to work out a schedule, put it into my iCal, and stick to it.


Weekend Update


So I know that technically Friday isn’t the weekend, but some pretty exciting stuff happened on Saturday afternoon, so I just have to share. I’ve actually been debating about whether or not to share the news or to wait until after it happened to just report on the events, but I’m bursting with excitement, and it’s more my style to spill it.

I wrote a post last week about AdoraOm and how I was so excited for their site to be launched so I could buy some excellent plus-sized yoga/workout clothes. Well, their “curvy ambassador,” Danielle Line, contacted me and said a bunch of nice things about my blog, my writing, and my journey, but then she asked me if I was going to Love Your Body Day. I told her I live in the SF Bay Area, and she replied, “that’s not that far at all. You should come!” And right then and there it hit me – this is so out of character for me to do, but why not? I can drive to West Hollywood in 6 hours, and a day all about women’s empowerment and loving you for you sounds so fun. Plus, I’m sure there will be tons of swag, and who doesn’t like that? Then Danielle said that she would invite me as her personal attendee to the AdoraOm VIP Luncheon the following day. How cool is that? This is a great opportunity, and I’m really open to whatever they might want me to do – maybe even write about their products or try them out? (Putting it out there to manifest it).

I’ve booked the hotel room (which is right on Sunset Blvd!!), and the hotel has lots of great amenities including a pool and a gym, which I’ll be using. I also contacted Heidi to see if she wanted to meet up, which she does. Bonus – I get to meet a blogger that I admire in person! Not to mention that West Hollywood has great night life, and it’s right near Beverly Hills, so there will be excellent shopping too. Win, win, win.

The main reason I’m so excited is that I never do anything so spontaneous (if you can call something that’s a month away spontaneous). I don’t go on trips by myself, so it’s high time I did, don’t you think? I think the entire experience is going to be so much fun and I’m really looking forward to it!


Every year I assign my classes the Letterfits project to go along with the Scarlet Letter unit, and every year the students’ letters sit in a pile on the counter until I give them back/recycle them. It’s sad, because they really do put a lot of effort into them, and the projects look great. This year, since I have so many students who completed the project, I decided it was time to get serious and hang them all up. And of course I called the master to help me do it. My amazing dad spent almost three hours with me early Saturday morning hanging up a bunch of projects in my classroom.


The photo doesn't do justice to how cool the letters look hanging in my room!

The rest of my Saturday was spent grading essays (see above). I wish I would have taken more time out and gone for a walk with Sofi or done some exercise, because I feel so much better on the days I do.

Later Saturday evening I got together with LMK, a former colleague and a good friend, whom I haven’t seen in over a year! Our schedules are so busy, and we each have a lot going on in our lives, but we both agreed that way too much time had passed. We went to a new (to us) Spanish/Latin American restaurant and had tapas. We made great choices, and my entire meal (including the wine) was 577 calories, which is excellent for a night out. While I don’t want to do it all the time, going out to eat is still completely doable with a low carb lifestyle.

The best thing is, LMK and I picked right up where we left off. She and I have so, so much in common, and she’s an example of the way I want to live my life at my goal weight. She’s incredibly fit, and recently started running in addition to her yoga practice. She had the goal to run a half marathon this year, so she joined the free run club at Lululemon, and she’s participating in two half marathons within two weeks – the Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Nike Women’s Marathon (she can’t wait to get the Tiffany pendant at the end). She’s a petite girl to begin with, but very weight conscious, and she keeps track of what she eats. Even though she’s small (a size 4 or 6?), she struggles with her weight as much as I do. Being so tiny, gaining 10 pounds is huge on her little frame, and she is very careful about the types of food she puts in her body. She shops at all the stores I can’t wait to fit into – Athropologie, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor Loft, Lululemon, etc. She’s just a cool chick, and I’m so glad that we reconnected. I want to make a point of keeping in touch with her (and some of my other friends) more often, because she’s such a positive role model for me.


