Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Instead, this is what happened:
Woke up late.
Tried on 13 outfits trying to pick the perfect thing for my presentation tonight.
Forgot to get clothes for track practice - back to the house.
Forgot to take my allergy meds - back to the house (this is real. I can't survive long without it)
Late to Before-School practice.
First period spent trying to put in contacts in my eyes.
Rest of first period spent trying to think of a plan for the kids to do without lots of my own involvement because
already behind in grading
end of six weeks next Friday
had to plan for my presentation and for Thursday's track meet/sub
teach for 3 periods
forgot my lunch
helped sell prom tickets during lunch
track after school
back in to change for presentation
present google classroom to the "ambassador program" (community members/parents/school board)
stay for questions
home by 8:30
deep talk with bf about whether or not we move for his job and give up my own.
SHOOT! I'm about to miss the LAST DEADLINE!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!
Quickly written, no time to think or edit or be cute or clever slice.
It's been so wonderful writing with all of you. I can't say how much I've loved writing, how much I love reading all the comment love (it really does make a difference!) and how much fun I've had reading and commenting on everyone's blog!!! Until Tuesday!!!
Monday, March 30, 2015
Some people have worry stones; others keep stress balls or bean bags near them, or on their desks. One carries a stress penguin. Stress Penguin sits, stoic and straight, on the corner of his desk, the ever watchful guardian of the tester. From time to time, his human looks up from his test to consult with Stress Penguin, as if staring him desperately in the eyes, the answer will be whispered to him by the tiny bird. Stress Penguin sits in silence. Without warning, he is snatched from his post, the air crushed out of his body once, twice... five quick pulses, like a drill in dexterity, or maybe just a nervous twitch. The sentinel is returned to his place on the corner of the desk, refilling his body to its normal proportions. He watches the progress, wishing he could help more. If only he could tip, maybe fall with his beak "coincidentally" on a key phrase. If he could soothe his human's nerves with calming words, rather than suffering the periodic brutality of having his body crushed time, and time again. Stress Penguin can do no more than be a watchful sentry, a comfort and support, a silent encouragement, waiting for the next moment he is needed to alleviate some tension on test day.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
|Guest Shelfie!! Thanks Aaron!|
Today I'm sharing some Guest Shelfies!! These are my boyfriends shelves. His collection consists mainly of running, zombies, a few bios and auto-bios, and two WHOLE shelves of Star Wars! Don't knock 'em til you've read 'em. I did not have high hopes for these books, but the Old Republic has been really entertaining. Are they masterpieces? No. Are they all well written? No. Fun? Definitely!! The Revan trilogy and Bane trilogy have been my favorites. I recommend starting there.
Anyone want to hop on my Shelfie train?? You can follow me at mw8187 on instagram. I only have two so far, but I'm going to build it up. Don't want to post your own? Send me your shelfies and I will post them as my guest shelfie! By golly, I will interrupt this fad of staring at our own faces all day.
"Life would be much nicer if one could take where ever they went, the tastes and smells of their mother's house."
- Like Water for Chocolate
I always like to go to friends' mom's houses and see bits and pieces of my friend in the house. I really like going into anyone else's house. It sounds odd, but I just like to see what they've done. How did they decide to decorate it? What is their color scheme? How do they use the space? I always think it's interesting to see different homes.
When I first went into Aaron's apartment when we started dating, I remember thinking how fancy and earthy everything looked. His tables were iron and marble, leather couches and ottomans, dark browns and blacks and grey all over. Even the pictures he had on his walls were things like a black and white picture with trees. His dishes. His dishes are brown. I didn't even know they made brown dishes.
Now, every Sunday, we go to Aaron's mom's house for dinner. Going into her home you can definitely see where Aaron gets his taste from. Almost everything is dark, rich, earth colors. The walls are brown, except the kitchen where it's a deep burgundy color. The carpets are brown, the tables are stone and glass and iron. The furniture is all dark leather, and the decorations are in browns, blacks, and deep, deep, rich earthy colors: dark greens and reds, like you might see under a dense canopy of trees in a forrest.
|Aaron's cabinet space|
|My cabinet space|
My apartment, by contrast, looked much like my mom's house. I have a tropical blue bedspread with lime green and white hibiscus flowers all over; the reverse side is pink, orange, green, blue, and white stripe. My art is colorful, vibrant, and eclectic. There are flowers everywhere, colors everywhere, and tons of pillows. I have fiestaware dishes of all different colors, except black and white, and my pots and pans are all red or blue. I even have a rainbow collection of chopsticks! I prefer soft cloth fabric to leather, I hate metal, and I'd take painted wood over metal any day. If you saw my post about my mom's house though, you might get it. I think it's interesting that we carry it with us.
|This is basically my whole aesthetic.|
|Even my binders at school are bright|
|My whole life looks like this|
We are currently trying to decide whether or not to buy a house, or continue renting. I'm kind of slowly leaning more and more towards buying my own house so I can decorate and paint and do the things I want to do. I've wondered how that will go. How will we decide what kind of bedspread to get, what kind of art to hang, what kind of dishes to buy? What will our house smell and taste like? How will we make a new home out of a house?
