Thursday, April 16, 2015

Project Life Update / Work/Life Balance Update

After spending 2 1/2 months, mainly at home, chipping away at my long to-do list, which included work projects, family obligations, home organization, and lastly hobbies, I FINALLY got around to working on Project Life 2014 in the very last week of spring vacation. During this final week of vacation, I was also in throes of lesson planning, but by taking my laptop to bed with me, I was able to slog my way through it. The album was printed by Blurb and is likely already at my mom's house. I told her she could read through it first before sending it to me, as is our annual tradition. This year's book was 140 pages, but the price turned out to be the same as past year's books, so I am assuming that all my PL albums have come to about 140 pages. Now to catch up on 2015's pages so that I don't fall behind and live to regret it again.

Here is the link for my 2014 Project Life. You can see some of the pages here.

In March, I decided to quit Central Fitness Yogapis (I know, much like Calpis, this name is hilarious!) and take on a membership at Lava Yoga, which is a chain and has studios all over Japan. They are open daily, have a more flexible schedule, shower facilities, and a variety of classes. You don't have to commit to the same time/day every week like CF. I thought I was being so smart when I located a studio two blocks away from my campus in Tokyo. I decided that since I am free on Tuesday mornings, I would take their 9:30 class, shower, dress and prepare for work at the studio and be at campus in plenty of time to eat lunch and attend my shift at the English Lounge.

This was a great plan before classes started. After two weeks of this though, I realize it is not such a good plan. I have 1st period on Wednesdays, so two days in a row, I have to take a 7:30 train. Get Luka to daycare by 7:00. Carry a heavy gym bag to and fro on Tuesdays, my obento on both days,  along with my regular backpack. I am limited to this Tue 9:30 class because of my work schedule also. It seems illogical now that I think about it. Lava has a studio in Inage, right by the station. I can drive there or even take a bus. Or just ride my bike. Or walk. It's not my regular station, but my condo is located halfway between my regular station and Inage station. Lava is open on Mondays, my work- at-home day. I can go on weekends, or even other days, like Tue mornings or Thursday afternoons, if I want to. WTF was I thinking? So, I've decided to try and switch studios. We'll see if Japan allows this or not.

Classes are going well. Better than I thought, but I still struggle to make time to plan and coordinate all the different classes. Mondays are for Tue/Wed classes. Thursdays are for Friday classes. Luckily, one of my colleagues made the first unit handouts of my N2 class (Thursday's class) but that won't happen every time. I was making a Power Point slide show for my Friday morning lecture morning...during dinner last night. So, I'm not always able to compartmentalize my life. The Widgets book is harder for my sophomores than I thought it would be. But it would help if they had the textbook! Apparently, it's still not available at the university bookstore. Marathon Mouth is perhaps easier but in a welcoming way and I'm enjoying this style of class with my re-takers. N2 is delightful and we laugh a lot during our classes. K7 and K8 are brilliant and enthusiastic, and so far, I am quite impressed by them. Stretch for my sophomore English majors is going well now that I have a plan of attack. Oyo Writing for my juniors and seniors may be my biggest challenge as I had more students than I expected on the first day, but we'll see what happens tomorrow because not everyone will actually register for the class. I think I can do this for 13 1/2 more weeks.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Project Life 2014

Project Life is not going to so well this year. I had planned to keep up each month as that is my dream goal every year, but I didn't even touch it until August last year. Doing 6 months of lay outs in such a short amount of time was nearly impossible. I never got back to it until winter break, but since I was quite busy during winter, I only made it as far as the end of July. I figured that I would have plenty of time during spring vacation to do more, but that didn't really pan out.

Finally, last weekend, I spent the night at Louise's with the intention that I would plow through the second half of 2014. I made it to the end of September. This is really not the way Project Life is supposed to be! It is frustrating. The last two years, I was finished before mid-February! What is my excuse this time?

Since returning from Louise's house, I have been more motivated and have been taking my laptop to bed with me. Instead of reading before sleepy time, I am scrapbooking a few pages before nodding off. This seems to help. I am now working on December pages.

This is only the first step of power scrapbooking though. Once all the photos and journaling are in place, I will have to go back through each lay out and put in the digital papers and elements. This shouldn't be too challenging since I have chosen two kits to use for the whole album. (Last year, I used a different kit for each month, and that took a lot of time and memory!)

Today is March 19. Can I really finish by the end of March? Is that a dare?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

One Little Word 2015: Nurture (February)

This is my vision board collage for February's assignment in Ali Edwards One Little Word class.

I collected images from magazines that I had lying around the house, but I had bought one Brit Women's magazine and a foodie magazine for just such this occasion.

I found that images of nature inspire the word "Nurture" for me, and I wondered if perhaps I need to get outside more. I like nature, but more than that, I like to get my work done, so I stay inside a lot using the computer, reading books and other materials, keeping up with housework, etc. What is that all about? That is NOT nurturing anything really!

So, I tried to think about my five best and most vivid memories from my childhood:
1. Playing on my tree swing
2. Swimming at the lake
3. Walking/skiing in our woods
4. Riding my bike
5. Girl scout camp

And, then I tried to think about my five best and most vivid memories from my 20s.
1. Skiing in the moonlight
2. Long, long walks at night
3. Riding my bike
4. Road trips with friends
5. Long drives into the countryside

And, now. What? I have barely been outdoors this entire spring vacation, and I am now entering my third and last month of vacation. Granted, I have tons of work to do, and I had several kid-related and volunteer projects on my plate, but one thing is clear.

I was really good at nurturing myself when I was younger. I knew what I needed and I allowed myself to take breaks. I allowed myself to enjoy the outdoors alone and in the company of others.

So, yes, while I may be a scaredy-cat about traveling to other countries, and even if I wasn't, I have to save all our money to go to Wisconsin every year, I can still make an effort to enjoy nature locally.

Other nurture-related issues that come up on my vision board relate to nurturing my family and nurturing my own body.

First, my family. I think I should win "Super Mom of the Year" award for all that I did for Ailin during the month of February. First, I cancelled two sets of plans (one was to travel to Sendai for an AFWJ Convention and the other to travel for a Cambodia for a teachers' conference) so that I could stay here and support her through a big dance event. Second, I spent basically the whole month, getting her ready for it - taking her to extra dance practices, re-making two costumes for her, buying stuff for her accessories, listening to that god-awful music over and over. Oh, it wasn't so god-awful, but let's just say it was a mix of 10 different songs and it was long, loud and repetitive. But, we did it. She enjoyed the big day, and she looked good, and she wrote me a few thank you letters this week - the heartfelt kind that took a long time to write and color. Oh, and did I mention that I hosted a birthday party for her? For the first time in five years? I am a brave and nurturing soul!
Ailin was in the "Fine Day" Group.
The costume for the ending number.

The Fine Day Group. Ailin is back center on right.

The ending number. Ailin is on right in the back. Very hard to see her here though.



Birthday party for several of her classmates


Second, my own body. I took up yoga (hot yoga) in January to see if I would like it. Luckily, I did like it and have decided to continue with it. The teacher made two yoga CDs for me because I commented on how great her choice of music is, and listening to those CDs helps me relax a lot. Unfortunately, due to my class schedule and commute, I will have to find a different studio. There is a hot yoga studio about one block from my campus in Tokyo, so I may decide to go there from April.

Three major areas of my life appeared in my vision board. Nature, which needs some work. Family, which went well and now I need to keep the momentum going. And my own body, which is still a work in progress but at least I have found something that is not only good for my body but also for my mind.