Monday, October 22, 2007

Pleasant Surprise

Puerto Vallarta, 2007

After entering my posts yesterday, I was overtaken by a tsunami of depression. It’s appearance was an unpleasant surprise that I did not see coming. What brought on this deluge? Lesson plans and papers to grade? Yes, but also my perusal of our benchmark assessment results. Believe me, I love what I do, I just wish that changes, interruptions, and asinine demands weren’t so frequent. Then, perhaps I would have the appropriate energy level for the things that are necessary like grading, planning, and teaching. Add to this the smoke-filled skies all over southern California, and it’s easy to see why I was blue.

My mood was on the upswing when I was pleasantly surprised by my students’ effort in class today. After a review (complete with graphs) of how we did on the first benchmark assessment and an outline of how what we would be doing the rest of the week, there was plenty of participation in our examination of how the plot was influenced by the setting in “The Fun They Had”, by Isaac Asimov. It was not that this was a fun story. We now had more than a purpose for reading – We had a goal!

Later in the day, I made a discovery that changed my mood again. I thought the benchmark sub-committee meeting I agreed to cover for a colleague was occurring during school hours tomorrow. I put in for my sub weeks ago, went over expected behavior with my students today, and stayed late putting everything in place for her. Just as I was confirming the location of the meeting, I discovered that it convenes after school hours. How could I have made such a mistake? Needless to say, I cancelled the sub. It’s hard justify being out on school business when there is none being conducted.

Tonight, as I think of my students’ reaction to the prospect of a sub, I wonder if my appearance at school will be a pleasant surprise for them.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-Thomas A. Edison

Yesterday, I attended the Promising Practices conference in San Diego. My district wouldn't cover it, but I needed refreshing so badly I was willing to cover the costs out of my own pocket. The presentations were informative, but the thing I needed most actually came from one of the keynote speakers, Alan Sitomer. I attended a workshop he conducted about five years ago and found him just at refreshing yesterday as he was then. He is a speaker and sometimes that's what you really need. You do not need a packet. You do not wish to share with your "neighbor". You just need a pep talk from someone who is going through it and knows October is rough. I'm glad I went.

I spent the rest of the day resting. Now, I have grading, planning, and housework to do. Restoration has its price.

A Life in Progress

Crushed, bruised, red roses
Under callosed, bleeding feet.
Light, fragrant scents
Waifting to and through the heart.
Clouds of change travese gently overhead.
Clearing briefly.
Warming rays of light caress the soul.
Covered again by gray cottonball masses
Which darken the spirit.
Press through the darkness
To where?
To Life
To Love
To Hope

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Unpretentious Assemblage

I recently attended a church's tenth anniversary celebration. I typically shy away from these things because they can be more than a bit pretentious; however, I am good friends with the pastors, so I ventured forth on a Friday night, after a long work week.

It turned out better than I cynically thought it would. There was only one hat in the whole building and fewer sequins than I usually see at such events. There was one thing that was just as I expected it would be. "The Table", that special table reserved for pastors, was just as socially elevated as ever.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for giving honor to others, but when friends cannot approach you to say hello, and you have make a restroom trip to get up from the table and say hello to a friend you haven't seen in years, something is wrong.

I am so glad I can talk to God at any time. I don't have to wait until He passes enroute elsewhere. Now there's something to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

In Need of a Vaction

The cares of life weigh heavy. At times like this, it's best to retreat and regroup. I tried the retreating part last weekend; however, my relaxing writing retreat weekend was not enough. The massage I got yesterday was not enough. I need an actual vacation. Thanksgiving break is too far away. Hmmm...away. Yes, I will run away for a weekend. No papers to grade. No litter box to clean. No clothes to wash. No bills to pay. Just fresh linens and chocolate on my pillow. On second thought, I have too many responsibilities to run away. Instead, I will spend the weekend lost (a form of away) in a good book. Yes, in my pajamas, it just might work. Now let's see, I think I'll pencil that in for three weeks from now.