Sunday, November 16, 2014

I've Been Busy...

Wait, I better not say "read my blog" if you want to catch up with what I've been doing.  I haven't been blogging.  I have been busy.  I suspect we all have been busy, but somehow, blogging has been placed on the back burner of my life lately.

A few words that describe me during the last few months of my life are:

  • foggy
  • unfocused
  • distracted
  • busy
  • going in too many directions
As my husband and I drove towards home today, I observed the route I take daily as I travel to and from my home and wherever else I am going with unbelieving eyes.  Surely I had not completely missed the passing of summer to fall and from fall to winter, I mused.  Yet, in my heart of hearts, I had to admit that in many ways I had missed much of the glories that come with the changing of the seasons.  I simply have been too distracted to drink it all in.

When I last wrote, I had just returned from spending time with my son in Pennsylvania after he had been injured.  As an update, he seems to be coming along in the healing department as well as can be expected.  He still has not recovered the use of his right arm and hand, but we remain hopeful as his injury heals.

Mid-October, I had planned on going to Vashon Island in Washington to again meet with my dear blogging friends.  (Read about our previous weekends here:  A Weekend To Remember and Time With Dear Friends I'd Never Met.)  I was so excited to spend time with DJan, Jann, Linda, Deb, Sandi. My tickets were all purchased, and I'd sent my deposit for the weekend.  I needed a weekend away.  I needed laughter and talks with my dear friends.  What I didn't need was the rash that appeared on my upper body about ten day prior to my departure for Vashon Island.  I used ointments and creams and self-remedies.  I saw my dermatologist.  No better after all of this, I saw my allergist.  My body had experienced an allergic reaction to some unknown trigger and the hives and rash that was making me miserable was just not getting any better.  My allergist told me she really did not want me to travel in my condition.  I considered my options, thought about the reality of having an even worse reaction to something that might require me using my dreaded EpiPen.  It really would not have been wise for me to travel in the condition I found myself, so I missed that special event and stayed home.  In the meantime, my allergy medications were increased and I spent my time trying to relax.  Finally, thankfully, the rash went away, and I stopped itching.  I could again tolerate clothes rubbing on my skin.  I decreased the allergy medications, and so far, I have been fine again.

October 22 is my dear husband's birthday.  I always look forward to his birthday because it comes at such a beautiful time of year.  This year, a few days before my hubby's birthday, on a day when he did not have to work, I asked if he would mind celebrating his birthday by visiting the Denver Botanical Gardens.  It had been several years since I had been to one of my favorite places.  Even though my hubby really doesn't get as excited over gardens as I do, he agreed to celebrate his birthday by doing something that I really wanted to do.  What a glorious day we had.  The gardens were even more spectacular because of the beautiful artwork of Dale Chihuly which is now on display throughout the garden.  

Since my outfit matched the sculpture at the entrance to the gardens, Jim took my photo.  

If you live in Colorado, and if you have not yet gone to the Denver Botanical Gardens to see this display, you must go.  The Chihuly Exhibit is there through November 30.  We were very surprised how popular the exhibit was on the day we were there.  We literally took the last parking place in the parking garage.  There was a line to buy tickets.  The garden was full of people.  Despite all the crowds, we really enjoyed our time.  The trees in the garden were still colorful and some perennials and roses were still blooming.    Here are some of the highlights:

Flowers of glass against a fountain

A beautiful rose 

"Easy Does It"  Rose 
The rose that I planted at our home in Pueblo in memory of Julie was especially beautiful.  Seeing it in bloom brought great joy to my heart.  

I loved the oranges, red, and yellows in this display.

Lots of color and shapes to delight the eye

The pairing of "Easy Does It" with orbs of orange and yellow brought thoughts of Julie to my mind.

One more shot of my favorite rose.

Another sculpture…

The same sculpture up close…

These sculptures reminded me of the glaciers we saw in Alaska.  I thought they were especially interesting.

Fall in all its glory is punctuated by these red spires.

More red spires…
These looked as if they were growing out of the ground.

The day at the gardens was a special outing for us.  Thankfully, we had a day together in sun drinking in the waning days of fall.


