Friday, September 28, 2012

Simple Truths

First of all...
this guy. Does it get any better than that picture?

But also, tonight I am feeling the power of the simple moment. The Taco Bell dinner. The scraping of form boards away from the cement of the new patio. The warmth of the sun on my back this afternoon. The satisfaction of finishing of a difficult week.

A migraine hit me, mid-week, worse than any headache has to date. It was big enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. I'm thankful to the coworker who noticed a few weeks ago that these have been increasing in frequency--if not for her I might not have thought twice about it. I didn't really notice until she said something about it happening more often, but she was right. And since I've been having aura since November of 2009 (thank you, blog, for keeping track of my life), it was high time I saw a doc so this could go on my (as they say in Elementary school) permanent record.

The headache sucked. Big time. But it had the fortunate side effect of being this giant, cleansing break in my week and in my thought pattern. I needed the immediacy of pain and nausea to bring me out of a cycle of worry I'd been spinning in for a few weeks. Nothing's changed, really, but stopping to deal with something I could not avoid left me feeling--only days later--like things in my bigger life might not be so bad. At least things might be manageable, which is a different feeling altogether than that constant spin of worry. Strange how pain becomes an unavoidable catalyst for mindfulness. Pain brings me into the present and I have to let the future--the playground of the worrier--go.

I read something the other day that said (and I'm sure I misquote it here, because I didn't write it down): stress is a state wherein one assumes everything is a crisis. I wish I could remember it better. But basically it's the assuming of the crises that creates the awful stress, not whatever life is throwing at you. People who handle whatever life throws at them are fine. So are people who just don't worry about handling anything. Helpful to think about, even if I'll never fall in the second category. Also helpful this week? This post about fearing change. And this one about creating peace of mind. Even after the headache I had a rough day yesterday--a day of having to deal with shit 100% of the hours I was awake--but nothing makes me feel less crazy than knowing exactly how I'm going to handle the problems as I see them coming at me.

That headache created a break in my week, a chance to start over from scratch and get back to routine. I'm glad. Tonight is a lovely night. Things are calm and I can smell fall as the breeze drifts through our tiny house. E's out in the back chipping away at concrete and the kids are lounging across beds and couches, resting their legs from a week of playing outside. I'm also humbled tonight by the knowledge that I am not alone in the struggles I do have. Everybody's struggling with something, even if they don't show it. I could stand to worry about someone other than myself for a while.

I'm hoping I can quiet the worry during this week, and just be in the present. Right now, I am peaceful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So, this happened.

You guys.


It's no secret. We've been having a bit of a rodent problem. Last fall it was mice. Like, A LOT OF MICE ALL UP IN OUR GARAGE. E killed them all or trapped them or some other man thing I didn't want to see. But then this summer we were all of the sudden living in the middle of Ratopolis. We had this huge, disgusting rat tribe living in the flower bed under our rosebush.

Yes, it was every bit as scary as The Secret of Nimh. (Which, coincidentally, I checked out again a few years ago... I figured it couldn't be half as terrifying as I remembered, right? WRONG. That was the stuff of my elementary school nightmares for a reason. Guess what? It was still some of the darkest freaking film I've ever seen. ALL OF IT. So cheers to you, young Heather, for knowing when something was truly to be feared. And damn you, early 1980s animation for being so terrifying.)

Anyway. Rats in rosebushes. Good times. We killed them all.

Well, E killed a few. Two, maybe? One in a trap and one that (we're pretty sure) died a slow horrible death as a result of a bb to the head. We think. But the rest? The rest kept getting snapped in traps every time E was gone for a day or a night or whatever. I ended up having to dispose of them myself so the dog wouldn't eat them, which meant emptying -- BARF -- the traps, and dumping -- VOMIT -- rat bodies in the can, and resetting the traps, etc. That, about five times. I don't really want to talk about it.

Hurley finally decided to act like a dog and he killed one. One stinking rat. Maybe on accident. I can't be sure but I like to give him credit, at least. At any rate we haven't seen a rat since. Our sissy dog is serving a purpose. He's like a bony, nervous scarecrow.

But in that rat saga, I discovered there's one hard and fast rule of rat-trapping: The traps will only work when E is gone. He doesn't mind checking the traps or dealing with the beings we catch... so of course they will only get caught when it's just me, alone in my house, all barefoot and helpless.

