Bleed the fifth

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bear in the rain

Never a dull moment has special meaning in a classroom. I thought my life was full of excitement being a mother to six of my own. Having twenty-nine ten and eleven-year-olds to entertain me every day is just off the charts.

Rainy day schedule is not always fun. If I have any plans to actually ‘teach’ during this kind of day, I should probably put those plans in the bottom drawer behind the chocolate, and take the chocolate out and eat it. At least I would have accomplished something. Rain is like gasoline on a campfire. It was a fun day.

One of my kiddos has a special sense of humor. He is the kid that all teachers like because he has a baby face and he’s super smart. He may also be incredibly whiny and lazy and failing due to both, but he is still one of the favorites. He actually reminds me of one of my sons…..

Today our floor was not only dirty, but mud streaked. The music was on but not able to be heard over the ‘indoor recess’ that was in full force. Apples to apples was the game of choice for those that couldn’t score a computer seat. None of these things fazed the boy. I found him lying in the middle of the floor, flat on his face. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “look Ms. C, I’m a Calvin-skin rug!”(his name is *Calvin)

Things like this, and the daily updates from the boy who claims to be dating Taylor Swift keep me going back for more.  It’s got to be more than the constantly changing expectations, overload of work, and ‘extra projects’. It’s gotta be those silly kids….cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.sunnydaystarrynight.com

(*Name changed to protect the unknowing victim of this blog)

Word up

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Words-are-Powerful.

Communication. What does it mean to you? Believe it or not, that word does not mean the same thing to everyone. To some, it may mean talking. To others, it may be letter writing. Some may see it as a more physical thing involving eye contact, touch, hugging, etc. It can be tricky to get to know someone if you don’t know what they consider communication.

What ever it may be to you, can we all agree that communication is key? My late husband communicated by talking. He talked about everything. He talked until I fell asleep, and then kept on talking. When he needed to work something out, whether with me or in his own mind, he talked. I listened. I wasn’t much into the talking. There were several reasons for this, but the biggest would be that he was much better at the details than I was. I might say something on a whim of a passing emotion and he would expect me to be able to back it up with three references and complete APA formatted citations. That’s just not how I rolled back then.

Because of being with a talker for so long, that is what I find comfortable now. If you want to get my attention, you need to talk. I cannot seem to find comfort in a silent partner. Sure, there are times when I get tired of hearing someone else talk and I jump in. I do that more now than I ever did before. I have found my voice and I use it regularly. But, if I talk and feel the silence sucking in my words, I feel like they are pointlessly flowing into that place with the missing socks. My words mean nothing after a while.

It can be exhausting to entertain someone with talking. I remember Brad begging me to talk, to add to the conversation more. I can understand why now. I try harder to be that other person, to fill the void, the silence, the empty space.

I just finished a class on language and cultural in the classroom. It was very interesting to learn a little bit about the differences in communicating across different cultures. In Asia, the more a person talks, the less important their words become to those hearing them. In other cultures, if you are silent, you are automatically in agreement with what is being said. In others, silence shows animosity towards the speaker. What do we do in such a diverse world?

All we can do is be ourselves I guess. If you are a talker, keep on talking, but take a breath now and then and listen. If you are a listener, man up and put some words out there. If you are a writer, look around a bit more. And if you are a reader, leave me a stinking comment! Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.giveforward.com

Blue Widow

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Head clamp

I woke up with a splitting headache. You might think that would signify a really good Friday night. Unfortunately, I don’t have those kind of Friday nights. Or maybe, that is fortunately….. Anyway, I woke up with a headache that not only didn’t want my eyes opening, but also wanted to push everything from my stomach. Purge everything! It was saying.

When I have a headache, I like to think I’m like most people in that I want to kill things. There is something about having excruciating pain inside your brain that makes you want to lash out and scream and shout. Maybe, the subconscious thinks the energy causing the brain melting pain will channel out through loud words, threats, and other mean mommy activities, thus releasing the pressure. Maybe.

All I know, is my kids all hate me today. I woke up in pain, the kid I woke up early to drive didn’t get up, my house is a disaster, and I’m all alone. It’s like a triple layer cake of poo. It might be big and impressive but it will most likely kill you.

A lot of the stress and frustration I’ve been feeling is related to time. I think that when Brad died, my brain came up with some sort of time schedule based on that and other events. I think our brain does that. It takes past events and bases our endurance and expectations on what happened then. Looking back, I think my brain kind of thought of Brad’s death as a long business trip. He had been gone for months before,working in other states, so I think my brain expected there to be an ‘end time’ for this separation as well. I also think that my brain decided I was only going to be around a while. I couldn’t really see past a few years in the future. That might sound morbid, but it wasn’t a conscious feeling of impending death or anything, just a ‘do this for now’ kind of feeling.