My mom told me once, "Home is where your mother is." She said, after her mom died, she wondered where home would be. It wasn't El Paso any more. She would have to make her own. I am lucky to still have my mom, and she's right. Even though I've never lived in the house she owns now, and even though I've lived in west Texas for TEN years now, I still say I'm going home when I refer to her house. How will I make a home? I will take the smells and the taste and the love of my mother's home, and bring it with me. Maybe I can make room for a little bit of metal and earth and leather. (That's a big maybe)
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
Roslyn, My love,
I stole this idea from Ruth Ayres, who stole it from Ruth Metcalfe. I took it one step further. With the exception of one song (Love Will Take You), all of these titles are from ONE MOVIE FRANCHISE! Granted, it's a 5 movie franchise, it's a HUGE list of songs. I love this idea of finding poetry though! Maybe I should be teaching English... maybe I'll get Speech certified next....
This second piece is entirely from books in my bookshelf! It's been a tough day. Another 14 hour school day in the books. Time for bed.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
That you are good.
Close your eyes,
Breathe in, know that it's okay
Breathe out, to not be perfect.
Breathe in, it's okay
Breathe out, to not be okay.
Breathe in, know that the bad things
Breathe out, they'll all go away.
There is passion,
and there is Peace.
There is strength,
and there is Serenity.
There is power,
and there is Wisdom.
There is victory,
and there is Harmony.
There is Life.
"So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet."
You can do this. Don't think it, feel it.
Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
You can do this.
Alright, so I borrowed a little here, a little there. If you didn't know, throwers are a bunch of basket cases. Probably all athletes... probably all people, at that. Something happens to these kids. They step into the ring, take a breath, and then, it happens. You can see it. They start to think. Damn.
Now, I typically encourage thinking. It's a great thing, especially in the classroom. Not so great in the ring. They start to think about messing up, all the things they do wrong, how they can fix it RIGHT NOW before they throw. Think about who's watching, who isn't watching, why are they/aren't they watching? What if I don't do well?
SHUSH!! SHHH! Stop thinking! Relax, little buddies. You've been doing this for weeks/months/years. You're fine. Let your body do the work and tell your head to shut it. This year we've been practicing being a little more "zen" and throwing like it's fun. It's not exactly working yet ... but we're trying.
Sadly, their current mantra goes like this, "I am a strong, independent, black woman, and I don't need no man! This one's for Katie."
I don't know. Don't ask me, because I don't know. Somehow, my zen message has gone horribly askew. Leave it to teenage boys.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Each year, I find that I have to teach phone manners. It is becoming more and more common that students have never answered a phone other than their own cell phone, and at that, they only answer to their parents. Everyone else texts. I think it's still relevant and important to have phone manners, though. So every year, I teach the following.
Things we do:
1. pick up the phone and in a cheerful, clear voice, say, "Coach Wright's room, student speaking"
2. listen carefully to the caller and try to help them.
3. say THANK YOU! when someone calls. Yes, even if they are calling for someone to go to ISS, even if someone is in trouble, no matter the news, thank them for delivering it to us.
4. try not to stare at the person who was called for and make vague comments like "uh huh", "yeah she's here..." It makes people uncomfortable.
Things we don't do:
1. pick up the phone and say, "hullo?"
2. watch the phone ring
3. say "yeah" to anyone on my phone.
Today, something I didn't expect happened. The phone rang, one of my sweetest kids picked it up and said, "This is Ms. Wright's room, Student speaking." Alright... so far so good...
He turns to look at me and says, "oh yeah, she's here! thank you!" and hangs up the phone.
Curious, I asked him who it was and what they wanted. Please with himself, he responded, "oh, just the office I think. Some lady? She just wanted to know if you were in class today. I think she thought you had a sub!" (My phone has caller ID, by the way)
About one second later the phone rings again: "Ms. Wright's room, student speaking... uhm yes, you can talk to her..."
holding the phone at arm's length toward me, the same student says, "I guess she thought of something to tell you."
What had happened wuz... "Some lady" was my principal calling about a technology presentation I am giving. When she called the first time and asked, "Is Coach Wright there?" She meant, "is she available to talk on the phone?", not, "I can't keep track of my own staff, thanks for the attendance update, good bye!" Typically, when someone asks if the occupant of the room is in, it means they would like to talk to that person. Or, if you're unsure, you say, "yes she's here, would you like to talk to her?"
Okay, okay, writing this out, it doesn't sound as funny as it was. I thought it was funny. I giggled all day about my kid hanging up on the principal because he just thought she was curious about me being at school. At least he said Thank you!!!
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I don't care what they're going to say. Let my sun shine on. Alone never bothered me anyway.
