Sunday, May 15, 2011
I am alive and for what that is worth, I am very happy!! It has been an awful day since we got back from the retirement party for my friend and former principal, Dave. I want to share my feelings about the party. It was quiet and yet moved me more than any celebration I have attended in years. There was a good sized group of people present and that was a statement to this man. Every person there had either worked for him at "our school" or the next two schools he has been at in the past 6 years. (His story of being moved around since "our school" closed is similar to mine and most of the other people who were in the room.) I was so touched to be in this room of people who were all honoring his dedication to children while supporting staff at the same time. I cried a few times and the warm jokes that we all shared would good hearted fun. I was mostly touched when we were all getting ready to leave and having hugs and he said, "I'm looking for a job and already have my applications in in" these other" schools.) Living in a bi-state region has a few benefits for educators. It helped me to know that he isn't going to be retired and not taking care of kids any more. He has too many gifts to offer. I think I may have to keep my eyes on him and find out where he goes as I ponder where my future lies.
Anyway, my husband and I left the party with me in a pretty thoughtful mood. The last thing one of my dearest friends commented on was that "you can never go back." I am not sure that has to be so--maybe we have to remember that our memories protect us from some of the details and we might not remember the minor annoyances so well, but I do believe that I am not destined to have to play the type of nasty games that I have been involved in (or excluded from) where I am currently working. Oh well, I didn't mean to tread there--this year hasn't been as professionally painful with me being a scapegoat to everything under the sun. There seems to be a lot of people who know a lot more about my situation in some way or another than I would have guessed. Some of this is too personal for a public blog, but some of you know things I am referring to.
We stopped at school to pick up a couple of Mason's birthday presents that I had left there on Friday. (My sixth child is 19 today. He has thought he was an adult for a long time--I don't know why anybody would want that in the first place, let along would think at such a "worldly" age that they had achieved it, lol.) Then we went to return a shirt I bought for him that for whatever reason, after seeking out the right size correctly, I bought the wrong one and brought it home, finding out when I was wrapping his gifts. My husband and I had a rare evening together without any pressure to hurry or go pick somebody up from here or take them there, Neither of us could remember the last time we had a luxury that simple. It was rather nice. The last thing we did before we got home was to get some gas and get a soda (caffeine free diet is my special drink these days so that is now his as well.)
I got settled in when we got home at the late hour of 10:45 PM and had a half of a turkey sandwich so I could take my night meds. I turned on the computer so I could check on SP, of course and I had a really awful pain in my tummy that turned into the most awful stomach pains ever. They lasted all night and I slept a bit between, well being very ill. I never got those meds and as of now, 5:55 PM have still not had any meds. I just had some dry toast to see if I am going to be okay because I cannot start that ugliness all over again. I don't know if it was food--it seems as if I had nothing that another person in my family didn't also have and nobody else has been even a bit sick let alone violently ill. I missed church, the spring picnic for music families at our church, and the pool today and have fallen back to sleep every time I have awakened for more than ten minutes. Oh my...
Anyway, there is a lot that can happen in a day. I really enjoyed yesterday with three of my sons while I ran errands early on and I won't forget the party I attended anytime soon, if ever. It has been an incredibly eventful day even if the details haven't all been pleasant. I am still going to consider if you can or can't go back. I hope if something was honorably good, that it has to be something that you can go back to. I understand that time changes us all a bit, but that we can make good out of most things --my past illness excluded.
I need to see if I have enough strength left in me to plan for this coming week and to take my meds. My poor back and body has been used to the pretty intense new regime of meds that my new doc has me on and it is really sore. I have not really noticed the day of rainy and cool weather my husband has been talking about. I guess that is my silver lining along with the most sleep I have had in weeks and weeks. Tomorrow is a concert day, but I will probably wait until the Tuesday event so I can go to the pool after missing today.
I hope my next 24 hours is a bit less eventful. I think I need that!
Happy birthday, Mason! (I am thinking that this same 24 hour period 19 years ago was pretty hectic as well, lol.)
Saturday, May 14, 2011
It sure seems as if I complete one major activity in my life and then there is something else that jumps in and takes up the time I was hoping to have for myself. Go figure!! Last night, I went to a retirement party for 3 people I worked with at the school I taught at from 2005 until I was rudely snatched from that position in August 2008 to go where my current principal went when she left. I remember that school as being full of highly opinionated folks who I enjoyed working with except for a couple who were just too self-serving and in it for reasons I questioned. I was fresh off of my big back surgery when they came in and whisked me away and I cried my heart out. It was a good place to work with students and families who were easy to deal with. The three teachers who are retiring is what I now understand is 12 days and the one short hour day we have left have worked a total of 106 years for our district. That is a big deal.
