It's all about balance.... Ohhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm....


Seasons of Change...

There is, I suppose, a rhythm to things... beginnings and endings....Tonight marks the end of a season for me and the beginning of another... summer is ending for me, and school season is beginning... Each year before the first day of school I have some excitement, some anxiety, and this year I have managed to mix some creativity into it all... As this school year begins I can't help but wondering what the night before the first student day of school will feel like... because, I hope to be in a different role. I hope to be starting as an administrator. It is exciting to think about and also makes me nostalgic, knowing that this could be the last year I work this directly with students as a classroom teacher, special education teacher. I so love the work I am able to do with my students...I so dislove....making a new word perhaps, dislove the paperwork and meetings that surround it. I just want to teach. Yesterday I spoke to one of my former students and her mother who have recently moved to a southern state, so southern, that it is expected to end your responses to questions with Ma'am or sir... and that in their student handbook one can find that it is allowable to 'paddle' students if necessary... no I am not kidding. This student is an amazing young woman. She melted my heart for the last two years. She is in a shiny bubble as she bounces through her life... she sees things as great when people around her are concerned her bubble may burst...she compliments people in the exact moment when they need it most... her smile can melt ice faster than salt rocks...she loves drama and acting and we sing showtunes together from our favorite musicals. She gives people the benefit of the doubt to a point of concern... she trusts that people have her best interests at heart as she does for them. Academically, she has some strengths and some weaknesses. Math happens to be an area in which she struggles. Apparently in her new school there are no small groups for instruction in math. She has to go to the regular education class for math even though her skills are 2 years behind that of her peers. As a result, she is failing math. And because she is failing math, she is not allowed to take drama... So take a new kid in a new school, in a new town, and make her most challenging subject the ticket to getting into something she is so passionate about, drama? I am furious... If they pop her bubble... and her mom is starting to see signs of this girl not wanting to go to school... I will be very upset. Her mother gave me a huge compliment, telling me that since moving she had not seen her daughter as happy as she was when she was told I wanted to talk to her. How sweet. I am supposed to talk to her teachers tomorrow and hope I can talk some sense into them. I am all for challenging her, but she needs things explained differently than most kids do. So I think about this student and think about how she performed so well with me, largely in part to being so comfortable in my classroom... and knowing that I am a part of that on some level... is gratifying.. and I will miss it... but... I think that there are things I can do to make schools better overall that will benefit the kids. Last week I was part of staff presentations as part of our teacher days... my partners and I received so much positive feedback about how well organized the information was that we gave out and people eluded to the fact that they wished all the information was given out in that way... Today I emailed the staff some helpful, easy to read, schedules and have gotten great feedback on those as well. One of the comments I heard about our presentation and the materials my group had created was that even though what we presented is adding another component to their day, because we presented it so well and it was so clear to them what their responsibilities were, that it actually took weight off their shoulders. As an administrator I need to do that... keep up with teacher demands and make things streamlined... I also think it is a good sign that our building administrators have asked us if they can invite our Supt. to a meeting where we present to show him how well the program is going. (It's just starting...so we have to be patient!)

I must say I am overwhelmed.... very overwhelmed...at the time I have already devoted to just my internship. My presentation noted above was about an advisory program about which I am very passionate. Advisory programs have been around for many years. It's a way for every student to have at least one adult who really knows them, knows what they are about. It's a time in the schedule devoted to getting to know each other and building relationships while supporting academic and social needs. This will be an ongoing project and will take many more hours. In addition to that I was charged with redesigning the student handbook into a web friendly format. So... I am on my third formatting adventure... it has taken time to re-write pieces of the handbook, put it in an order that makes some sense... to me putting things in this order: attendance, bomb threat, bus rules, communicable diseases, and detention... does not make sense. So I rearranged the order, oh no not alphabetically? and I have updated some of the information about technology... and have been playing with the formatting... our school laptops are ibooks... Macs... which in case you don't know... I AM A PC, damn it! But I have been using the Mac... (the program pages, and open office - yuck) and have been using it well and find features I enjoy and some that drive me batty...but I think the best format for me to use is going to be WORD... Yup... PC programming being used on the mac. So we'll see if the tech folks can upload it.... This work, this internship work... is tedious... is time consuming... but I see the point of it. Preparing things well leads to less work later...