What an irritating day!! Except, when you sing, and let it all go, and love your job, and have awesome kids, who cares?! Today we played human bingo and had an amazing time. I had the sweetest, most cooperative students the past two days. Funny how they seem to adjust when things are going badly outside of school... and funny how when it's all going well, they act like crazy monkeys.
Monday, March 23, 2015
I am really excited that I have actually made it this far. I think I've mentioned this before, but I was really doubting myself for a while. About three days in, I thought I wouldn't have the time to keep posting. But, like we learned in a recent PD, if it's important to you, you'll make it happen. If it's not, you'll make excuses. I have found myself making excuses to get out of other things, just to write my slices!
As a writer, I have gotten pickier. Weirder about what I publish. I revise and revise and revise, and reread and reread and reread, and revise some more before I post. I want to have something I love to share with all of you. I feel like this challenge has changed me in so many ways and how I think about my writing. I often find that I want to try new things and get creative with my formatting or styles. I actually wrote a "poem"! I don't guess it needs the quotation marks, but I still kind of have the elementary rules drilled into my head. It has to have a specific number of words and syllables and it all has to have a rhyme scheme. I know part of the goal of SOLC is to help us develop as writers, I just didn't think I would be developed too. It's so exciting to grow!!
As a commenter, I have found SO many people that I just love. I have found several blogs I've subscribed to, and I really like to randomly stumble around while leaving comments. I try to scroll through different times and leave comments for early posters, lunch time posters, evening, and late nighters. There are so many blogs I've seen with fantastic formatting and wonderful ideas for posts. I've borrowed a few and I saved several. I've even shared them with my students and posted a few in my classroom. I love reading all of the different slices from so many different lives all over the world.
I would like to become a regular Tuesday slicer year round, and I hope I can get even more people on board with trying the writing challenge next year. Thank you, Slicing Community, for everything you've given me. Only 8 more days!!!!
Sunday, March 22, 2015
The best and most frustrating part of the day: gardening. I love to garden, but I seem to be terrible at it. I did finally get some lavender to grow last year but it went all wild and curly and didn't quite look like the picture. This Spring, I bought some pansies, zinnias, marigolds, rosemary, some little daisy looking things, and a salvia plant. I know nothing about salvia, except that it has bright red little blooms and I thought they were pretty.
Mistake #1: I let Dot out to enjoy the sunshine with me. She wanted to help garden.
Mistake #2: I let Dot out to enjoy the sunshine with me. She found a turtle and thought it might be fun to eat.
Mistake #3: I let Dot out to enjoy the sunshine with me. She chased a bird and ran head first into a fence. Then thought she might eat a few of my flowers. Bad Dot.
I finally have all of them potted and placed out on the front porch. It says they all need 6+ hours of sun and I think they'll get enough there. I just hope they don't get too much. After all of this, we were DIRTY (and by we, I mean Dot). I sweetly coaxed her into the bathroom where she thought the bathtub was kind of cool... until she had to get in it. What a nightmare. Dirty paw prints all over the place, water ALL over the place. I finally just got a wet rag and washed her paws one at a time while she sat on the run, which also now needs a bath. Won't be trying that again.
All-in-all, pretty successful day! Oh, except I haven't made any lesson plans, or graded any papers, at all. So, you know, that's good. I should probably be doing that instead of slicing but I just don't waaaaaaant tooooooooooo. *throws a childish fit* I guess I will get to being a professional adult and stop sipping tea and bird watching...
Saturday, March 21, 2015
It rained ALL SIX HOURS of the drive, but we made it! And back just in time to get the post in!!! I hope...
I am still unclear as to whether or not we can post up until 11:59 our time, or if it has to be Eastern time?
Regardless, we made it. And the pup left us minimal damage. A shredded sonic cup and a notebook. No torn up clothes, floors, walls, or furniture, no missing cats. After my friends got a bloodhound that basically ATE their house (yes, ATE IT), we were a little worried. Thank goodness Dot is a little less destructive.
Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to some slightly more thoughtful and better planned slices. Today was a terrific day, I just don't have time to slip in all the details. We did the Wipe Out 5K (totally worth it, but make sure you get an early start time) in Arlington, scarfed down some Panera, and raced back to Lubbock! I think it's always funny how ready we are to leave, and then how thankful we are to get back home again. I know tomorrow I'll be wishing we were gone for one more day. When school starts, we will wish we had another break. But it is SO NICE to be back in my own house, and my own bed!
Until tomorrow!!! Day 21 down!!! So close to saying I wrote EVERY DAY for the month of March!!!
Friday, March 20, 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
I think a small part of my writing block has to do with my phone. (Also, I just haven't given myself time to sit and think) But it is very difficult for me to write from my phone. I kind of hate it! I need my full keyboard and to hear the flow of my fingers drifting across the keys. Or maybe it's the larger screen? I really couldn't tell you, but there is something so frustrating about trying to blog via cell phone. Anyone else share this struggle with me?
