I’ve tried to come up with a title that doesn’t sound self-pitying and no success so far

So there it is.  LOL.

It’s been a hot minute, eh? 

Our house was mercifully (mostly) undamaged from the hurricane.  We will need some new flooring, but insurance is paying for it, minus the deductible of course.  Yes – we got flood insurance, inspired initially by an apartment balcony that flooded when it got too cloudy and we’ve renewed it annually since then.  Water came VERY close to getting in our house, but the only damage was from it seeping in a little.  We were lucky.  We really were.

My health has been a bit of a mystery recently.  Since the dog bite and the antibiotics they gave me, I’ve had 3 blood tests showing elevated liver enzymes.  It’s gone down, but not all the way, so they suggested avoiding OTC pain relievers.

My allergies – which manifest themselves as pretty gnarly sinus headaches – have been going crazy since the hurricane.  Aleve-D had been my go-to medication, and I was taking it every other day (sometimes daily).  The first really bad one since the med recommendation hit me today, and it knocked me out.

This is all in addition to the fact that my energy levels have been extremely low, in spite of (mostly) consistency with my food choices, more attention to sleep than in the past, and being consistent with exercise without overdoing it and taking more rest days.  

I’m doing my part to take care of my body.  And it isn’t freaking working.  Can I please just be very open in saying…this scares me?  The added symptom of depression due to a disruption in your routine is real.  Very real.  And my health is overall good…I can’t imagine living with a severe chronic condition.  You, my friends who do…are stronger than you know.

So, the next step is a visit to an allergist (in a whole month…) and a CT scan to make doubly sure the recurring headaches are just allergies.  I feel like hurricane air has messed with me.  Or maybe I’m allergic to dogs?  Ha, ha.

Complicating matters is that my low back has been killing me, but the good folks at Airrosti have helped get that fixed.  Highly recommended!  

Well, my weekend started unintentionally early…and I will kick it off with an 8 PM bedtime. Seriously.  I am such a party animal.

Happy weekend, friends.

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I am a pufferfish

This started as a Facebook status, but I quickly realized it was blog material.  To all you fellow hurricane shut-ins, HELLO!

So, one of my big triggers for overeating is BOREDOM. I’ve gotten really good about redirecting myself to another activity: walking my dogs, doing dishes, meal prepping, working out…mostly things not too possible today!
So today…I freaking blew it. Some of my indulgences included:
-lucky charms

-peanut butter 

-saltine crackers

Well, guess what? I feel gross now. Not like ashamed (“it’s in the past,” paraphrased from the wise Rafiki) but literally…my body does not feel good. The carby food has all quadrupled from its original size and I feel like a pufferfish.

And here’s the worst part: I feel like a pufferfish…because of saltine crackers, cereal and peanut butter. NONE OF THIS FOOD IS THAT SPECIAL. If it was food that was super A-plus delicious (Pappasito’s fajitas, cupcakes from the Cake Lady, heck, on the right day, even a burrito from Freebirds) I’d be like “ah, sweet, worth it.”
But no.  Sometimes I PLAN for that stuff, but it never fails – when I roam way off plan, THE FOOD ISN’T EVEN THAT GOOD.  

So I am likely going to wake up with 1-2 extra pounds on me (whatever, water weight) but there’s one other annoying thing about it:

I’M STILL BORED.


Food did not fix that OR my stress.  

Also, we have a new foster.  Say “Hi, Chato!”


Our house is okay so far.  No water inside, although we are stuck inside.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

Hold me accountable to a better Monday, everyone – even though routine is nowhere in sight!

Updates on all the things…

Hi, y’all.  In case you ever wondered, first week teacher tired is a very real thing.  Our kids are so amazingly awesome, as are my school and coworkers.  Big year coming up!

I think, for variety’s sake, I’m going to tell much of this story backwards, starting with a visit to the doctor today.  I got my stitches out (yeah, stitches) and bloodwork done.  

Said bloodwork was done due to my mention of spending the last several days feeling exhausted and lethargic.  Now, I’m in my 11th year of teaching and I know I’m getting older…but I’m in way better shape now – I eat well, I drink plenty of water, I barely drink alcohol at all…my sleep may average a LITTLE low sometimes, but not devastatingly so.

So, what did this blood work show?  Elevated liver enzymes.  What could have caused this? The antibiotics I was on – literally, there’s a 1 percent chance of this occurring.  Fairly rare.  

Ohhhh, why was I on antibiotics?  Because they didn’t give them to me at the ER initially, and my PCP decided at my follow up visit that I needed them. 

