Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I liked this blog when Diane posted it, and it fits right now when I am doing so much mental sorting.
I am good at ...
• Learning new musical instruments
• Working with other people
• Creative problem solving
• Learning languages
Life is a balancing act - try to enjoy the ride.
I am happiest when ...
• I have quiet time in natural settings
• I play music either alone or with friends
• I am with my family, including the furred and feathered ones
• I am gardening, reading, or having other much-savored alone time
• I feel like I have something positive to contribute to others and the world around me.
Find time to clown around and just have fun.
I wish time would stand still when ...
• I’m playing music
• I’m enjoying the smell of salt air and listening to the waves by the ocean
• I am somewhere breathtakingly beautiful
• I spend time with my grandchildren
• I share those belly-laughing moments with good friends
Make time to hang with your peeps.
I am most proud of myself when ...
• I am able to mentally step aside and keep perspective when things get crazy
• I meet a challenge and find a positive and creative solution
• I accomplish something really hard
• I stand up to my fears and try something I really feel nervous about
• I see the confidence and strengths my students gain.
Enjoy quiet time with great music.
My greatest impact is when ...
• I maintain an open mind, yet keep my integrity when dealing with conflicts
• I stick to what I am doing and don't get side tracked
• I have confidence in myself.
• I am open to trying things a little bit differently
• I know when to push a little or to stand back and observe.
Now the newsy updates:
J.J. is home from the hospital and was able to finally get the wires out of his jaw. Now it is easier to talk and eat.
Before the attack
After the attack and before going home
He does seem to be on a good track to recovery.
My MIL is doing great after she got pneumonia from inhaling a pill.
This is a 5 generation photo I took after she got back home.
My sons will be home so they can attend my ex-father-in-law's memorial service this Saturday.
The clematis is looking lovely!
Thank you for all of your prayers and well wishes for J.J. and my MIL, who are both doing so much better, and for Jason's family, and Stella's mom and sister.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Over the weekend a friend lost his son to suicide. Jason was also the much older half brother of one of my students, the daughter of my friend. I knew Jason when he was growing up; sadly, his mother had committed suicide when he was a child. It is all very devastating.
In addition, Stella's litter mate, Bella, was hit by a car and killed. The family who gave Stella to me had given Bella to Christy's parents. They adored Bella the way I adore Stella. Apparently, Christy's brother backed over her in the parents' driveway.
Right now, I am just feeling very sad.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I'm not burned out on teaching - I promise. I'm just the bone tired I get each May. I am also approaching retirement age, and I frequently wonder when would be the right time. I have been teaching 21 years at the school that I love with all my heart, the school that does it right. My entire teaching career spans over 30 years.
I still feel very positive about what I do, as one of my SP friends pointed out, I am not resentful or regretful. But right now, I am just very tired - exhausted, really.
So, 'nuff said about that. I love life and I love the fun things in life, so here's something fun that I would like to share with you tonight.
I brought the baby bob whites home today. For those of you who may have missed their baby pictures in an earlier blog, I am posting them first.
Here they are with Sockie, their surrogate mother.
Now they are big kids who have moved into their new condo, Quail Holler. Their nest box is a kitty litter cover, the perfect size and shape. I have used Stella's old X-pen for their fence, and covered it with plywood until I find a better cover.
When they are grown enough, I will let them have their run of the yard. They are wild birds, so they will most likely take off. I am hoping that they will naturalize in the area.
Meanwhile, the baby chickens are growing like crazy.
Remember Denty, the chick that hatched from the patched-together egg? Here is Denty in all of his resplendent dignity.
It turns out that the most inquisitive, gentle, and intelligent of the flock are the barred rocks. This girl is the one who does all of the problem solving, the leader of the flock. Eleanor. I love her!
And of course, my clouds. Two evenings ago, we had the most magnificent red clouds before the rain came in.
Tomorrow is Friday, then the weekend. I have promised myself a weekend filled with music, and some time with my friends.
Have a lovely Friday!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
My name is Chris
and I'm a workaholic.
Or am I?
