2 years

He left 2 years ago yesterday. I purposefully ignored it and didn’t say or do anything. He left me broken. I’ve never really recovered from the loss. He damaged me in another way. He took my hope; my confidence.

I thought about a new person recently. Reached out to him and brought him into my group of friends. I was kinda hoping he might ask me out. But I know bye won’t. He’s smart. Has a degree and a good job.

The only person like that who ever showed an interest in me told me he would never choose me.

Then he moved thousands of miles away. I didn’t even know if he was okay after the hurricanes.

I’m not really sure why smart men don’t have any interest in me. But I do know that has been an ugly fact of my life.

I’m truly ready to let that past go. Move on. Not worry about that 2 year date. But I can’t find any evidence of hope that any decent person would ever love me.

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Rough day? I win.

Wanted: home for orange monster

Reason: Being an idiot.

Just kidding. I’m pretty sure that cat can’t do anything to make me get rid of him. But sometimes he makes me consider it. Like when he is sitting up high, decides to chase his tail… Knocks something over… Scares the crap out of himself and bails… Landing claws out on my face and scalp.

There’s nothing quite like a day of screaming, thrown chairs, overturned desks, crying, antagonizing, and walk-outs ending with claws to the head. Literally the best irony ever. My whole day felt like I was being clawed in the head.

The 2-year date is fast approaching. I think about it in these few moments before sleep and in the dark of the morning before I get out of bed to face the day.
Clearly my days – work hours and outside of work hours – are filled with thoughts about how to modify intense behaviors. If I can teach to all those scenarios, then why can’t I modify my own behavior to that of a desirable woman? I’m still trying to figure out whatis wrong with me.

Friends and BBQ

I remember a time when I was afraid to go to dance. I couldn’t get there on a regular basis due to social anxiety and not knowing anyone. But today, after the first days of students, these people were exactly what I needed. Friends. They’re now just friends. I can go just to be around them. No need of small talk. These are people I can go anywhere with. I cam travel with them and stay in a hotel room with them. More importantly, after a long week, these are people I can just be comfortable being around. I’m grateful for them all.

Drowning Again

I feel like I fell oit of the boat and I’m drowning in shallow water. All I need to do is put my feet down and stand up.

Problem is, when I put put ferry down, I tend to rock the boat and throw everyone else off balance.

There has to be a tactful way; third option that saves me without putting others at risk. It’s harder to think up a third option when I’m drowning… Fighting for life.

Summer’s End

My mind is ablaze! I can hear the chorus of crickets and frogs outside my house, but it’s not currently enough to distract my ADD thought processes.

I started my new job today. I haven’t been very public with thr fact that I left my own position. Today was a strange experience. At least 2 other people from my previous district were hired by my new one… The bith aproached me saying, “I know you.”

Those moments arw thoroughly ego-boosting and all-explaining. Ego-boosting because I made a memorable impact training other teachers. All-explaining because my previous district took advantage of my skills and work ethic without ever giving me hope of advancement – therefore qhen a new district offered me a position, I jumped on it.

I’m a comparrison person and a detail watcher. “We did it this was in my old place.” I don’t do it to offend or tl be difficult. I do it because it helps me solidify and remember changes I have to make. It’s amazing how many people are offended by comparisons. Thimpdistricts a bad thing. In fact, they’re actually a big part of the Marzano Education Growth Model.

August 1st brings the end of my summer and this year, a new adventure. I’m excited and intrigued by most if the differences I am encountering. I am terrified of the changes.

I also can’t stop thinking about the 2 year anniversary of someone I loved leaving. Apparently it still impacts me. Labor day weekend is just over a month away and yet I am already consumed by the pain of the end to that chapter.

It’s also a Westie Fest Comp weekend. I havr no idea how to balance Westie Fest and a new job in the samd 4 days… But I will. It’s always a great first impression – showing up to work totally exhausted because you got 15 hours of sleep scattered across 4 days. I’ll just explain myself away and ask them to suspend their first impressions. Sometimes honesty and appearing knowledgeable are the first impression despite falling asleep at your desk – AHEM! – chair.

