Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Comment: Full Speed Ahead

I'm going out on a limb as the buffalo over the next five weeks. I'm attacking what I've been putting off for months, nearly a year, really. I am required by the draconian state in which I live to take two college level math classes in order to get my credential, a fact alert readers are all too aware of at this juncture.

So, after chickening out twice, (I guess it was sort of a Buffalo wings situation) (sorry!) I am about to plow through taking an online, college level math class.

I haven't touched algebra (not intimately, anyway) in over twenty years.

But in keeping with my new zeal to be badass and tough and fierce and forge through challenges, I am doing it.

I've even got a binder ready for my (gah) homework. And I am totally buying a two dollar calculator which I may actually use. Preferably pink, with skulls on it.

Did that buffalo story say anything about having another buffalo hold your hand while you run through the storm?

I'm just asking.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Comment: Being the Buffalo

Okay, so my dear friend Christy commented on yesterday's post with the following link:

In it, you hear about exactly what I was trying to express yesterday: plowing through challenges. Apparently, according to Wilma Mankiller of the Cherokee nation, cows run AWAY from storms, which makes their suffering significant, and their eventual and heavy soaking inevitable.

Buffalo, on the other hand, charge right into the storm, and come out of it much quicker. I'm not saying they come out dry, I mean, come on, but they get through the shit faster and easier.

My co-teacher and I were working with our students on metaphors today, so I trotted out (sorry!) the BE THE BUFFALO maxim as an example. I'm not sure how much the kids really got it, but they liked the image.

And so do I.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Comment: Turning Point

I've reached a point where my fears are getting in the way of what I want.

Periodically, that happens to me.

So then I have to shift gears.

I put it in F, for Fearless. Of course, I don't feel that way. But, having trained in the fine art of theatuh, I am quite well-versed at acting that way, in spite of inner turmoil or contrary opinions.

I have to plow through the things that scare me, so I can get to the good stuff, which is often how things in this life seem to go.

So I've given myself a little pep talk. And I'm putting in the clutch.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Comment: Less Despondent

The week improved, as did my mood, after spending five days in the arts-enriched summer program with some middle schoolers who really grew on me (and, it would appear, vice-versa). I could tell that I was having some sort of generalized positive effect by being there, being enthusiastic, and attempting to distract/entertain/engage them. This is encouraging.

Tomorrow I start off from scratch again, at a new site, in another part of town, where once again the schools suck because all the rich and middle class people have abandoned them for private ones.

I hear that the head count is quite low there, so it should be interesting to meet the few kids who have decided to show up. I have more than enough planned, because that's how I roll. And of course, I'm nervous. Once I'm there, I'm fine, it's the thinking about getting there that makes me anxious.

Who said you can't have performance anxiety even when you've put aside your professional acting aspirations?

So stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Comment: Rude Awakening

I'm really questioning the path I'm on at the moment. As a middle-aged, middle class white woman, (and a Canadian, to boot) who am I to walk into an American, urban, poor, predominantly African-American classroom full of middle school students and try to teach them anything?

Who do I think I am?

The problems I see in the lives of these kids are unreal to me. They're the stuff of late night news reports and tragic newspaper articles.

What am I doing?

I guess my answer is, I'm there to attempt to give them voices that they otherwise wouldn't have, in terms of expressing themselves through the arts. It all sounds great, but the reality? I don't know if I'm making an impact. I'm an itinerant teacher who goes from school to school for a week at a time, attempting to cram theatre arts and self expression into the short hour a day that's allocated for me. I know that today, I reached a few kids, for a few minutes. I think. I hope.

I'm also there to give a shit about the kids. That's something, too, isn't it? Because I do care. I care a lot.

Maybe that's enough.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Comment: They Gave Me a Certificate

ETS. Those wily bastards.

I just received a CERTIFICATE telling me how well I did on those damn Praxis teacher tests. They didn't tell me the score, they don't DO that on paper anymore, apparently, to save trees, BUT they somehow felt the need to waste some trees on a certificate and swanky blue certificate HOLDER for my personal keepsake album of ETS successes.

So I had to go online to actually find out my scores. And yes, I did well. Alert the media.

So this is interesting to me because, although I didn't expect to fail these two tests I took, (that was alliteration, by the way) I didn't expect to ace them, either.

And here I was ready to give up on getting credentialed in this god-forsaken state because EVERY SINGLE NEW TEACHER I know does NOT HAVE A JOB.

Teaching jobs are so scarce here. Schools are closing left and right. I had kind of given up on getting credentialed here. No jobs to be had.

