Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer's Here!

With summer break finally here, I'm preparing my summer to do list:

  • Relax!
    • Teaching is hard work. I'm standing "on stage" for 6 hours trying to ground 30 live wires, after having planned my lessons, anticipating what they might ask, guiding them in the direction I need them to go to make the necessary connections for the lesson to succeed, while putting out behavior problems, attending to first aid/health issues, and the occasional intruder; no, not the principal, but the latest ant invasion, a spider or cockroach. And after all that, I need to grade the students' work, reflect on each lesson. And somewhere in there I need tend to myself, my house and yard. I see a lot of meditation and/or napping.
  • Spirituality
    • Above all, or integrated throughout, I want need to delve deeper into my spirituality. I plan on visiting the Temple of the Oaks somewhat regularly to connect with Mother Earth and my Spirit Guides, which would tie in to relaxing.
  • Write
    • I have several ideas running around in my head, often colliding with each other like giant marbles in a pin ball machine. I need to get them out of there so others can grow. The current work-in-progress is driving me crazy, but I am getting some wonderfully supportive feedback from my writers' group. So, I am planning on blitzing this latest work!!
  • Read
    • To improve my writing, I need to be reading more, and as a teacher I need to know what books my students should be reading and find interesting titles for them. Plus, my To Be Read piles, both the physical and electronic one, are building. So, I will be balancing my reading with some fiction, some non-fiction on writing and personal growth, and some children's books. Teaching never ends.
  • Seriously clean the house
    My Office!
    • I took out a pair of pants the other day and realized I really need to clean my closet. Not clean it out, though I probably could go through my clothes and cull the herd a bit, but CLEAN the closet as the dust bunnies were positively menacing. And I might as well clean the other closets as well.
    • And the windows, inside and outside. All of them; upstairs, too.
    • My office needs serious decluttering, again. And this time I intend to purge a lot!!
    • Somewhere in this house is my cat's collar. As she was an indoor cat, she never wore one after a while. She always had one, in the event she did get out, but at some point I took it off her and put it someplace safe. So safe in fact, I don't remember where. Without it, I can't complete her shadowbox. Which is something else on my to do list: begin her shadowbox. Perhaps her collar is in my office. Or a closet. Or a drawer.
    • The kitchen needs a thorough cleaning. See below:
  • Seriously contemplate painting the kitchen
    Living Room toward entryway
    • When I bought my house eleven years ago (gasp! it's been that long) it was brand new construction. We moved in with all white walls. The only white remaining now, other than interior closets, is the kitchen. The living room/dining room/kitchen is one large L-shaped room, very open. There is a peninsula separating the kitchen from the dining room, and the sudden stoppage, or starting, of the kitchen cabinets is the only other actual demarcation between the two rooms. We painted the living and dining rooms a beautiful cranberry color with dark lavendar, and port accents. The only windows in these rooms all face west, so there is no nice morning light, only bright afternoon setting sunlight.  The colors seriously darkened the rooms and especially in winter when the sun sets behind the two story house behind mine at around 3:00 PM, it's quite dark downstairs. So, for some brightness, we left the kitchen white, but stencilled some grapes on the soffet, for decorative effect. I think it's time to paint the kitchen to match the rest of the downstairs. (And, yes, it would be another step to make the house more mine.) The decision to paint will depend on finances. Perhaps some pricing is in order, as I still have most of the supplies from when we painted before.
  •  Dining room and kitchen 
  • Other household up-dos
    • I'm tired of the hideous vertical blinds in the dining room and my bedroom. I'm looking at some options, but again, finances.
    • I have several naked walls that need 'something' but I don't know what. One of the ideas I got from one of the many home decorating shows my ex watched ad nauseum was that art doesn't have to be a Rembrandt or a Dali. It can be personal. So, I have a couple of ideas from a traveling art teacher who visited my class. 
    • My dishwasher leaks, but my hands don't. So, that can wait. 
    • Deep clean the carpets; after two dogs and two cats, I think no explanation is necessary.
  • Garden
    • I need to tend to my garden. As I no longer have any dogs, and no current plans to get one, I am questioning the need for a lawn. California is in a serious drought, and I would prefer to have some more drought tolerant, California native plants in place of the lawn. 
    • The Crepe Myrtle in the front garden needs some serious pruning, or total removal, as it interferes with the neighbors' satellite dish.
    • My work yard needs some heavy duty cleaning due to the pigeons who roost on my roof. Where can I get a few hawks?
  • Health
    • I am in good health, and plan to stay that way. I'm looking at ways to begin eating more healthy and beginning some exercise routine that could easily adapt to the new school year.
  • Have fun!
    • I enjoy photography. I like taking pictures of something that catches my eye, being something in nature, an odd part of a building, lights and shadows, strangely dressed people and in Los Angeles they are not hard to find. It also allows me to get out of the house and explore parts of the city.
    • Part of having fun and relaxing, is also just getting out of the house. I have joined a social club and plan on partaking of some of their activities, but there activities can be expensive, so it will depend on finances. Or, just getting out and going somewhere on my own, perhaps finding a place to sit and write, like Greystone Park in Beverly Hills, or a beach and let the sound of the waves lull me into a relaxed state. Yet, all this will depend on finances.
I realize I brought up finances a lot and naturally any and all plans do depend on a household budget. I received some mixed news earlier this month. My house was reassessed. And while the value went up (a good thing), so will the property taxes (a less than good thing), and with the reassessment, the house has been revalued above what I owe, (a very good thing). But, as my loan is not impounded for the taxes, I will need to hide money away, and as I won't know the amount of the taxes for another four months, it will be difficult to gauge what I can afford to do over the summer. I do know I won't have a huge fuel bill over the summer as I won't be commuting to work five days a week. I will continue to take public transport as much as I can, (I sometimes use the other passengers for character inspiration). So, my summer budget is a bit in flux as there are a couple of variables in play.

Whew! This list is exhausting and only two days ago (as of this writing) was my last day at work. Many of these projects don't have to be completed by the time I return August 7. That's only two months from today!  Not everything needs to, nor should it, be crossed off this list. I will need to prioritize and see what happens. Some projects are naturally on going, and many can be combined. I can get out of the house and write, while having my camera ready.
And with that, I will sign off for now, as I have so much to do.
But, where to begin?

I think I'll make some coffee and mull it over.


  1. Hey - I know that book that teacher is reading! ;-)

    Happy summer to you, sir!

    1. Lol! Thanks, and a happy summer to you!

  2. My favorite part of this post is "Have Fun"! :) It's summer. Enjoy it.