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A new month follows close upon a Rocky New Year. Storm damage, electricity off for over a week, crazy travel schedule for work, culminated by being burgled, a disorienting end to an unrelenting month. So what's next? My work is off kilter, and I don't know how to change it. Just continue in a forward motion and watch how it evolves, I guess. If I was to make some New Years Resolutions I think I'd choose doing 100 Words every month for a year, finishing my novel and beginning now to train for walking the Camino for my 60th birthday.
Rain and wind today. Itís freezing cold and dreary. I began the day at the cafe, checking email and reading the news. Theyíve painted the ceiling reddish orange. Then off to the Farmerís Market for root vegetables, apples and rye bread. Honestly, the food available at the market is about as dreary as the weather, except that I like it all. When I got home, I sat on the couch and watched about 8 episodes of Brothers and Sisters on my laptop. Last night I watched it sitting up in bed. Iíd never done that before and I loved it!
Mayaoel spent the day today, and I just read and knitted. I sat in my office intending to get rid of some old papers Iíd saved, and found a treasure-trove of history. The travel diary I made my family keep in 1961, a drawing I did when I was 8, a news photo of me on the day I was ordained a minister of the Universal Life Church by its originator, Reverend Hensley. I was one of a select group of 5,000. Clippings about the shooting at LHS. News headlines the day Nixon resignedÖ why did I save that? Memories.
I went to dinner with Bounmee and his new wife, Yer tonight. Sweet couple. Heís always been so special to me, and she seems to be a good complement to him. I gave them a red Fiestaware pitcher for a wedding gift. I hope they like it. I remember once when I brought him a keychain from a trip, I joked about always bringing keychains. He replied, ďAny gift from you is a treasure to me.Ē I hope he still feels that way. We laughed and talked for a couple of hours about the baby they are expecting, old times.
Super Tuesday today. Big primary elections all over the country. I voted for Obama. I think either he or Hillary would be fine, actually. I just find him newer, fresher. Iím probably influenced by his oratorical talent, while she comes off a little harsh. I donít really know what to look for, exactly. I liked Bill Clinton, but apparently most women do. I think he was a good president - does that mean she will be? Could be, but maybe not. Obama is untested but I like his appeal to the common people and his insistence on change. Weíll see!
Okay, so I don't get why someone would vote for a Green or Independent Party candidate. Is it an attempt at staying true to oneís instincts or beliefs despite the fact that the candidate has absolutely no chance of winning? How much influence did what was his name - the Green Party guy who ran when Bush and Gore were running - have on the outcome of that election? Had all those people voted for Gore, would it have made his lead less disputable, the election less easy to steal? The war might not have happened. Maybe even 9/11. Wow.
Today I went to the high school and observed Ricky teaching World History Core. I wanted to just get up and tell some kids to STOP. A few of them are disrespectful and ruin the class for the others. Otherwise, it felt so good to be there and to be able to coach him a little. I love being in the classroom, and would love coaching secondary ELD and AVID teachers. Itís a far cry from Spelling Bee and SES folders. It definitely perked me up. Lifted my spirits, made me smile. I havenít been smiling much lately.
I spoke with my Mom yesterday. I told her I have lost 6 pounds through WeightWatchers. She was thrilled, but told me that I am intelligent and can certainly lose weight if I want to. She said that I had done it before, I could do it now. She told Avery to push me, to support me. The overall tone was that not only need to be convinced that I should lose weight, but I need extra help to make it happen. Like I hadnít made the decision myself. It was more than unhelpful. I will not mention it again.
The axe fell yesterday. I knew it was coming, so why do I feel so depressed? Uncertainty, I suppose. Lennie told me she needs me to help her think of what projects I can do to enable her to keep me at 40%. So I can do SES again. And the Spelling Bee. Barring other changes, I will be in the classroom next year. I will bump a friend out of her job. IíM SUPPOSED TO BE EAGER TO DO THAT? I know, trust the Universe. All is well in the world. I just canít quite see it yet. Shit.
Looking at possibilities for part time work at a community college. Maybe one night course in ELD or Spanish. I hesitate to do that because at the end of the day Iím tired and adding another course planning weight might be too much. Although to teach college I think you have to plan each session in advance so you can publish a syllabus that holds true. Then which would be best, Yuba (close to other work) or Butte (close to home)? Do the students really want to be there? Do they really show up? Can I teach that level? Sigh.
