Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fifteen Years

When I drove away from school yesterday it turns out I did not screech my tires while blaring Led Zeppelin with my windows down. Instead, I drove away quietly with a "15 years of Teaching Service" stickpin in my purse.

After an early dinner out I came home and poured myself some cheap white wine and played iPad games. And even though I wanted to stay up later just because I could, I went to bed at 10, still thinking, Wow. Fifteen years.

A stickpin.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Almost Done Whining for a While

I promise I'm almost done whining about school for a few months. Really. My last day with students was yesterday, but teachers have three more work days, so I'm feeling okay about one more post that tells it like it is and is therefore void of a whole lot of sunshine and sing-song.

A couple of weeks ago I hit that wall, when sleep was no longer restorative. I went to sleep tired; I woke up tired. I often woke up in the middle of the night and tossed and turned and worried about school things--finishing up curriculum, getting final exams ready, end-of-year evaluations. Weekends were no longer enough to refresh me for a few days. Amy and I started "going out" more often. The countdown seemed endless.

All the while (some) students continued to be a daily challenge, only now they were also distracted by prom and nice weather and wanting summer as much as the rest of us. Some days I felt like I did on the ill-planned occasion I was trying to walk from Kenmore Square back to Simmons when a Red Sox game let out and I was walking against swarm of people headed for the T.

That part is over now. The masses have gone. My finals are corrected and my grades have been submitted. Now the hard part will be the three professioanl develoment days we have left that will feel more like three days of teacher detention.

At 2:25 Wednesday afternoon I will do my best not to hoot and holler and screech my tires as I drive away...but I won't make any promises there.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Last weekend at my college reunion, when I settled into the cinderblock room for a couple of days, I looked around and thought Wow. I lived in this small space for four years?! I could never live in a small space like this again! What would I do with all my stuff? Furniture, cookware, all sorts of stuff. Twenty-five years worth of stuff.

Sometimes I feel like my life is an exercise in moving stuff. Every day I move stuff. From the grocery store to the car, and then into the house. Garbage, another kind of stuff, comes out of my house and into the trash. Sometimes stuff comes inside in bags, then goes out to the car gift wrapped, and then into someone else’s house. I can’t remember the last time I walked in the house with nothing; even if I don’t have purchases coming in with me, there is always a heavy tote bag or purse that comes with me…full of stuff. Stuff that I apparently have decided I should never be without: baby wipes (better than a Tide stick), lipstick in multiple shades, a couple of notebooks, some expired coupons. I go out to the pool with stuff; I come back with the same stuff.

Stuff, stuff, stuff.

More than enough.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Still Simmons Strong

It was difficult not to notice what was different on campus when I got to Simmons for my 25th college reunion (I'll spare you the math; that means I'm 47). After all, I parked in the new underground parking garage and picked up my regisitration materials in the new SOM (School of Management). But then, after I got over to Dix hall (after passing by the Merck building on the Emmanuel campus!) and saw the flat screen TV and felt the cool breeze of the air conditioning (so very welcome for those of us staying on campus who are having "tropical moments"...right, Ann?), I saw the green plastic covered mattress. And I was grounded. Indeed, I was at Simmons; not everything had changed.

As the weekend went on I noticed more differences, changes in the Simmons College/Fenway neighborhood that I don't typically visit on my fairly frequent weekends in Boston: Starbucks, a Panera, movie theaters, a couple of new restaurants, a Marshall's "coming soon" (!) all within walking distance of campus.

And yet, with all those wonderful Simmons' upgrades and expansions, and the recent (long overdue) revitalization of the neighborhood, what was so wonderfully familiar to me was the ability of all of us who were celebrating our reunion to connect--again for some, for the first time for others--and to stand tall in the common bond of our Simmons College education and find something else in common too, to feel our collective strength.

How nice it was not to be asked immediately upon making eye contact, "Are you married?" Rather, initial questions were more of the variety of what are you doing now? Are you still in nursing/PT/teaching/finance/human resources/event planning? Or are you local or did you have to travel to attend? Sometimes we didn't greet each other with questions at all but, maybe after a hug, with kind words related to memories of each other. It's so good to see you. I remember how nice/kind/funny/well spoken/outspoken you were. Eventually we might get around to talking about children and spouses, but the course of conversations reinforced what we had all learned about ourselves that has made all the difference in our lives--or at least mine. We are measured most meaningfully by our character, our strengths and our kindnesses, which we reflect in our actions and often in our careers.

Twenty five years later, I remain proud to be a Simmons woman.

Thank you, everyone; I had a great time.
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