Guess what? Apparently that rule is also true of mouse traps.  'Cause we have some. Mice, I mean. And traps. And E's out for the night. And we done caught us a mouse today when we were at work.

Now instead of getting his neck snapped in the trap like a good boy, this lil' fella got his butt stuck.


We made eye contact. He knew I did this to him. And he looked right into my soul with judgment. His tail is still out the back of the thing and he's going nowhere. Yes, I want him dead. I don't want him to eat our cat food or our walls. But when Jerry is looking at me, pleading for freedom, I'm weak. I mean this is MISTER JANGLES, Y'ALL. All I need is Tom Hanks and a spool and I'd have a Steven King movie.

There's nothing magical about a mouse dying a slow death in my garage, though. With (I'm sorry to admit) a bucket over him, and a heavy jig saw on top so he can't escape before E gets home... because I can't stand to look at him.  I want him to get dead, to be dead... but I can't do that.

No, I'm not posting a picture. You're welcome.

I swear I can hear him out there, under his bucket. It's very Edgar Allen Poe-y up in here tonight.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Marriages don't fit easily into a neat narrative arc. I think Anna Quindlen mentions this in her new book. You want a life, not a story. You don't want the dénoument of your marriage to come in the middle. That's less than ideal when you're trying to, you know, stay married. Even though there can be moments that present themselves as challenges or obstacles and those can be overcome or resolved, ultimately what you don't want in a marriage is for it to have a conclusion, a neatly packaged resolution with a Tiffany bow.

Par example: The other day I was looking back through my archives on this blog, especially at 2009. 2009 was a good year. Really good. 2008 had been so bad and painful and numbing that when E and I decided to renew our vows and move forward, reunited, I resolved to make family and marriage my priority. I was saying no to things I didn't want to do at work. E and I were communicating better than we ever had before as a result of the extensive work we'd done in Retrouvaille to repair our broken relationship. In 2009 I slept great. I was so happy. My posts reflect an overwhelming positivity and gratitude for home, family, and stability. This is true even though in 2009 we struggled financially and in terms of work. E fought hard to get a job, at one point even taking a non-paying internship in Lake Tahoe, a good two-ish hours drive from our house, just so he could get his foot back in the door of the working world. I fed our family of four on pennies a month. But with the positive outlook we had, even those struggles seemed manageable.

2012 is the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of stability. E is two years in to a secure, paying position as an attorney. He's two years in to his ten years of state service that will earn him loan forgiveness. I've been at the same school for twelve years, and I'm confident in my strengths as a teacher. When my pay was unfrozen this summer, I was finally able to receive the raise I'd earned by taking extra units over the past few years. I'm pursuing my MFA--and fulfilling a deep desire to work at writing as a career. We can't move--we're stuck in a house that's worth a ridiculous amount compared to what we owe--a fault of poor timing--but we can basically afford ourselves. Our kids have always been easy. Now they're older and easy and pretty self sufficient. We're so lucky.

By all tangible definitions, life is stable. Yet, as hard as this is to admit, being married is so hard. I'm not as happy as I was in 2009. In fact, I'm in a period of kinda-unhappy. I question how much to write about it since I wrote so thoroughly about my joy when it felt like getting along was something we could continue to do, always. Ever-fearful of letting people down, I've been worried that by admitting the struggle again, I belie the good work we did before, or people's support when we were there. I have so much guilt related to my inability to fix, pray away, or single-handedly improve our marriage for eternity.

As I look back on my old posts, I feel a little like I betray my old self by not having this figured out yet. I feel like by reopening and unraveling this narrative thread--by admitting that it's still hard for us to navigate the seas of this relationship--it might somehow cheapen the sense of happy resolution I felt then. Is this story like the sitcom that's run too long? Do I have to jump the shark for it to continue? I have to remind myself of what I hear the nonfiction writers say when they visit residency: even when the "I" in the narrative is you, it's not you-you. It's book-you. Just writing it down, separating yourself from it by one degree, means it's not going to be 100% of your true human experience. (Of course no one says it exactly like that--that's Heather-speak for what they say.) And in my heart I know I don't owe anything to this idea of the narrative, of things being neat and tidy.

