So, if you’re one of the few, the proud, who have followed my journey into figuring out what I want to do now that I don’t need benefits – aka, my mid-life crisis – you’ll know that I’ve recently resigned my “coveted” (ha!) position as Curriculum Specialist and taken a job back in the classroom. I guess I’ll call that Step One.
I’m mixing reality shows, but somewhere between Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and The Biggest Loser, I know that at some point, a failed contestant has to look at the camera and say, “I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader,” and Bob Greene says to the kicked=0ff contestant “I’m sorry, but you are NOT the biggest loser.” I feel like when I walk off this job on June 14th, I’ll gladly look into a camera and say “My name is Angie, and I am NOT a curriculum specialist.”
And that makes me proud right now. I want to be a teaching specialist…A kid specialist, a learning and reading and thriving specialist, but not a curriculum specialist. Sure you have to have a curriculum – even though I managed to be a successful teacher for many years either without one or without paying attention to one. But I understand you have to know what you’re supposed to teach, and by nature, you need some measure of your and your students’ success with those goals. And since there are thousands of teachers in Texas – hundreds or more of which are not naturally good – there has to be a common assessment.
I don’t want a common classroom, though.
My treadmill broke last week, and it’s been stressing me into a depression. I’ve learned to do my running and walking in the comfort of my pollen-free bedroom while watching Keith Morrison lay out the details of murder after riveting murder. There is no way on earth I’m going back outside in the dark where the mosquitos are and it might be humid and there aren’t – fortunately and unfortunately – any murders to be solved. So I’ve done no running or walking, just cursing a lot at my treadmill and the scales.
So here’s where I’m going with this: The scales are how I measure and celebrate my hard work on the treadmill. But without the treadmill, I am stubbornly content to just watch that number go in the wrong direction and bitch about the broken treadmill – as if that’s how to fix it. Tests are how we measure our hard work in the classroom – Is that the way I’m going to measure and celebrate my hard work with kids??? Of course not! Never have, why start now?!? I want to find alternative ways – aka “the right ways” – to sneekily achieve what our advantaged students achieve – without the moaning and dread and copy machine. I know this is possible. Dear friend, colleague, mentor, in a conversation with a Resource teacher, flailing a STAAR practice workbook and bitching about the broken copier, reminded her that what kids really need to is to be reading. Resource teacher said to friend, “It’s not what your kids need, but it’s what my kids need,” (paraphrasing) to which friend replied, in her head, “My kids don’t need that because they REEEEAAAADDDD!!!!” I know these truths to be self-evident.
So translate, brainiac! (me to self) – If you can find alternative ways to facilitate a learning environment that achieves the same (or better) measures of success in the classroom, why are you so uncreative and unwilling with the running?? You ran outside for decades when it was all you had, but you’ve been spoiled. Would you be complaining about your kids scores if you had given up on them too?
Not sure what the challenge here is, but I think it’s along these lines: You know what the goal is, and you know what your resources are, and you know what you have to do…Don’t blame a broken treadmill for your lack of activity. And don’t ever blame a set of broken standards for your lack of creativity.
I wish – so badly – that I knew how other people’s brains worked. I don’t feel like mine is normal, if there even is such a thing.
It would give me some peace to know that everybody’s brains were completely unique – like a fingerprint – so there was no “normal” to compare to. But I have a feeling that there is a range of brain and thought patterns, wide as it may be, and mine is way outside the range.
OVER-ANALYZING: I wish I didn’t always care what people’s motives were. When someone does or says something, I like to interpret what they really meant. I like to try to figure out what they’re hoping my response will be. When I was single, this was bad enough, but then I had a child, and now a husband plus two, and I do it for all of us since none of them seem to care to do it for themselves.
OBSESSING: As I’ve probably explained quite well so far, I obsess about a lot of things. But the thing that probably qualifies me for medication and possibly some federal funding is the obsession I feel when I find out I don’t or didn’t know something I should have known (fill in the blank with just about anything that either didn’t affect me, didn’t matter, or wasn’t at all a big deal). I want to know why, I want to know who’s job it was to tell me – is my email broken? do people not think about me? do I even really exist??? I will obsess until I get to the bottom of it – which usually involves knocking some people down along the way and talking really fast (and not listening to “answers” that don’t do anything to “answer” my questions.) Apparently.
