Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Best Present Ever

Yesterday on my birthday, my niece Meredith sent me this collage depicting things I love--Frampton, Boston, Simmons College, reading, Newport, La Jolla, taking photos (that's even my camera!)--and images of things that connect us, that she and I share: we both love Next Food Network Star; we play Draw Something together. Every year since she was 3 or so we go on a pumpkin adventure, and also to the Big E. Most years I am lucky to spend time with her in Newport, where we also shared precious time with Donna.  The chili, pasta fagioli, and bowties with broccoli are her favorite dishes of mine that I cook for her. The picture of Courtney Stodden with For rill? written across it? I'll let you click to the link and leave you to figure out on your own.

So thoughtful, so meaningful, so unexpected. In a nutshell, or collage, I suppose: Best Present Ever.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Better Than Birthday Cake

Imagine getting to the patisserie just as a batch of crispy, flaky, buttery croissants comes out of the oven. Only you aren't at a patisserie. You're not sure if there even is a patisserie within 30 miles of home. But no mind, you are at home.

What last night came out of the Trader Joe's package from the freezer as a nondescript frozen puck, this morning was a pillow of dough, ready for the oven.

You sip your coffee and wait. You smell butter. And pastry. Then, chocolate. Yes. Chocolate.

And then the timer goes off. You look. It is perfectly brown.

You plate. You wait.

And when you can't wait another minute, you bite in. Your glasses steam up and flaky crumbs fall like confetti and decorate the plate. The chocolate is revealed.

Your next bite is perfect: a little pastry, a little chocolate. So is the next.

You try not to moan. But you realize no one is there to hear you, so you give in. You pick up the stray flakes with your finger tip and eat those too. And then it is gone.
But there are more where they came from for another day. And life is good.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Any Way You Count Down

Only 18 days of school left with kids: 14 days of classes; 4 days of finals. (Then 3 teacher work days.)

Next Monday is Memorial Day (and my birthday). So only 3 more Monday mornings to wake up for school, and only 2 of those with students.
And then, finally, another (but never as well-deserved) summer vacation is here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...?....

Just this morning at the grocery store a man turned to me at the deli counter and asked, "How did you get stuck shopping on Mother's Day?"

"Oh, I'm not a mom," I answered, "I'm going to see my mom later." And then, because I can't stand for people to feel uncomfortable, I added "but note to self, hu? Go grocery shopping on Mother's Day morning! No lines, plenty of parking..."

We both laughed and the moment passed.

I'm happy with the way I handled it, because just yesterday when I was out to lunch I heard a woman, another customer, reply to the friendly server who had wished her a Happy Mother's Day, "I'm not a mother. I don't have a mother."

Yeah. A little harsh.

I guess some of us who are of childbearing or child raising age are more sensitive than others.

Some of us have chosen not to have children ; some of us are not able to have children; some of us missed the opportunity due to timing and life circumstances. And, given the snarky response of the woman seated next to me yesterday, some of us are not at peace with it; others of us are.

To mothers everywhere: Happy Mother's Day! To those of us who are not mothers, I wish for you the dignity to breathe through any Mother's Day wishes (as Deanna did nine times on Friday) knowing the intention is kind.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Page at a Time

So after Wednesday's dip into the depths of despair I knew I needed something--something beyond retail or restaurant therapy--STAT. Aha! That's it, I thought, I need to go buy myself a good book to bring to a restaurant--which is soooo different from just buying another purse or pair of shoes before going out to eat. If I needed something to occupy my mind (which clearly I did) and help me to escape (ditto), and maybe inspire me to write (wouldn't that be nice?) I needed to get myself to a bookstore.

Two books (one fiction, one non), some cool bookmarks (that I'll share with Liz), and a fleur de lis dish (for Amy) later, I headed onward for an early dinner. There I had the added benefit of conversation and a few laughs with S and E before I went home and holed up with my new books.

So far so good: the book, the escape, the bonus of inspiration.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two More...

Every morning when my alarm goes off I tell myself how many more times I have to wake up again before the respite of a weekend. Two more days, I told myself this morning. Two more days.

I know this is no way to live.

I’m not particularly confident that a day will come when this teaching gig gets easier: when I’m not having another task, form, meeting, or initiative thrown at me; when my colleagues and I stop being blamed for what’s wrong with education and are praised for our hard work instead. What a joy it would be to go back to how education used to be—when students were held accountable for doing their work and for behaving politely and respectfully, and parents were supportive in those efforts instead of thwarting them and making excuses for their kids. Oh, the good old days, when education was appreciated as a privilege. Earth to Joanne… Not gonna happen. I know.

My task then is to start putting my energy into finding that something else instead of lamenting about this (while fantasizing a mass exodus of good teachers who have had enough of all this blame and bullsh*t). Somewhere out there must be a job I would be excited to wake up for, no? Is that too much to ask for? Then how about this: I’ll settle for a job that doesn’t demoralize me.

Even if it means giving up shoes, handbags, happy hours, and gel nails.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

During the last few weeks before vacation I seemed to be climbing out of a funk--slowly but surely, day by day. Then finally I was in sunny southern California and the last of the blahs disappeared with the morning marine layer. Life felt good again.

Once I got home I spent the first few days happy in the aftermath, looking at photos of palm trees, beautiful blue skies and the deep blue ocean...I posted some, I emailed others, and had a few printed to frame...

But now, with dreary weather in place, April showers unrelenting in May, I am trying with all my might not to sink again into that funk again, counting the days until my next vacation, looking for sunshine in the forecast.
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