This year I have a desk with a chair in an office. Last year I started my fifth year inthe district without a room, no desk, no chair. Yet somehow I presented dkstrict PD to 100+ people, participated in master scheduling, was selected as a member of a business focus group, sat on the Late, Loitering, Skipping Comittee, participated in the credit recovery desogn3 committee, mentored 2 new teachers….

Am I missing anything besides my regular 7-3 job responsibilities? This school year should be a breeze compared to that. So why does the end of summer bring so Mich anxiety?

Worst Thing About Living Alone

Just settling into bed, brushing the kitty because this is the time of day she’s all cuddly and wants to be brushed and petted. She pops her head up, pulls away… Alert alert she heard something strange. She’s looking at her brother, who is standing on the vent. At first I think she reacted to him. But then I hear it, too. Something it’s making noises in the basement.

My heart pounds so loud in my ears that I can’t hear the sounds anymore. My brain logically tells myself it is probably a mouse… Or a snake. After all, I have found 3 live snakes and 1 dead one since I’ve moved in. I grab a kitchen knife, immediayely realizing it’s too small to do damage. It’s smaller than my bayonet was. Not a butcher knife. Just a baby steak knife. Well… Something is better than nothing.

I’m one-handed fumbling through my phone in search of someone who may still be awake. Adrianne. Just came from her house. Call. No answer. Call again in case she didn’t hear it the first time. No answer. Call Jeb. He has a job with kinda different hours. No answer. I realize I’m shaking from fear and rehash the whole, “it’s a mouse” theory. Zack. He was still at Adrianne’s when I left.

“Hello?” he answers quick.

“Do me a favor.”

“Uh…ok.”

“Stay on the phone with me. I need to investigate strange noises in the basement. Call 911 if I scream.”

“Yeah. Text me your address before you go down there.”

“Oh yeah. Okay.”

“Well it won’t help to call 911 if I can’t give them your address.”

“Good idea. I didn’t think of that.” My fingers struggle, but I’m already waiting for the little date and time to pop up confirming the message. “Okay. You got it. I’m going down.”

I realize that if there is a human, I am directly putting myself in harm’s way, but I have to do it. “I won’t sleep at all if I don’t check this out.”

“I hear ya. Basement noises are scary. Maybe it’s just the a/c.”

“There is no a/c.”

“Oh.”

“Well, nothing looks out of the ordinary. Let me check inside the vehicles.”

“You have cars in your basement?”

“Yeah. It’s half basement, half garage.”

“Yeah. Those are weird.”

“Well, I don’t see anything. I mist have a mouse or a snake. One of the cats will get it if it gets up to the house.”

“Alright. So you’re okay then?”

“Yes. But stay on the phone with me until I get upstairs.

“You got it.”

Needless to say, I can’t sleep now. I’m thinking an alarm for my new house would be a fantasic plan. It needs to be affordable, though. I wonder if they do treachery discounts. I trust the neighbor’s outdoor dog to Basel his head off if anything or anyone tries to get in at night, which is also one of the scariest things I have to deal with. Waking up in the middle of the night to that dog going nuts, barking and growling outside my window is always a bit ner-wracking.

Son are gun shots. At least once per week my sleep is broken by gunshots. I had sleeping problems before living here, but I’m pretty sure living here has only made it worse.

Then there was that one time I was awoken by the strangest sound. Remember that movie, Independence Day? Think about that mechanical droning sound the alien machines made. I swear I heard that outside my window one night. Ha. Maybe we’re all living in some alien matrix.

Oh my gosh! Now my imagination is really running away. So the worst thing about living alone is

being alone at night when the strange sounds turn sleep into a distant cousin instead of a necessary habit.

Signs of Fall

I can’t believe it’s that time of year already.  If you haven’t noticed the temperature dropping at night,

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that’s O.K. because some of the more sensitive trees have, as they have begun to shed leaves.  The prairie grasses have also taken not, beginning to turn purple.

