Here I Go!

Just recently found out about this Slice of Life challenge from the TwoWritingTeachers blog and thought, why not? Maybe I’m being a bit rash and not thinking it through to attempt this. Can I actually make it every day to blog? I’m not sure, but I do know I don’t set time aside for myself to write anymore and that’s just sad. Every once in awhile I’ll be asked to write something (an announcement or something else that I give fifteen minutes to because I’m helping out someone) and I truly enjoy it.

Well, pure of the moment though this may be, I’m pumped at this prospect. Now, I just gotta make myself prioritize a bit of time each day to my writing, purely for me, and I got this!

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SOL 31 March 2017

I write, have written, and am writing. I blog, have blogged and am blogging. For the month of March, mostly. Even though I am technically two days shy of doing all thirty-one days of this challenge (late bloomer; didn’t know about it till day three), I’m still psyched that I actually came up with a few good writing samples.

Do you hear that? From the mountaintops, an echo of joy resounds through the valley, across the land. Writing every day. Every. Day. In, like, a row or something. *pops gum*

The self-depreciation abounded. The triumph at pulling something out of thin air more magical than any silly rabbit from a little old top hat. The doubt. Would anyone actually read this stuff? Would anyone actually like this stuff? (They like me! They really really like me!) The emotional freefalls. Rollercoasters would have been more welcome. The procrastination. The thrill of the deadline. The satisfaction at clicking “publish.” The waiting for that first comment…

Ah, good times.

I’m not sad to see this first challenge over. Instead, I’m hoping I have the gumption to do this next year. Also, I leave this experience with expectations to keep my writing alive, that my writing shall not extinguish due to the lack of a challenge put before me. That I might actually put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and wield words once more simply because I can. Because I should. Because it fulfills me quite uniquely unlike anything else ever could.

Congrats to all who took part from the one poster to the thirty-one dayer. For to write even once is better than to not have written at all.

SOL 30 March 2017

Recently, I watched the newest version of Beauty and the Beast. A thoroughly pleasant way to spend a couple of hours lost in a good story that I have seen in many varied versions. Cartoon, live action, corny, realistic, musical, novel. It hasn’t mattered. I’ve been enthralled with the story for most of my life.

I loved the short-lived three season Beauty and the Beast with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. Perlman is not your typical leading man that makes women swoon with his looks but it was with his voice that I melted. Like liquid caramel, warm and silky as it wound its way to the eardrums. Welcomed inside and asked to stay awhile. And I envied Hamilton her part along side him. Every time I see him in a new film, I get nostalgic for the Beast I know he can be.

Easy enough to see how I can relate to a bibliophile that is misunderstood by many around her. The looks I’d get in school for *gasp* voluntarily reading a book. Not even assigned, not even for extra credit. I had a few select friends who understood my addiction and helped feed it. Distinctly, I remember in tenth grade my best friend Heather giving me for my birthday The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. My first Rice novel but not my last.

And something about the Beast also called to me. Not so much the cruelty that merited his punishment, but the disdain he was given for his looks. To find someone who could look past the outer layer that wasn’t pleasant to behold but to the inner worthiness that his exterior hid. That’s what I could and still can relate to.

I’ve been huge since puberty set in. At least that is how I’ve always felt. Large in comparison to pretty much everyone my age growing up and now as an adult. Today, however, I would kill to be a size eighteen like when I was a teenager. I was actually pretty then in comparison to now. Not this walking, talking blob.

Other than my looks, I know I’m a cool cat. My sense of humor is off the chain. I love to make people laugh. Hell, I love to laugh. Great listener, empathic, and amiable in general. But I can never see anyone getting past my tonnage for my happily ever after. Or even my hey this ain’t too shabby.

This pity party partly explains why I’d like to attempt revamping this story. Rearrange the genders. Make the woman beastly and the man the beauty. A prominent woman in the fashion field maybe. She is cursed for her disdain of anyone wearing above a size six; I’m thinking a gypsy heritage for the magical element. Goes to hide after the curse in her hometown, rural setting. Lots of room but secluded. A loyal personal assistant, an elderly wisdom archetype, comes with. Now for the male lead. A drifter in trouble. Community service as his own punishment. Fixing our beastess’ house. Ohhh, carpentry, hot summer weather, sweat, shirt off… Calm down, calm down.

I think I’ve given myself a new writing challenge. 😁

SOL 29 March 2017

Taking the long way to anywhere, everywhere just to stay outside a little bit longer. Catching the scent of sweetness from an unknown flower in breezes that enliven the spirit and make your step just a bit lighter on the ground. Legs that were tired and feet that were sore from hours of standing and walking around on unforgiving concrete floors are rejuvenated. Pain melts away as mind over matter is proven true by leaving the cavernous building with its fluorescent lights and regurgitated, enclosed air for a spring day in full swing.

