Afterthought #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 13

Today, a mom approved a senior ad.

“Love it!” stated her email.

I marked it as approved.

A bit later, a second email came through.

“Can you add Z after X?” where Z is her African-American adopted daughter and X is her youngest biological daughter and I sighed.

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Late Night Work Night #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 8

The sky darkened a little bit ago; the sun set at 6:02 p.m. today according to the Weather Underground website. I am still at my desk waiting for some mint tea to cool down enough to sip. On the far side of the room, yearbook students scroll and type and edit. It’s deadline season.

E. took the time to put back all of the desks after dinner. They put them in two columns facing one another to form one giant dinner table. It’s a tradition that started at school during our Thanksgiving “dinner” during lunch when L. brought in tofu turkey steaks that everyone mocked, but everyone ate, and the hashbrown casserole ended up all over the table because plastic forks make terrible serving utensils.

S. yelled across the room, “Hey, you need help?” When E. did not respond, she repeated the inquiry.

“Oh, um.” The freshman hesitated to accept help from the junior editor. “I got it…”

S. still helped her put the desks back where they belong.

We had Qdoba and J. did NOT forget the blue cash bag at the restaurant this time. “I’m more, like, the accountant,” he claims. “I shouldn’t ever actually touch the money.” S. went with him and I’m sure she’s the one who told him to put the bag in the pouch of his hoodie.

Two days ago, we had a scary list of spreads that still needed interviews and pictures and stories. Suffice to say, I’ve seen a lot of my staff since Wednesday, and I’m pleased to see him still laughing and encouraging one another as the book creeps toward completion. More and more Y’s appear on the organizational ladder that tracks the state of our pages. Y’s for yes, completed.

The feeling of finishing a page is only surpassed by holding that page in your hand as part of a book, a real book that real people buy.

I can’t wait to see their faces in May.


The Value of a Break #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 6/7

I’m taking a break right now from the monotonus grading of multiple choice tests. The purple Papermate Flair that I’m using is drying up and the sublte scratch of the struggling felt fibers across the cheap printer paper grates on my nerves. I can feel it in my forearm: the vibration irritating the sinews. I prefer the glide of uni-ball Vision rollerball pens.

My students are writing argumentative essays over themes in Romeo and Juliet, so the room lacks the normal buzz of stimulating discussion. Instead, the low taps of their pens and pencils make me smile. The surface tension of the water in the plastic bottle on my desk tremors with the quiet ticking of my keyboard. It does nothing to help distract me from my ultimate problem: I have to pee.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to work in an office building where leaving my desk to get a soda or to use the facilities would not result in a job target or put 33 teenagers “at risk” because they were left “unsupervised.” The idea that I could just stop working and take a “coffee break” makes me uncomfortable. We don’t even have a “break room” here. We have a staff lounge that no one lounges in. It’s hard to lounge with people waging war against copier paper jams.

Would I still be productive without the regimentation of the rules of being a teacher? Would I need that month-or-so break in the summer to recharge like I do now? Those days inbetween yearbook conferences and professional development and graduate classes and working to cleaning up and then set up and…

I wonder how many other educators across the globe are doing the pee dance in their chairs right now, just waiting for the final bell of the day to ring to they can finally snag their bathroom break.


Written in the Stars #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 5

I believe in astrology. Not the daily horoscopes, but the bigger picture. That the energies emitted by the planets could influence the flow of chemicals in my mother’s womb during my incubation and could be read in my star chart based on eons of study of the patterns in human behavior by medicine men throughout time.

I mean, if the gravity of the sun can hold this whole galaxy together and a slight change in temperature patterns on this planet can change its entire surface over time (RIP polar caps), why can’t the interactions of the universe exercise itself on the development of my brain?

So.

I’m a sun sign 04 degrees Aries with a rising sign 12 degrees Cancer and a moon sign 00 degrees Aries. (Lord, help me.)

I love to start things and am I great leader, but I get bored quickly and often jump away before I finish. I am cautious and like the comforts of home even as they cage me in. I am impulsive and moody as the fire that sparks suddenly just as quickly is quenched by the waters within the breakers.

Like today when I ran my star chart on an astrolabe website because I needed something to explain to me for a moment exactly what I am because outside stressors are making me question it with every breath. And then comes the question of not what I am, but what do I want to be?


Tottering #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 4

He’s thirteen, but he’s nearly five-nine. He’s got his father’s height and smirk and my width and eyeroll.

“I found some more forests,” he says referring to land in Magic: The Gathering. He’s building decks for his friends from an old $15.00/1000 card box we got ages ago from the friendly local gaming store down on Jeffco Boulevard. “Though we still need more.”

“Some places just sell land,” I assure him as I spread my arms wide not really sure what I will get. Sometimes, it’s a headbutt. Sometimes, an awkward high five.

Tonight it is a hug and I realize I don’t wrap him anymore; he wraps me. I think his chin rests on the top of my head and he starts that tottering lumber forward like a treant that makes me hold on to him for balance lest I fall back. We laugh and I give him another tight squeeze before he squirms away to brush his teeth and finish getting ready for bed.

When he sits down on the edge of my bed to say good night to Albert, he looks less like a man and more like the little boy I once knew. He still speaks to the dog in the same baby voice as he gives him scritches behind the ears. A voice crack reminds me of who he is now and then he goes to scoop up Bella, the rat terrier/chihuahua mix we inherited from my sister when her floors just couldn’t take it anymore. Albert sleeps with me. Bella sleeps with D. He lets me kiss Bella goodnight before kissing my forehead and trotting off to bed.

