Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Bibliotherapy

The books are scattered throughout the house
          Girl, Wash Your Face
                          The Soul of Money
  Cluttered Mess to Organized Success
              A Religion of One's Own
                                   Steal Like an Artist
     Women Food and God
                       The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****
      The Wild Card
                      A Whole New Mind
   Eat for Health
              Decluttering at the Speed of Life
                          The Miracle Morning
         The Sacred Enneagram
                          The Artist's Way
The Four Tendencies
         Happy Teachers Change the World
                The Five Second Rule
The Healthy You Diet
                       My Shining Year Life Workbook
Peace and Plenty:  Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity
            Find Your Why
     Deep Work:  Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

The list goes on, and on, and on.
Most remain half-read, unread, like prescriptions gathered
By a chronically ill patient
Am I worried about the side-effects
Afraid to confront my own demons
Is it success that scares me?

Or am I afraid that the answers aren't really there at all...
Maybe the demons know the truth--and the cure.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Five days in

The fifth official day of my summer break, and I've yet to decompress.  Instead, I've spent the last two nights tossing and turning, thoughts of work-related and personal tasks that must be completed by summer's end piling one on top of the other in my sleep-deprived mind.  

Last night, the to-do list had a soundtrack, prompted by my first voice lesson yesterday.  My instructor and I decided I'd work on Anna Nalick's "Breathe 2 a.m." , and it kept replaying in my head, along with other songs I'd like to try. I finally gave up trying to sleep and retired to the couch, checking my email on my phone and texting my son in Japan.  Scrolling through Facebook posts made me drowsy, and I managed to squeeze in a couple more hours of shut-eye before waking up an hour later than I really wanted to.

Dental appointment this morning, working in the library tomorrow morning...maybe Thursday will bring some respite?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Just say no

My situation had become intolerable.

My office was a dumping ground last year.  I thought I would have time to straighten it up while working summer library during the last break, but we had a steady stream of visitors.  I began this past school year with a messy desk, and the piles of papers and books just grew.

The state of the library collection was becoming intolerable, too.  I had not weeded in five years, and the average publication date was three years too old.

After reading Seth Nichols' blog post, "Why Teachers Are Walking Out" , the outlook for my summer vacation break seemed intolerable as well.  I was already feeling put out by the expectations for summer professional development--without pay or professional compensation--and reading his post reinforced those feelings.  Requests for district-paid summer work outside of my own school even annoyed me.

So I started saying no.  No to professional development in June during my work days, when I really need to be cleaning my office, working on my annual report, and weeding.  No to paid extra-duty job offerings and requests, when I need to be home battling insurance issues that I can't take care of during the school year because I am busy, busy, busy during business hours.  No to attending free online teacher training, when I have piles of children's books to read to prepare for next year, and my own professional books that I've purchased and left unread.

I have compromised, and set my own schedule of going in to the library for five Wednesdays this summer.  For three hours each day, volunteers will be helping me weed and reconfigure math kits, tasks that I know can't be done in August.

This summer, I am saying yes to taking Spanish lessons.  Yes to taking voice lessons, and painting, and reading books just for fun.  Yes to cleaning up my own home, and swimming, and walking in the sunshine.  Doing these things for me will allow me to be there for the children come August, to do all the things I say yes to in the fall.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday Slice: The weekend

Our Memorial Day weekend began on Friday afternoon with last-minute packing--two suitcases and a backpack for our son, and an overnight bag for my husband and I.  Then we hit the road for DFW.
We encountered some beautiful clouds along the way:
By the time we got to Dallas, night had fallen and the holiday lights were on.
We settled into our hotel just a couple of miles from the airport.  Since we didn't have to rush in the morning, we enjoyed the hotel breakfast and arrived at DFW International with time to spare.  One last selfie, and our traveler joined the TSA line.
We stood outside the line until we saw our son pass through the xray machine, and then he was gone.  After a few texts and a quick chat to make sure he made it to the gate, we headed for the parking garage with a quick stop at the airport Starbucks along the way.

Not wanting our kids to have all the fun, we decided to take the back roads home to Austin, via Fort Worth.

We didn't realize it would turn into a tour of four county courthouses!  We stopped at each one and took pictures.  They were all built in the 1800s.  I loved the architectural details.
Meridian seemed like a good stop for lunch.  The public library was next door to the restaurant, so we just had to go in.  We were the only visitors there until someone showed up to return books.
Back on the open road...I am so thankful there are still views like this in our country.
We were tired at the end of our trip, but happy that we avoided the construction and traffic on the main highway.  When I checked the flight tracker just before bedtime, our traveler was flying over the Aleutian Islands.  We were awakened just after four a.m. with this picture from his sister:
Our children have reunited in Japan!  Our son will spend the next five weeks studying with his journalism cohort.  He'll rejoin his sister for a week of sibling fun before he returns...and we'll hit the road once more to pick him up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Down for fourteen

The last two weeks have beaten me 

A defeated boxer lying in the ring while
The contender paces the mat
The referee counts me down

After a few big punches
The final blow
A mere tap on the cheek

Enough to make my stomach,
My heart, my tears
Fall to the mat

If I stay down long enough
Will the pounding stop?

Do you ever have weeks where you are pushing through, dealing with one stressor after another, thinking you're handling it all until just one more thing pushes you over?  During the last two weeks, I've mourned the death of a good friend; moved my child from college dorm to home; helped him get ready to travel to Japan; administered standardized testing; dealt with health insurance claims and bills; faced deadlines and stayed late at work; mourned the school shooting here in Texas and fumed over inane politician responses; received distressing news about positions being cut in our district; and, for the last blow, got into a fender bender last night--which means car insurance claims to manage.

Any one, two, or even three of these things I could handle.  The count is at nine...Enough is enough!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Post-Mother's Day reflection

I am one lucky mom.  Despite my mistakes, my missteps, my less-than-loving moments these walls have witnessed as my children were growing up, they are marvelous human beings.

My first-born, my preemie, is wise beyond her years; her NICU nurses knew she possessed an old soul before she left the hospital.  Goal-oriented and adventuresome--these qualities helped her land a percussion spot in the middle school band, join varied clubs in high school, choose a small private college for her degree, learn Japanese, and move to Japan to work, learn, and explore.

My second-born is my headstrong, empathetic deep thinker.  Gentle with children and animals, he feels and loves fiercely. His opinions are formed by experience. He has weathered several physical storms in his young life--hand surgeries, sensory struggles, losing his voice for two years.  He began college in the midst of recovering from major jaw surgery, and managed to not only survive his freshman year, but thrive, finding his place in a service fraternity and returning to his music when he was healed.  

We have had our share of arguments, disappointments, door-slamming, and tears.  But birthdays have always been celebrated, traditions kept, I-love-yous exchanged.  There have been worries and warnings, hugs and hurrahs. 

And my children still want to come home, when they can.  I hope that never changes. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tuesday Slice: I spoke up yesterday

There was this meeting
That ran too long
And meandered off track a bit
And covered a lot

And during this meeting
There were several pregnant pauses

And during a pregnant pause
I chose to say something
I had to say something

I even used the word "ridiculous"

I don't know if it made a difference
I don't know if it will make a difference

But I'm still glad I said it.