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Out of 145 students, ages 14-18, I think I might have 4 that like to read. Or rather, four that will openly admit to it. Why? How does this happen? Where are we losing these kids? We took some of our volleyball girls to read to a pre-K class and those kids LOVED it. They love to read. And yet, the whole bus ride back to the high school, the girls were talking about how much they hated reading. I would say maybe through elementary, most kids love to read. Where, when, and why are we losing that magic? Why are my teens suddenly so turned off by it?
Typically, I tell my students, you don't hate to read, you just haven't found what you like yet. I keep a small "library" (more like a small cluster) in my class of all kinds of books to recommend to my kids. Every year when the public library has their huge sale, I buy as many books as I can from different genres. I even stock some comics and magazine for those with lower attention spans. But for the life of me, I cannot find a way to get them to *WANT* to read.
On the very rare "catch-up" day I allow, if students are caught up in my class, they can work on something for another teacher, or they can do something "academic". I do let them draw. I do allow Trivia Crack because they are learning when they play (shhh! don't tell them!) But I recommend they read, and I recommend a book to those who don't have anything. There is just SO MUCH resistance!!
Student: No thanks, I don't read.
Me: I have all kinds of things...
Student: No, I really hate to read.
Me: I have magazines! Body builders, motorcycles, runners, seventeen, seventeen latina edition, cars, camping, fashion, home decoration...
Student: Nah. I'm good.
This morning, it is cloudy and cool, the windows in the house are open to let in that fresh morning breeze. On the porch, there are freshly planted flowers and a swing. I know I should stay inside and be social. We did come here to visit my brother and his girlfriend, after all... but that swing is calling to me. I just want to sit outside and READ! I want to smell that freshly turned dirt, listen to the birds, and get lost in a story. When it rains, it makes me want to read. When it's sunny, I want to sit in the sun and read. When I see big fluffy chairs, I think to myself, that would be an awesome reading chair.
Maybe it's me that has the problem. Do other people have "reading chairs"? Do they walk into book stores and libraries and feel the joy I feel? I just don't think I can be alone out there. And if it is a problem, how do I pass this problem on to kids who just want to text and tumble and play games on their phones?
Since posting this, I read this post that really took me back to those "good old days". We might have a discussion about where they used to like to read and maybe that will spark some nostalgia for them and lure them back to books.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
My mom's house has always been home. She can make any house feel like home to me. When she bought this house, I decided she had lost it. Yes, it was much smaller, much easier to manage. Much easier for my dad to get around. But the house! Sloping floors, missing floor boards, a sagging ceiling, old, OLD windows, dark walls, no vent hood!! These people had been cooking on a stove with no vent. There was a nice little char mark on the ceiling above where the food was cooked. How could anyone save this slowly dying house?
My mom did. She has a formula that you can see in my own decorating now.
Step 1 - lighten it up. Add color.
This house is now full of color. A light, white sand in the living room, robin's egg blue in the dining room, pale green in the kitchen, cheery yellow in "the guest room" (My dad's old room). Her own room is a pale pink, but she has been thinking of repainting it.
|A fresh coat of paint|
|I had to chase Sir off the table. He loves placemats though|
Step 2 - Add more color. Add art.
The things that please me most in this house are the bursts of color in each room. In the living room, a blue chair with bright green ivy. In the dining room, a pop of red from placemats on an otherwise dark table. Paintings, sketches, and photos from all stages of my mom's life hang in every room. From neutral, sandy, New Mexico/Texas, to vibrant prints from Louisiana, oils and water colors, mosaics, and pencils. I love the eclectic collection.
|Guest Room before|
|Guest Room after|
Step 3 - Add plants. Then add some more plants.
This is something I have yet to master. My mom has the greenest thumb I know of. She touches it, it grows. It's almost like Midas, if he has wished for green growth instead of gold. There are plants in almost every room and surrounding the house. Every summer there are new arrangements of blooms in the yard, new vegetables in the garden in the back. So far, all I've managed to do is keep an ivy plant alive... and that's after a few unsuccessful attempts.
|Diningroom full of plants|
|The Original Hallway|
Step 4 - Light, and Love.
I almost forgot the most important step!!!
Step 5 - Add a cat! (or two)
|Francis bird watching in the morning|
|Sir bird watching all day!|
Monday, March 16, 2015
So anyway, we are at my mom's house for the night. A quick stay-over, and then on to the grand old DFW! So far, so good. I don't really have a juicy slice for today. I got my oil changed, got my CDL so I can drive a bus, and cleaned out my car... that I could live out of probably. Not now, because I had to empty it to travel. But normally, when the stuff goes down, my car is the place to be. There are clothes, probably food, tools. All kinds of things!!
