Daily Life

Cats and More Cats

I have been volunteering at an animal shelter for over a year now. I give all the love and snuggles to cats. And feed them, and clean a bit too. I used to volunteer on Friday evenings after work. Now I go on Saturday mornings. Sometimes it gets a bit slow. Other days I need that slowness. It can be a relaxing break from real life and gives me a solid chunk of time just ruminate on things.

Some days I don’t even really think about anything at all but just focus on the task at hand if it’s a particularly busy day of jobs to do. Last time I spent three hours playing with cats and it didn’t even seem that long.

I thought it would help me meet new people. That hasn’t really panned out. I suppose not many people spend their precious Friday nights or Saturday mornings chilling with cats.  That might be why… Oh well. Cats are cool too.

Daily Life

Podcasts

I started listening to podcasts a couple of years ago. And more recently I have discovered it gets me through my training runs a lot better than music. I listen to podcasts when I commute to/from work, when I do dishes, or in the shower.

One of the first podcasts I listened to, that I can remember at least, is the Nerdist Podcast. I didn’t like Chris Hardwick in the beginning. I wondered why he talked so fast and was so excited about everything. Now I’m a fan. I like the range of guests on his show, I tend toward listening to the episodes with people who are familiar to me. Jodie Foster’s interview was memorable to me.

10% Happier with Dan Harris. I read his book, with the same title, awhile back, towards the beginning of my journey into meditation. He interviews famous and notable people who also meditate. All their journeys are so different and interesting. I enjoyed Thupten Jinpa’s interview. He is the English translator for the Dalai Lama.

The Minimalists. I like their podcast more than their books and documentary. The tend to say the same thing, and answer different questions with the same answers. But it is still an interesting podcast. Now I just need to keep going with my minimalist mission… I haven’t listened to this one in awhile.

Terrible, Thanks for Asking.  I love this one. Nora McInerny speaks about and interviews others about awkward or painful major life subjects that no one talks about when you ask, “How are you?” There were multiple episodes where I cried. While running. I mean, full on crying. Those were interesting experiences.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. I love this one too. At first I was like, eh, I’m not religious. Then I actually listened to it, and I’m like, yes! More please! I’m a big HP fan though. They use spiritual and religious practices to analyze each chapter of the HP books.

I also listen to This American Life.

I realized that podcasts help broaden my thinking. I would consider my life to be a small life. In that I work in a classroom with the same people, I hang out with my same friends, I read my favorite genre of books and watch not a lot of TV.  I run the same routes, go to the same yoga studio classes. I’m a homebody too, and don’t always spend my free time having new experiences.

But I love traveling and having new experiences, don’t get me wrong. I do get energized doing those things when I do get out. For the most part.

However, podcasts have given this introvert a somewhat passive way to indulge in more active contemplation. They broaden the way I see issues, the way I see the world. Some of them are just for fun too of course.

What are your favorite podcasts?

 

Daily Life

Yay Cats!

We have two cats, Phil and Bender. I love to talk about them. Well, to those who ask anyway. Not to random strangers.

I come from a cat family. Currently amongst my immediate family we have eight cats. We always had cats growing up, dogs too. Thankfully I found a partner who is just as cat friendly as I am.

Phil is my big, black cat. The vet says he is overweight. Sigh. He loves dry food, and eats nothing else. My other cat is the beggar of whatever delicious food my boyfriend is eating. He leaves my food alone, funnily enough. Phil is so chill, impossibly sweet and the friendliest of the two. He loves everyone. He hates the car but makes new friends whenever we go to the vet. He loves to chase shadows and reflections, has one favorite feather toy and finds the most impossible places to hide and nap.

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Phil the jungle kitty on our balcony.

Bender is my Mama’s boy. He is the cutest trouble-maker, he loves all his toys, and is never too far away from me or my boyfriend. He insists on sleeping right in between us at night. He is a high maintenance and high-stress cat. We are about to try out a second medication to help his anxiety and help him stop over-grooming his legs, feet and stomach.  He’s a little patchy to say the least. Bender has the “black mark” in his vet file. To go to the vet I give him a sedative before we leave, and then I drop him off for the day so they can sedate him even more in order to even examine him. Poor kitty. Good thing I love him so much….

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Bender in a good napping spot. Notice the patchy, short hair on his leg, this is major progress actually.

Bender and Phil came from an animal shelter. I got Bender  (with my previous boyfriend, he chose the names) when he was ten weeks old. They recommended getting two kittens, we chose not to. We learned our mistake quickly. Whoops. Two months later we got Phil. They are both six years old now. They have been a great pair from day one. They balance each other out quite well.

The Quiet One

The Pain of a New Class

My school is a year-round school, with normal school during the year and summer camp June-August. Thus,  in the beginning of June the majority of our oldest kids move up to a new class and we get a batch of new, younger kids. We have a total of 15 children everyday, and 24 total enrolled. About 1/3 of our class stayed while everyone else moved up. At the end of the school year our youngest child was 15 1/2 months old and our oldest was 30 months old. We have about the same age range currently, but the majority of our kids now are not yet two, while the old class the majority of the kids were two. The class that moved up was tough. They were bored and were ready to move on to bigger things. Overall, they were probably our toughest class yet.

Transition time can be rough. For most of the children, this is their first time in a group environment, and the first time they are away from Mom. We have a transition schedule where the children stay for a certain amount of time each day and then build upon that time until they stay all day.