He’s got his father’s hands and fears and my eyes and compassion. He’s thirteen, but he’ll always be mine.


Missed You! #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 3 (Belated)

I fell asleep!

At 7 p.m.!

And thus, I missed posting for the Slice of Life Challenge on Day 3.

I knew this would happen at some point, but it saddens me that it was soon in the month. I have no excuse except…

The soothing slate-blue bedsheets felt so perfect as I slipped into them to watch a video on my phone. My grandmother’s hand-made quilt covered the pups as they burrowed into the warmth next to me; Albert, the boxer-terrier mix, rested his boxy little head on my thigh as if demanding me not to move. How could I disappoint him by moving?

Doggos demand snuggles!

Bookended by doggos and stressed about, well, everything, I quickly passed into sleepyworld until my kid charged into my bedroom around 9 p.m.

“Do we have school tomorrow?!”

Disoriented, I grunted and muttered something to the effect of “Let me check” and then delivered the disappointing news that yes, we did have school tomorrow and he needed to get to sleep. Pouting, he stomped back out to prepare for bed and for a brief moment, I thought about grading, writing my slice of life, or playing a placement match in Overwatch, but none of them came to fruition. Sleep took hold again until my housemate dropped a plate in the kitchen around 2:30 a.m. Thanks, bro. Sleep did not find me again.

And now, I weigh the guilt of failing the challenge so early against the calming cuddles Albert and Bella soothed me with last night, and while I wish I had written before I had fallen asleep with them, I would not trade their love for much in the world.


Groceries Before Snow

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 2

The weather around here no longer fills the role of small talk. Global warming, the Illuminati, government conspiracy, or whatever else may be the cause of it doesn’t really matter. One day we have sixty degree sunshine and the next we are under winter weather advisory for snow. We’ve mastered the art of stepping out in our t-shirts to stock up for the cold and then snuggling into blankets with cups of warm cocoa for comfort twenty-four hours later.

So Friday night, two days before the threat of 5 to 7 inches, we really should have gone to the grocery store and stocked our empty refrigerator. Schnucks is open twenty-four hours and shopping at midnight is therapeutic for the introvert in me. Being productive, but also alone invigorates instead of drains. But no, we did not go, and Saturday morning we finished off the last of the breakfast sausage before dragging ourselves to the store.

With everyone else in town.

The aisles seemed narrower as we dodged and weaved for the best sales, but perhaps that was because of the parade of carts rushing down them. Most people seemed cognizant of the reason for the rush and some even smiled back over the cases of refrigerated chicken, but the urgency of shoppers sapped me slowly as I tried not to run my cart into anything–or anyone.

By the time we reached the frozen vegetables, I was standing in the middle of the aisle with my fingertips on the handle of the cart, but not feeling it. Not hearing the men arguing with their wives on the phone over the brand of pizza she thought was on sale or the metallic rattle of the carts over tiled floor. I’m not sure how long I stood there, floating in my mind above it all, before I realized I was blocking the aisle and a (thankfully nice) woman was waiting (patiently) for me to move out of the way.

Thank goodness for that nice lady and her gentle, understanding smile. Had she glared or frowned or flat out ignored me, I would have taken a devastating hit to my hit points for that trip and my dissociation could have rushed back in to numb the pain of embarrassment, but luckily, she didn’t glare or frown or ignore me. For a brief moment, she connected with me through a smile and a knowing look: I should have gone last night, too.


Dusting Off the Old to Start Anew, #sol19

Slice of Life Challenge, March 1

Starting new things has become increasingly more difficult as I have grown older. Later this month, I will be 37, and I cannot recall when I have really started something new when it came to the written word. Something new that was a creation, not a consumption. Something like this. But, I decided it was time for me to engage in something new, something creative, and something that would be shared with others.

Except, this morning, I did not realize that today was March 1, 2019, and the day that I was expecting myself to create something new after such a long hibernation of linguistic creativity. But I sat down while my students worked on their vignette blogs in the too-small, overheating computer lab and pulled my laptop across the desk and re-read what I was supposed to do.

Create a blog.

Write.

Share.

Simple enough. The liaison recommended Blogger, so I popped that open in my browser and started plunking away at the settings.

Weird. Unfamiliar. This was not my website builder. But I needed a site to finish filling out the registration forms, so, Heck it! I made a site, copied and pasted, hit submit, and immediately regretted the decision.

“No, this is what you decided to do,” I told myself and pushed the laptop away as I pushed myself away from the desk.

I sat there, hands on my knees, staring at the screen, at that unfamiliar, naked blog page, and huffed in frustration before dragging myself back to type in that old URL.

Tried three different passwords. Gasped that I haven’t posted since 2017. Quickly scanned through old posts–is this decent enough to share with such a community? And made the decision to change my original decision–copy! Paste!

Here’s a new link to an old blog, a place where I feel more at home. Share this one, please. Thank you.

I’m glad to be participating, too.


Solar

When I think of you,
My smile blossoms, delicate;
I reach for your sun.


Love Haiku

Once upon a time
My heart kept time like a waltz
Now the beat is off

June 23, 2017


When you part your hair
over your forehead like that,
my heart skips a beat.

July 12, 2017


When your face clouded
at the sight of a red dress,
I knew that I lost.

July 19, 2017