On October 22, Jim's actual birthday, we both had to work. Yes, I have taken a job.  That is why I am so busy.   I was unsure whether or not I would take the job after it was offered to me.  I had not officially applied for it.  A teacher quit and there was a need for another teacher to replace her.  I was called.  I visited the class prior to accepting the position.  Stepping on campus, I realized I was a goner. Who could resist this view everyday?  This campus is absolutely beautiful.  

I actually began my new job on October 22.  I am teaching international students English at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS).  Yes, I am indeed back in the saddle again.  Perhaps, this is why I have felt overwhelmed, foggy, distracted, and as if I were going in too many directions.  I also have been quite happy when I am actually in the classroom teaching.  I've told friends that the best way to actually cure the fantasy of going back to work is to actually go back to work.

I love teaching again.  It is good for me to be on campus with young people.  I love the campus atmosphere.  I have missed it so much.  It is also great to be working with international students again.  I love doing that.  Also, it is good for me to be involved with others in an atmosphere where I am constantly challenged to think, create, and teach. 

 It has been a greater challenge than I anticipated to teach this time around.  I gave away or threw away nearly all of my professional resources when we moved.  Everyday, I feel as if I am reinventing the wheel as I try to bring in interesting activities to enrich the lessons I am teaching to my students learning English.  Thankfully, my class only meets two and a half hours a day, four days a week.  This means that I have a schedule that does not tax me physically; however, I find that I spend every morning in lesson preparation before my 2:00 p.m. class. 

This opportunity to teach came along without me really seeking it.  I am grateful for it.  It has expanded my horizons yet again.  I will only be teaching until mid December.  By then, I'm sure I will happily reclaim my title of Retired English Teacher.  If I don't get around to visit, please forgive me.  I miss reading your blogs, but I am a bit bogged down right now.  I hope to be back among you all soon...


  1. Ah, a short-term job. Good idea. That will give you a chance to see if you want to stay in the saddle.

  2. The photos of the garden are spectacular! I'm glad you are feeling better. We'll have to make up the fun you missed next year in Vashon.

  3. I was wondering how the job is going, and it sounds like it's going very well indeed. We missed you on Vashon Island, but there's always next year! :-)

  4. Yes, you have been busy but it seems like most all of the business has been very positive for you. I'm sorry you missed your trip and very glad you got to see the Botanic Gardens and the Chihuly exhibit.

  5. But dear Sally, that’s wonderful.
    To be doing a job you love for the hours that suit you. It will bring joy and stimulation and put a spring in your step.

    Glad that the rash has cleared and allergy symptoms have not remained with you.

    I also love the sculptures, they’re beautiful to look at.

  6. If you are happy doing this, that is the important thing. Who knows, it might just help improve your health, too.

  7. Those pictures are beautiful! What a lovely day you had. And you are so blessed to be called to teach again!!

  8. Loved your pictures at the DBG. Will miss the glass next year.

  9. Gosh, no wonder you are bogged down and distracted, Sally! Going back to teaching at such short notice is very demanding and I'm glad you're enjoying it so much, but also that it's a limited contract, so that you won't work yourself into the ground.

    I'm sorry your son still hasn't recovered completely from his accident and send him my very best wishes.

  10. Sounds like life has been very busy, but also fun. Yes?

  11. The botanical garden looks stunning, as do you in your blue outfit. Back at work!?! You are a brave and resourceful woman.

  12. Ah, nothing beats that feeling of being useful...

  13. Those glass sculptures are stunning. How sweet of Jim to spend his birthday pleasing you. You do have a keeper.
    Glad the job is temporary so you don't have to change your blog title. Enjoy the challenges.

  14. Enjoy the opportunity while you have it! Those glass garden sculptures are incredible. I'm sure I saw similar pictures on another blog too. Unfortunately we're a LONG way from Denver!

  15. We were treated to Chihuly glass in the garden at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix several years ago. It was wonderful! And of course we live in a city that has it's own Chihuly museum.
    I'm glad you are enjoying going back to work. I know I couldn't do it.

  16. thanks for the tour of the gardens...I love teaching too...

  17. These Chihuly glass sculptures are stunning in the garden and your photos show them so well. Your outfit was very elegant and well suited to these sculptures. I hope your son does better and better as time goes by.

    Going back to work like this must have given you some trepidation but it sounds like something perfect for you. With the holidays coming up and your work I can see that blogging will have to wait for a while – and it will wait for you. Enjoy being on this beautiful campus.

