Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For You, Dear Reader

My cup runneth over. Life is good--there's nothing like Thanksgiving to remind me of that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ebb and Flow

Some days I am quite certain I'm on the proverbial emotional roller coaster with my adolescent students. Earlier in the week I left you in my gloom. Today I have random joy to spread. (Yes, I know. Lately my blogging energies have been bubbling in a worn out brew of randomness, letters, and whining thoughts. Your point?)

1. I'm listening to Christmas music on Pandora while I enter my grades. Deal. I like it even if Thanksgiving isn't for another week. I might even put up my tree this weekend.

2. I'm grateful for the warm feel of copies fresh out of the machine. And their smell. Little else can match the delicious sensory overload that is warm Xerox.

3. I must have the teenagers ruthlessly fooled. A student told me today I'm one of "the rare teachers who actually likes kids!"

4. Christmas came early and delivered a beautiful LCD television to my classroom. Thank you, school district, for replacing the unworking dinosaur in here with technology I can't even afford for my own home (to go along with the view I could never afford in my real life).

5. I got a new phone cover. It is holiday bulb red. Isn't red a sublime sort of color?

6. A student wrote this yesterday and I laughed and laughed and laughed.


There once was a king who hated to stand and lay. He traveled far and wide to find a solution to his problem, but had no luck. He yelled to the gods "Do you have the answer!?!" The gods replied "We do but you must pass 2 tests. You must stand and hold the earth up for 1 day." So he did. "Now you must lay on a bed of snakes for 1 day." So he did. For his reward the gods gave him a throne of gold with silk cushins and platinum lace. As the king saw the throne he felt rejoyced and asked the gods, "What am I suposed to do?" "Sit," said the gods. And as the king sat in the chair he realized...he didn't like sitting either.

What would I ever do without my 9th graders? Greek Mythology is such a fun unit and this was his personal myth about the creation of something, anything (pretty free topic, I know--I had a bad week). Bless him.

7. I haven't had to scrape my windows once this year. Praise covered parking at the new place.

8. The Roommate and I are hosting a soup soiree tomorrow night with good people.

9. That means that in a few short hours my house will be entirely clean.

10. My grades are updated-ish. It is neither midterm nor end of term. I'm just on the ball.

11. Scarves and flower pins and head bands are my newest accessory obsession.

12. Not everyone gets a best friend for a roommate. I love you like a sister, Alice. Thanks for putting up with my mood-swinginess.

Now, I've an errand to run and a house to clean. Consider me on an upswing.

Monday, November 16, 2009


This morning I put on the color red and my new favorite scarf that I've worn three days straight now. The morning brought about many encounters with the snooze function on my phone, and a strange memory of a dream about a bewitched PVC pipe. Sunday nights never cease to offer entertaining sleep.

Yesterday I taught the adult sunday school class at church. The lesson was about self sufficiency and work and the feeling of worth that comes from such things. So when I (finally) awoke today, I said a prayer, determined to enjoy this Monday, this week. Determined to feel all the good things about work. You see, I've been in a funk about my job. This funkiness is not for me. I did go to all that trouble, after all, the anxiety and expense of getting an education in something I loved. I did experience the hassle of searching for a career I knew I'd care for equally so as to avoid such funks. But there is a difference between my ideals and my realities--another post altogether.

I can't put my finger on the source of the funk, either. It is a sense of melancholy diluted into me. Maybe it is the boy at church that flirts and little else. Maybe it is the teenagers and their adolescent stint of irrationality. Perhaps it is the weather or the light.

So here I sit, still in red and my new favorite scarf I wear too much in a cold humming office and a darkening classroom. I'm taking a short break from the grading stacks. In my hours here the sun has risen in a window somewhere away from my own western view; and now it has set behind hills across the basin, its last light filtering into a hazy dusk of approaching winter.

I still feel slumped in my own personal job funk. Adolescents do not cheerful companions make.

But I tell myself this: I did something good today for someone who will never tell me so.

If I didn't tell myself this truth each and every day, even in endless Mondays of slumping such as this, I don't know that I could carry on when I only see the sun through my windows and never feel it on my face. If I didn't believe that the students have a secret all their own, that I wasn't giving someone only the best parts of myself, I don't know why else I could stand to be here.

image by sabino

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sometimes I Ride My Broom to School

To the Student Who Manipulated the System and Dropped My AP Class Without the Proper Protocol:

Do you really think asking me for a letter of recommendation after sneaking into your counselor and stealthily dropping my AP class without my required permission was a wise idea? Seriously? Who does that? I'm not sure you'd want me to say things about you such as "quits when a challenge presents itself" or "finds every possible loophole" or "unethical" and don't forget my personal favorite "avoids confrontation when a problem arises" in said hypothetical letter. If I were being 100% honest with the colleges and scholarships for which you are applying, however, I could say little else.

That Batch Who Won't Let You Drop AP English

P.S. Maybe you should ask someone else for a more glowing review. Perhaps your sorry excuse for a salaried counselor who is too busy reading the sports section of
the newspaper in his special corner of the school library to realize that it is against policy to let you out of my class without permission.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Difference Between Pants and Scales

Dear Bathroom Scale,

You suck. I eat better, count points, ignore the existence of a love affair I'd recently begun with The Sugar Cookie of My Dreams. I sweat it out on the elliptical machine and treadmill as my shuffle's play list spins its songs out one by one. I spend my days discovering muscles I didn't know about until they fill with lactic acid after a harsh work out. I sit and stand slowly, deliberately so as not to disturb the wrong body parts as they recover; I refigure my body in strange contortions just to relieve the pain, and still, still you budge so little. I even say "ice cream" and you shift a pound ahead. What gives? You need to cooperate.

The One Who Hid You in a Time Out Closet Until You Behave Accordingly

(If my scale actually read this, dear, sweet google image, rest assured that the explanation is clearly that some large appendage--or two--has been amputated from my body.)

Dear Jeans I Haven't Worn Since I Started Teaching,

You rock. I've eaten less, counted points, sweat it out at the gym and you, you glorious things, decide to zip up with ease. You spent the day with me yesterday and didn't cut off the circulation to my lower extremities even once. I truly appreciate the gesture. Please understand, however, that our relationship can only be temporary. There are other jeans with smaller numbers on their tags in a rubbermaid in the closet, each waiting patiently for their turn in the outside world.

Who Needs a Bathroom Scale when She has You?