However, as I circulated at the party, I picked up on some rather rude comments from people that didn't feel good to me and that I didn't remember from the group as a whole. I couldn't keep my mouth shut for some of those things (by the nature of who I am) and so I don't know if they existed some 4 years ago or if I wasn't aware or if I didn't want to be aware or what. That junk kind of ruined the event for me and has left me thinking a lot about what people say as "humor" and about others. Nobody has the right to be so self-serving. (It wasn't the people who were retiring and since it was a party for them, I chose not to object to the rude stuff, but to simply congratulate people and then leave within a socially appropriate amount of time.)
Anyway, my husband and I are attending another retirement party for the principal I worked for and admired for the longest number of my years in my career. We didn't always see eye to eye professionally, but we were always able to discuss that. He always worked harder than anybody around and he gave more than he expected of anyone. He always, always put kids first over anybody else and spoke honestly no matter who might not like that. I appreciate that in a person--it is a lot like how I am. I am sorry to see him retire after some 37 years--education is losing a lot in his retirement, but I am certainly hoping that he has some well deserved R&R coming--in his wood working shop and with his wife and sons. Our district closed that school with no warning to any of us and it was a crime==it was an inner city school and one of the few that had rising test scores. I give that to this principal who stuck by the school and developed a strong community of the staff who hadn't worked well together prior to him (and me) coming to the building. He was a gentle and kind leader who learned about reading and children as he made a shift from being a secondary teacher to an elementary principal. I have total respect for him because he is both honest and honorable, traits hard to find in many these days.
I hope I don't sound judgmental in those comments. I have no right to judge others. However, I mourned the loss of both of those schools and what I experienced last night made me question my memory and experiences. I don't expect the same tonight because the party is for someone of great integrity. I worked with him for 12 years (I think...) and never had a question of who he was working for or what he believed in. I would, without a doubt, still be there if it were my decision.
And, after these events... It is end of the year concert season!! Marissa has show choir and jazz band concerts on Monday and Tuesday. Her band concert is Wednesday and the high school choral concert is Sunday. Micah's combined band and choral concert is the following Monday. Mason's birthday is tomorrow and we are having a party to welcome Mitchell's girlfriend back to land from her tours on the cruise ships on the 22nd. Family events are sliding in to close out the school year along with my end of the year paperwork and classroom needs. I love these things so much and will have to really juggle my workouts and medical appointments in with them as the month of May ends. It is hard to believe that there is barely half of May, the beautiful month around here, left!
I can and will do what I need to--I am starting a big project in our house--time for major decluttering and it is my plan to have a yard sale this year. With Mitchell looking to get his own apartment, this is a good time to reconfigure space and do some downsizing. Most of my kids have new jobs and two jobs for the summer. It will also be a busy time. I guess there is a lot to be said for busy--but I hope to have time to read a few good books and to take time to look at the clouds and play with the dogs. I need that too!!
I'll check in soon--weekends are best, but now, I have to do some shopping and errands so I can go to the pool before the party tonight. Join me in saying a thank you prayer for my former principal Dave, and all he has done for children and educators in his career.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I thought finishing my National Boards would give me some time back--but oh my... I don't understand what is the extra business in my life because I substituted physical therapy on my shoulder for physical therapy on my back. I substituted a lot of doctor appointments with my regular folks for the appointments with my new doc. Marissa's musical ended this weekend--It was so good. They did "In the Woods" and it was so entertaining. We had a great time with the entire program, but listening to our daughter sing and seeing her act and dance was a special time. She also sang another solo in church a week ago--she balances a lot of activities and does so well with them all. Her grades are solid too--I just wish I could get her to exercise with me or without me. I know she has to find her own way, but I also know what it is like to be in her shoes.
Mother's Day was phenomenal. The weather was gorgeous and my family and I worked in the yard. I made a pit of fresh green beans and turkey ham for dinner and expected that to be our meal, but it cooked up and wasn't enough for this army, so the guys upgraded our barbecue pit and we had a wiener roast. I know that most people like to go out and be treated, but this was so on target for me. I interrupted it to go to the pool which was so quiet--only 4 in that big pool. My hostas are doing well--we added 5 new plants--still need one more. Our flower bed is in--I bought a bunch of bedding plants and two hanging baskets from a fundraiser for Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. (They do so much for kids--and my students in particular that it was a pleasure to do it all.) I bought a lot of pansies and petunias in purples and lavenders along with an entire flat of coleus. I just love coleus--we have to finish it up--this will probably be the last year that I need to plant it around the hostas--they are doing well and will probably fill out the area under our big pine tree just right. Anyway, I was in heaven having everyone home and helping out with all of the outside things on my mind. We have more big jobs to do and it seems like I have helpers and activities on board for all of that.
