Monday, February 08, 2016

Another year; another class

The Class of 2016 - these are my last students who were once my junior high students. In 2006 my husband and I left the Caribbean for a new assignment in Western Washington. The first year in the Pacific Northwest I subbed in a variety of public schools. The following year a friend asked me to apply to teach junior high English at a local Christian school. I did, got the job, and stayed with it for almost six years. In the middle of that year, my husband (the high school principal) let me know that one of his English teachers was leaving mid-year. I jumped at the chance to get back into high school English. It meant, however, leaving a group of students I had for all of 7th grade and half of 8th. It was a bit sad to leave mid-year, but I helped promote and hire my replacement and she was (and still is) amazing at the job. I walked into classes of students who had previously been in my junior high English classes, so my investment has been intense. This year's seniors is the last class with whom I really feel connected. When I started teaching at the high school and this class became 9th graders, they asked if I would stay until they graduated. I promised I would. I have; I will. They graduate in four months. After that, I may still be here and I may not. I will have kept my promise. I feel the itch to move on, a dangerous thing that itch. I've tried to figure it out. It seems that I'm ready for change every five to seven years. It's hard work to change, adapt to new surroundings, new expectations, and yet - it's quite exciting too. If I stay, I will have great students to challenge. If I go - I have no idea. Guess we'll see what happens.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Stress and then some...

We had a crazy week last week - some really tough situations at school that took non-stop days of my principal husband's time and energy. It was extremely draining. By Friday, things appeared to have settled down, and we were prepared to love our weekend. We own a 24 foot camping trailer that allows us to get away to the beach or the mountains for several days at a time. Having skipped camping all summer (it was SO hot) we were eager for our weekend on the Pacific. We packed and headed out by early evening ready to enjoy a stress-free weekend.
A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the beach; we blew a tire. So scary! We pulled over and with the help of a wonderful state patrolman, got it changed - and went home. The same thing happened last year, so we decided that we were not going out without a spare. Saturday I cleaned house like a crazy woman, and T got several quotes on repairs. It's amazing the damage a flapping tire can cause to the undercarriage of a camper! Toward the end of the day he remembered that we had insurance and started researching that possibility. With a few phone calls today, he verified that our insurance would pay for the repairs! We just saved a bunch of moola! So maybe we will try it again - after it's fixed and has four new tires!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Stress Relief or Seeing the Results of Hard Work

My mother was a master gardener and I think I understand her obsession. We do so much work without seeing any positive results but that is not true about the garden, as our before and after will attest. The Emerson quote that people don't really think belongs to Emerson says it best: To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

I'll go with the healthy child and the garden patch for now.

Yes, quite a messy hillside, but it had potential. My husband had the vision and now it looks like this:

Switch-back trails, flagstone walk, weeded, barked, our place of refuge and peace. I think we'll keep gardening.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

En Gedi

This has been a very trying school year. It's not students; they're great. It's not teachers; they're gifted. It's time. We have spent nearly every weekend tied into school stuff. That means no relaxation, no getting away and doing things that give us perspective and rest.

This weekend we left the rat race and hid in a log cabin near Mount Rainier. Actually, my man was supposed to work all weekend at a Spring Fair that really does nothing for the high school, but because he's part of the administrative team, he's expected to be there. Not only was this his birthday weekend, but it was also and will forevermore be, the anniversary of my mother's death. I did not want to be in town. I needed to leave, to do something that would get the image of her sitting on her kitchen floor out of my head. When the man told me about the SF and that we probably couldn't get away, tears welled up and I just had to leave his office. I told him I'd be fine; I'd get over it. But I would not have been fine. He immediately started working toward our weekend away and made it happen. We went to a friend's log cabin, circa 1910 or so, and read and read and read. We hiked some, cooked very little (I precooked everything and the cabin has a micro!), and slept - early to bed, late to rise. It was amazing!

Today is Sunday and missing church is a big deal for the man. So we didn't; we watched a DVD from Ray Vanderlan on Living Water - En Gedi. It just so happens that the cabin is right next to a lively creek; it was a perfect comparison to what we were experiencing. We know we can't stay at En Gedi - oh how I wish we could - but this last weekend, four days, three nights, - was beyond refreshing. It was so perfect. I am so grateful!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The First Easter

It's Easter weekend and I miss my mother. Today is Saturday, the day I always take her to lunch, work at her house or in her yard, listen to her stories or concern for family members. It's been almost a year since mother walked in her kitchen and just suddenly died. We found her, sitting on the floor, the food-scrap container still under her arm. I should be buying a plant to put in her yard, but instead I'll put flowers on a grave that she should be in but is not. She's still on my brother's fireplace mantle. I'm calling him later today. It's time. She gave us instructions; we need to follow them.

As I think of her, in heaven, with a lot of family members including my dad, I know that it is my loss I suffer not hers. She lived and died exactly as she wished. Wow she was strong and stubborn!That combination of Scots and Scandinavian made for a very strong-willed woman.

Happy Easter Mother! I know you are rejoicing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

That Sunday...

Like thousands of other Washingtonians, we spent a recent Sunday afternoon watching football, American football not soccer. It was the craziest game and the Seahawks won, making us happy and the cheeseheads quite sad. Most in our house had given up on the Hawks, but my granddaughter was certain they would win, even though as she predicted, they were the 0 in the 16-0 score at half-time. She was calm and unwavering, a true believer. And she was right!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Back at it...

Summer is LONG gone; we are back at work. This is the autumn of my discontent. I am finally mourning the loss of my mother. It has taken a while because mourning requires time, something that was in short supply when she died and even shorter supply the first few months after her death. I've shed my tears and done everything I think one should do to begin to recover, but I still feel a tremendous sense of loss. Maybe it's because of our Saturday lunches. Every Saturday, lunch out and then projects at Mother's. She preferred to do things on her own, but in these last few years, she acquiesced to my pleas to render some small service when possible. Maybe it was the nightly phone calls... like the one when she didn't answer, and didn't call back, for the first time, ever. I don't know; I just know that day by day, the missing her is very real. I rest in the knowledge that I did everything I possibly could to both help and care for her. I regret only one thing, but it's a big one. I am so sorry I wasn't there when she died. I wish, oh how I wish, I had been there to hold her hand, to pray, to tell her it was okay, she could go because she was ready; she had lived so well. I am so grateful for her, so proud to be her daughter. So... back to work. Maybe that will help, maybe not.