OVER-OBSERVING: If you’ve been an acquaintance at any time in my life, I’ve known what you drive, and if I’ve passed you ever on the road, I’ve seen you. I probably waved and you didn’t. I’ll notice every discarded tag in the bathroom trash, any set of blinds that is turned a slightly different angle than I turn them, and any Q-tip that doesn’t look like it came from any of our ears. I should have been a detective, because this super-power does me no good whatsoever in my everyday life. Also, I seem to be the only person at work to utter the words “Y’all match!” It’s a wasted gift, really.
What I want from all of this is to be Oblivious – some of the time anyway. I don’t want to take prescriptions or do illegal drugs. I think it’s probably why I like a little drinkiepoo every now and then. Any suggestions? Meditation? (Just so you know, I’ve tried to be a pray-er, but I don’t focus very well, and before I know it I’m planning dinner or remembering to return my Stitch Fix, and then a few hours later I remember that I need to say in-Jesus’s-name-I-pray-Amen.) Anybody? Same?
This next self(ish)-improvement challenge is way less selfish than the rest. And it’s not one I planned on assigning myself when this A-Z challenge month started: I’m going to stop drinking.
I know…it sorta feels like I just started! I didn’t drink in high school – Not (only) because it’s illegal, but because I hadn’t met a drink I liked yet. And in high school and early college, you kinda just have to accept what someone else is willing to illicitly provide you. I did, however, learn to hold a drink in my hand. I would accept a beer or a Bartles & Jaymes so that I didn’t have to go through the complicated turning-down-a-drink exchange, and then I would just hold it. I might take a teeny tiny sip and try not to wince if I thought someone was watching, but that was it.
Then I discovered the good drinks. But you had to get out of your house and go somewhere where they make them. And then you have to pay for them. So that was rare.
Then I got a divorce and had lots of time and nobody keeping track of my finances (including me. another story.) I went to Greek Bros. an average of two weekdays for Happy Hour and usually at least once over the weekend with friends or my band.
Then I moved here and stopped all that nonsense. I married a man who makes the best drinks and is happy to make them. And he gladly does a couple of times a week.
Then I learned how to make them myself. Not a good thing.
Last night, at a 40th birthday GNO, I had too many. Yada yada yada, I woke up this morning knowing what I needed to do…Just stop.
I’m not saying I’m never drinking again, and I’m not setting an end date. But I do know that it’s easier to be the one who says Thanks But I Don’t Drink than to only have one.
It’s a perfect storm right now, really…trying to clear my mind, get into shape, practice all this self-discipline I’ve never had before, save money, and I’m not stressing about my work like I was since I know I’m half-way out tha do’.
So here’s to tea and all the money and calories I’m about to save. You margarita drinkin’ hooligans can have ’em all to yourselves. Cheers!
My soon-to-be new boss and I shared a few mom-to-mom moments at the conclusion of my interview a few weeks ago. We found out we had both recently married the man of our dreams, both after raising kids and graduating them off to college, both gained young step-kids in the process – mine boys, which I had never done before, and hers a 12-year-old girl who they had permanent custody of, after she had raised only boys.
Early Friday morning, she got a call at work that I can’t even begin to imagine. The 44-year-old love-of-her-life had a heart attack on the treadmill at his gym and died instantly. Gone. There are no words. I can’t think straight when I try to describe how devastated (the English language is inadequate), completely world shattered, stopped, exploded, I don’t even know…can’t even finish the sentence.
How do you go on? How do you even move your body from one spot? My natural reaction to this was to cling to my husband. I felt, in the depths of my soul, the fear of losing him and I began to program my brain and my actions based on this fear. I realized that I was loving him even harder than ever, but it wasn’t fun. It was emotionally draining.
I’ve only had a few long-term relationships in my life (that seems like it should be a given), but in the first two or three – beginning in high school – there were major issues with fidelity and truthfulness. Since these were during my developmental years, I never learned what it’s like to trust – wholly, completely, without fear. Even as much as I know, like KNOW know, that my husband loves me and is committed to me and would never hurt me, I also know we are humans and humans make mistakes, hence there is always something to fear.
I have been working on this for a while now – like intentionally and intelligently, and it’s definitely gotten better. As time goes by, I have less “flare ups”. In fact, I feel like I can truthfully say that I’m not afraid right now. I have realized – finally, and due to the terrible news of a husband’s passing – that if it WERE to happen, it would have happened whether I was a blissfully oblivious wife or a paranoid untrusting one, and which way would I rather live?