I have also taken note, as this rental home without A/C is able to cool off at night and thus sustains life at a slightly more agreeable temperature during the day.  Most significantly, my nature clues me in as my morning hikes have changed beyond the trees and grasses.  Flowers are turning to seed.

Instead of birds and migratory patterns, I notice butterflies around every corner.

Low and behold, the pumpkin vines are also starting to bud.

signs of fall 6

All of these details provoke a variety of emotions.  I get excited about fall activities such as Renaissance Festival, Grape Stomp Wine Tasting, and Halloween fun!

But then there’s the scary truth,

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I am a teacher and I must return to work.  Days will soon be much shorter and I will awake before dawn, leaving the house before first light.

This year is worse.  I haven’t officially announced to most people (unless you see me on a regular basis) that I will not be returning to the position I held for the last 5 years.  I will be running/expanding a program meant to help students with emotional and behavior disorders be successful in school.  I will have a smaller caseload than I have in the past.  I will also have a team of paraprofessionals to help me.

So why am I afraid.  First, change is hard.  Second, I’m worried about bad habits or expectations I have developed in my previous position.  I come from a district with an open technology plan that provided our students with 1:1 tech.  While it was a pain in the butt because most students didn’t have very reasonable skills when it came to balancing tech and education, it was also a huge convenience.  I could put anything in Google classroom and my students could access it.  I could always use Kahoot to review or to engage students in a new unit.  I didn’t do it often, but I could give students and parents my cell phone number.  I am not a huge fan of Facebook and don’t use it super often, but I could also friend students and parents on Facebook and openly post about my activities or my students.  I could post pictures of my athletes.  I am losing all of that.  I will work in a building with 1/3 of the student population I have become accustomed to.  That means less students, less teachers, smaller building; which ultimately means it’s easier to put me under a microscope.  My demographic is changing.  DRASTICALLY.

signs of fall 3

I have lived and worked in one of the two most diverse counties in the ENTIRE WORLD for the last 5 years.  For some reason, it is very scary going to a predominantly “white” building with less diversity.

Some of you may notice and judge my “Black” category, calling my politically incorrect and thinking my graphic doesn’t at all match my above statement.  But hear me out.  I taught high school students in the most diverse county you can find:  there is NO racial majority in the county I live in.  That being said, I have discussed this with my high school students on more than one occasion.  These are people who are closer to being legal adults (and some already are) than to being a kid.  The majority of my students with the darkest skin tones were born in a America with a genetic history so far back that their lives and family values don’t tie to any African cultural values or traditions.  Those students are AMERICAN, just like me.  Some have a genetic tie to an Island or country that isn’t in Africa such as Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, or even Puerto Rico.  The irony of the last one being, that Puerto Ricans are American.  Yet, despite their ACTUAL genetic connections, they are forced to claim they are “African” on all applications, government things, tests, etc.  How does that make sense.  Then, there were actually a percentage of students that were born in Nigeria, Uganda, etc.  Those students actually were African-American and proud to say it.  But the rest, weren’t.

Now this post has gotten WAY OFF TRACK!

The point is, it is July 20th and the signs of fall are here!  I have accomplished some things on my to-do list, but not nearly as many as I would have liked.  That seems to be the pattern of every summer.  I should be clarifying my lesson plans, but that wasn’t a motivation today.  I just felt like doing other things that needed doing.  Which brings me to another fear about the new job: 50 minutes.

How am I supposed to teach anything in 50 minutes?  This definitely has to be a factor in our ADD population.  Kids can provide sustained focus on one topic, but we never really ask them to.  School is set up to bounce from one subject to the next without much thought for perseverance and sustained focus.  How sad.  I seriously don’t know how to plan for 50 minute classes, though.  I only have to plan for one subject to be taught once per day, but even so.  It is a difficult task when you are used to having 90 minutes to teach, practice, experiment, etc.

Hello Fall, the thought of you brings work stress.