Lives aren't black and white, and even in my earnest happiness of 2009, I knew I'd keep growing and changing, and things don't stay happy forever. I heard one author, James Brown, speak in December about writing his addiction memoir, The L.A. Diaries. How after it was published, he relapsed. How in the genre there's this notion that you write the story where you get clean and there's guilt about failure if you're going back on the good work you did. I get that. The minute you write something, you're more accountable to it as a definite thing, while you're still a changing, growing, imperfect being.

I think we're all struggling to maintain the story we think we should be living.


Okay, so that found poem I was writing about the other night? The one from the tenth grade?

Found it.


Date on the top corner: June 8, 1995.

I have saved just about every piece of work I've done since the 10th grade, so it was right in a file folder marked "novel work." Sometimes I have to marvel at my own nerdy tendencies. Kind of cool that I preserved so much of my past, though.

I was, however, wrong about the font. So there's that. It's a script font, not italic Times. CLOSE ENOUGH.

Hmm, what else?

E is out with Roo getting KFC for dinner. It has been that kind of day. Thursdays we start late so we can have meetings, and my stomach just does not understand why lunch comes at 12:45 instead of 12:00. By lunchtime I've had meetings, my regular classes, and already eaten anything within a ten-foot radius of my desk (which today happened to be an unfortunate amount of M&Ms left after a meeting yesterday. Oops.). Top that kind of late-eating, endless responsibility-filled long day with a fire drill (DURING A CLASS OF FRESHMEN), and you've got the recipe for one worn-out me.

Tomorrow's our first home football game, though, so I'm gonna go fake like I care about sports because what I DO care about is school spirit.

The end.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going Back To It

I'm listening to Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton right now. I haven't read it since I was a tenth grader. (Can we just pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that that was EIGHTEEN years ago? Okay.) I was moved by it at fifteen, before I knew half of one percent of anything, before I even got it about what it meant to be moved by something. I thought it would be a good idea to read it again, now. Many, many things seem more awesome at 33 than they did at 15. (See: Jane Eyre, going to bed on time, bell peppers, etc.)

I don't remember much about Cry except South Africa. And one character's name is Absalom. And I made a found poem in 1995 that included the line, "Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika," (God save Africa) when we were done with the book. That's one of those fragments of language that sticks in my craw. I remember that I typed that poem in italic Times New Roman on our newish Mac (the one with no connection to the yet-to-be-available world wide web). I remember that after I printed it out on off-white paper, I drew a burning candle on the page with the light strokes of colored pencil. I can see it. I want to go find the box it's in so I can show you, Internet.

But I don't remember the plot.

Listening to Cry this morning on the way to school I flashed back to a blip of a lecture from Honors English 10: being told the language of the book was modeled on the King James Bible. I was listening to Michael York read the musical prose of the book, the kind of syntax that repeats itself and loops back with each new thought, picking up the structure of the previous line. And man if I didn't love that kind of poem-y prose before I could explain it. Now that I can explain it? It's become a part of me. It's how I make my living, unwrapping the tight corners of language, teaching kids how to do it.

Listen, I never went to any kind of church that got all King James-y. My first legit Bible, given at my Methodist confirmation, was a sensible Burgundy model with gold edges, a tan and blue map on the inside cover (inspiring the first time I considered that these were REAL places we were discussing, but that's the subject of a different post), and a clearly embossed "RSV" on the cover just above my serif-edged name. So my roots are both revised and standard. (Is that an oxymoron?) But if I'm claiming favorites, I love me some KJV.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures," you guys. It's perfect as a green three. I love that version of Psalm 23 like I love the kennings in Beowulf. (Whale-road? I die.) Archaic language lights my fire. When I read my Psalm 91, I want it to say "dwelleth" for it to sound right. I'm not sure why. It sounds true. And mysterious. And mystical. And comforting, like stories you listen to when you're a kid, sitting cross-legged on a colored carpet square, trusting that someone smarter than you is guiding the way. KJV. Literature plus God. It's sure. Trustworthy. Full of answers, like a grandpa.

