Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wednesday morning...

Wednesday afternoon...

Friday afternoon...

Saturday morning...

Saturday afternoon...

Sunday morning...

And now I need Cee and Jay to get home from Knoxville. Sure have missed those sweeties!

What a difference almost a year makes.

Peace and painkillers...

Story Time

Friday, May 23, 2014

I have somehow woven something amazing into my classroom in the last couple of weeks. For their research projects, my students are learning how to write children's books. Last week they read eleven children's books and analyzed the features as part of the data collection process.

Let me tell you - when I get a picture book out and tell them it's story time, they ask if they can sit on the carpet (it's invisible in middle school, but you wouldn't know it when you hear them ask...). Of course! I sit on "the carpet" with them, and they are instantly transformed from 6th graders into 2nd graders. I say silly things like "catch your bubble" and "settle on your pillow" and they know exactly what I mean. It's a little bit magical, and we have all had a great time with it.

So I was thinking - if they love story time so much, maybe I should play fair and read them some truly funny stories. Some David Sedaris, for example.

Two hours later on a fantastic Friday evening, I've spent some quality time re-reading a few of my favorite David Sedaris stories (none of which, unfortunately, are remotely close to being sixth-grade-friendly).

As much as I've laughed in the last two hours, I figured I should at the very least share some of my favorites with you.

Before you get to my most favorite, you really should read the prequel to it, D'accord (which, in French simply means "Sure, why not?").

My all time favorite is about David, his French dentist, socialized medicine, and the Good-Time Teeth.

Another of my favorites is about Hugh's mom, Joan, and her super-human elderly strength.

And finally, I hope you'll take the time to peruse a narrative about The Rooster.

Let me reiterate: none of these are even slightly appropriate for my twelve year olds, but all of them make me laugh until tears are slowly streaming down my face and I have to will myself to take a big breath in between my laughter. That's the best therapy (aside from wine) I could ask for after a week like the one my school had.

Laughter really is the best medicine!

Thanks for that, Monsieur Sedaris.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I have never been a fan of change. I’m the type to suffer silently rather than disrupt the peace and calm. If I feel like something needs to change, I will think long and hard about it. I will try to convince myself endlessly that there is no reason to make change. I will weigh the pros and cons to the point of exhaustion.

With that said, when I finally make up my mind that it is time for change, then I am ready to make the change and move on without looking back.

Getting divorced, for example. I suffered silently and miserably for the majority of the time I was married, but I was determined to make things work. For whatever reason (or combination thereof), when I decided it really was time to be done, I went with it. I filed, I dug my heels in during the particularly difficult times. I told myself I could do it, and I came out wiser (and stronger) through the experience.

Not everybody processes change in the same way. I get that, and I respect it.

I have made some decisions in my life recently that have been difficult, but entirely necessary. As long as change is my choice, I am 100% okay with it.

I received some unexpected health news a couple of weeks ago. I am totally fine, and nothing is wrong with me, it was just unexpected. It was a change I didn’t pre-approve, and now I’m trying to figure out how to deal with change that I didn’t choose – it’s not something I’m really used to!!

I guess you could say I’m a little bit of a control freak, and that’s probably part of not having to answer to anybody for the last few years…getting to make my own decisions, getting to chart my own path.

I can tell you, without a doubt, that I wouldn’t have even started my Masters work (better yet finished) if I hadn’t made the changes I made. And my Principal Certification? Not a chance.

I always hear people talk about having a strong support system. Mine is pretty untraditional. Instead of my mom, I have my dad. Instead of a huge, close-knit family, I have Cee and Jay (which, to me, is the exact same thing as having the love and support of 100,000 family members!!!), and I really do think I have the most amazing friends possible.

As the school year ends, there is always the possibility of change for everyone involved. People move to different grade levels, and people tackle new subject areas. People decide to move away, and people decide to get out altogether. I don’t like this type of change, primarily because it’s out of my hands. This kind of change, to me, is a little unnerving.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. Maybe nowhere. I haven’t really been inspired to write lately because all of this “change” stuff has been bogging down my mind and messing with my sleep. I guess all the change has me a little tongue-tied…it makes me feel a bit like a wall-flower.

It also makes me feel slightly cowardish. Again, something I'm not used to feeling. I love seeing my friends happy. I love seeing them try new things, and as long as they are happy, I will be happy in the end. At the same time, I admire people who are ready to leave the nest. The nest is one of two of my safe places, and I just don't think I'm ready to test my wings yet. 

With all the change going on around me, I feel safer, more secure standing back, away from it all, so I can see how it unfolds in the end, and then I’ll be able to decide how I really feel about it. I definitely don’t want to be in the middle of it, but I think that’s kind of where I am right now - some weird stage of limbo. 

Some of my students are reading Jacob Have I Loved right now. There are some subtle (and some overt) Biblical connections in this novel. One of my favorite little geniuses said yesterday, "I don't really get this Jacob and Esau thing. I don't go to church; I'm not really into religion. If I had to be on board with one religion, I'd probably opt for Judaism. All I really know is there's heaven, hell, and some sort of virtual limbo that sounds pretty unpleasant."

a) Virtual limbo...that's where I am right now. 

b) She's eleven. Yup, eleven. I don't use the word genius lightly. :)

Once the dust settles, I will be ready to let go of the wall, ready to cautiously step back in to the outskirts of it all. But until then, I think I’ll just stay away. It seems safer that way, don’t you think? 


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