This new group of children, oh my gosh; this has been the most low-key, easy-going group we have ever had. A lot of them are siblings of children who are in the older classrooms which may have something do with it. We find that second or third children (and their parents) tend to have an easier time transitioning to school than only or first-born children.

While all the children have been doing well, it’s been rough for me. I went all school year without one cold, so I got hit with my first cold the second week of summer camp. On top of that, I have been battling headaches every night that keep me from getting quality sleep. I’ve had to take my migraine medicine pretty much every day for the last two and half weeks. Which stinks because they only come nine pills to a bottle. It’s been fairly awful. So while I don’t think I feel any stress from work, my body is clearly showing me that it is there.

In the end though, it’s nice to look forward to spending my days with children who are enjoying their time at school.

Daily Life

Always Early, Never Late

I met up with a new friend today. I got to the restaurant early, texted her that I’d get us a table, and then waited the ten minutes until she arrived at the previously agreed upon time. When she arrived she laughingly said, “I forgot that you always show up early!” How well she remembers one of my quirks after only meeting up twice since we’ve met!

I am always early. To everything. If I am not ten-fifteen minutes early then I’m late. I get to work early. My boyfriend and I are habitually the first people at the gate waiting for a flight. I have circled city blocks because I arrived really early to an interview, an appointment or what not. I am more often than not, too early. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a good thing. I’m not always even happy to be that early, like when I arrived so early to a baby shower than I was one of the first people there, and didn’t even know the other early birds. Not an ideal situation for an introvert.

I haven’t fully realized why I have a need to be early for everything. But I think it helps me feel calm and in control when I arrive at my destination. Comfort in knowing I can scope out the environment and get my bearings. I don’t want to feel rushed or panicked because I’m late.

Whatever the reason, it works for me, most of the time. When it doesn’t work, I’ll just be the one sitting by myself, placing a hopefully convincing look on my face that says I’m perfectly comfortable being the first one there.

The Quiet One

A Moment of Peace and Quiet

There is never a dull moment during my work day. From the moment the first child arrives in my classroom to when I leave, there is always some kind of movement or sound occurring. I am always on. When I am at work, I do pretty well at focusing on work, on the children. I am not one to daydream or think about my outside life, unless I’m particularly stressed or have something big going on in my life. Therefore, I have some moments throughout my day that offer me time to recharge my batteries. Moments that give me the peace and quiet that I crave as an introvert.

  • I arrive to work at 6:45 to prep for the day and spend a few minutes relaxing with my coffee before I open the school doors at 7:30. As I walk down the stairs to the front door I pause, take a deep breath and say a mantra to myself such as, “Today is going to be a great day.”
  • I  leisurely walk to the bathroom when I get a bathroom break to take a breather and enjoy the relative quiet of the hallway.
  • When I take a sip of water. Seriously. Just those few seconds of taking a drink of water can be a moment of peace for me!
  • Sometimes I don’t socialize with my co-workers in the break room during my hour-long break during the children’s nap time. This allows me even more time to myself. At first I thought I would be seen as anti-social, but some days I just need a moment to myself! My co-workers know me enough to know that I’m pretty introverted. I do this particularly during our more stressful or busy days, or if we have a work event or training after the school day.
  • When we go outside for a walk or to play I will take a few ,very brief seconds to enjoy my surroundings.

I am sure there are more moments that are so quick or ingrained in my daily life at work that I don’t remember them right now.

Do you carve out moments of peace and quiet during your day?

Daily Life · Uncategorized

Routine Brings Me Peace (and good sleep)

I’m really good at sticking with a routine. In the morning at least. Wake up at 5 am, get ready, make/eat breakfast, brush teeth, clean the cats’ litter boxes, sit for meditation, go to work.

What I have not always been good at is my night-time routine.

There were always way too many factors going on after work that I could not for the life of me get a good rhythm going to my evening. After trial and error I found what works for me, specifically, a bed time routine. As in, a routine such as the ones I’m sure the families in my classroom have for their children at bedtime. This routine brings me peace after a long day of work, it sets me up for a better tomorrow.  It’s reliable and almost comforting  at times.

I used to aim to be in bed at 9:00. Then I found Calm. My friend recommended it to me after I told her how both my boyfriend and I are terrible sleepers. I still wake up twice a night (once to pee, the other just because that’s what I’ve alway done). This supplement creates such restful sleep for me. I can now go to bed around 10:00 and wake up in the morning feeling alert. So nice! I have more time to enjoy my evening instead of worrying that it’s getting closer to 9:00 and I haven’t done anything yet.

I also take this supplement, Stress and Mood Support. You are supposed to take two but I only take one. They’re expensive!

While I drink my Calm I start the diffuser in my bedroom, I diffuse two essential oils, Lavender and Cedarwood. Then I get into bed and either do a quick before bed yoga sequence, similar to this one. Or I do a quick breathing exercise (counting my breaths or meditating on the inhale/exhale).

The last major player of my successful bed time is my pillow. I’ve gone through so many awful pillows that lead to neck pain and migraines. Now I use this pillow recommended to me by my chiropractor. I hated it for a week, now I love it. This pillow actually makes me look forward to going to bed, even on a work night.

Do you have any morning or night-time routines that work for you? What does routine bring for you?