And I'm amazed, a little bit, as I think about this story and how different I am when I come at the book this time. I know I used to know more about Absalom. I don't know much now. I mean, I can look it up on the Internet Machine. I will. But even though I'd say my faith is deeper and more meaningful at 33, most of the biblical trivia and factoids that my teenage brain held have long ago been pushed out by things like diaper-changing and Sunday Meal-Planning, separations, Christmas mornings, and life lessons. I don't have memory enough for the subtleties of those stories because I've read what feels like eight hundred more. And I'm hungry for even more than that. Lately I feel a literary craving like I've never felt... but also an overwhelming feeling like the more I read, the more I realize I haven't read.

There's no point to this post. But I'm kind of excited to re-read/re-listen to a book that I haven't considered for so long.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Regular Day

I feel really good about my handwriting today.

There aren't enough minutes right now. Not enough minutes and certainly not enough energy to make it to the end of the day without feeling like I need to lay down on my bed for a while before I can face dinner and home stuff. This weekend was filled with more grading... Unfortunately, probably THE single most boring thing to write about. That's why I didn't. I knew it was going to be a crazy challenge, teaching 3 AP classes in addition to my 9th graders this year, and I am still trying to find my footing with the workload. I don't want to complain. This is my job. I chose it. I still (most definitely) want it. Of course there are people who say I could make adjustments to what I'm assigning or to how much feedback I give. But that's (I think) why this bothers me so much. I'm conflicted. I feel like I have an obligation to maintain the same level of instruction regardless of how many classes (and students) I have. And I also have to make it work on a feasible timetable.

Right now I'm still drowning. Right now I feel like I'm going to burn out at some point in the future. Right now I'm doing that thing where I worry that what's wrong is always going to be wrong and it's never going to be any better.

You know. Right now I'm being me.

It doesn't help that things at home have been chaotic for a week or so. My mind isn't on Jane Austen or Jonathan Swift, so momentum has all but disappeared. I graded for the better part of the weekend and didn't make it halfway through the papers I brought home. And then today, I collected another set of essays in AP. I haven't been able to touch my freshman essays. I need to get my footing, get this under control. I have to keep working at it, and it has to make a difference soon. That's what I keep telling myself. One foot in front of the other. Eat that elephant one bite at a time. Or something.

The one glimmer of hope in this grade-a-thon has been that I'm seeing improvement in their writing. Not huge improvement, but I see them trying to implement what I've been talking about in class. It makes me so proud I want to cry. Nothing makes me happier than when kids listen and care about what we're learning. And of course--yes--it means I have to make more comments in order to help them refine what they're testing out in these papers. So I'm keeping at it. I'm hoping it pays off... and I'm hoping I don't develop some kind of repetitive strain injury in the meantime.


Today blasted by... another busy day of not much that mattered, but it culminated in craziness, covering a class for another teacher during the last period of the day. So instead of just my 36 freshmen, I also had another class of tenth graders with me. Whooo, boy. That was something. I made them all work quietly for the entire hour, but it was a lot of me making them and not so consistent on the quiet. Have  you ever tried to make 65 kids in one room do anything? It took every molecule of energy I had left. I had to walk that room with eagle eyes and snap and point and shake my head and take notes from kids' hands and give more "mom looks" than I've ever given in an hour. I intended to stay and grade papers for a while after school and I couldn't keep my eyes open. It did me in.

But. I came home to see E's hard work in the backyard--a beautiful slab of concrete he poured with his dad today. I'm so glad E's furloughs are often put to good use doing things for our house. We're changing our backyard and this is still the early phase... but I'm having fun letting myself dream of the patio cover that's (hopefully) not too far away.

Our beautiful new slab of concrete. Should be finished this weekend. Patio cover to follow!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Around here.

Drinking a cup of Calm. The message is not lost on me.Popcorn cat.Ballerina cat? She looks like she's about to bourré. A different pas de chat.Grading again. Dean & Deluca & Daniel Defoe.Ice cream with my girl.Shuckin' corn.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This week he also used the term "frenemy."

Henry (leaning on my bed): So, I totally hate my teacher.

Me: What? No you don't, Bud. She's nice. You're just saying that because you heard someone else say it.

Henry: No, I do.

Me: Nuh-uh. Really? You hate her? I don't think so. What did she do that made you think you hated her today?

Henry: She's like, such a clean freak.

Me (laughing): Really. And that's so bad, your teacher having a clean classroom? I think it's good. Maybe you'll be able to learn or something.  What did she make you clean, anyway?