I try to sort this out on a regular, and ongoing, basis. I do have a demanding job. I have individual curriculums for 24 children, no official plan period, and no teacher lunch or bathroom breaks. I get to work at 7:00 to plan and get my materials ready for the day and once the children arrive, I am with them until 3:00 dismissal. But my school day is not over yet. I have regular and unscheduled parent conferences. I have to serve on the board and on committees. I have to publish two articles a year. Those are my job requirements, so there is no flexibility there, no wiggle room.
Then there are the extra things that have become, over the 21 years I have been teaching here, part of what I routinely do. Things that demand time and energy; some of them, like the spring musical and the 3 day camping trip, a LOT of time and energy. There are student concerts, the Enchanted Forest acts they put on for the community at Halloween, unicycle performances, field trips, spelunking expeditions. fund raising activities, open house activities, etc. I am not complaining about any of these things. They are part of my program and add to the breadth and richness of what the children learn. But it all takes time and energy, and sometimes I feel like my energy is getting very low.
Could I get a different job? Probably in a heartbeat - one that does not demand the kind of hours and energy I put in, that pays twice as much, and has better benefits. As I approach retirement, sometimes I wonder about my choices. My nest egg is small, and I am not certain how soon I can retire and be able to afford retirement. I left a teaching position with much higher pay and better benefits. With my degrees and experience, if I had stayed there, I would be getting paid almost twice what I am getting paid now and have decent health insurance.
Perhaps it was the car accident that almost killed me when I was 17. I was severely injured with multiple fractures, back and neck injuries, and suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. I was fortunate both to survive and to make an almost full recovery. Perhaps it was because my father was a prison camp survivor. Perhaps it was because the neighbors I grew up with had concentration camp tattoos on their arms and still believed in life and love. But I have never pursued the easiest life, my choices have been about living what I believe and not compromising my integrity. I am fierce in my beliefs of what children need to learn and grow and live their potential to the fullest. I chose this teaching position because I knew that I would be permitted to really teach, to offer the opportunities for deep reflexion on self, learning, understanding of the children's world around them, to offer the opportunity for critical thinking, real life exploration, and maximal creative development. But it is work, hard work.
I would like to retire, not because I am unhappy with my career, the children, the parents, or even the work. I would like to retire because in not making compromises, I have made compromises. While my career has been very satisfying and intellectually stimulating, I have not had the kind of time I would have liked to have had to pursue other interests of mine. True, I have time in the summer to regroup and do some of the things I love, but then there is a 9 month period of time when I am too tired for my own creative exploration.
I want to have time to play music, to garden, to write, and to paint. I would like time to visit with my family in California, New York, and Alaska. I would like to take time to just be me, and not be such a public figure.
It is May.
I am much too busy.
And I wonder: am I a workaholic?
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I've been burning my candle at both ends recently and find myself physically and mentally exhausted. There is still a lot going on, and many things I need to accomplish in the next two weeks. I have a lot of different thoughts rolling around in my mind to write about, but I am really too tired to do them justice, both in sorting and writing.
So today's blog will be a little portrait of the little bird who brings big joy to our home.
This is Emmit. Emmit is a parrotlet, a second cousin of the Amazon parrot. In fact, he thinks he IS an Amazon parrot - he has no idea how small he is. When we had our Quaker, I had to be careful because Emmitt was always ready to take him on. Tommy could have killed him with one good bite to the neck, and Tommy was a biter.
With his humans, Emmitt is totally laid back. He loves his morning cuddles and snuggles right into Mike's hand. He loves Mike the best - I think it is because the breeder who hand raised him as a chick had big beefy hands like Mike.
Emmitt does talk, but he talks in such a high voice and at such a fast rate that he is hard to understand unless you know what to listen for. His favorite phrase is, "Pretty bird, pretty, pretty bird!" But he also says, "What's up?" One of the great things about parrotlets is their voices. They can be very vocal, but they have very sweet voices, so they never sound obnoxious.
Emmitt is currently my only indoor bird. He enjoys talking to the outside birds who come to the feeders, and loves playing with his toys. I have heard parrotlets referred to as 'The little clowns of the parrot world' - an excellent description!
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