I have a couple of slice ideas I am kind of working on, but I haven't had time to write something I think it worth publishing yet. Until I get my head cleared out... hasta luego slicers.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
A Story of False Cognates
My junior year of college, I took a third year conversation class in Spanish. I was feeling pretty excellent about my future in language, until the rest of the class entered the room. I was the ONLY non-native speaker. Apparently, most Spanish majors are Spanish speakers. I still don't understand that. Why not try something new?
Anyway, Day 1, we are supposed to share a story about our summer. While the other students are spilling out stories, letting the lengua run off of their lenguas like water, I am taking frenzied notes about key words and ideas I want to say. Vocabulary is where I struggle. It's hard to keep thousands of foreign words in your head that you don't use daily. I had to show these people I belong here, though. I had the perfect story. When it came my turn, I began: (The English translation)
This summer, my friends and I (2 boys and 2 girls) went rock climbing in Arizona. We were staying in Sedona and climbing out at Bell Rock. We had been told there were several bolted routes on the far side of the rock, but we couldn't find any at all. After spending half of the day hiking with a full rope in tow (they're pretty heavy), we gave up and decided to go climbing without rope. We left the rope at the bottom of the mountain and "free climbed" about 100 feet to the top.
At this point, I had a rapt audience. Some mouths were open. Eyes were wide. I had stumbled through a few phrases, but the content was enough to make up for it for now. "heh heh, they're so impressed... I should add the part about Matt almost dropping to his death before I caught him and dragged him back up to safety." Before I could get this heroic feat into my story, a hand shot up.
"Sí. Sin. Ropa."
Yeah, they're definitely impressed. I didn't realize I was that daring, I didn't think it was that hard...
A tap on my arm. The girl sitting next to me whispers in my ear, "Ropa means clothes. Lazo means rope. They think you went climbing... 'desnuda'."
Díos mio. They think I'm a nudist rock climber. Red in the face, as only a person as pale as I am can be, I quickly explain I meant lazo, not ropa, and that I like to climb with all of my clothes on.
I now use this story as a two part lesson for my students. 1) that it's okay to make mistakes, we all make mistakes. Try anyway. and 2) that mistakes help you learn. Since that day, I have never once forgotten that the word "ropa" means clothes, and "lazo" means rope.
The cat inches ever-so-slightly closer to the door, her white paws making no sound, to more carefully examine the birds and plot their demise. "If I could just slip under this crack," she thinks, "they are exactly where I want them. They won't even know I am here until it is too late."
As she stands to peer out the window, the sunlight catches the top of her golden head, and illuminates her fine fur, her elegant whiskers. The glint from her well-groomed fur must have been seen by the little feathered snacks, carelessly hopping about just on the other side of the door, for as soon as she stands, the little snacks all fly away.
She sulks back to her patch of warm sun to wait, and start again. Meanwhile, a cup of tea steams quietly on the low table in front of me; I turn the thick, creamy pages of my book, the only sound in an otherwise quiet room. The other occupants of the house breathe in the deep, even cadence of sleep at the end of a long week. The dog snores on the couch, unaware that the cuddly friend he has been searching for is finally so distracted with little birds, he could easily walk up beside her and get a good whiff of her curious golden fur that looks so soft, so different from his own black and white, without receiving a swipe from her needle-sharp claws. Instead, he dreams, woofling quietly every so often, and twitching his paws in what is probably the best chase of his life.
The clock ticks the minutes away. It has been a perfect morning.
Friday, March 13, 2015
So yesterday, I was feeling guilty about being gone so much and I really didn't want to show a movie, but we are at a place in lessons where it's all going to be new material, and I definitely can't leave instructional work with a sub. So, I left a really cool documentary about migrant workers and the effects that kind of life has on the kids involved. To preface the movie, the sub was to pass out a guide about the key factors that influence a child's development and personality. The sub would read the definitions of the key factors, students would brainstorm some examples of those factors and, as a class, write them down so they knew what to look for in the movie. The sub would then play the 85 minute movie (in a 90 minute class), and TAKE UP THE PAPERS BEFORE KIDS LEAVE!!!
Now, being the control freak that I am, I have a detailed Substitute Binder. There is a daily schedule, rosters, seating charts, phone numbers they might need (principals/neighbor teachers), and my rules, which are also posted in two other places in the classroom. In my Sub Binder, I always leave a note with VERY clear instructions, because when they aren't specific and clear, the lesson doesn't get done. There is a step-by-step plan for the day, and approximate times the assignments should take. For example, taking roll, passing out papers, talking about them, and brainstorming, should have taken, at minimum, about 15 minutes. There is no way any class could actually think and discuss about the assignment in less than 5 minutes, so no classes should have finished the movie. And yet...
Here is my folder, the rosters are now missing, there were no attendance slips used, and my 8th period finished the whole movie somehow, AND there are NO papers on my desk. Not one was collected, despite instructions clearly saying, TAKE UP THE PAPERS because my kids will lose them the moment they walk out the door. They have little black holes in their backpacks that eat whatever is put in there.