Henry: Well... nothing yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Thursday list of things.

Walks in the park.
Listening, trees.
FaceTime. Faces.
Other people cooking steak.
Henry hugs.
Henry knees.
Henry teeth, hiding in gums.
That thing that's too cliche to write.
Half & half, diffusing.
Drums. Strings. Stretching.
Cat feet.
Time steps.
Miles. Rodrigo. Gabriela.
Threadbare lovelies. Quilts.
Poet friends who know your truth.
Being on someone's mind.
The top of Addie's head.
Holding a whole kid in your arms.
Rocking. Chairs.
Tomato plants, sun-hot basil.
Peppers, oranging.
Dog nose.
Pens scratching paper.
Scratching all-dones from the list.
Things, reminding of books.
Books, reminding of things.
Memory foam.
Murmors. Phones.
Not hurrying.
Catching cheats.
Cheating luck.
Gossip in the bathroom.
Being understood.
Sound sleep.
The tang of lemon cake.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Listening to… the Thomas Newman station on Pandora. Lots of beautiful and quiet movie scores so I can concentrate, grade, write, watch kids take tests... Lately it's a favorite.

Obsessing over… Cake Mix Cookies. Basically, they're Rolo cookies without the Rolo, because I'm lazy and I don't want to unwrap candy when I'm baking. Still good, even without the candy. I might have eaten two already today. Okay, five.

Working on… an idea for a novel. Time to stop daydreaming and actually sit down to write it.

Thinking about… September 11, and the heaviness I felt when I was at the memorial. I've never experienced anything quite like that place. I recommend you visit it, if you ever have the chance. It can't be accurately put into words.

Anticipating… the season premier of Boardwalk Empire this weekend, and the premier of Homeland in a few weeks. Now that True Blood and Breaking Bad have wrapped up, I'm not quite sure what to do with my Sunday night. That's usually prime TV time for me and E. I'm also looking forward to my boyfriend's new movie, Skyfall. Le sigh.

Cukes in my water.

Enjoying… cold water with cucumbers and mint. Healthy things shouldn't taste this good.

Loving... the benefits of my day spent with Addie. Last night she had a meltdown about school (which is normal) but it was much easier to get her to talk since we had our day together. It certainly tugs at my heart when my kids are crying, but I'm glad they still want me to hold them when they're upset.

Reading... Middlesex. Still. I feel like I've been reading it for a hundred years. I know everyone and their Oprah love this book, but it feels like homework to me. I'm not super jazz-handy about it. I don't know what my problem is (and I am fairly confident that my not liking it has more to do with me than the book), but I'm just not that into it. I blasted through about nine books this summer and now I've stalled. Big time. Tomorrow I get a new audio book, though, so I'm kind of looking forward to that. Thinking about Gone Girl or The Fault In Our Stars.

Surprised by... how fast the days are passing. There's so much work in my work that every hour is flying. Good work, but it's work. I feel like every day is go-go-go right now, and I'm not even in school at the moment. Just teaching. I'm a little bit worried about what it's going to feel like once the MFA program starts up again October 1.

Frustrated... about the "grading knots" in my shoulders. I know the left one is from grading timed writes all day Saturday, and the right one is from grading notebooks all day today. I tried to lean my head to the other side to balance out the soreness, but now I've got two sore shoulders.

Wishing… I didn't have to choose between exercise and rest at night. I'm trying hard to keep myself moving, but right now it's happening at the expense of some down time.

Happy... about the warm fall nights, even though there's not much daylight left after dinner. I know that soon it will be dark when I get home from work, so I'm trying to enjoy this while it lasts. As soon as it gets dark I feel like I'm on lock down after about 5:30.

Looking forward to... heading back down to hang out with my nerd friends in Palm Springs in December.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Two point five minutes.

Right after she was born, my dad watched me holding her and said "enjoy it, because in five minutes she's going to be eighteen." Like all new moms I was convinced I'd be stuck in the emotional extremes of her new babyhood forever. It didn't feel like it could be any other way. The first year is so beautiful and so hard, all packed into the same sleepless days. It felt like she and I would continue to be constant companions, wrapped up in blankets together against the world. How many times did I rock her in that white glider in front of another late night episode of Law and Order, and try to close my tired eyes without sleeping?