What a beautiful day it is. Sunny and warm, violets blooming in the neighborís lawn. I got my annual Costco rebate and went out and bought a new iPod. My rebate was only a fraction of the cost, but I decided to just do it. A black 80G iPod classic. All synced up and ready to roll. Ave is off to do her first Bikram Yoga class, (Fondly referred to as Hathaway Yogurt. Long uninteresting story.) and Iím going to take a walk, maybe listen to Fresh Air. As soon as I go find a case for the pod.
Desanimada. Thatís the word for how I felt at work today. Iíd better get over it if I think anything stupendous is going to happen to me (besides going back to the classroom). About this Reduction Physics stuff, Iím not doing it right. I forget about drinking water, and have only walked once. I generally eat the right number of points, I think, but still donít eat meals. I snack up my points. This is not a lifestyle change. It is holding on and hoping. Itís as though my momís lack of belief in me is with reason. Desanimada.
I met with the Superintendent yesterday. The meeting was set up before I knew my job had been axed, but of course that came up. She said I am at the top of the list for an admin job when one opens and went on to list my virtues in the area of administration. I came away feeling so good about myself, and certain that something will come up. While I did believe what she said, I also think she has a gift for glib. She is good at saying what you like to hear, and makes it so believable.
Hearts and chocolate today. I spent the day at the high school, doing a peer tutor training with Mimi. We had twelve participants, all but one of the Freshmen. It was a great day. What was amazing is that he kids were so happy with it. They came away saying they never thought tutorials could be so fun. I hope they can invigorate the other students. Maybe weíll have to do another training to spread the sunshine. Made me feel that being in the classroom, while exhausting, would be fun again. Kids are so fresh Ė fraught with drama, but fresh.
Today I have four more book boxes to take home. My spare room is wallowing in books, hundreds of childrenís books. My goal is to sort them, donate some and return the rest. The room smells like books and cardboard boxes. I want to empty it out, give the bed away, bring home all the miscellaneous stuff in the mini-storage I rented a year and a half ago, go through all that and have a yard sale. Declutter the corners of my life. Then make that room into a library-like place. Comfy chairs, bookshelves, good lighting, clean or new carpet.
Big old white Cadillac pulling up out in front of my house. The curtains are open, itís getting dark, are they looking in? Hoping to see a laptop they can lift? Is it anyone I know? Not likely. Close the curtains, lock the door. Wait and wonder, forget all about them. Hope they donít knock. I hate it when strangers come to my door, after dark. I just want to hide and not let on that Iím home. I'm such a wimp. As though I can pretend to not be here when the back is wide open to the alley.
I saw Ed in the Supeís office of Friday afternoon. Iím afraid he might have lost his position as AP of the middle school. Next year they are combining two middle schools, and that means there is probably at least one too many administrators. It rings in my mind that Ramiro spoke in the plural when talking about my having ďbumping rightsĒ for a classroom job. Like Iím not the only one who will be bumping someone else. Seeing him in there makes me believe he is another one being cast out. Itís a funny feeling, heading toward the outside.
Tracy and Charles sent me pix of the northern lights tonight, with glowing tipis below. Yellow Knife Alaska, 40 below, but it looks like where I'd like to be. So many things we get so worked up about every day - like fake-worry. Why do I get myself involved in so many things? Where is the peace? The repetition of something simple until it gains spirit. I let myself worry about what other people think of me, and it gets me no where other than in a funk. I know better, and yet. I need to grow something. Get dirty.
I love three-day weekends. I think every week should be like this. I spent a good portion of yesterday reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Itís a book club choice - we get two months to read it, but I couldnít put it down and so have finished it in less than a week. There is no way I could spend two months on one book. If a book is worth reading, itís too good to drag out like that. This was my thirteenth book of the year so far. Since January first. Maybe Iím over the top.
Today I had a conference call about the tech institute we are doing in April. I didnít want to stay at work any later than I had to so I stopped on the side of the road and began the call there. Finished it driving. Whatever did we do without cell phones? As much as they annoy me, it is certainly easy to become dependent on them. We always want more and more. As soon as Iím used to one thing, I want the next one thatís better. I need to get off that bus and quit wanting so much.