I’ve been alone for almost six years now. I’ve had many opportunities to change that, but I think I was afraid. Afraid that Brad would come back (lots of dreams about that), afraid I would make big mistakes, afraid I’d be happier than I should be, afraid of getting trapped….lots of fear.

I realized a couple things today. First of all, I realized that since I’ve been alone 6 years, I can’t really blame Brad for the miserable mistakes I’ve made with my kids. I also realized that six years is almost 1/3 of the time I was with Brad. Every day, every week, every moment is adding up to more and more time alone.

At my writers conference, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do and why and what my end goal was. I honestly don’t know. I feel like I’m just doing. Doing what I have to, what I need to, and now and then what I want to. But I don’t know where I’m going. Does that make me seem sad and pathetic?

Add to that picture the fact that I am sitting in my darkened closet, in my pajamas, with tears on my face, head pounding, writing this post after my daughter told me she hates me. If I’m not completely sad and pathetic now….I give up. Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.liesifrank.com

Bringing sexy back

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Some of my friends are going through ‘the change’ they tell me. I have told them, I don’t plan to do ‘that’. The ‘change’ is for wussy women that don’t know how to keep themselves healthy. Now, before you start the hate mail, hear me out. I read that book by Susan Summers called The Sexy Years, and I plan to live it. I don’t have loads of money or Hollywood doctors to make me special hormone blends, but I think I can still do it.

My plan is simple. I will no longer let anything stress me out. According to the book, stress is one thing that eats up our adrenals. Adrenals are hormones that keep us from falling prey to diabetes, fibromyalgia, etc. etc. etc…..equals the ‘change.’ That will be my first step. Bobby McFerrin, sing on.

The next thing I need is to stay in shape. This will be a bit harder than the first step because I am pretty lazy. I like working out when it is fun. Give me a conveniently scheduled step class full of 80s music and I’m there. Give me a non-hyper yoga class, hot or normal, and I am there. Fill my bike tires with air and push me out the door and I’m there. It’s all about the scheduling.

I will have to add the dreaded diet thing to my list. Eating healthy is not super hard for me. I am not a big sugar/junk food fan. I gave up soda when child number 5 was born, 15 years ago. I like to bake on Sunday, but other than that I’m a veggie girl. And potato chips…..

The only other thing I think I really need is sex. That is going to be the hardest one since I am still single. I’m was thinking about one of those mail order males, but my hair dresser informed me he tried working for that company once and it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. I don’t have any eccentric old aunts with a distant cousin waiting to be set up with me. I also don’t have a large dowry I can tempt a suitor with. The singles scene I used to frequent is still full of the same old singles as it was five years ago, so I doubt it’s effectiveness.

When push comes to shove, I usually get moved off the couch. I am going to have to stoop to the lowest form of mating. Yep, you guessed it. Signs around the neighborhood. “have you seen this guy?” I just need a picture of Bradley Cooper mixed with Chris Pratt and a dash of Jimmy Fallon…….

Cause I said so.

 

Photo credit: www.loveitsomuch.com

A tag on Ball

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I’ve run away from home. Not far, just across town, but far enough to feel ilke I’m on vacation. Its the annual writer’s conference I go to here in Mesa. I look forward to hanging out with all these people that are way more creative than I am. This year, because my focus has been on teaching and pursuing my masters’, I haven’t written much. It’s sad, actually, because writing is my happy place. Times and seasons….they say…..

Being around creative people isn’t the only perk of this ‘trip’. I also get to meet famous and semi famous people and stun them with my wit (silent awe) during lunch and other gatherings. I also get to be on my feet, organize things, and act like I know stuff. Wait…that’s what I do every day. I guess the difference is I get paid more….no, I don’t actually get paid anything. Why do I do this? Oh yeah, because writer’s are really nice people.

Today I got to spend some time with Brandon Mull. If you have been living under a rock for the past ten years or so, you might not know that he is an amazing, successful, and really nice author. His books include Fablehaven, Beyonders, and my favorite, The CandyShop Wars. Not only has he been blessed with amazing success, he is also a truly nice guy who laughs at my jokes. If he were single….

Being around writers and talking about writing things makes me want to quit my job and write. Unfortunately, I also have to eat, so writing can’t be my full time job yet. That is, unless you all would like to start paying for this amazingly inspiring blog. I’d totally be up for that if I could also get a book deal for my mems and a daily foot rub package. I’m not picky, really, I just know what I need. I might miss teaching my students…but my feet would be much happier, and that’s really what it’s all about….cause I said so.