I wanted to reach the day when I would no longer be at her constant beck and call, and yet I have never felt more pride and sense of purpose than I did when I met her every need. The first year is so difficult, and it's also the closest. We had hyper focus trained on each other, and each of our emotions lay just beneath vellum-thin skin. The night before she turned one, I was up all night crying on my keyboard in the kitchen of our tiny duplex, writing her a poem.  I'm sure she won't fully understand it until she's in the same sleep-deprived, hormone-induced, tear-soaked state over her own children.


And now two point five minutes have passed. She's nine. She's halfway to eighteen, and I'm still trying to reconcile it with the fact that it feels like she should be, if I was giving it my best guess, about two by now. Two was good--two was hard-fought, exhausting, funny, and it felt like it took us a long time to get there. Nine has come as quite a surprise, as much to her as it is to me, I think. With nine comes a new detachment, a set of opinions and preferences (the very kind that, as a woman, I want my daughter to have and to voice), a wish for privacy and--to my dismay--a roll of the eye that happens when she thinks I'm not looking. It's not the stuff I see at work, the "what-ever" of the miffed darlings who pout at my desk when they don't get their way. But she's testing. Not just me, but she's testing herself and trying to figure out who she is, how she navigates in a world that doesn't always give her what she wants.

When I consider her from the outside, how she must appear to others, I'm thankful for the kind of nine she is. Kind, creative, independent, responsible... she surpasses everything we've asked her to be, already. And easy. The friction we do have is minimal, and the best kind of friction to have. But there are things I don't know. The pale roundness of her chubby arms has given way to tanned, slender, unfamiliar lengths. The chattering, verbal toddler has turned her focus inward.

"It's almost the start of the best three months of the year," she said at lunch last Saturday. "October, November, December." I had no idea. Who knew that my daughter the swimmer, the summer-lounging TV-watcher, preferred fall to the hotter season. But fall means Halloween, her birthday, and Christmas. It shouldn't have surprised me.

She and I were spending a girls' day at the mall, and we finished with lunch at one of her favorite restaurants.

"So I was thinking," she added, "that I want to be something scary for Halloween this year. You know, like a vampire... or a zombie."

The conversation continued from there, with tidbits and opinions, gossip and preferences spilling out between bites of her sausage and pepperoni pizza. I sipped my tortilla soup from the spoon, amazed at how little I had to feign attention. I was rapt. Here was this being sitting in front of me who wanted to share, be heard, feel validated. I would have faked it because I love her; I would have carried the conversation if I had to in order to make her feel good. But the peeks I got at her most private, thoughtful self were fascinating. This was a different Addie than I see on a daily basis. I just let her talk, asked questions, let her talk some more.

I don't write to say how amazing it is that my daughter is actually interesting. I knew it before we sat down in the booth at California Pizza Kitchen. But I didn't know if she would show herself to me, if she would let me in or fall into the ordinary language of our daily transactions. Often lately she's tucked away on her bed behind a closed door, her attention directed at her laptop as she edits photos or watches YouTube. Dinner conversations get tangled into discussions of whether or not her brother will actually eat his Brussels sprouts. When both of our attention is elsewhere, she's guarded and tight-lipped. I remember nine, being unsure of how much of what I thought should be said out loud. Heck, I remember thinking that at nineteen, and twenty nine.

I want to work at this connection, to forge a bond over salads and pizzas that will take us into the years ahead. I can't hold her all night anymore, or press her fuzzy head against my lips while I rock her to sleep. But I hope to wear a groove between us so deep that when she needs me, she'll head in my direction.


Friday, September 07, 2012

A little of this and a little of that.

So, here's Thursday in a nutshell:


Yes, that's our jackhammered backyard concrete (duh!) and me (photographed by Addie, hence the awful angle--she's short) after Back to School Night. Wearin' my fancies.

A parent still told another teacher that I looked 12, though... Sigh.