Itís so wintery out.. I remember when we used to plant peas and spinach in February. Theyíre so short-lived, that we always jumped on them as early as possible. Tomatoes, not until June. There was no point, as it was just too cold earlier and they would be stunted. That or youíd do an inordinate amount of work to keep them going. Planting tomatoes early never meant youíd actually be eating them much earlier. More energetic gardeners might disagree with me, but thatís okay. Itís funny, I donít think about growing vegetables anymore when I think of months or seasons.
Okay, wintery is about to reach the sublime. They are predicting another ďmonster storm.Ē We are supposed to be taking a schoolbus load of high school kids to perform in the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. Iím supposed to drive along behind in my little Civic Hybrid with Mayaoel. I sent a copy of the news article to Avery, and told her I thought she should get Admin clearance before they actually go. The Vice Principal looked at it and said, ďDid you get this from your mom?Ē That cracked me up. Am I known as one who worries?
They overrode me on the trip to Swan Francisco today. Iím packing my raincoat, warm vest, plenty of water and snacks in the car, along with blankets and pillows. I donít want to get stranded by a knocked down tree or flooded road. I dread this day of bluster, yet am also strangely excited by the drama of it all. Now that itís been decided that weíre going, and I canít get out of it, Iím looking forward to it. I just hope I donít get too blown around. No hydroplaning on Highway 80 or the Bay Bridge. Worry-wart, indeed.
Let go and let God. Didnít someone say that? Yesterday the schoolbus driver said that if the winds got to be as high as were predicted, they would close the Bay Bridge. Also that cars were backed up Vallejo for getting into the City. Also, if it got to be midnight they would have to stay in a hotel. Bus driver rules. The VP said they couldnít go by BART because their permission slips said district vehicle, not public transportation. Without my saying anything, the trip was cancelled. We went to see a movie, and the weather was indeed fierce.
Santa Barbara. Yesterday in the fierceness of the storm Rochelle and Peter and I flew to Santa Barbara, and here we are. What a lovely place. We are staying in the Canary Hotel, with huge high 4 poster beds, and French doors that overlook the rooftops of the city. I could get used to this, as they say. My presentation partner was flying out of Sacramento and her flight was cancelled, so I presented alone today. It went well. We had a lively discussion, which showed how frustrated people are by the current state of affairs in educating English Learners.
Back to work today. Itís funny, ever since being told my job was eliminated I feel like I might be in trouble for things. It is hard to believe that I didnít do anything wrong. Like closing the barn door after the cow has already escaped. What are they gonna do, send my back to the classroom?! The next loomers on my agenda are turning in the permissions for the English Journal article, and then the keynote speech Iím giving on Saturday. After that I will spring into action on the Spelling Bee. I do so well at unimportant things.
Tonight I drove to Stockton to prepare for a meeting tomorrow morning. I thought it was too far away to leave the morning of, but after my experience tonight, Iíll definitely leave the day of next time. The hotel room was not paid for, and my credit card was declined, so I had to call Lennie to fax permission for her District card to be used. It was long, embarrassing and the hotel was kind of grimy, a trucker hotel. Reefer units parked outside, away from the rooms, please. I left my socks on, and took the bedspread off immediately.
My new backyard fence is progressing nicely. Rye has put lattice on the top of the front part, and the back part is just tall and solid. I can sit in the hot tub again without feeling compromised. It is super full Ė I think I have some hot rainwater in there, because I did not fill it that much. It is lovely, really. For a while I thought it was broken, so itís extra nice that it just works again. A self-healing bathing pool. Now for the rest of the backyard landscaping. A brick patio and fire pit at least.
February 29, Leap Year. The day girls can propose marriage to boys. I should tell Melissa. Iím quite nervous about my Keynote speech tomorrow. Making index cards, revising my Powerpoint (Keynote, actually) presentation. I worry that when I get nervous I sometimes go too fast and forget what I want to say Ė I just read the Powerpoint. That is such bad style. I donít want to read off cards, either but that is better than forgetting stuff. There will be lots of people I know there which makes me even more nervous. I worry that theyíll judge. Whatever, let them.
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