Oh yeah, those instructions I left? Please ignore them. I was just trying to waste some of my own time and definitely the students' time. So you know, just do whatever you want. If the kids don't want to watch the movie and would rather lay on the floor and text, that's fine. Not like I had any plans for them to learn today. It's not like I'm on a timeline to complete work or anything. Just don't worry about any of it.
My neighbor teacher just told me she saw my kids in the hall and walking around the school and some of them tried to come into her class because the sub let them leave.
*deep zen breath*
Alright, rant over. I just hate starting a day like this. Thank goodness spring break starts tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I miss you. I know I said it would be okay if you had to go, but I'm not okay. I feel like I am just stumbling around. In six months, there has not been a single day I haven't thought about you.
They say it gets better. I will feel better. I will heal. It gets easier. They say to think of how you are now. You are better. You are not suffering. You can finally rest.
The truth is though, I am not better, I am not healing, it is no easier. I'm glad you aren't suffering, but it does little to comfort me. I feel alone when I am surrounded by people, but all I want is to be left alone.
I try to make you proud. To live in a way I think would honor you. There is you in every thing I do, even in the way I sign my name. I wish that we'd had more time for you to teach me more things so I could do them like you. Thank you for the things you did teach me. I usually think of the concrete things: how to kick a ball, how to swing a bat, how to chip out of a sand trap, how to use a computer, play games, shoot a rifle... and a bb gun, how to fish, to read, to wrap a Christmas present the "dad way". But within each lesson, there was something more: how to be a leader, a teammate, a big sister, how to be patient, inventive, competitive but still have fun, how to be relaxed, but focused, and how to give, and give, and give.
I have to remind myself daily to keep it together keep it together keep it together. I can do this. Keepittogether keepittogether keepittogether. I don't know if I can do this. I have lost some parts of myself. I don't have the patience I used to have. The understanding. I don't feel like I am sensitive to others the way I was before. I am angry a lot. And I am sad always.
Not a lot is new, I guess. We found a dog, named her Dot. I got the head Soccer job in theory, but nothing has been made official yet. I'm on a technology committee, it's alright. I'm coaching basketball next year, I'm nervous. You know it was never my strong sport. Apparently, no one runs Box1 or Box2 in-bounds any more. No Stack plays either. Maybe I'll bring it back old school style. I don't think I'll carry on the family tradition of being ejected from the game. I'm still scared to get in trouble, even from a ref. I'm trying out writing. I'm not as good at it as you were, but I'm practicing. It's hard to write about other things. I'm mostly a journaler. I mostly just read.
I wish you were still here, but here and healthy. I wish we never had to do any of this. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I keep waking up each new day. I should be the strongest woman alive by now, though I'm not totally sure I would call this feeling "alive", and a part of me left when you died.
I miss you. I hope I see you again.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
1. "I don't have to look up to know Mom is making another surprise visit."
2. "It was an old familiar nightmare, the one about men in black hoods chasing him through tall grass toward the precipice overlooking jagged rocks and great greenish waves rolling and crashing in the abyss where sharks with chainsaw teeth awaited and great black buzzards hung in the air and there he was sliding toward extinction and then Mr. Sparrow woke up to a song emanating from somewhere close to the bed."
Bonus!: "Mr. Sparrow wished that the mice would carry Clara away and lock her in a dungeon and that the Hallelujah Chorus could be embargoed for ten years and that Tiny Tim would learn a useful trade and quit blessing people."
3. "The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtoan posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. it is simply there, when yesterday it was not."
Bonus!: "Stories have changed my dear boy... There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case."
4. "I'd never given much thought to how I would die - though I'd had reason enough in the last few months - but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this." (Yes. I love this book.)
5. "I don't remember a time when I wasn't chubby."
6. "It was little more than three miles from the Old Kingdom, but that was enough."
7. "It was a nice day. All the days had been nice. There had been rather more than seven of them so far, and rain hadn't been invented yet."
8. "Elspeth died while Robert was standing in front of a vending machine watching tea shoot into a small plastic cup." (From the Author of "The Time Traveller's Wife")
9. "Take care to chop the onion fine. To keep from crying when you chop it (which is so annoying!), I suggest you place a little bit on your head."
10. "At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles."
This is, by no means, a complete list of all things wonderful in my personal library. Just some good books. I often wish my life was more like the books I read. "The Night Circus", for example, is so beautiful, magical, and deeply pleasing, it makes me sad to leave that world and return to the world of grading papers and doing chores.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Asics, you rock. Those shoes lasted. Did they look amazing when they were retired? Absolutely not. Did people think I might be homeless? Probably. I could not part with these shoes! I had worn them for volleyball for 3 years, track for 6 years, indoor soccer, and golf! When they became too ugly and beaten up to wear in public, they became my weekend/adventure/mow the lawn shoes. Why would I ever buy new ones as long as these versatile, comfortable, and already paid for shoes were still wearable? Those well-traveled shoes taught me 3 things about myself.