Nothing new to report this week. Like, when I say nothing I mean no-thing. N. O. Thing. The biggest thing on my mind right now is how bad my feet (still!) hurt, even though I've eschewed high heels for quite some time now. I'm not sure what's going on, but my tired piggies are swollen and though that's par for the course this time of year as my feet readjust to standing and teaching, I'm waking up with them STILL swollen after hours of sleep. No bueno. I wore a pedometer all day today just to see how much I walked, and it came out to about 10 miles. That's 2 miles in the park, 8 miles in my classroom, people. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised I've got cankles.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Finding the Time


Twenty days into the school year and it feels like normal again. To borrow that horrible, oft-used phrase, a new normal, but it's mine. I feel like I'm really teaching, kids are behaving as kids really do--good, bad, and goofy--and we're starting to get past that awkward dance we have to do for the beginning of school when we don't know each other. Routines are set, rules are being enforced, and we're getting to actually talk about books instead of doing all that "let's go over expectations" junk.

I like it. My seniors are in one of my--ahem, sorry guys!--driest units, the 18th & 19th century British novel, and even though it's not my thing, I've been with this unit for long enough now that I have a good idea of what I want them to glean from their novel choices. This past week has been a good mix of lecture, writing help, and group discussion. Exactly what I want my classes to be. My freshmen have been reading The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, which could easily win the award for my least favorite story to teach, if only for the reason that it seems like I'm always teaching it. It's the first selection in their literature book, so it's our first foray into things we read together. In that same way it always feels like it's Monday, it always feels like I'm teaching MDG again. I'm taking these successes in teaching things I don't like as good omens that when I get to stuff I love, it's going to continue to be great.

Honestly the best thing about the last two weeks has been the ability to take a long walk in the park during my morning prep period. I've been working hard before school--what's been my prep time for the last three years--and that's still working great so I find myself with some free time from 10:15-11:15 each morning. I work next to one of THE most beautiful parks and it has a lovely 2 mile trail. It's the perfect distance to walk a loop and head back to work. I thought it would be good for me to move (and it is) but more surprising was how much easier that real break is making it to get through my afternoon. I'm having a much easier time tackling the challenges of the last two classes of the day and I think it's because I can leave and hit the pause button for a bit. I can see this having some nice mental health benefits when things get crazy.  I've been walking with a friend a few of the days, but many of the walks have been solo. Just me and m'iPod. Or when I forget my headphones, just me and m'nature sounds. And duck friends. Lurve.


E and I made some financial choices this week and decided I need to cancel my gym membership. It's been on hold all summer, but I was thinking I'd start back up again in October. Since it doesn't seem like a good use of our money for now, I've started back up again with Insanity workouts. I made it about three weeks this summer and then we were out of town in the middle of East Jesus Nowhere and I got behind... So I started again. Clearly I'm not running... or doing anything else. Time to get moving. Yesterday was Day 2; Twinkle helped me stretch (above). Day 3 today, and I did it as I flipped around and watched the DNC coverage. Multitasking. Ideally I'd like to get back on a schedule where I can get up and work out early and then be done for the day. That didn't happen today because I'm not sleeping well at night. But we'll see. Hopefully tonight I'm back on track and can get that going tomorrow.

Sunday, September 02, 2012



Did some damage at Costco. I'm kind of proud and kind of horrified.In keeping with the theme. More damage a Target. Small but mighty. Onward to Winco...BOOM. Last one, Winco.
All in one night.
But thank the sweet lil' baby Jesus, our cupboards (and freezer) are restocked.


Not gonna lie. My homemade strawberry jam is kind of amazing.One last day of sun...UntitledUntitled
Homemade strawberry jam on sourdough.
Catching some September sun.
Buddy Bear.

Dude. What a weekend. Yesterday not only did I have Addie/Mom day, but I decided I wanted to knock the big shopping for the month off of my plate. The kids were spending the night at Tata's (my sister Lis') house and I figured I needed to strike while that iron was hot. The iron of child-free shopping, that is. I was in and out of my big three in about three hours, which is not too shabby. I won't tell you what my average hourly spending rate was. Good thing I don't shop like that more than once a blue moon. Get it? And I get bonus points for getting out of Winco before it got too meth-y.

Anyway. Today was easy peasy. Quiet time with m' toast and coffee, then swimming most of the afternoon with the kiddos. Though the pool was 88 degrees (heaven!) it just didn't feel like summer anymore. The sun was lower in the sky and even though it was hot, it felt fall-ish. Darn it.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Girl Day