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March, my tenth month of writing 100 words. I gave the keynote this morning, and it was great. I didnít use the index cards, or read the powerpoint and I didnít forget anything. Iím thinking more and more seriously about writing a teacher book about this stuff. I spent part of the day with MaryAnn Smith. It was fun going to sessions with her. I love the Writing Project. It is such a family-colleague thing. Everyone is just so caring and respectful. These smart people make me believe in my own smartness in a way I never would without them.
Todayís list: do the laundry, grocery shopping, pay some bills (will I make it through the month?) do something with the book boxes piled in the dining room, drop stuff off at the Salvation Army to empty the trunk. Rake outside, decide where to plant the roses and what kind of patio to put in. Bricks? Chunkier stones? Big pavers? Where will the raspberries and the Meyer lemons be planted? Clean the upstairs bathroom. Find my soul in a clean home. Unbury myself from the clutter. I just donít know where it comes from. Itís not like I buy stuff.
Tonight was the District SpEd parent meeting. The Director, who had once commented on her surprise at my intelligence because I speak Spanish, had asked me to translate for her meeting. Perhaps in reaction to that comment, I said yes. So tonight I had one parent to translate for, and she was lovely. Interesting that the Director didnít even think to thank me. Itís not like I get overtime for staying until 8:00 at night. I think even less of her now. Do I shoot myself in the foot because I donít wear high heels? Should I get fake fingernails?
Today my close friend told me that he was fired today. The Supe didnít give him a reason - just alluded to problems that hadnít been resolved. This leaves me so uncertain about my district, the Superintendent who Iíve always trusted, and wishing I could go somewhere else because if he can be fired no one is safe. He has done great things with his school, is brilliant, and truly cares about his staff and students. His AP, however has not been happy working with him, and apparently was able to convince others that the fault lies with my friend.
The Spelling Bee was tonight. After much last-minute fretting, it turned out well, overall. I had dinner beforehand with the Supe and the people who were going to participate in the event, and it was fun. It is so hard to reconcile the liking I have for the Supe with her actions with my friend yesterday. How do those two things go together? After the Bee a Middle School principal offered me a position teaching ELA. My first reaction was NO! I want to be an administrator. But then I said Iíd think about it, I couldnít answer right now.
So, today I cleaned up after the Spelling Bee, finished my portfolio for the Tier Two Admin credential, and began to go through things in my office. I wonít be able to take it all with me, so must gut up to get rid of a lot of stuff. Iím seriously thinking about the Junior High teaching job. it might be wise to go where I havenít got a lot of history, and Iíd certainly learn new things there. But would I have to teach High Point? I donít think I could do that. Is it different in Junior High?
ďPerfect,Ē she says. Maya is anxious that I begin to work on my novel again. She has heard all I have written so far, and is eager for the continuation of the story. ďWhy donít you do some writing?Ēshe says. ďIíll just go play while you write.Ē She listens so intently and then suggests plot changes that make sense. She is my greatest fan - actually my only fan. Certainly the only one interested in what Iím writing. Whoíd have expected this from one so young? Maybe she will be a writer herself when she gets her languages sorted out.
Farmerís Market today. Oranges, honey, dates, apple and tamales. Lots of flowers and greens, and some strawberries that looked outrageous, but were from San Diego County so I didnít buy them. Soon enough our local berries will be ready. I did buy dates though, so maybe Iím a hypocrite. I have to think about that. How far will I go to eat locally? I donít want to give up bananas. What else do I eat that travels from far away? Does Gridley count? Not if you are eating within a 100 mile radius. That distance includes a lot of food.
I always leave my grocery bags in the car. I have purchased many reusable bags, and yet I keep leaving the store with plastic ones. It is a habit that I must consciously strive to change. I have that folding bag that I can keep in my purse for shopping other than groceries. It isnít enough to just change grocery shopping habits, but it is a good place to begin; Someone suggested that when I forget the bags I just leave the groceries in the cart without bags. like Costco, until I get to the car and bag them there.
Iím doing a new thing, beginning today. For the next month Iím going to have a green drink every morning. It is just banana, berries, water and spinach, blended. The color is pretty unattractive, but they taste fine. Apparently the best way to get the full nutritive value from greens is to blend them. Heat destroys the majority of the nutrients, and chewing them raw is not enough to break the cell walls down completely. So, that will be my one daily change. I was a little worried about the taste, but it is fine. I enjoy it, in fact.
My motherís generation never thought of using the word ďClutterĒ as a metaphor for junking up your spirit. The word existed, but people didnít have the quantity of stuff that we have today. Their attention wasnít robbed by the massive overload of electronic input that we live with. Do we buy stuff as some sort of visceral/physical reaction to the intangible stuff that bombards us all the time? Suddenly there is a TV network that shows back to back episodes of ďClean HouseĒ all day. This loud big-mouthed woman schlepping her way through peopleís houses, getting rid of their junk.