Rays of sunlight at first hurt the eyes so use to artificial light. Then the warmth begins to penetrate the skin radiating down into weary muscles like fingers massaging away the kinks and knots accrued throughout the day. That heat multiplies within to the point you are the sun and the sun is you. A pleasant give and take across the expanse that divides. Pausing by the car not wanting to enter, not just yet. Eyes closed in silent worship and thanksgiving.

Then windows down trying to bring some of that essence into the car for the ride home. A little under the speed limit so to safely look around. Enjoy this now, be this now. Trees budding, birds flitting about, clouds proudly contrasting with an azure field that tempts one’s gaze again and again. Oh, to taste that blue in every inhalation. Tendrils of purity gliding and filling the diaphragm, pause…hold…releasing doubts, releasing stress, releasing constraints.

Thoughts slowing down.

Quieting down.

Still.

Calm.

 

SOL 28 March 2017

Bottling anger is bad for your health and can even shorten your life expectancy. Getting out your anger can even extend your life by a good two years. I recently watched a video that had this information (Intelligence for Your Life podcast). Sooo, since I like living in general, there is something I have to get off my chest.

I have a couple of students who, with all the skill and cunning of a cat burglar, have crept under my skin and currently and almost daily but definitely weekly irritate some of my more sensitive nerves. Juniors that have more apathy towards life in general and school in particular seem to congregate in my fourth block class. My school has a technical program that runs adjacent to the main school. The teachers there do not teach fourth block, so those students who are more apt to go straight into the workforce take their core classes at the end of the day. Hence my fourth block class consisting of twenty-one boys and three girls. Don’t rag on me for stereotyping. It’s been consistently this way for about eight years now.

Most of my students try. Those who don’t get the talking to about consequences. Some are fine with repeating eleventh grade English again. Some have time on their side and are simply waiting for their age to meet the law’s requirement for dropping out. Regardless of the path each student chooses, I will help each one whenever they decide they want it even at the last second. But there are some students that would try Saint Teresa’s patience and drive the Dalai Lama to drink. Some students that deserve a t-shirt made in their honor. “I survived teaching” and then the student’s picture. I think I’ve come up with a plausible side business.

Have you ever been glad someone didn’t show up for work because it meant your day would go smoother? The lack of a certain individual’s presence can be like the sun breaking through the stormy clouds and what once looked like a torrential down pour heading your way will now be picnic weather. The kind worthy of skipping through a field of daisies if any daisy fields were handy.

I have found myself time and time again searching the attendance email for certain names. When those names appear, I’m grateful. When they are lacking, dread settles in the pit of my stomach. What fresh new hell shall I weather today? Or will it be a repeat, a goody but oldy annoyance that I’ll be enduring today?

Most of all though, I sometimes get really tired, I mean down to the marrow of my bones exhausted, of being an adult. Being a professional. Taking the high road when dealing with certain kids. Treating them as respectfully as I can without coming off as phony when sometimes they don’t deserve a drop, a speck, a molecule of it. I do the mantra that they’re children, but it’s a hard pill to swallow when I’m dealing with young adults barely a year away from entering the real world.

Okay, I feel a bit better. Try though they might, I shall not allow these kids to drive me to an early grave. Early retirement on the other hand is very doable.

 

SOL 27 March 2017

Paperwork. Is there anything worse than paperwork? Yes. Of course there is! War, famine, drought, laundry, people who like to tell you the same stories twice and you feel obligated to act interested so as not to offend, but I digress.

Some people believe in an afterlife. There’s a pleasant place and a not so pleasant place. The latter is what worries me as I have this belief that it shall be tailor made for each individual. Mine shall contain an “in” box and an “out” box. The in box will have papers piled so far into the ether I will not be able to see the top.

Diligently I shall toil through paper, after paper. An administrator with a clipboard will come by periodically checking off boxes. Sometimes this admin will leave new items that must be done immediately and the in box and its contents will have to wait. If this were a video game, I’d be in a bonus level.

A time limit shall be imposed on these new tasks. A clock that is the wall behind me shall begin the gonging of each second. The reverberations will course through my body as I attempt to beat the deadline. A shadow shall edge closer and closer as my mini game during this level comes to its close. I will fail and the derision on my admin’s face with puckered lips and gleeful eyes will mark an X on the clip board and my usual toil shall resume. But I know, this will happen again and again with no warning. It is the norm here.

Sisyphus was lucky with his rock.

SOL 26 March 2017

I’m at a loss. I fumble in a sea of words with no purpose, no destination, no theme, heck even no topic to pull them all together.

The clock keeps ticking and yet nothing. All day various ideas have popped into my head to write about but nothing gets past a few lines before I’m dead in the water, floundering.