1. I am frugal. I cannot pay full price for a new pair of shoes when I have a pair that still functions. I have only barely amended this belief. When it comes to cute heels (on sale), there is not a limit to how many you can own.
2. As all frugal (stingy) people must be, I am resourceful. And creative. The sole is coming off? Super glue. The side is wearing out? duct tape. The toe has a hole? pretend there is no hole... or wear cute socks. Pretend it's fashion.
3. I am entirely too sentimental. About every. thing. ever. I get attached to things. I have old cards in their old envelopes because it has the handwriting from someone I love. I have school work and notes, still in their notebooks; ribbons from Christmases past, and wrapping from birthdays. I won't use them again, they're just too pretty to stuff in the trash...
I promise I'm not a hoarder. I eventually reach a point where I throw everything away and start over with a new batch of sentimental silliness. But the other day, while scrambling through my closet for a purse to take to the wedding, I found one of those old shoes. I still have them!... errr... one. I put it on. The sole is lumpy and hard from overuse, and then non-use. My big toe sticks out of the top, the one flaw all Asics I've ever owned have eventually succumbed to. The sole flaps where the duct tape has stopped sticking, and has instead collected all matter of dust, and lint.
These are the shoes I used in track instead of "throwing shoes", because they had no tread by then. They were smooth and soft, allowed me grip without traction. They were my lucky shoes.
They are the shoes the TSA checked for shoe bombs, on my first ever flight on my own. A young, blonde, almost translucently pale, 16 year old girl in a track uniform as thin as kleenex, pulled aside for a "random security check." Sorry you had to smell those shoes, TSA. You brought this on yourself.
How do you just throw away history like that?! So much Life happened in those shoes. So much ground was covered. Tournaments all over the state, a trip to Washington DC, another to Tennessee, countless nights rehearsing drill, after drill, after drill in marching band. The only item I own that has outlived these shoes is a backpack from L.L. Bean. That's a whole other slice! An International Slice.
Anything you hold onto, even though you know it's time to let go?
(With a heavy heart, I did throw that shoe away)
Sunday, March 8, 2015
"If you love something, let it go.
If you don't love something, definitely let it go.
Basically, just drop everything, who cares."
I am so tired. I am beyond tired. There are so many things that I need to do and I just can't bring myself to do any of them. I need to grade some tests and papers, get my progress report grades ready, assign some tutorials, make a quiz, make some lesson plans, clean the house, laundry, cook for the next few days of school, get groceries so I can cook for the next few days... Also, I'm not home yet.
At some point I need to make an eye appointment and see about getting contacts, I need to take the driving portion of my CDL VERY soon, before my 90 days are up and I have to pay another $65 to retake all of the tests.
I have been tossing around some ideas for a curriculum change. Our school has, to this point, approached FL curriculum with a very traditional style. Open the text book, memorize the 70 vocab words for the chapter, drill and kill some grammar, quiz, quiz, practice workbook, test. Which is fine. Except I don't think my students are learning much. They definitely aren't learning to communicate. So I thought I might try to change this next unit into a PBL style lesson but I am STRUGGLING! Part of the problem is it's the middle of the year, I have no materials so I will make everything from scratch, and I'm at school until 5:45 or 6 every day just at track practice and trying to get things ready for the next day. I've only been able to stay one to two days ahead of where I am and haven't been able to do any major scope planning. Another thing is the grammar for this unit is teaching the imperfect tense, and then teaching the difference between the preterite and imperfect.
For those of you who aren't major language people, they are both the past tense in English, but in Spanish (and I think in French) there are two types of past tenses. One expresses ongoing/repetitive actions but we don't know how long specifically. The other is for single, sudden, or one-time events, or a specific number of repetitions of a certain event (more or less, anyway).
Example: I was riding my bike when I fell and broke my wrist. "Was riding" is imperfect (ongoing) and "fell and broke" are preterite (interrupting, single event).
For students who can't explain their own English grammar structures to you, this is a difficult concept. It becomes doubly difficult when you are trying to translate back and forth and conjugate while determining if something should be preterite or imperfect. Basically, it's a big ol' mess. And do they truly need to master this concept in Spanish 2? No. So then do I teach it anyway? Glaze over it and move on? Skip it altogether? I don't know.
Lots of questions that require a lot of time and a lot of energy if I want to implement any of the answers to any of my questions. And for the time being, I'm all tapped out. There's nothing left to give to creative changes today. Time to curl into power-nap position and get ready for the drive home.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
On both sides
And I dont care.
On both sides
And not caring
Friday, March 6, 2015
I feel like I am flying 1000000 mph right now! I know if I don't squeeze this little blog in now, it might not get done today.
Left at noon for a track meet. Track'd it up, now I'm on a bus w the loudest, worst rap battle, ever.
My throwers did pretty well. Shotput boys took 3rd,6th, and 8th place out of about 20-25 kids, discus boys took 3rd and 6th. My freshman girl, who has never thrown, almost quit, and is constantly negative about her ability, placed 4th in a varsity meet! She said she didn't do well, but I'm extremely proud of her.