So my plight this year... is to balance... find the balance between staying in what I am doing and looking ahead too far into the future... I am excited about both... and look forward to a year that will be filled with so many lessons to learn. By the time I feel prepared for an administrator job... what season will it be in my life?


I blame my hormones, mostly.

I just came from seeing the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love..' based on a novel of the same name written by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's one of those stories about a woman trying to find herself. It was good... the scenery from Italy, India, and Bali...beautiful. It is a film that, I think, all can relate to... Hell, I was lost just trying to get into the movie. I knew the movie started at 3:10, and as that time passed and I was waiting in the theater watching all the trivia and other pre-movie images on the screen, I noticed that there were some people in the room about whose presence surprised me. I noticed women, not many alone, couples, and teenage boys... I felt bad for the men dragged there by their other halves, and was curious about why the young men were there... and then criticized myself for questioning them... thinking that perhaps they were there to expand their knowledge, quickly followed by my cynicism of, maybe they have to watch this for some summer class they are finishing up... by 3:15 I was annoyed that the movie had yet to start and decided to make a quick trip to the bathroom so that I wouldn't have to leave the film once it started. As I was about to re-enter the theater I noticed I was in the wrong theater... Eat, Pray, Love, was the next theater and I had entered the theater for 'Inception.' Idiot. I quickly went back inside and grabbed my sweatshirt and bottle of water and entered the right theater...which was much less full, and, for the record, no noticeable teenage boys... So I missed the first ten minutes of the movie... but I have read the book, and the story was easy to get into. I wanted something in the movie to touch me, to inspire me, to give me this feeling of motivation to seize the day... and the film was beautiful. Motivated? Inspired? Not yet... I think it's one of those films I will see a second time and will mull it about in my head for a while before I decide if those are the feelings it gives me... but I was touched by the film. Probably in ways that other people were not, I found my eyes watering in a couple of spots that were not the most dramatic scenes in the film... where I was reminded of things in my life that somehow have not ever made sense... to me anyway... Many years ago I had a dream, I woke up not remembering much about the dream, yet I knew what it meant. Typically when I dream, and I remember the dream, the images are very vivid, in color, with a story and many many elements... The dream that I thought of today was one in which I met, for the first time, the mother of someone who was/is important to me. In my dream this beautiful Indian woman extended her hands to me, and in them she held an orange flower. She was welcoming me somehow. At the time of my dream I remember I searched online for the orange flower I had seen in my dream, and did not find it. In the movie today, there is a scene, in India, where people have handfuls of orange flowers, not like the one in my dream, but it triggered this memory... and saddened me, because I doubt I will ever meet my friend's mother, though it is something over the years I have, well maybe not so much now, hoped for. In the movie the orange flowers were being put together in long strands to decorate for a celebration, a wedding... and it upset me...not the scene in the movie, but knowing I have held onto that image and that hope... for a long time. Wanting something that I have only been able to hold onto with my fingertips for so long. And wondering if I will ever stop trying to get a stronger hold and will let it go, truly let it go, let him go... or intentionally push him away for good. The movie is about this woman's experience with love, and how much of her life was spent in relationships with men or in ending relationships with men...and I found myself sarcastically thinking, "Poor you... you got married, got separated, fell for another man, finalized your divorce, leave the new man...only to have men swooning over you all over the world... rough life you have, lady." So maybe this beautiful film meant to inspire most people, made me feel sorry for myself. I blame my hormones, mostly. I am PMSing like crazy, eating everything in sight and wanting bad food,but my house is filled with crap like watermelon, cucumber, chicken, carrots, and hummus... so if I decide to have the bad food... I have to order in... which I may do... or maybe I'll go out...After all the title does include the word, Eat. My self pity about relationships is not something new. It's something I often feel and try not to dwell on too often... though it is hard when my world is filled with people who are part of a couple...not all happy couples, but couples... a couple of weeks ago some friends and I went out for girls night. There were 5 of us... 1 married, 1 practically engaged, 1 divorced and now in a stable relationship, and 2 single... we were sharing stories about relationships and while I was happy to have some recent dating adventures to share they all asked me about another man, the man I mentioned above, knowing that my heart is connected to his. We jumped around the table sharing funny stories and somehow we got on the topic of kids, having them.... my married friend has a son, six I think, and says she is done, has no desire to have any more. My divorced friend has a daughter, also about six, and she says she would have another, no doubt. (By the way I do not think of my friends according to their relationship statuses, but for the purpose of this post, I am ...) My practically engaged friend wants children, hopefully within the next 2-3 years. My single friend and I both said we would like the opportunity to have kids, but want the marriage piece first. A couple of my friends told me I shouldn't wait to get married to have a kid...and kind of joking, kind of serious, suggested I get inseminated... I laughed... no way Jose! IF I am going to be a single parent it would be through adoption, something I have considered... but to go through a pregnancy alone, no thanks. My friends in relationships said it would be fine... my single friend agreed with me, that having to go to appointments alone or having to go into labor alone would not be something we would want. My friends said they would all help... Good intentions.... I laughed and said that's easy for them to say because they are in relationships and 2 out of 3 of them are people who have had little time in their lives where they were not in a relationship... and have always had someone there to help with things... for example, I told them... that at some point this year I am supposed to have a colonoscopy... (Ok... not great dinner conversation, but it's real stuff here!) I am younger than most people who have to have that procedure done, but since my mother had colon cancer (a few years before the kidney cancer that killed her) I am supposed to get checked at the age of 35.... so that means not only do I have to go through that procedure, I have to have someone take me to the doctor's to have it done because they knock you out and you can't drive... so... I have to beg one of my friends to take me to the doctor and take me home afterwards... and while I do have friends that I am sure will be my 'getting my butt poked' buddy... it's something that I have to think about, ask for... not something my 'in relationship' friends have to give a second thought to... for them, it's built in... automatic... so for them to say I could go through something like having a baby, solo... well... not that I couldn't do it, but it would not be my first choice for starting a family. Am I jealous of those who are involved in relationships? Yes and No. Some have told me how lucky I am for being single, for having nobody to be responsible for, to check in with, to go where I want when I want... And some have told me that in their relationships they are...'miserable with'... miserable with their husband, boyfriend, responsibilities, etc.... Unlike most of my friends who have now been married or been with the same person for a third to half of their lives, I have been single for all of my life... with the exception of living with someone for a while and dating here and there... and for that man I mentioned above, who has been in my life, well, been in moments of my life, going on eleven years... but that doesn't count as a REAL relationship... and it won't ever develop into that... so... am I jealous?... maybe. I want a best friend who becomes my husband, the father of our children (though that window seems to be closing, sadly...) Do I understand why some people in relationships want out? Yes. But I guarantee, at some point, they will want back in... perhaps not with the same person... but... single... especially when you feel like you have a pretty good sense of yourself, when you feel like you want to love, to be loved, and to be held... single isn't the greener side of the fence.