The kicker is how attached the people are to their shit. Old ratty Mickey Mouse clocks, magazines, beer-drinking trophies - so much useless stuff. If people really cleaned up their spaces, the landfills would quadruple in size, at least. Even people without anything have useless junk in this country. Is this a long rebound reaction to the Depression? Our parents had no means to buy anything, so when they grew to be adults, and things eased up, they bought any and everything, and then invented more stuff to buy. So we grew up wanting things, and weíve taught our children.
Speed is of the essence, and there is no way to keep up with the Web 2.0. It has exploded - so many ways to communicate and collaborate, all through the airwaves. Forget facetime. Not necessary. We can email, blog, Twitter, Goodle-doc, Wiki, MySpace, Facebook, LibraryThing, Flickír, 100 Words people all day and never have to actually touch another person. So what does that do for our relationships? You can have such deep interactions when body language and tone of voice are absent. Our online friends understand us way better than the person who is in the room with us.
Today was Pink Slip day. They say that 300 teachers in CUSD received them. I heard it was everyone who was hired after 1997. Supposedly it totaled 10,000 teachers in the state. I got mine, so feel part of a select group. I donít know how many people in our district received them, other than a couple of us. It is crazy that we are going to balance a financial debacle that is based on irresponsible real estate loans (Oh, and a needless war) on the backs of our children. We are compromising their futures because of greed. For shame
Baby shower - games, gifts, crustless egg salad sandwiches, punch and beer. Whatís not to like? LIttle pink dresses, onesies and a variety of modern baby carriers. When the MTB opened the baby blankets I made this morning, of fabric I bought this morning, one of the guests piped up withĒIíd love to do that stuff, but I just donít have time.Ē Someone always says that. Does that mean they think you have lots of time because you donít do anything? Because you live a vacant life, empty of consequence? Do they not see that it is kind of insulting?
Daylight savings time is so deceptive. I think I have all the time in the world to laze around, and suddenly it is 10:00 PM and the clean sheets arenít on my bed yet. Iím waiting for my jeans to finish washing so I can put them in the dryer for tomorrowís field trip. Jeans are the only way I can wear tennies tomorrow, and tennies are the only way I can hike around the Cal Berkeley campus all day. Iím looking forward to spending the day with my friend. There will be few opportunities for that in the future.
Field trip to UC Berkeley with 38 Eighth-graders. The kids were great, the day a smashing success. So why do I feel so tired, empty, depressed? Like I donít want to do anything ever again. Not go to school, not increase my knowledge, not work anywhere ever. Is this the voice of depression? Did the depression of my friend reawaken my own napping beast? Will I ever get out from under it? Iím back to wondering if anyone anywhere loves their job. I wondered that the last time I hated my job. Before I became a teacher and loved it.
I admit that Iím an American Idol junkie. I watch it almost unfailingly, every Tuesday and Wednesday night. I donít know why I care, but I do. I talk about it with my friends and family members who watch it. Who sang best, did we agree with Simonís criticism of them? Whose turn is it to get the boot this week? Sometimes my son and I talk about it on the phone while it is still on. After each song one of us calls the other to hoot with laughter or snoot critically. I guess it provides a bonding activity.
On a deeper level, I couldnĎt care less who wins or doesnít - it isnít always right in my opinion in the end, anyway. As long as they make the top few they have a chance at success in the music business. Consider Chris Daughtry. He didnít win, but is a successful recording artist. Or Kelly Pickler who has new boobs that Ryan canít stop mentioning in an oblique way. Or Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia BarrinoÖThey didnít all win the show, but still. Itís destiny more than winning, I think. AI provides the energy shift some need.
Tonight, I went to the Train and drank tea. The Trainies were engrossed in conversation, centered around the release of one of them. As usual, he was cranky and critical. Now that I think about it, I recognize in his criticisms of the Head Trainies my own attitude toward the school district and my imminently ending job. I guess we tend to be bitter, even while we can see the rightness of an action. I know I have not been very effective in my job this year, and can understand why the head schoolies would feel like eliminating it.
Tonight I worked with Blia on her class presentation about the Hmong. I had a lot of artifacts and some technical assistance to lend her. The great thing was spending time with her. She has changed so from the mostly silent high school student she was three years ago, to the confident college Junior she is now. I seldom see her without her somewhat ditzy friend who is always in a hurry to be doing something different, so it was relaxing to spend time with just her. It broke the dreardom of my day, ended it on a good note.