The ER visit, you ask?  Yeah, here’s where the story begins.  

You may remember Neco, our foster boxer.  Hyper, emaciated, dog reactive…but you could tell there was a good boy in there who wanted to please.  He had missed so much information about being a puppy by being isolated on a chain…especially the part where he knew what to do around other dogs.

Neco would get in other dogs’ faces rather than doing the normal dog butt-sniff thing.  A few spats ensued with some scratches to my dogs here and there.  Stressful, but nothing devastating.

Well, unfortunately, he had a reaction to our littlest dog, Milkshake.  It happened too quickly to step between them and redirect, so I had to pull him away.  

He bit my right hand superficially and my left arm hard.  I am thankful it wasn’t my face, and I’m thankful he didn’t hold onto me.  I am even more thankful that he got distracted enough with me to avoid hurting Milkshake.  He tried to approach me afterwards…like he was trying to apologize.  At the very least, he knew something was very wrong

The tears that flowed at the ER were for Neco.  They were for a dog that deserved better in his short life…who deserved more than an outside chain, being starved, and deprived of dog or human contact, as well as basic medical care.

My arm is healing fine.  Neco had to be put down, and the 5 days he was with us were the closest to a real home he had.  My heart will take longer than my arm.  
I do not blame the rescue.  I do not blame Neco.  You guys all know my thoughts on who is at fault.

I am looking forward to fostering again in a few months, as well as a great school year and a few new PR’s on the way.   

Thank you for reading – being able to articulate these thoughts has helped me enormously.

Holding Myself Accountable

There’s a great podcast called “After Sectionals” for band peeps (and band peeps, I’m mostly sure you’ve heard of it) and one of the overriding themes of the program is accountability.  

It’s not mean to hold kids accountable.  In fact, it actually kind of means you give a crap.

But it is a challenge to communicate that to students in a way that they understand that it means you care.  And frankly, I think that summarizes the difficulties of teaching in a nutshell.  A very compacted nutshell.

Anyway, I’m an adult, so I should be able to hold myself similarly accountable – doing my job and taking care of myself at the same time.  So, I have not one but two planners: a personal one, and a lesson planner.

The personal planner is basically, “this is where you need to be, when you’re going to work out, what you need to bring, and what you’re eating.”  Last week’s was messy to the point of illegible, but if I think of it, I’ll post again as I update for the week, with daily lists and tasks added.

Yes, I have to bring a bass clarinet to school tomorrow.  

Lunches aren’t all filled in yet because I don’t fully know what will be left over from dinner, and I have some reasonable frozen lunches available in case there aren’t leftovers.  I’m not opposed to leftovers, but they tend to stack up around here (plus making an infinite amount of food doesn’t always work with macro counting) and I am determined to throw away less food.

This has worked super well since summer band has started, so I’m going to continue to push myself to maintain during the year.

Two weeks left on my first round of Stronger U, incidentally.  I am down 11 pounds and think the middle digit on the scale will change again prior to wrapping up.  And I’ve eaten stuff like this the whole time:


Of course, ingredients are carefully measured and weighed, but you can plan delicious macro-friendly food with practice and thought.  But yeah, I eat pasta, always and forever.

Happy Sunday, friends!  Relax a little and be a little productive, too!

Holy Exhaustion

I.  Am. Tired.

Tired.

Tired.

And I don’t mean normal band tired.  I mean, physical summer band exhausted.  The ridiculous thing is that I don’t even help with marching band!  My sun exposure is severely limited compared to years past. 

I’m just old (kidding).

Turns out, CrossFit is pretty tough when you’re getting 8 hours of sleep, but near impossible to fully recover from when you’re getting 6 hours of sleep.  I’m still sore/tired from workouts several days ago.  So, pretty obviously, two things have to happen:

  • I’ve got to get some sleep
  • I’ve got to take some more rest days.

Why do “rest days” have such a negative connotation?  Do we feel lazy?  Do we feel like we have to work through the soreness?  

Surely, I am not the only one who has issues getting myself to bed early, am I?  Realistically, if I want to work out at 5 AM, I need to be awake by 4:15ish in order to get the dogs fed, etc.  I leave some of it to Chris, but with 6 dogs (yes, new foster, hang on) it’s tough for one person.  

So a 4:15 wake up time means an 8:15 bedtime for 8 hours of sleep.

MOTHER OF GOD, IT IS STILL DAYLIGHT THEN.  Also, walking my dogs, planning, etc… there’s usually something to do to keep me from feeling behind before the next day starts.  