With the news of my boss’s husband, I had to make myself make a quick U-turn from deciding to live like I might lose him tomorrow to living like we’ve got forever. I want the same to be true with my trust. I want to live this wonderful life with him and love him madly forever – but not from a place that’s founded in the very things I fear the most. There’s too much fun to be had. Challenge: Cherish and treasure, but relax and enjoy or it was all in vain.
Compelling topic, right? I’ve been tossing around all kinds of “G” words, should I tie into what’s going on in my life? Should it be metaphoric? I toyed with Girls (as opposed to Boys), Girlfriends, Group (I heart my writing group girls), Gravy (who doesn’t love gravy?!), but I’ve settled on Grout.
We’ve decided to go all-in on our house. My hott husband got this house for such a great deal…stole it really…that even if we did all the things we would want to do in our wildest dreams, we’d still owe considerably less than what the house is worth. We plan on staying in this very house for another 10ish years, so we want to enjoy it and not wait until it’s time to sell to start updating.
(That’s not my house, btw.)
I’m madly in love with Saltillo tile. I’m pretty sure it is connected to my childhood memories of nice expensive homes and my current emotional relationship with Mexican food restaurants, but I love the look – especially contrasted with our eclectic style in art and furnishings.
We’ve had two bids, and two different professional opinions about the actual tile installation – particularly the grout choice.
I may have mentioned before that I am not a patient woman. But I, myself, would like to compliment myself on the self-inflicted patience that I now find myself comfortable with. Rather than be in a great big hurry to ready set start go finish yay like I usually (always) am, I, a mature woman now, have recognized that our lives are too hectic for home reno at this time. Lacrosse practices, car pools, piano lessons three days a week, writing group, just to name a few, equal too many bodies and feet in and out all week. Everything can come to a screeching halt in May, and I am perfectly fine with that, thank you very much.
But I find myself paralyzed by grout right now. I’m perfectly happy – as usual – saying “Whatever is cheapest and looks cool and you can start right now right?” But this might actually hold up our start date more than anything else. Epoxy or cement grout? I’ll spare you the list of pros and cons because this isn’t a home improvement blog. It’s about my inability to make this decision. I haven’t seen epoxy grout in person. I haven’t lived with either one for decades to know which is easier maintenance and better longevity. And I don’t hold the checkbook. (I have a checkbook, duh, just not one that has enough money for home renovations in it. Sometimes it can barely buy a home renovation magazine. Another topic.)
I’ve made major life changes that apparently took more guts than the people who seem to be impressed by them have, I can change careers, get a divorce, move to a big new city with one friend after 13 years with many, and I’ve purchased 16 cars since I started driving. But I can’t change cell phones, and apparently I can’t decide on grout.
There are some decisions I don’t really like to make because they’re things that I don’t care about but somebody else might (where to eat). There are some decisions that I make with no problem because I DO have strong opinions about many things (who to vote for). But I can’t make this one, and I don’t want it made for me either. And I don’t really think it’s that fact that bothers me as much as the fact that I’m not used to being the one who has to go and seek out the information I need to make the decision.
Because what if I’m wrong.
That’s what this is about, I suppose. I am paralyzed by decisions where there actually is a right choice and a wrong choice, and I can’t handle that responsibility. I just want to call my dad and say “tell me what to do”. Most difficult decisions that I have been able to make easily, it’s because I’m willing to work to make what might have been a bad choice into a good one. This is one where I can’t fix it if it’s wrong, and I can’t bitch about it if I just don’t like it.
Such a small thing with such big implications. I guess I’m off to start doing my research. I’ll update with my findings, in case anyone cares. I need to see it, price it, and consumer-report it. As Nike says and my hott husband lives, Just Do It.
In other news, the Diet and exercise are going great! It’s only Thursday, but I can see and feel a difference. I’m about to practice some real big Confidence…going into a meeting to present to a few people who have petitioned my public beheading. Haven’t been on Facebook and haven’t missed it one bit. And Expectations, a work in progress. (Small episode last night, no need to talk about it now.)
I still feel like a blog is me talking to myself, but I’ve started reading many of yours, and I’m completely driven now by the rewards of being on both sides of a blog. So thanks 🙂