Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So sleepy, yet too stubborn to go to bed.

Yearbook group picture day was today. I dreaded it, but it went just fine. I am worn out now, though--something about prolonged standing, constant worrying, trying to keep all the ducks in a row--it's exhausting. My body is also sending me reminders that I'm no longer 25: throbbing feet, aching knees, scratchy eyes. Good grief, should it be this bad already? The 100-or-so white hairs on my head tell me yeah. Cool. 

And now I hear that the twinnikins are in there having a toddler party when they should be sleeping. They've been in bed for about 45 minutes, and yet, clearly, they are both awake. Perhaps our neighbor's INSANELY loud motorcycle is keeping them up. Or maybe the sugar in the Oreos I let them have after supper. It's a toss-up: go in there and scold them/check for poopy diapers? Wait it out and see if they're on the verge of sleep? My sore propped-up feet tell me to wait and keep typing.

On nights like this when my nerves feel frayed, I long to live in the country, or even better, on a secluded beach. I would love a place with NO neighbors close by, no constantly-traveled roads or streets near my home. This scene would be best on a cool spring night. I would fling the windows wide open to let in moonlight, starlight, sweet night air and soothing sounds. Trees rustling, maybe some water lapping or waves crashing gently. I would sit in perfect stillness for minutes, hours, just breathing slowly, enjoying my solitude...

But back to the present. I no longer hear the voices of my sweet babies; they must have drifted off. A car passes by, but the driver doesn't thump his bass or rev his engine. My dog snores on the chair next to me, his floppy ears covering his eyes as he slumbers in doggie bliss. I hear my husband chuckle as he plays an online game with his brothers; I'm glad they have some bonding time this evening. It's serene...

And then Sophie shrieks. It's her obnoxious shriek, her "I am not conquered, I shall not be quieted!" shriek. Even this is a happy noise, though, a sign of my child's strong spirit, will, and health. 

I suppose I'll check on her, after all. Good night!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Just read this little newsbite:

In case you're not inclined to follow and read the link, the article refers to a teacher, Natalie Munroe, who has been suspended from teaching because of what she posted on her blog. She didn't refer to herself OR her students by name. She used a little profanity. She ranted a bit. And she got nailed for it. Huh.

When I blog, I'm aware of the fact that my full name is listed. This blog is easy to find. I figure that very few people will look for it, and if any of my students find my blog, they won't be too interested in what I have to say...but perhaps I should rethink this mindset.

I don't really post about work. One time I posted from parent-teacher conferences, after being inspired by a plaid poncho, but I didn't think that someone would find my blog, realize I blogged FROM the school ABOUT someone in the school, and get upset. But maybe this could happen.

If anything, I think of blogging as an exercise to keep me in touch with the writing part of my job. I should practice what I preach. I should write. I should publish. I should put something out there that anyone, including my students could read (if they really wanted to). I should show people that anyone can write, everyone has something to say, and even a little bit matters.

So, for the record...I love my job. Even though I do get frustrated sometimes, I know that this is a great place to be. I try to convey this attitude to my students. I wasn't always so chipper, but after I had the twins and Andy was laid off, something clicked (panic?), and for the past couple of years, I've felt more positive than negative about work, about my district, about public education in general. I get to do something that matters and get paid for it. This thought, this fact strikes me as amazing again and again.

As for my students? If they seem disengaged, I try to look at the whole picture. Have I shown a genuine interest? Do I know what's going on in that kid's world? It would be great if school could be the #1 priority for each and every kid, but for some, it's just a blip on their radar. Some of these kids are already critically enmeshed in the activity of just surviving. A few are amazingly talented...but not in any single activity covered in our curriculum. But most of them will respond, are willing to learn, have amazing potential. I know this, I close my eyes and remind myself of this on the bad days, I beat my head against the wall trying to figure out the key that will unlock that potential.

It has to be a workable key, after all, for both the student and for me. I know I'm not Michelle Pfeifer in Dangerous Minds, showing off karate moves and showing up at students' homes. Nor am I Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, whispering and yawping as I lead eager young lads running triumphantly through their formative years. I am who I am--a fairly laid-back teacher, mom, and wife without a lot of theatrics up my sleeve. Not a lot of razzle-dazzle in my routine, and let's face it, it's hard to compete with all the flashy acts out there today. I have to work with who I am, navigate the constraints on my time and energy, and still try to connect with these kids. That key is an elusive fit.