I have some more things I wanted to say, cool moments I wanted to share, but the day is almost over and I still have to pack for a trip/wedding tomorrow. I just wanted to make sure I got my slice in! Day 6! Woooo wooooo!
Thursday, March 5, 2015
It traps us inside
Dust in the streets, Dust in the air,
the sky a haze of red and brown
the wind gusts and howls
the dirt fills the world,
fills your house, your car,
your mouth, your lungs.
We live in the dust bowl
We never left.
This year, the sky is grey, the streets white
The dust is tucked in under sheets of ice,
blankets of snow
The snow does not fall here though,
ice does not settle,
it pelts; it drives; it bites.
Snow surges across roads,
Streaks sideways through the sky
as if gravity has shifted.
The winds of West Texas
do not care what they blow
But they blow without end
We live in the dust bowl
We never left...
We put cotton on top of it
And wait for the wind
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
My personal creed is a borrowed creed but I believe it and live it (or try to) with every particle of my being. However, recently, I have been letting myself be dragged into some negativity and nonsense. I believe, and need to remind myself of some promises I made in my creed.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile (except bugs)
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
There are a lot of people who focus and dwell on the negatives. They take for granted the things they have been given, and rather than be grateful, demand more! I have been surrounded by teachers lately that have been angry and negative and down about all kinds of things and I have allowed myself to be swallowed up whole by their negativity. I am too noble for anger; too happy for trouble.
I work in a school where we have daily internet access. We have 4 full computer labs, a mac lab, as well as mobile labs. The majority of my students have their own device to use in class. The majority of my students have loving, caring parents that provide them with food, shelter, and love. I work in a community that is quick to give, and gives generously, to those students who don't have all of those luxuries. I have a job that actually *PAYS* me to share information I'm in love with. I have a job that I love to do. I get to be a part of so many kids' lives, help them, and guide them as they become little adults. More importantly, I get to have these kids be a part of my life. They bring me so much joy and have taught me so many things in just two years! Two years!!! Who knows what's coming next?!
I promise myself...
To remind my coworkers of the good in the world, and more importantly in our own classrooms.
To give a smile to everyone, even when I'm tired, even when I'm busy, even when I lose my keys, drop my breakfast, or things don't go according.
To be too large for whining, too noble for grumbling, and too happy to allow others' negativity to bring me down.
Some things that make me smile and remember all the beauty of my life.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Monday, March 2, 2015
Today started off rough. School was delayed, which means my CDL driving test was cancelled, which means my sub plans were now unnecessary. I can't waste a good sub lesson as a coach, so I frantically planned a different lesson in my extra 2 hours this morning. I was really worried about my half-baked plan using some technology we haven't really used yet, especially with my 3rd period.
Let me describe this class. If you are a high school teacher, I think you will sympathize. This class is huge. I mean, I have 26 kids in the class, one of my larger groups, but this is a class of ALL JOCKS. I have some basketballers, some baseballers, and SEVERAL linemen. My class is BIG. There is a grand total of 3 girls in the class, the rest are West-Texas-Howdy-Maam-I'm-A-Human-Tank athletes. They are all growing and in constant competition on who is bigger. They are all best friends. They are all very excitable. They are all loud. This class is also split in the middle by lunch. As soon as I get the group settled and working, the lunch bell rings, and we start allllll over again, except now with sugar rushes and food comas. It is a daily exercise in patience and love.
They were to read some articles about the Moai on Easter Island, and then imagine they are the head of the team trying to study the mystery of how the statues were moved. Post answers on my Google Classroom page. I expected sighs, groans, eye rolling, and "do we have tooooo?" Or more commonly, "I'll just take a zero. I'll probably pass." Instead...
OOH! What if they rolled it on logs?! Do we get logs? How many? How strong are they? Are they thick or thin? Easily crushed or sturdy? You said we get rope right? How much rope? We're near an ocean right? Do they know about the wheel yet? What if I made a cart? NO WAY! That won't work, think of the weight! We need a sled. How do you make a sled? OH I HAVE AN IDEA!!!
I was blown away. Where did these little physicists and engineers come from? I have rarely been asked for anything more than a bathroom or drink pass; now they're asking for more time to think of more ideas. I try to always have a discussion piece, a culture part of each chapter, I share human interest pieces with them, I try playing games, stations, everything I can think of... and this is what sparked them: a lesson thrown together in an hour.
This is not a story about my family, my personal life, it's hardly about me at all. All I did was ask a question. But as teachers you know they are my life. These are my kids. Their successes and failures aren't mine, but they affect me deeply. I spend more time with these kids and in this building than I do in my own home. I am so excited for them to be excited about something I'm teaching! I am never happier than I am when I have a day full of learning, of thinking, and excitement of others to be learning and thinking on their own. Today, I am victorious!!!