Such a sorry state of affairs. Iím not going to the Farmerís Market today because I donít have money to spend. Not even that little bit. II must need to really clear out the clutter in my home to make room for some abundance, cause IĒm not feeling it right now. I feel like Iím holding my breath, just waiting to go buy something. Anything, actually. Shoes, pants, food, flowers, a tree, a load of bricks. Doesnít much matter. Iím feeling deprived - never a good position. Thatís how you gain weight - is it also how you gain clutter?!
I didnít exactly take the most satisfying approach to reclaiming my personal power yesterday: I ate chocolate. I didnít feel good afterward, but I certainly felt good eating it. This weight loss thing is so about changing deep things - way more than just eating less and exercising more. Itís about those things, but also is about changing my personal orientation. I have lost 12 pounds, which when I look at it as bags of sugar and boxes of butter is significant. The more deeply satisfying change will be to have my home feel peaceful, clear, comfortable. A safe haven.
I know the home comment came out of left field, sort of. But not really. When my home feels clear and organized, I do too. I think our environment is really a reflection of deeper things about ourselves. Which says something kinda scary about me right now. Itís no wonder I feel so blocked recently. I need to do some major clearing of stuff. Funny how I donít want to say the word ďclutter.Ē Itís like such a clichť now that I avoid using it. Clutter, clutter, clutter. Whatever. I need to get rid of some soon. Then breathe deeply.
I recently heard that Chico has the third worst air quality in the state with regard to particulates in the air. I think it is partly about those little fire pits that everyone has on their patio these days. Everyone wants the romance of a nice bonfire at night, including myself, although I donít have one YET. But it seems they are contributing to some pretty definitive air pollution. As an asthma sufferer, I should rethink that one. The other contributor is a lot of old wood stoves. They want people to replace them. Not likely in the current economy.
THE PRESSURE MOUNTS! Iím taking notes and preparing for the PCI in New York. Youíd think I was doing another Masterís Thesis,as much as Iím reading and clicking around to learn more and more. This whole Web 2.0 stuff is captivating. I now have 4 blogs! II am trying to figure out how to do this presentation without Internet access. It is so online-based that no Internet poses a big challenge. And I have to make it about added value literacy, not just the techniques of blogging. Challenging. I will be glad to feel like Iíve figured it out. Sigh.
I wonder how many people finish up their batches in big clumps? I go along, writing daily for a while, then miss a few and make them up, and then (today) after the end of the month realize that Iíve missed too many days and itíll take a while to make it up. Iím gonna try to not get more than two days behind this month. Iím all about making little goals lately. Drink more water, eat yogurt, green drinks, walk more hoursToday Iím in Manhattan, wanting to get out and walk. After I finish this batch! To Central Park?
Iím getting ready to do some more landscaping in my yard. I wonder how people afford things like sprinklers and bricks and sand for patios, not to mention the plants. Do they do it all on credit, or are they just good with money or do they just earn a lot more? Two income families? Iím looking forward to a dreamy backyard. Then Iíll start to preoccupy myself with the kitchen. Iíd like to buy a tankless water heater, a new stove and refrigerator. Countertops and floor. Mercedes and a partridge in a pear tree. The desires can certainly escalate!
Went to Weight Watchers early this morning, before an all-day tech workshop. Iím down 14.4 pounds. Itís a good feeling. I tried on some of Aveís size 16 pants and they fit. That may sound horrid to someone who is smaller, but Iíve been in a 1X for so long, that my first goal was to get out of that fat department. Now my goal is to have those size 16ís be a little loose on me. Then my 10% - at which point Iíll probably buy some summer clothes. Nothing fitted Ė Iíll keep going until I hit size 12.
Tonight Natalia and I saw JLo and Marc Anthony outside the Zeigfield Theatre. They had attended the premier of Scorseseís Stones Movie. Someone said the Stones were there earlier, but we missed them. We were on our way back from dinner and saw the paparazzi hanging around outside the door so we shamelessly hung around as well, hoping for a glimpse of someone famous. Itís funny how people dote on celebrity, when those people are just like the rest of us only richer. Better cars and clothes, more pampered bodies. But still people. Even the pope must sometimes stand naked.
I just walked about 44 blocks. I went to Macyís and rode the clanky wooden escalators. That store is too big by far - I couldnít figure out how to get where I wanted to go - seems like itís two stores in one. But I didnít really mind. Itís more about the history than the shopping. I put my iPod on ďShuffle songsĒ and walked along with my cosmic playlist going. Every so often Iíd get a chapter of ďThe SecretĒ (which is Abraham in best-seller form) followed by a Beatles song or a bit of BossaNova in Portuguese.
The Tip Jar