What a busy day! The morning started early with Puppy K for Sofi, which led to a quick trip to Unleashed to pick up a better grooming brush and some new dog food. It was SO hard to resist buying her a cute sweater or two, but I did.


This are of the yoga studio really makes me feel calm and serene.

Then I headed to yin yoga with another work colleague/friend.  As I mentioned last week, I’m really liking the mind/body connection I feel after taking the class. I feel really centered and good about myself.  Plus, the deep stretches are so good for my body.

I have quite a To Do list to accomplish before the end of the day:

  • Organize around the house – wash & fold laundry, electric broom, straighten up.
  • Take Sofi on a semi-soggy walk (it’s sort of lightly misting/sprinkling here).
  • Grade essays – I am committing to spending at least 2 hours today grading.
  • Make a healthy dinner – I’m thinking the stuffed mushrooms I bought the other day are going to be perfect for this strange, rainy weather we’re having today.
  • At home facial – time for some Queen Helene Mint Julip Mud Masque.
  • Watch all my Sunday shows:

So I’d better end this and get to it!  I hope you had a fabulous weekend!


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A day in the life. Or, all the things I did to avoid grading those darn essays that I need to get finished before Tuesday. (And I’d feel so much better if I went into the workweek with them finished).

Changed the sheets on the bed:

Drank lots of coffee!

(I hate that burn on the countertop, but it’s from a previous tenant).

Refereed overly passionate playing puppies.  And played with them a bit, too:

Went shopping at Trader Joe’s and Target and…

…filled the fruit bowl

…stocked the freezer (Lean Cuisine’s on sale at Target: $2 each, plus buy 4, get 1 free, so for 10 dinners, I paid $16: $1.60 each!!)

…made sure that all my favorite, healthy foods were ready for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner all week:

(Don’t worry about that overly-processed bologna-looking turkey, that’s what Lulu uses to take her daily dose of Benedryl when I run out of regular turkey).

Tweeted, blogged/commented on blogs, checked FB – basically went to all my favorite online haunts:

I even did a bunch of laundry and folded it and put it away.

But now I’ve come to the point in the day when it really is unavoidable.  I need to get to the grading:

Wish me luck.

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Last night one of my cousin’s came over to my house for the first time, and he was truly impressed with it. He couldn’t get over how large it was, the size of my yard (not that it’s THAT big, but for a rental), how great the “flow” is for entertaining, and how I’ve decorated it. He made me feel so good about it. I’m really proud of where I live and how I’ve decorated. Which makes me feel like the extra money I spend every month in rent (compared to my last place) is totally and completely worth it.

Today I woke up late, and decided to honor this sense of gratitude I feel for how lucky I am to live here. So today I’m doing a photo “essay” post, filled with all the things that are making me smile on this gorgeous Sunday.

I bought these mums yesterday and they are so vibrant and firey. A perfect addition to my outdoor table. I love seeing them as I look out the window.

I bought this fall bouquet yesterday, since I knew I was having people over. Plus, I haven’t bought fresh flowers for myself in a long time, and I thought it was about time.

Lulu always makes me smile. Even with her recent naughtiness, Lulu is such a joy in my life and I feel like she’s the best thing that’s happened to me in the past year.

Naughty #1 came Friday, when Lulu decided to use my power cord as a chew toy. Luckily I avoided having to spend $80 to replace it because my dad can literally fix anything.

Naughty #2 came last night, after I had been out for about 4 hours. Lulu was so excited to see me, and we were playing. Then I went into my room to get changed and she jumped on the bed and we played a bit more. Suddenly she was getting into this strange pose. Before I knew what was going on, I realized she was peeing! On my silk duvet!! So I sopped up the pee with a towel, treated the duvet with Zout (before reading that it wasn’t recommended for silk), and washed it on the delicate, cool water cycle. Then I put it in the dryer on no-heat fluff. I closed the garage door, went to bed, and hoped for the best.