I’ve tried 5 AM before and have always gone back to evenings, and now I remember why.  Shouldn’t it all even out and feel the same?   Oh, the band director’s conundrum.  (Let’s just say the band director’s conundrum isn’t whether or not to move around at all ever…)

At any rate, there’s a new dog here.  His name is Neco and he’s a freaking mess.  Heartworms and no manners at all.  No social skills (as in the skill most dogs have to pick up when other dogs don’t want to play…nope).

But he’s sweet.  And has a good heart.  We’ll make it work.  We owe it to him – in memory of our Bruce boy, and of all the dogs that deserve better.  We may only save one at a time…but at least we can do that. 

Here’s the new guy, post-cone removal:

When you take that little care of a dog and then decide you can’t have him anymore, I don’t believe any excuse you throw my way.  Sorry/not sorry.

Congratulations on making it through another week – have a great Saturday, friends!

Workin’ It

Well, everyone – it’s been an exciting few days.

And by exciting, I mean “routine,” and that is fine by me.  

Summer band started this past Thursday.  I use the mornings to take care of paperwork at my school and teach inside rehearsals in the afternoon.  Friday, I also made my debut in front of 175+ people as an Insanity Live instructor!  

SO MUCH FUN.

So I’ll be doing that the next couple of weeks and possibly at my own gym coming up soon, and that is a really fun venture out of the norm for me.  I think I’m kind of decent at it, too.  It is a great change of pace from CrossFit and really good in a group setting.  

Keeping my nutrition and fitness under control has also taught me quite a bit about how to teach.  The “discipline trumps motivation” mantra is one we could all benefit from, and I’m hoping to implement it across the board this year.  Not in any kind of “mean” way, but in a productive way!  

Also helping keep me productive this year will be my new Erin Condren lesson planner.  It should be arriving Monday or Tuesday!  I am unreasonably excited by this.  My personal planner has been great for keeping track of appointments, to-do lists, and meals, but there’s just not enough room for lesson plans as well.  Here’s a sneak peek:

My favorite quote, courtesy of Rudy T 😍 🚀 

We are also getting a new foster dog this coming week – another boxer, and another sad situation.  The family is having a baby and I could almost buy an excuse about needing to rehome out of concerns about compatibility…except the dog is skinny and heartworm positive, so they didn’t take great care of him to start with.  I hope fervently this dog was rescued in time.

We will also pick up Bruce’s ashes when we pick up the new doggie.  The people at West Alabama Animal Clinic are good human beings.

Happy Saturday, friends – do something that makes your heart happy. 

CrossFit competitions and Sad Transitions

It’s taken me a few days to get to updating this because last weekend was certainly a whirlwind.  

I was sad and frustrated to miss TBA, but there’s always a bright side – a friend called asking if I could sub in a CrossFit competition I opted out of due to my TBA plans.  Bruce had been given the weekend, and I’d be close enough just in case.

Well, after two events (of five), I got the dreaded phone call.

“Hi Sarah.  Bruce has really taken a turn for the worse.  It’s time.”

I knew.  I guess I didn’t officially know, but after seeing him the day before…I knew.  His conditioned had worsened even further.  He couldn’t stand up, wouldn’t eat…it was indeed time.

But now I had committed myself to another event, and I at least wanted to finish the 5 workouts we knew about – the finals wouldn’t be a problem because I never place at the top at these things, right?

LOL.  We were in first place after the first event.

So in a series of confusing events, our score sheet for one event actually got lost, “officially” placing us at the bottom, but it turned out okay – I had to leave to meet Chris at the vet and be with Bruce.  I’m proud to say we could have come out 2nd or 3rd – pretty crazy for a pair who hadn’t practiced any events together, and it was my partner’s first competition!  

So my sweaty, disgusting self shows up to the vet, and I really thought I’d be okay.  I had come to a place of acceptance – he’d be in a better place, out of pain…all that stuff.  Right?

Nope.  Total meltdown.  Seeing the life go out of those gorgeous eyes…I can’t describe it.  It seems like I’ve been the “crazy dog lady” forever, but remember, we’ve only had Chuy for a little over 4 years.  This was a first.  An awful, terrible first.

There was – and will be for a while – anger that went with this as well.  

It’s not that hard to feed your dog.

It’s not that hard to get your dog it’s shots.

It’s not that hard to take it to the vet once in a while.

Heartworm prevention is given once a month. 

It was all preventable.  Bruce was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old – not a young, springy dog, but a dog that should have had years left…not weeks.  Yes, dogs are expensive, but that basic care is within reach if you look around.  Or bother.

