09 January 2009

You just never know...

I had a great day subbing yesterday. I was a sixth grade resource teacher for a planning day (this is a day when resource teacher and reg ed teacher collaborate to create lesson plans suitable for all students). In speaking with the teacher I was replacing for the day, she let me know that my only real concern would be one boy with ADHD who couldn't sit still for more than ten seconds at a time. Generally, ADHD behaviors don't bother me. I know what they are and let them go unless and until the affect another student. Okay - there is the back story.

So the small group of students arrived. I introduced myself and this boy (we will call him Steve) blurts out "are you the one who made that crane?" referring to the paper crane sitting on his teacher's desk. In the beginning of the year I left one every time I subbed in a room. "I am that one" I replied. "Would you make me one?" The delight and serious desperation on this sixth grader's face told me I had been given the gift of a much easier day...

"Steve," I replied "I will make you a crane with my best paper if you can find a way to help me out a little in here today." "Sure! he said - what do you need?" "I need you to do everything you can to be quiet and not disturb the students around you and share what you have in that awesome brain of yours - can you do that please?" "Okay - and then can I have a crane?" "Yes Steve - at the end of the day, you may take the crane home. I will make you one at lunchtime and put it right here so you can look at it."

For the rest of the day, all that was required was a quick reminder "Steve - you aren't acting like someone who wants to take this crane home." and Steve immediately did his version of sitting still. (Hey - if you have to sit on the chair with one foot tucked under you and bouncing a little to stay quiet and focused, so be it.) Honestly, I only had to remind him maybe three times... I had a great day... Just goes to show - you just never know... Sixth grade boys and origami cranes... plan only to be surprised

03 January 2009

It wasn't her fault...

If anyone is still reading here - this is part thirteen of Rebecca's Saga - which will be needing a better title very soon - I am open to suggestions!

The morning after the downpour found Rebecca on her sofa, the TV still on and a small knit throw wrapped tightly around her. She heard the weather man promise sunnier skies and highs in the mid 80's. Her head was splitting. Rebecca guessed that drinking half a bottle of wine by herself had not been her best move to date. She crawled into the bathroom fumbling for the Advil bottle and headed into the kitchen to make some coffee.

She waited impatiently while the coffee brewed and perused her lengthy to-do list. She realized that she still had plenty of work to lose herself in. Plenty of work to absorb her pain. She didn't need to be involved in this whole Becky, Vince and his sister/her mother-the-drunk disaster! She had floors to sand and walls to paint and cabinets to replace... flowerbeds... sidewalks... it was just so much, she thought... how will she ever get it done? She poured a cup of coffee and slowly sank into the papasan chair in the front room. The mantle clock sang out the Westminster Quarters - so it was quarter of - but quarter of what? She dozed off until they chimed again - 10 times... 10:00 am. She honestly couldn't remember the last time she had slept until 10:00 am and she remembered why - her whole morning was basically gone.

She finished her coffee and decided to end the suspense once and for all. WHAT was under that terrible linoleum? She needed her iron to heat the linoleum to weaken the aggressive adhesive. Unfortunately she was still unable to locate it in all the boxes. How much could an iron cost? Maybe she should just go get a new one. "One more time - just dig through all the boxes one more time." she told herself.

Paper lay all around her on the floor of the attic. She unwrapped box after box - item after item - no iron. Candlesticks, books, old CD's - no iron. Then she found the small cedar box. Carefully inscribed on the top were the words "Adel Rose Hayward". Rebecca's hands trembled as she ran them over the top of the box. For a while she just sat with the box in her lap. The last time this box was opened... she remembered it had been a clear, crisp spring morning. Tulips bloomed in the flower beds of the condo and birds sang. Beautiful... but not as beautiful as the small perfect baby who slept on her shoulder. There was something about this child - she was so sweet tempered with beautiful blue laughing eyes. When she slept on Rebecca's shoulder Adel brought a kind of peace to her that she never thought possible. Rebecca opened the cedar box and carefully dressed her daughter in the christening gown sent by Rick's parents who were on business in Italy. It was a beautiful gown - long and lacey - arduous to put on an infant. Such a happy day. They had been so proud, she and Rick. They were a family. Everything felt shiny and new and full of promise. Who would have guessed they would only have six more months?

Rebecca opened the box and carefully took out the gown. So small - so pretty. She held it tight to her chest rocking back and forth. That last day... cold and rainy, wind aggressively blowing leaves from the trees, not ideal conditions for travel. Why did she HAVE to go that day? Why not wait for a clearer day? Was it so important t return a movie on time? Couldn't it have been late? No - no it couldn't. Rick would never have liked a movie being returned late. She blamed him a little, but she knew that she decided to return the movie because she was sick of being stuck in the confines of their condo. She wanted to get out just for a little - returning the movie seemed like a good idea at the time.

In the end, it hadn't been her fault. She was turning on a green light. The guy in the Suburban ran the light. The police report spelled it all out. He was looking at his GPS. He admitted it. Wasn't her fault. The car slid into a pole - wasn't her fault. The weather... It wasn't her fault... Rebecca was curled up in a ball on the floor sobbing. Tears and sweat streamed down her face. She continued to hold tight to the gown - crying until she fell into a fitful sleep.

01 January 2009

Welcome 2009!

I am a little late with this post - but have been working on it for about a week or so in my head... I don't do resolutions, I do goals. Resolutions bring out the rebel in me and I feel compelled to screw it up. Goals seem so much more "people friendly". Yeah - I know - it's a game of semantics. But it works for me, so whatever.

Some of these goals are big, some small - some are even a little superficial. But I want to work on all of these things.

Okay - My first goal is to get back to school. I need to work very hard this year to make sure this happens - the only remaining question is how does one get from a BA in Anthropology to teaching Special Ed. Hmmm... methinks I have my work cut out for me.

Second goal - I need to work more diligently on my TaiChi so that the next time TaiChiInstructorFriend goes on vacation and asks me to take the class while he is gone I will feel that I can do it. I am rather upset with myself that I couldn't bring myself to do this this time - I won't disappoint him again.

Closely related to my second goal is the third: To bring the number of regular participants in Yi's White Crane TaiChi Club up to ten. I have an action plan - and any of you who are local to me and have not at least TRIED the class - well - I would be grateful if you would help me out a little with this goal.

Fourth - very cliche and intentionally left off of last year's list is to lose weight. 61 pounds. Probably a little much for me in one year but you know, if you are not challenged to do the impossible, you will never do what is possible, right?? So we'll see how that goes.

Fifth - and this was not my idea, but I think I will try it anyway. I want to have something I have written, published. Preferably in print. I am told a magazine piece may work for me or possibly a poem. Look for more ramblings and attempts along these lines here.

I think that is plenty for one year. It is always interesting to see how it all shakes out...

Real quick...

I want to let you know that if you love hummus, like WIlliam and I do, but hate how expensive it is... you should try making your own! It is seriously easy - check it out at Our Kitchen Klatch!