Down Time

After T1’s morning emergency downgraded from ER visit to “watch and wait”, I tried to go back to sleep. For months and now years, however, I’ve been training my body to wake up on the weekend for work.

Sometimes I also get up early enough to paint or right before signing on to do tech support. Since I’ve switched jobs, my weekends switched over to studying for teacher certification exams , and, this morning, I realized I’ve lost the ability to sleep in.

I’ve never mastered the art of using those quiet spaces for meditation or lounging for very long or doing any other activity that isn’t really an activity. So, this Sunday morning, when everyone else is still sleep, I find myself puttering around the house trying to think of what to do. One of the great things about puttering around the quiet spaces, however, is that you bump into projects you put down to do important things like work and study. This morning I bumped into my binder of creative projects — books waiting for those final illustrations or just waiting to be finished, cartoon punchlines waiting to be drawn — and remembered that it was one of the reasons I wanted to make the jump to teaching. I wanted to have more time on the weekends (and summers) to write and paint. I wanted a job where creativity is an asset, not a distraction.

Since I’ve been teaching, I’ve been able to pour so much creativity into my work life, even while studying late into the evening every night. But this rainy Sunday morning that wouldn’t let me get back to sleep, the first since my exams have been complete, was an unexpected gift. It was a reminder to get back to the creative work in my life.

What Part of the Word Chromic Don’t You Understand, Mom?

it’s 5 AM, And all is right with the world. We Celebrated Father’s Day dinner the night before so we could sleep in, and the house is vibrating with the sounds of soft snoring. My furry gray and orange foot-warmers are sleeping at my feet, and the rain outside is the perfect White noise machine.

Then comes the phone call. I’m trying to get me on my cell phone and then the house phone. Worried he may have food poisoning and unable to pass anything, he calls for me to bring him his home remedies. I bring them, and as he takes the medicine, we make plans for when we go to the emergency room.

Food poisoning, or any other digestive issue, is an entirely different ball game with ulcerative colitis even when you think you’ve cured the bulk of the chronic illness by removing most of the affected organ. The thing is, a chronic illness is never really gone.

i’ll check on him in another few minutes, and will figure out a game plan. All will still be mostly right with our world regardless of the strategy because, as his disease has taught us all over the last few years, there are good mornings and bad mornings, but the good ones still outnumber the bad.

Wish Upon a Weed

“Aren’t you supposed to make a wish when you blow on a dandelion?” I asked my husband.

“Yeah?” he answered.

I looked at our yard full of wishes but couldn’t think of one I wanted — aside from the obvious ones like world peace, an end to poverty, etc… So I closed my eyes and blew.

I could tell what I wished for, but then they won’t come true.

Welcome to the Club

Gratuitous Unrelated Cat Pic

“Ugh,” I said to my mom last Thursday. “Half the day I didn’t know if I did anybody any good.”

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“Part of the day I felt like this exactly how it’s supposed to be, but the part of the day, I kept thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing,”” I laughed.

For most of my student teaching, I’ve adopted the philosophy that, when working with kids with challenging backstories, you look for the little victories and then try to build on them. It’s a simple philosophy that, as I realized the other day, is going to need some branching out.

I was covering the classes for another teacher that day. The first class went well, but the second period, I knew I’d been snowed by the kids at one point. The third class was a triumph and the fourth was a draw. By the time my seventh period came to a close, I had decided to call the day a tie, which is why, when I got to my car, I did what any responsible adult would do. I called my mom.

My mom isn’t “just” a great mom. She’s also a veteran high school English teacher and history professor, and I knew she’d have a few words of wisdom to put the day in perspective.

She listened to me babble about a few of my triumphs and blunders, sensitively keeping her laughs to a quiet chuckle before she was able to get a word in.

“That sounds like what I remember in the beginning,” she said. “Welcome to teaching.”

We both laughed as I started the car, looking forward to the next day of looking for little victories but also feeling like I’d joined a pretty good club.

Never Too Many

It being a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and her office layout frequently, I have adopted a cheap and flexible method of adding bookshelves to my workspace. A few $10 crates, binder clipped together, are a quick, sturdy(as long as I remember to put the big books on the bottom) solution to my ever-growing collection(Marie Kondo’s excavation method stalled at the door of my office).

The only thing I haven’t figured out is how, despite always creating more space and I think I’ll ever possibly use, I still seem to run out of it with alarming frequency. It begs an answer to the age-old question of which came first — the shelf space or the collection?