Re Right

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Do you ever feel like you know it all? Ever feel like, yeah, I’ve learned enough and I can just sit back and watch everybody else figure it out now? Me either. There are times, however, when I feel like I do have an idea of what is what and how things should be. These thoughts don’t happen often, and usually don’t stay long, but I relish in the innocent naive-ness of them.

I’ve spent some time in the hospital lately. It hasn’t been for my own health, but rather for those I care for. My Dear Grandmother had a short stay before she passed in December. I was able to visit her a few times before she left us for the great quilting bee in the sky. She was a beautiful, caring, funny lady til the end (or beginning….tomato, tomatoh). She never wanted to put anyone out or be a burden in any way. She was one of the most self-reliant people I have ever met. I didn’t realize just how independent and capable she was until lately. She was a small woman, especially in my Grandfather’s shadow.  I guess it just goes to show that size isn’t everything.

Being in hospitals is not my favorite thing. I haven’t always had the best luck within those sterile walls. It took me a few years after Brad died before I could enter one without feeling like I was going to hyperventilate. Being able to witness the birth of my grandson went a long way to mend relations between me and hospitals.

When I went back to school, a financial aid adviser suggested I go into the medial field. I laughed in his face…in a nice way….and told him I didn’t have the right kind of compassion to help sick people. I would be rude and not caring and drive people to tears. That is what I thought at the time.

Last night I went to visit a friend at the hospital. He was in the purgatorial waiting room, ticket in hand, waiting with the various others people sent their by karma. I was dropping off to sleep when a tiny, crumpled woman was wheeled through the doors. I have no idea what was wrong with her, but she was wailing like a wounded animal. Crying out for every known deity to help her because she was hurting so bad. I watched as the woman behind the counter pushed paperwork towards the man pushing the wheelchair. She didn’t seem to move any faster than she had with the other, non wailing patients. No one rushed out to see why the woman was crying. The man pushing simply pushed.

I realized at that moment the real reason I didn’t go into the medical field. It wasn’t because I didn’t have compassion, it was because I have too much. All I wanted to do was to go over to the woman and help her. I wanted to shout at the nurses to move faster, to take her pain, fix her, make her stop crying. It was all I could do to sit and keep to myself.

I looked around the room at the other waiters. Some were oblivious to the crying. Some were looking and snickering to each other. One woman picked up her young son and moved where they wouldn’t see the event. A man came in with a pizza delivery. Business as usual.

What happens to nurses? Maybe they have to harden themselves to keep from being constantly torn apart by the pain of others. Maybe they don’t care and it’s just routine to them. Maybe they had seen this woman many times before and knew she was faking. Maybe inside they were screaming out for her, wishing they could help, but knowing they had to follow ‘procedure’.

All I know is, I am glad I didn’t go into that field. I do care about people and it hurts me to see anyone in pain. Maybe that is another reason for my bubble. The world has too much pain and suffering in it and I just can’t take it.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit :www.news.asiaone.com

Heavenly rock

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So here I am, sitting at work, madly sending emails to parents. Being a teacher is a never-ending job. In fact, to be perfectly honest, it is a never sleeping, breathing, taking a bubble bath, getting your nails done, kind of job. Kind of like being a mom, only with a lot more babies. I love it. It is exhausting.

We have a big event coming up tomorrow. Student led conferences are actually more work than parent-teacher conferences. Yes, they give the student an opportunity to show what they have been doing at school, but it also gives the parent an opportunity to see just how organized their child’s teacher is. We need data, examples, a clean room, hand outs, and for all those gnats on the tree in the corner to die. No stress.

The universe speaks to me some times. Call it a spirit, a ghost, my fairy god mother, or the house elf I keep in my closet. Whatever it is, I get messages at times I could not have planned. On my late husband’s birthday one year, my phone started playing a song out of nowhere. The song had special meaning for a relationship I was in at the time. I listened. A few weeks ago, on our anniversary, my phone woke me up with a dubstep song called Ghosts and Stuff. I don’t listen to that kind of music…but put it on my phone for my son. Weird?

So, back to today. I’m a bit stressed, not too much, I have a lot on my plate but I’m trying to do what is important instead of what is urgent. I’m trying to prioritize and clear out things that drain me. I’m smiling, even if it is a bit strained. I have a lot of good in my life but the bad stuff tends to push it’s way to the front a lot.

I send the kids outside for recess and turn to my computer. Emails to parents begging them to come to conferences with their children.  A song comes on. I don’t even know how the speakers on my computer are on. What is the song?https://www.youtube.com/embed/_rOz-yAzxy4” target=”_blank”> “Some day….things are gonna be brighter….” 

The universe has spoken. Cause I said so.