I got a lot of nice gifts--flowers, a rose bush, earrings, a sapphire ring (my birthstone) and sapphire earrings too!! That was so sweet--it is awesome that everyone is working and could do things like that for me.
You all will probably think I am crazy, but I have decided to go back to grad school--I don't know if this work might lead me to my doctorate, but it is worthy of me doing. Our school district has gotten a grant in conjunction with Western IL University to help us to get an endorsement in ELL (educating English language learners.) The entire coursework comes to over $900 for six classes and the grant will cover $650. That is a bargain for an additional endorsement. On top of it, I am working with about one ELL student in each of my groups and I think it will help me better at my job. There is one online course this summer, two classes each in the fall and spring next year, and one more class in the following fall. I haven't taken an "official" class in a while and like I mentioned, this might help me to decide if my PHD or EDD is what I would like to do. I am really excited--the classes are worked out so one is a regular grad class that meets weekly and the other is a class that meets on 4 weekends out of the term. That won't interfere with my exercise schedule too much. I am going for this great opportunity--it looks like only about 6 or 7 teachers from our entire district is signing up and I don't understand that. We have over 40 languages in our small district now and knowing strategies for helping these kids is important. Anyway, I am excited to do this.
That's about it for now--I don't know what I have been up to this past week that has kept me from blogging, but I have been really busy. I have had a couple of students in crisis which has taken a lot of my energy, but I am working on those issues. That is taking time because I ma having to find time to collaborate and make contacts to help them. I am going to share a great analogy from my therapist. He said it is like me running a tire store and these guys have come in for oil changes. I have some tools, but they aren't the right ones--and I have some skills in working on cars, but they aren't what these customers are asking for. I am willing to help, but am simply not equipped for what they want or need. It is quite frustrating, but I am looking for the folks who have the oil and related filters and things that can help them to accelerate appropriately. (This is a perfect analogy to my problems with the children who are in crisis right now!)
Anyway, my tire store awaits and I need to get going. I hope that you all are having nice weather with sunshine and happiness. I would like to wish you all a belated Happy Mother's Day. I 'd also like to wish you all a Happy Nurse's week and a wonderful, belated Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!! I have bouquets of flowers around me in honor of being a mother and a teacher. It is awesome to be appreciated by others.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
This day off started on a pretty good note. I went with my older daughter to visit our local campus of Western IL University to find out about combining her college coursework and what would be needed for her to earn her Bachelor's. It looks pretty good for her to complete things in a year. It took a lot for me to convince her to come and that this is important. It is a "Liberal Arts and Science" degree in which she graduates with three minors. One of them an be Theatre, which is her passion and her big interest for the future. She wants to go to grad school so that she can instruct theatre at the college level. Anyway, it was a very good and positive meeting and she is moving on plans. (All of which are costing us money for transcripts and applications for admission and so on...) Anyway, I am happy with the outcome and knowing that she has a plan for next year. She won't have to travel except for one class, all the rest can be taken here. Things seem pretty positive. The only down side to this excursion was when we got there, we realized that one of my walkers was in the other car and the other one was still on the porch. Nice--however, I had my brace and my daughter lent me her arm. We used the handicapped ramp and entrance and I did pretty good.
We went to Subway for our lunch and then we went to the fitness center. I went to the pool and worked out during the adult lap swim. It is so nice to go to the pool in the afternoon when the kids are all at school. Unfortunately, I don't think I can get time off of work during the day to go to the pool, lol. Our daughter works there, so she did some swimming and some machines before her work in the office today. My son came and picked me up, and he brought my walker. We went on to the doctor's office. She gave me 4 injections in my right hip and commented that it might need more than that. The plus side is that it didn't bleed at all.
We stopped and picked up my prescriptions from my pain doc's office and then we went to KMart because I realized that I had somehow lost my shampoo and conditioner. I used it at the pool on Sunday and I think I forgot it in the shower and somebody helped herself. We looked at some of the summer things and I bought a couple of new pairs of swim goggles for the kids when they join me at the pool.