I hope they back off of poor Natalie Munroe. First of all, she was 8 months pregnant. As any mom knows, she was a saint for even showing up for the job, at that point. Also, I do think she has very likely learned her lesson. It's a lesson we're all supposed to teach our students: anything you put on the internet is irrevocable; anyone can find it.  It's a good reminder for this blogger, as well.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Darkly Dreaming Dexter...

We just finished watching season two of Dexter (I'm pretty sure I mention this fact too much, but hey, I watch and write within the same time span, most nights, so it's on my mind).  I am enjoying the show and the unexpected bonus entertainment it has provided: crazy Dexter-inspired dreams. Sadly, I don't remember all the details of the dreams for long, but I catch flashbacks to them that are quite interesting as I go about my business the next day. In at least one dream, for example, I was Dexter, or at least a Dexter-ish character. It was a first-person slasher dream, minus the explicit carnage--for some reason I don't remember seeing body parts or blood flying about; it was more of the slashing/stalking stuff. Creepy, but not really disturbing, as it perhaps should have been.

Last night's murder-themed dream featured one of my uncles who, in the dream, flipped out and went on a killing spree, with mostly kids as the victims. Totally reminded me of The Shining, only there were LOTS of kids around, and they were in a big, vacant, underground warehouse-type place instead of a rambling hotel. Although I knew terrible things were happening, I was again spared the actual killing scenes--it was a very "removed" sense of horror. My uncle made a stunningly wicked villain, and the action was intense.

These dreams fascinate me--I'm rather proud of my subconscious for developing such intricate stories, settings, characters--even the direction is compelling. I feel like I get a little glimpse of what great movie and television writers tap into when they are actually AWAKE (jealous!!!). And a little terror while I sleep makes the daytime hours seem that much more calm and bright. I feel a little thrill when something jolts my mind out of the blue, reminding me of the dream that was so vivid just hours before. I wonder, though--at some point, will one of these dreams go too far and actually wake me up, upset me, scare me? We'll see. Until then, I'll look forward to catching the next episode.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

There's always time to write.

So I'm at parent-teacher conferences right now, and despite the possibility of constant interruption, I've decided that I should write a bit. I don't have the attention span for anything extremely cohesive or serious, so I'm thinking a list is in order...the topic? How about random things I've noticed.
1. The poncho. A lady in front of me is wearing a plaid poncho/wrap, and it looks pretty cozy. Kinda like this:

I can't decide if she's pulling it off or not. It makes me want to stare at her. I think she knows I'm staring at her. Crap. Now I want to stare at everyone's outerwear. Hmm, leather jacket, wool peacoat, parka with faux fur trim. Kind of easy to judge people based on the style/condition of their coats.
2. 365letters. http://365letters.com/ Shelly's blog is sooo fun to read. She includes pics, videos, etc. Must figure out if I can do that with this blog. Surely so. Maybe they'll base a movie off of her blog, ala Julie and Julia.
3. Dexter. Not liking Season 2 as much as I thought I would. Lila sucks. He's not killing anyone. I'm guessing it'll pick up??? Still want to see what happens, though!
4. Lauren Conrad has written 2 best-selling books. WTF.
5.  No dessert. Glad we still got a meal for conferences, but was looking forward to a cookie. Healthy eating. Balls. Good thing I had that Hershey's bar handy.
6.  Soooo cold. Yayyy, little space heater! Best $20 gift ever.
7. Secret Pal. I should never be one. I vow here and now to never, ever, ever sign up for this again.
8. Things to look forward to: Aaron and Tanna's wedding--should be fun! HOT weather. Another three-day weekend, woot!!! Traveling again, someday, somehow--Big Sur/Half Moon Bayyyyy!!!!! It WILL happen.
9. Random former neighbor at the next table. Son looks the same as he did four years ago; daughter is all grown up, wow.
10.  Making eye contact with people I recognize and should know...what is that lady's name???
Well, that's 10 things and it's only 6:30? Rawwr! I should just enjoy this relaxation time, right? Ommm.