  18. Oh Sally, I am laughing at how much you expect of yourself. You say you are foggy and unfocused, and then later you mention that you are teaching 10 hours of classes a week plus doing all the preparation that requires. That is a lot of hard work! Having an injured son is draining. Having your system attacked by unknown allergens is draining, too. So be VERY proud of all you are doing! And thanks so much for the great photos of the Chihuly exhibit; I've never seen his work in that kind of setting and it's remarkable. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

  19. Beautiful displays of color at the garden....and I thank you for sharing those photos with us.
    I pray for continued healing for your son. And....I'm sorry to read that you had the allergic reaction and hives. I'm sorry that you weren't able to spend the time with your blogging friends, but I do hope that you continue to take care of you. Blessings to you as you are teaching again. I loved each and every moment that I taught. I understand where your heart is regarding the students.
    Sending you hugs and love,

  20. Glad things are better Sally. And what beautiful gardens...;)

  21. Sally, I am so glad to hear that apart from the allergic reaction (which had to be both miserable and disappointing) that things are going well. The new job sounds like a challenge but a good one.

    I've seen one of Chihuly's garden exhibits before. I think they're always a little different because of the natural environment. This one looks spectacular.

  22. So sorry you missed your weekend with friends, Sally, but I am glad you are feeling better. Love the photos of the Chihuly Exhibit at the Botanic Garden! I would always visit the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix when my daughter lived there, and I was lucky enough to see Chihuly's exhibit there, not once, but twice. At the time, I hadn't even heard of him, but was so captivated by his sculptures that I am a big fan now. I'd love to visit another one of his garden exhibits. Some of the artwork here is similar to what I saw in Phoenix, but what is so special about his work is that he takes into account the surrounding gardens so that the art looks like a natural part of the garden. I remember seeing a fern that I thought was a plant but was actually glass!

    Good luck in your new teaching position! Two years ago I covered an 8-week maternity leave and was hesitant whether I could get back in the saddle again, but discovered I loved being back in the classroom. We never really retire from being a teacher:)

  23. So glad that teaching opportunity fell in your lap... You are such a fantastic teacher and those students are so fortunate to have you as their teacher. CONGRATS....

    Sorry you missed your special time with your western blog friends... I hope you get to go next year... Strange that the rash was never diagnosed.. Was it Shingles?

    Hope you and the family have a great Thanksgiving.. Glad your son is doing okay... Healing just takes time.

    God Bless.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  24. Sally, I couldn't believe what you wrote - back to teaching! You look great in the photo at the Botanic Garden. You know I also had a terrible bout with allergy a couple years ago. I hope your trigger never returns. Wishing you and Jim a restful and happy Thanksgiving. It's cold and windy here in Breckenridge - we have grandchildren visiting. Take Care!

  25. Glad to hear you sounding so well and happy. You were missed this year. Hoping you'll be able to join us next year.

  26. Such a happy message from you, Sally, although I am sad you had to endure that awful allergy interlude and miss your visit to Vashon. I know how much you love that time with friends.
    The photo of you at the Botanical Gardens tells me that you are thriving in the new teaching look beautiful and I LOVE that blue top you have on, in fact I am coveting it! I saw part of the Chihuly exhibit in Boston but your photos of his work in that glorious setting are so wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing them.
    Love to you,

  27. I smiled when I saw you have a job again, and thought, time to change your blog name. Just kidding. I pray your son heals fully. The glass artworks are breathtakingly beautiful. I admire Chihuly and the large team that work for him to create these sculptures.

  28. How special it must have been to have come across that pairing of "Easy Does It" roses with the sculptures you had come to view.

    I haven't been able to check blogs as frequently as I used to do and am just catching up. I pray that through the end of November and the beginning of December, your son has continued to gain strength and function in his arm. It can take such a very long time for nerves to regenerate and for the full extent of recovery to be known. I pray he has a full recovery over the next year.

  29. I love Julie's rose, Sally. I've been away from visiting too with all the turbulence in my life. It's not just the travel, but the sad passing of my cousin very recently.

    I love it that you're able to teach again because I KNOW what a great teacher you are. Your students must be ecstatic. Have a wonderful time.


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