There is a lot more in my head these days than just my relationship status... A recent email from the man I mentioned above, expressed some sadness about things going on around him, in the lives of people he knows and cares about... and he is philosophizing (may not be a real word, but oh well!) about life and god and what happens after we die. I was not, as I told him, the person to bring optimism and sunshine to that topic. I am still very much in the grieving process about my mother and still get upset at the unfairness of it all. God? no god? afterlife? no afterlife? I have no answers... Something stupid set me off the other day... and it shouldn't have. My sister is a poet, among many other titles, and she wrote a poem about a dream she had, in which my mother made an appearance. I know she has had at least one other dream about mom since she died... and it's not that my sister had a dream about Mom, or what the dream was about that set me off... but the fact that my mom has not been in my dreams...and I wish she would be...there was one dream in which, in my dream I was with my dad and I kind of sensed her presence, but that's it...and I miss her so much. As my mom was dying, my faith in God or god or something bigger than us all, gradually decreased...not that it was an abundant amount before...but I have always believed that people are connected, spiritually, that we maintain those connections even after people die... and in the past, when I have lost important people in my life, they have come into my dreams and it gave me a sense of peace about them... I haven't had that with my mom... and it upsets me because we were so close... and I still miss her so much... and I don't like the idea that maybe we aren't still connected.

The movie today left me with a thought that I may try to do... it was about missing people.... and the advice, terribly paraphrased was this: 'Miss them, think of them, send their way light and warmth and move on...' It's the moving on part that seems to get me...

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