And then I get this fabulous certificate from those dear, thoughtful taskmasters at ETS, and now I'm just all a-flutter.

Apparently the certificate will even be MENTIONED on the score reports sent to the institutions of my choice.

Well hip, hip, hooray.

Now all I have to do is take two college level math classes and prove that my Canadian education consisted of more than igloo building and beer swilling.

Color me inspired.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Comment: It's the Little Things

Sometimes, it's something small and simple that makes your day.

Drinking straws, for example.

I just made myself an iced coffee (a definite pleasure itself) and I put a straw in the glass. I had bought them allegedly for the kids just the other day, on a whim. I know how they love them.

But honestly, so do I.

Bendy straws.

Sometimes that's all it takes to make a person happy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Comment: Aloha, Facebook!

Here we go again: I just deactivated my Facebook account.

And not without a price. A small handful of my favorite friends from long ago and far away are on there, and now I won't be able to chat with them instantaneously. We will just have to settle for email. Because, natch, I know their email addresses. Because I am consistently keeping in touch with them. Because I like them. A lot.

But I had to leave.

I was getting life envy again. I hate that. I was looking at all the fun people I barely know or knew a long time ago but lost touch with and I was thinking, damn, I'm not going out for drinks with the girls; I'm not lying on the beach in Aruba; I'm not interested in showing off my kids to everyone on the interweb, what's wrong with me and my insignificant life?

I just like the Chat feature. That's all I like. The rest, quite frankly, annoys me. And more so than usual.

Because I've been feeling that one year lull, which is what happens after you've moved to a new place and have busted your hump for a year making friends, getting work, settling in, getting a place to live and making yourself at home in it, and so on, lather, rinse, repeat three times in the past three years. I'm right tuckered out. And thus it's so easy to hide on Facebook where I don't really live my life, I watch other people's quips and feel lonesome. It's easy to sit in the dark in front of a computer. I should be interacting with people, not avatars.

So in this lull, I don't think it's the best choice to spend too much time online when I should be living my life offline with actual people live and in person. There are some very cool people I am just getting to know here, and I want to hang out with them, not hang out online lusting after other people's lives.

That just seems like a distorted way to live. So, for me, Facebook is not a pleasure. If it were, I'd be on it. Many people love it. Fair play to them.

But I'm more interested right now in reality, sans virtual anything.

Email me or comment here if you want to talk. You know who you are.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Comment: On Groundlessness, Again

I just got back from a glorious vacation where virtually my every whim was satisfied.

No wonder I'm a little grouchy now that I'm home.

It's back the grind, so to speak.

But what if that grind is all ass-backwards?

I'm having a hard time with the concept of my working while my husband does not. There's nothing wrong with it, it's nothing to fuss over, but our whole world order is, for the very short term, reversed. And it hasn't been this way, like, ever. (Unless you count grad school, which I don't. Because that was indentured servitude. But I digress.)

I know my husband will get a big fat job soon, and will be busy and unavailable. And I'll complain here, no doubt. He will disappear and I will lament the fact. I must seize the day.

But there is a LOT to be said for routines. And when you're not working, you don't have routines. So we are kind of two amorphouse blobs, floating around the house in search of an anchor of some sort.

My very part-time job starts a teeny bit this week, but kicks in at full throttle (half-time) next week.

I have to admit to being terrified, anxious, and excited.

I haven't worked at a job where I wasn't a sub in over seven years.

I'm a little bit nervous.

But I also know that to have outside validation of my life, as opposed to the sort of default, "Mom will deal with it" kind of mode I'm in 98% of the time, will feel great.

It just feels weird to be leaving my husband at home.

I want to appreciate this time. But I feel so off kilter.

How do you lean into the awkwardness, allow yourself to feel utterly groundless?

Should I be meditating? I'm sure I should be meditating.

Or something.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Comment: I'm Back, Eh

I was in Canada lo this past week and change, and I'll be out of town again in a few more days, but thought I would attempt to post, at least briefly, to fill the deafening silence and gaping hole in your hearts when I'm not here. (Canadians do irony after all!)

It's only 84 degrees here but it feels a lot hotter. And it's not just the heat, nor just the humidity. It's the state of mind. Did you ever notice that the more you say, "I'm hot", the hotter you get? It's especially effective if you're whining. You get into an overheating state of mind and frankly, you don't feel like doing anything.

I am sitting here with a soaking wet heat and a box fan aimed at said head and I'm in that stage where you're so hot that once doused, you get the chills, before your body temp stabilizes.

Wow, I'm a shoo-in for the newly-resurrected Algonquin Round Table with the wit and verve of this post.

Seriously. It's too damn hot to blog.