Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Love It, I Love it Not...Right on Red

I am not a fan of the law that allows right on red. I have enough stress in my life. (See posts about teaching.)  I don't need the pressure of taking a right on red when I don't really have a good view to my left (especially on one particular turn I often make, where I am frankly shocked a right on red is even allowed), and the asshole impatient driver behind me is tooting his horn because I remain stopped  where I can legally turn right. Often times there is a steady flow of traffic on the green light passing by, but does the person behind me see that? Or even care? No!!!!! S/he is just thinking what is this person waiting for? Really, we are talking seconds, not minutes. Regardless. Whether you are simply impatient or running late, I don't care. It's not my emergency. And I'm not willing to risk my life because you're in a hurry.

I wish there was a way communicate "Shut up! I'll go when I can! Sorry to hold up your life for fifteen seconds. Jerk!," without saying a word.

Oh, yeah. There is. One of my favorite gestures. And that deserves a [heart] note.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Show Time

When I started this blog, I was a single, forty-something woman navigating midlife as a teacher. Just a few times over the years that I have been blogging I tweaked my bio a tiny bit--just in case someone wanted to know who was writing and scrolled down to read About Me. Mainly I changed the number of years I have been teaching. The rest has stayed the same.

Now, as I live out this last year of my forties, I realize that in order to navigate a happy midlife I need to change courses. I would love to live to a ripe old age, enjoying a long, healthy retirement, but have serious doubts about the feasibility of such a happily-ever-after if I continue in my career as a teacher. The stress is unhealthy. I'm sure if it doesn't kill me, it will make me sick. I'm already unhappy. 

A few years ago, the scale still tipped to the satisfied and happy side; what went on in my classroom still trumped all the other stuff that my colleagues and I all grumbled about but managed. Oh, and there was that. I had my colleagues, who are my friends and who support one another like family, in what has become a shameful culture of Us vs.Them. I still have them. But it's not enough to tip the scale anymore. I am still satisfied most days. I try hard, and I think I'm an effective teacher, who cares about her students. But I am unhappy. 

And I want to be happy.

I deserve to happy.

I have never placed the burden of my happiness in the hands of someone else, not even half of it. (I still hope that I will find someone--and imagine if he were already in place in my life I'd be begging to figure out how I could quit and we could still pay our bills--but enough of that.) If I want to be happy, it's all on me. 

So I guess it's show time. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Painful Payback

My friend Fran worries about me living alone. "What would happen if you got hurt?" she wondered. When I told her I would call 911, she persisted "but what if you couldn't?" From there another friend joked about wearing a Life Alert, and we all laughed.  I appreciate her concern. And I have wondered myself, but prefer not to dwell on the fact that I live alone and accidents happen--like the one we were laughing about the other day, which started the whole conversation.

I am lucky to have gotten this far in my life with only two sets of stitches, one in the emergency room (eyebrow), one at my doctor's office (chin), both when I was kid. I've had no broken bones or sprains or emergency surgeries. Other than the occasional oven burn on my arm, curling iron burn on my neck, or knife cut on a finger, I'm pretty much accident free and unscathed. (Knock on wood.)

Until a couple of weeks ago.

When I fell flat on my ass. 

Just like that!  [cue finger snap]

I got up from the couch and tripped--either on my pant leg or my purse straps (my purse was on the floor). I'm not sure exactly how and will never be, but I do know that having extra padding didn't protect me. 

Fast forward twenty four hours: ouch. Another twenty four? OUCH. For two weeks now, every time I get out of a seat, or climb stairs, or extend my leg at the hip, I am acutely aware of the muscles buried in my butt that contract to perform said motions. I've done some research and apparently coccydynia, in medical terms, or a pain in the ass--literally and in the vernacular--can take 4 to 8 weeks to heal. Super! And by that I mean not at all. 

I'm not sure how many more times I can (barely) surpress a wince when I get up from a seated position in class, but I have a pretty realistic sense of myself so every time I do I have the good sense to say a silent "I'm sorry" to all the people I have given a figurative pain in the ass in the course of my injury free life. 

Karma is a b*tch. And she takes no pity on girls with big bottoms. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Alphabet Overload

I used to enjoy teaching. While it has never been easy, it was once more manageable. When not teaching class, I could plan and correct and give extra help to students, and still had time to stop by the teachers' lounge for a few moments of camaraderie, maybe a round of laughs with veteran teachers who shared their own embarassing classroom moments after I told mine, or a pep talk in which they assured all of us newbies that we would succeed. It has never been easy, but it was definitely more fun.

Flash forward ten years. Teachers in the lounge are there only because they are in line for the copier, quietly huffing and puffing, wondering whether they should come back later, because those few minutes of waiting could be better spent on SLOs...

Ooh, that reminds me, I need to look over those IEPs. When is that PPT?
Shoot! Where did I put my DoK chart? (Probably in the same drawer with my UbD notebook and DDDM materials.) I have to bring it to my PLG.
Ugh. I can't believe we are still stuck on those CAPT scores and our SPI.
Wouldn't our time be better spent looking at the new NGSS or the CCSs? Since we never really got a minute training on those. Or on DI for that matter. Or how about a little time to create CFAs? Or activities for the SWRs? Would those be considered appropriate use of PLG time?
Guess I'll find out soon enough what went down at the last CA meeting. Will we be checking something off the NEASC list or working on some new pet project? I just hope our STEM coordinator isn't there. With any luck she'll be at some conference.
Although eventually she'll come back and put something else on the to-do list, something else the CT SDE has decided we should do with our free time.
Ha! Free time. Not when we're being micromanaged the way we are.
And good luck to us thinking things might change. Four more years with the governor who thinks all we have to do is show up. And the CEA endorsed him again. Those CCTs aren't going anywhere.

Are you LOL yet? WTF?
YCMTSU (You can't make this sh*t up.)

I used to enjoy teaching. It was challenging, but manageable. Rewarding. And fun. Now it's just maddening. And nearly impossible.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Taking One for the Team

I am acutely aware that in my middle age the time between hot flashes gets shorter while the season between air conditioning and heat gets shorter too. A few years ago I ran air conditioning June through September. Then May through September. Then May through the first half of October. This year I cursed myself for not turning the air conditioning back on during the third week of October when it was seventy and humid again. I suffered through it, discovering that my sassy new hairstyle definitely is not one that handles humidity well, but now find myself digging my heels in as the weather gets colder with no looking back.

So I refuse to close all my windows all the way, partly because last weekend I sweat by a mood fire in Vermont, and partly because my friend Jen who lives in Glendale, California is happy for a day in the seventies. (Just checked my weather app and see it is sixty-one there today. Bet she'd do a happy dance--if it didn't send her into a hot flash!)

Last night I kept my windows open even though It was decidedly chilly since I needed to wear a jean jacket over my sweatshirt while I watched TV before bed. This morning when I woke up my thermostat said it was fifty eight degrees in my house. But I kept my windows cracked while I drank my morning coffee, bringing myself back from the brink of hypothermia, and left them open when I headed out to run errands. 

Standing my ground, Tamara joked. Yep. Staring menopause in the face. Bring it, b*tch. I got my windows open. You've got nothing on me...for a few days anyway.

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