Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ode to a glorious fall

I can't remember when we have had a more beautiful fall. Today the temperature was in the high 70's. Yesterday, Pueblo was warmer than any where in Florida as evidenced by the 81 degrees recorded on our back porch thermometer.

Jim and I have tried to take advantage of the wonderful warm weather by traveling on short day trips, walking in the neighborhood, and going to riverwalk to enjoy the scenery as often as possible. This has been a treat to us in our first year of retirement that we are sharing together.

We began the season with our return from Alaska. Having been bitten by the travel bug, we took a short day trip to Westcliff late in September. It seemed the landscape along the way was painted with wide sweeps of bright gold and red. I don't remember when I have seen such beautiful red aspen leaves mixed in the gold. This picture was taken at Lake San Isabel, one of my favorite spots in the world, on our way home.

We took Buster with us and decided it was time for his birthday portrait. He turn 9 in October. At his yearly checkup, the vet said he is in the geriatric stage. That just doesn't seem possible, but I guess one can only hope for about 12 to 14 years the life span on golden retrievers. He did say he was in excellent health and his weight is in an excellent range. If only we took care of ourselves the way we take care of our dear Buster.

Here he is: A golden on a golden day on the way to Ophir.

We also went to see my mother, now in her 92nd year in September. She was doing amazingly well when we were there. She is now in the second week of fighting a terrible cold that has kept her house bound. Today, she sounds a bit stronger, less congested, and she took a little walk around her yard. I hope she is nearly done with this setback. She seems to get these bugs around Thanksgiving.

Much of my time this fall has also been spent on teaching, preparing for classes and working on professional development courses. I spend a great deal of each day at my computer keeping up on my profession and working on classes that I teach. I am teaching a class in English methods for secondary teachers. This has been a lot of fun this year because I have a wonderful class. I have also enjoyed all that I have learned in the process.

I now have two professional development courses that I am also working on. One is being held out in Pueblo County School District #70. It is a practicum in teaching secondary content area subjects to English language learners. Starting in January, I will be offering the exact same course to a middle school that is actually located at the end of the street where I live. I am looking forward to working with the great staff at Heaton Middle School.

I couldn't do all that I do without the support of my wonderful husband. Here is an example of why I love him like I do!
He always does the vacuuming on Sunday mornings. Here he is making sure he gets his work done without missing Meet the Press.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Statin Drugs

Today should also be marked as the first the day that I will begin taking the statin drugs that are making the news today. See for the news report on this topic today. I found all of this most fascinating when I first saw the reports last night about the statin drugs because two weeks ago at my appointment with my heart doctor, I found that my CPR levels were very high. In fact, combined with my HDL, I was “highly at risk” for a heart attack. Needless to say, I freaked out! I had new blood work done, found I had brought my HDL down 20 points in about two months by eating oatmeal every day and watching what I eat a bit more closely. My GP doc prescribed the statin drug last week; however, after another visit to the heart doc, where I was actually seen by his “physician’s assistant,” I decided not to take the statin. All of that changed after I say the latest research. So, now I begin the drug therapy for cholesterol. We will see how my blood work changes.
I really don’t want to spend my retirement years worrying out my health, but I don’t want to be in denial about it either. I am also taking Verapamil for my irregular heart beat. That seems to help some, but I am still bothered by the irregular beats mainly in the evening. I at least feel like we have a plan, and that I also have good doctors who are following me and my symptoms. As women, we need to be aware of our hearts and make sure that doctors take us seriously when we think things are not quite right.

Retired English Teacher Still Working

Not working today...
Now that is a phrase that takes some understanding, or does it. The title describes who I am. I am a retired English teacher who is still working.
I just finished a wonderful home cooked meal of split pea soup, crusty French bread and red wine. Now, who can ask for a more satisfying meal than that? I feel completely satisfied. I don’t even want a piece of chocolate! If I were not a retired English teacher, I could not have made split pea soup from scratch today. That is a bonus that comes when one doesn’t work on a regular basis. One can actually cook. If the day starts out gloomy, cold and rainy, as today did, I always think I want to stay home and make soup. Today, I was home, so I made soup. There is something that is good for the soul about making homemade soup and then eating it.
Retired English teacher, who didn’t have to work today also spent almost all of the morning on the computer reading emails, posting a few things on Blackboard for her class she teaches this coming Wednesday, and talking to a daughter who need a listening ear. Since this retired English teacher also needed to make it to Pilates by 1:00 p.m., she had to kick into high gear and get a few things done around the house. Actually, there are a lot of things to be done around the house, but I only had time for the most serious jobs that wouldn’t take much time to do. So, while my dear hubby vacuumed, as he always does, I cleaned mirrors, glass doors and then mopped the floors. Whew that was done just in time to get into my workout clothes and head out to Pilates.

My Pilates class was awesome. I just wish I had been doing this on a more regular basis over the last 20 years. Maybe if I had been doing yoga or Pilates, I wouldn’t be in the shape I’m in. Oh well, there is nothing I can do about the past, so I must be more focused on using the present to get this old body in better shape.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In The Mix

It has been quite a week around here. Last Saturday night, we went to a Black Tie Dinner with Amy Tan as the guest of honor. Some of you may not know that her brother is the owner of the Abriendo Inn where we had our family pictures taken last year. He had just purchased it last year, so I didn't know he was the owner when we were there. She was here for a family reunion and as a guest of honor for the All Pueblo Reads selection of The Joy Luck Club. As our family did when they were here, Amy Tan's family was also having a portrait done by Leslie in the backyard of the Inn.

Now the Big News: Obama came to town for the second time in about six weeks. This time we decided to go down and be a part of the mix. History was being made after all. I wasn't sure if we had the stamina, but we actually did the whole rally thing and were able to survive it. We got to the line to get in at about 11:00 a.m. It was 81 degrees out, so it was quite warm. The line went from "D" Street on Main, up over the Main Street bridge to nearly Abriendo. We hiked up the hill on to the end of the line and took our place. I had fun talking to the people in line while Jim wandered around talking to friends he saw and etc. The gates opened right at 1:00 p.m. Everything was very well organized. The stage was built to span Union at "D" Street. We were not very far back from the stage, but he chose to go to the north side of the street, which happened to be behind the bleachers for the press, for two reasons. There was shade, and the porta-pots were right behind us. (Men of a certain age will understand why that was necessary.) Actually, we had a nice place and nice people to visit with so the time went by quickly. Obamas, Michele first and the Barack, were finally on stage around 3:15. I caught much of the speech on my camara, but haven't quite figured out how to download it. Anyway, it was a great day and quite exciting.

After the rally, we went to get Mexican food, but decided to go to El Nopol instead of our usual place. But, if you were here, where do you think we would take you? Jorge's right? Go to the link to find out why we should have gone to Jorges!

I am posting a cute picture of Buster trying to get Jim's oatmeal that I took yesterday and then one of Jim after our long day.