Bruce not only died from a lack of basic care, he died out of someone’s apathy and laziness.

Take care of you.  Take care of those around you.  Be a good human.

Happy Wednesday, friends.  Be nice to a doggie today.

Where I Am, and Where I’m Not

Well guys, it’s official – I am missing TBA for the first time since 2002.  It’s with good reason, but I still don’t love it.

Bruce, our foster dog, is pretty sick.  He came to us skinny and weak, but that’s almost standard for a shelter dog, sadly.  Not unfamiliar territory at all.  The last couple of days, though, he wasn’t eating much and was listless and unenergetic.

So back to the vet he went, and dude is a mess.  All dogs deserve better than this, and I am convinced his previous owner saw his decline and decided that since he wasn’t really taking care of him anyway, he’d officially stop pretending.  To Missouri City Animal Control he went.

So we’ve had him for a few weeks now, and he seemed to progress….until he didn’t.  The long and short of it is that the plan was to put him down in the morning.  Today, though, he started eating some more and perking up.  He seems – at least right now – to be responding to medication, which is a big surprise given how bad his bloodwork was.  We aren’t out of the woods, but it has at least bought us the weekend.

So I’m sad to miss TBA – I love seeing people, I love learning new band things, I love seeing people’s successes.  I guess if there’s one positive thing, it’s that I DON’T love having my food choices be so haphazard.  There’s that…right?  

My nutrition was on track for 8 solid weeks until I lost my mind at a social gathering the other night (mac and cheese and some amazing brownies…geez, I’m getting hungry again, even though I just ate dinner!) and was up 2 pounds the next day.  

Reality check – when you pig out, you’ll weigh more the next day.  If you’re a weigh daily person like I am (thank you, Stronger U), you accept it, accept the self-inflicted slap on the wrist and move on.  Or you wait a couple of days to weigh and let it pass (literally).

But if you eat 1000 extra calories, that’s less than a third of a pound of actual permanent weight gain.  So once? Annoying, yeah, don’t do it again. 4-5 times a week?  Well, that’s where we get in trouble.  

Goal: eat at home.  So far, much better.

Happy Thursday, friends.  Here’s Brucie Boy, just so you get to see his gorgeous face.

Instant Pot Success

So, even though it wasn’t 100 percent in the budget, I went ahead and got an 8 quart Instant Pot on Prime Day.

OHMYGOSH.

First of all, I literally put my crockpot away.  This can be used as a slow cooker.

Second of all, you can make crockpot type meals in WAY less time.  2 frozen chicken breasts and some salsa and adoba sauce…35 minutes later, ready to go.  Nommm.

Last night, I put a chuck roast in there and made delicious french dip sandwiches…in like 30 minutes.  

This is actually…fun.  

Getting it all done

Y’all!  It’s been a bit, since I haven’t had anything particularly inspiring happen recently.  Something has been really brewing in my brain, though, especially in light of some exciting news yesterday.  

The Friendswood JH Symphonic Band has been invited to perform at the National Concert Band Festival in March!  So yes, we are taking 50 some odd junior high kids to Indianapolis to perform.  This is exciting – and you bet I’m going to spend the next couple of days just being thrilled – but it also has the potential to be way overwhelming.

This brings me to my point.  A huge percentage of music educators prioritize their jobs over their health.  A huge percentage.  It’s a problem. And it isn’t just a problem for our physical health, it’s a problem for our mental and emotional health as well.  Let’s face it – we do nothing well when all of that is out of whack.

Now, to be fair – I really like working out (usually).  It’s a hobby of mine, which is why I’ve maintained that pretty well even as I’m completely losing it elsewhere.  But here are some things I don’t like:

  • Waking up early
  • Going to bed early
  • Folding clothes
  • Doing grades
  • Saying “no” to the smorgasbord of monthly birthday goodies in the front office
  • Eating at home when all I want is wings and beer (NBA season is tough, y’all)

You see?  I think that we all struggle with some things, and it’s a matter of sucking it up and doing it anyway.  I’ve never once regretted getting my grades done early (hey, it’s happened before) but it doesn’t stop me from saying “nahhh, I’m going to watch SVU in peace tonight.”

There are a lot of music educators out there who really know what they are doing.  I try to learn from them often.  So, the example I want to set is being able to be the best I can be for the kiddos at school via keeping my own engine running.  I’d love any help or feedback that any of you would like to share, and I really think we can all use this upcoming year to improve ourselves!

Like any group, we are all better when we build each other up.  It sounds cheesy…but I love cheese.  Nom.

Kettlebell says “Happy Wednesday!”