My weekend happened. I was delusional about my productiveness as usual. Papers to be graded got to go on vacation from my work desk to my house. They’ll be going back to said work desk without getting touched. It gets stuffy in that classroom that even piles of work should be allowed a reprieve. Even convicts get so much time outside during incarceration. A change of scenery if you will.

The internet sucked up some of my time as it is want to do. Found a meme that described my day well. Paraphrased: I’m going to be as useless as the G in lasagna. And I was. I took up space like that G but little else.

SOL 25 March 2017

My car hates me and is in collusion with the auto parts store. I also think my mechanic is getting kickbacks to stay quiet.

How else to explain going back twice to get the same thing fixed? Not once, not twice, but three bloody times!

Catalytic converter replaced. Issues persist. Testing was done. Oh, yeah, we put the wrong part on it. Come spend a couple hours to get it fixed again. No charge; it was our fault. I had nothing to do that Saturday anyway, like sleep in. It’s cool; whatever.

Fix a belt. It comes loose as I’m exiting the interstate. The steering goes all wonky. Call mechanic. Explanation given. He actually wants me to drive it home because I can still get it started. With an assertive tone of voice, I not so patiently explain how I value my life and do not wish to drive when I can barely steer. He’ll call back once he figures out what to do. Get it towed. Get chauffeured home by driver’s education kid. I know the instructor. Find out the belt was off by one little bit. No charge. Just no car for a day.

Coolant leak equals bad water pump. Replaced. Two weeks later, start to see that same little puddle again everywhere I park. No, it can’t be. It just can’t. Yep, bad water pump. Another Saturday, late to bed early to rise to get it changed again. Bring lots of material to keep my mind occupied. Oh, we replaced that belt again. It had some coolant on it. No charge. Consolation prize, yippee!

Zombies are more lively than I am at eight o’clock on a Saturday. I think I arghed at a few of the mechanics. My memory is fuzzy. I try my best to see as little of the A.M. as possible on Saturdays.

My paranoia is growing. I’m constantly checking to see if a new light pops up telling me I’ll have to go back. Is there someone watching my car right this minute? Is it tagged? Someone is watching me on a screen somewhere and I’m a little bleep on the screen. They’ll know when I’m near, push a button and there my transmission will go. I know they’re just waiting for me to get my tax refund. They want it; the mechanic, the auto place store.

Do you hear that? I think my car is laughing at me. Or is that mocking?

SOL 24 March 2017

My bags are packed

both physical and mental

I’ve had my fill today.

Running on empty

never enough sleep

hurryhurryhurry

same ol’ same ol’

faces, excuses, annoyances galore

groans, remarks either silly or snide

Ah, something different,

fists fly.

Help comes running;

two young boys with delusions that they’re men

escorted away.

Gossip mill begin your thing.

Thumbs and dexterity plus a good signal

then the lips whisper the news.

Less than five minutes,

impressive.

Finally escape for everyone looms

the weekend seconds away.

But I’ll never forget

the look on his face

as his anger screamed from his hands

clenched and crunching again and again.

 

SOL 23 March 2017

Technology is a blessing. Technology is a curse. Teaching classes at a school that has started this semester with a 1:1 initiative is slowly adding to my insanity. The abuse is rampant.

Before I just had to deal with phones. The constant battle of wills between teacher and student. Student- when and where to bring out phone; hiding places, behind or inside purse/backpack, inside hat, over to the side, between the legs, peeking out the hoodie pocket. Teacher- when to take, when to let it slide, when to give the evil eye, roll the eyes, count to ten, breathing exercises, calming mantras.

I’ve heard of paint used in offices of corporations that block signals for the cell phone. There are studies on the amount of time lost and money lost while employees are using cell phones or online for personal use. I want that paint. It doesn’t need to coat the entire school. Just the classrooms. The hallways, office, cafeteria, etc. will all have a signal. But not the classroom. Just last week I had a student ask if he could answer his phone because his father was calling him. In class. During the school day. In my class.

Now I have Chromebooks to manage. Yeah! Videos and games and various other pursuits all not related to school or the content of my class seem to be constant. There is now a new game of the quickest draw. While I walk around the room, monitoring as one does, students get to see how quickly they can close or minimize a window before I see their screens. I want the see through screens of the future where I can easily see at a glance who is doing what and where. I want the technology that costs a fortune where I can monitor each screen easily from my own computer.

A new school club needs to be formed. I shall call it S.T.O.P. It is a support group for those afflicted with Sad Technology Obsession Problem. For those who can’t stop themselves from abusing technology while in a setting where it is known people shouldn’t be using their various electronic devices. School, work, restaurants, church, funerals, driving, etc. We’ll craft it based on Alcoholics Anonymous steps. They seem to be used and modified quite often for any addiction out there these days. But with technology, we need to get them while they are young. It’s harder to train those old dogs. A forced time to be unplugged. It will be a cleansing time for all.

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