How could I ever be upset with that face?

Having lots of fresh fruit and veggies on hand makes me happy.

Being stocked up on food makes me feel ready for the week. Safeway had a sale on Healthy Choice entrees this week, so that’s what I got. Nothing makes me smile more than being organized.

Sunday morning ritual, part 1.

Sunday morning ritual, part 2. Although who am I kidding, I drink coffee every day.

I have an actual garden that I can play around in at this new house. These roses have been here a long time, but I’m hoping that I can learn how to care for them so that they thrive. This photo also reminds me that this spring and summer I’m going to be able to make this yard look amazing with a little money, lots of effort, and some gardening luck!

This is what I saw when I walked out of my front door this morning. It’s a gorgeous day here today: sunny, bright, slightly windy, with clear skies. Oh and lots of leaves falling from those huge trees in the center island on my street. Luckily they should all be gone within a few weeks.

These are the bulbs my dad and I planted last weekend. It doesn’t look like anything more than a box of dirt, but by the spring, they’ll be gorgeous. It’s been fun trying something as new as planting bulbs and hoping for the best.

I am so thankful to have a garage at this house. With an automatic door opener (when I lived here before, it hadn’t been installed yet and it was a pain opening the door manually, let me tell you. On these weekday mornings when the roofs have been covered with frost, it’s so nice to be able to get in a car that isn’t freezing cold.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate this hutch, but I knew I wanted a wine theme in the room. So after my recent trip to Napa I decided that I’d fill it with bottles of wine. BevMo, World Market, and Trader Joe’s – here I come for some inexpensive, quirky bottles to go along with the more expensive ones I bought in wine country.

Back to the scene of the crime!

Luckily for her (and me!), the duvet came out just fine.

No stains, no shrinking, and other than being a bit wrinkled, no damage at all. It looks just as vibrant and happy as it did before “the midnight incident.”

While I’m not thrilled at the prospect of spending the day grading all of these essays and tests, I am so grateful that I get to do what I love – teach English. Every job comes with a downside, and grading is it for me. But every now and then I read a truly inspired essay and it makes me proud.

This playlist featuring Joshua Radin and Ari Hest has been the soundtrack to my Sunday, which I needed to get through the household chores and grading that I had going on today.  I learned about Joshua Radin from an episode of The Bachelorette (she says sheepishly), and FatGirlvsWorld told me about Ari Hest.  Both are mellow, singer-songwriters who add a nice bit of background music without being overbearing.

Speaking of music…

I cannot wait for this soundtrack to come out!  I have a whole playlist of Christmas music that I start listening to as soon as Thanksgiving is over.  Over 120 songs by my favorite artists.  Whenever I play the music it reminds me of the reason for the season, as they say.  And I can’t wait to add this album to the mix.

These two are the definition of adorable, aren’t they? Today LC and my mom are getting my niece’s ears pierced (she’s 8 yrs old), while my dad takes the 3-year-old niece to the park.  Wanting to do my part to make the day fun, I told my sister that she could bring Minnie over so that Minnie and Lulu could play.  These two have been great pals since they first met, and neither one plays with other dogs as well as they play with each other.  It’s the cutest thing to watch them have fun.  The added bonus is that Lulu is so tired when Minnie leaves.

LoseIt makes it so easy for me to keep track of what I’m eating.  Changing from points to calories worried me at first, but as soon as I started tracking everything in LoseIt, I wasn’t worried anymore.  It makes it so easy to know exactly where I am with my eating.

A snapshot of my iCal for the week ahead – working out, minimum days, professional development, and ending with inexpensive (but delicious) wine tasting aka Passport Weekend. We’ll see if my budget allows for me to stock up on more wine from some of these wineries.

Just a few images and words that show how truly fortunate I am.  No fancy vacation or shopping spree needed – just a camera and an appreciation for all the things that make me smile.  🙂

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