This is when the trouble happened. I hadn't put on my seatbelt because after injections, I don't like to be touched. The police in town were running a big "Click it or ticket" operation. We were pulled over and it turned out that our license tag was due on the first of the month and we had forgotten it. The police officer was kind and chewed us out over this. He didn't ticket my son who was driving, but he gave me one--my first ticket in a very long time--for not wearing my seat belt. I had trouble finding our insurance cards, so I had called my husband and that turned into a stressed out, ugly conversation--and I hung up on him. I had them meet us to get out oldest son who we were supposed to take to work so we could park the car until it had its sticker.
My husband took care of our wayward car and got everything in its place. We kind of made nice and he fixed dinner. Our kids did their thing and the tone of things improved... However, it doesn't go unnoticed that I was wring in almost every part of the day that didn't work.
I forgot to make sure my walker was with us. I forgot to put my shampoo and conditioner in my swim bag. I am the one who chose to go with out my seat belt which is why we got pulled over. I am equally responsible for not having t he license renewal done on time. And, I am the one who snapped at my husband which started an argument. I was wrong. I have admitted it and apologized for all of my misbehaviors. I cannot pay my traffic ticket for two days--$60.00 is a lot to learn that I was wrong. The police officer told me that I could take it up with the judge on the basis of my medical needs, but that seems too "iffy" and time-consuming to be worth it. Seat belts are important, they save lives. I know better.
Hopefully, the mistakes that I make tomorrow won't be as dramatic. I can hope anyway!!
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
I sure had a hectic day, but i feel good about everything I finished at work today and I got things going here at home as well. I had a day for the kids to practice the phonics program on the computers today. (Kindergarteners, first and second graders on computers is a handful of work--constant calling out of my name because of all of the things that the computers "do" or "don't do" to them, lol. They never believe it when I tell them that they are the reason that "Adobe reader" gets opened up over their screen or whatever else is going on.)) With help from a parent, my volunteer and 3 5th/6th grade students, I checked every first graders sight word cards. I refiled a large crate of files I had gotten out as resources for my National Boards. I did the same with about 10 large binders of materials. I put away 2 boxes of holiday materials also. I did my 2 extra lessons with my first graders. I put holes in 6 sets of 256 sight word cards and organized them for the children who needs them. I feel pretty satisfied with my day of work. Just setting up those 6 computers is a big deal--I have to connect an ethernet cord to each, as well as the power sources and headphones., and of course, taking them down is the reverse. Anyway, it was a day of lifting and bending over.
When I got home, I sat down to work on my own computer when I did my usual activity an fell asleep for about an hour before dinner and then going to the pool. I cannot say I got much done at home, but it seems as if I really needed that nap. It was pretty quiet at the pool, until of course the family I have described before showed up. I am really bugged by the parents who sit in the waiting area, one with a laptop and the other using a phone or an ipod--and they totally ignore their very naughty children. The kids scream for attention that they don't get and they fight constantly. They don't share the single pool toys that the parents provide, they fight over them. (It would seem that if you have two children that you might buy two toys instead of just one.) Their fighting is slapping faces, hair pulling, and worse. They are noisier than just playing would suggest--and they often don't come into the pool until 8:40. It seems to me that a pre-school child and a first grader should be going to bed at that time rather than getting into the pool. I think the parents use the fitness center as a way to get out of being parents and then they finish their time there by bringing the kids to the pool and showering rather than being at home and actually parenting their kids. It really bugs me after an evening of putting up with them. I refuse to talk to any of them any more because they don't need any encouragement for the inappropriate behavior. Strangers and lifeguards spend their time trying to help those children behave while the parents just ignore what is going on. As a parent, I would be humiliated if somebody else had to manage my kids like that. I just don't get it, but I do know that they have created a monster out of the older girl for sure. The little boy seems to be a bit more reasonable, but he is always competing against that girl for everything and then, he fights back. I guess they aren't breaking any laws except the laws of common sense vs stupidity.
I fell asleep again during the writing of this blog--but that is how I typically sleep. I am falling asleep easier these days, probably due to my med changes--I a, getting more sleep bit it is still interrupted. My doctor has put me on increased meds and told me part of the reason that happens is because the meds wear off and my body recognizes increased pain activity. Pain is a complex thing, I don't recognize it in the way my body does.
Tuesday will be different for me. I am not going to work because it is the day of my final scheduled injection. I am going with my daughter on a college interview and possibly taking my son to the Driver's License place. My other son needs to go to DHS to confirm his services as well. Anyway, I will be busy! I hope I can get time in at the pool around all of this. If I can go during the day, I'll miss some people who make it tough to exercise, lol.
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