Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And then they cheered...

I imagine that life is made of little moments that probably mean little except to those they happen too. Today was a moment. I was exhausted...throw down, cry in the bathroom, close your eyes at recess while you're supposed to monitoring the 3rd graders, I can't possibly survive without a Dr. Pepper, I'm not sure how I can make it through one more teaching minute...exhausted. I am ashamed to say, but I was counting down until the end of the day and then it happened.

The last 45 minutes of my day consists of a class called ELD where I am supposed to help students increase their English Lanuage Development. Kids come from other 3rd grade classrooms to visit mine. They line up outside my door and wait to be invited in. When I went to invite them to come in, one of the girls said, "Are you teaching us again today?" "Yep," I said, half expecting something snarky to follow, but instead all the kids in the line cheered. They cheered! Then, I felt like crying for a different reason entirely.

It was a good moment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Friday Five--Summer Edition...

Summer is the most wonderful season of the year. It isn't my favorite season. Fall holds the favorite position. Still, summer holds a very close second. In the hope that the weather will soon be changing, and all this winter drear will be behind us, this Friday's Five is dedicated to the reasons I am looking forward to June.

1. Sunshine. Is there a greater feeling than turning your face to the sun and feeling its warm breath on your eyelids and hair?

2. Flip-flops, Chacos, and other open toe bliss. My feet are aching to be freed from socks and sneakers. I can't wait to start working on distinctive and wonderful criss-crossed tan lines.

3. Road trips. This summer's line up includes the Northwest coast, Montana, Idaho (Redfish), maybe South Dakota, and possibly a cross country trip that includes me, a box of dishes, a box of bedding, and several boxes of books...destination to be determined.

4. Ireland. My mom, sister, and I are going for a graduation trip. I CANNOT WAIT!!!

5. The summer reading list. Usually, I make a list of books to read over the summer, while I am enjoying all the things listed above. Last summer, I had very little reading time. This summer I will have loads. If you have reading suggestions, add them below. Again, I CANNOT WAIT!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Joining the society...

I am currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is a little gem of a book and I highly recommend it to anyone with any spare time. It is written in letters, which is lovely if you only have a few minutes to read at the end of the day. It is well written and heart warming. In fact, I have caught myself unintentionally smiling while reading it, which is always a good sign. I am about halfway through, so I can't say what the rest will be, but if the end is anything like the beginning, then I expect more loveliness and smiles to follow.

As a side note, I miss reading. My time for recreational reading has been significantly limited over the last year. It is almost like being seperated from an old, and dear, friend. I moved to the basement several weeks ago and was finally able to unpack my books from storage. They have been boxed away for almost two years. A friend came to help me unpack and she kept laughing because I was smiling at the books and touching them affectionately. She said that every few minutes, she would hear a contented sigh. I accept this willingly. My books are one of my joys and I missed them.

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to there perfect readers." I have a story about that too, but it is a story for a different day. Happy reading, friends!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This bed of lists...

I am a woman of quiet fears.
I mask them effectively with confidence
and a life filled with too much to do.
I do it so I can keep breathing.
So I am not consumed.
So I can move along silent and content.
So I can continue to remain wonderfully anonymous in this wide and full world.

I can feel it floating beneath my breathing,
beneath my busy and carefully planned life,
beneath this smile and quiet.
I can feel it seering inside my chest,
my cheeks,
the open palms of my hands,
the soles of my feet.

My fear is wanting:
a dream or a wish or a life I may never have.
A fear that keeps me from what I want.
I am afraid.
I will lose it or push it away.
I will be hurt,
or consumed,
or broken against the quiet of this contented smile.

I fill my bed with lists.
Plans carefully crafted in my slanted hand,
written and erased,
written again.
I look busy quietly breathing,
but underneath the quiet,
I feel consumed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Friday Five...

I haven't had the time or will to post this week, but now I feel a little sad that there is not a post between this Friday and the last. I will move on and commit to do better in the future...probably.

Five things I cannot live without or in other words MY FIVE FAVES:

1. Books.

2. Yarn and needles.

3. Music.

4. NPR, specifically This American Life and the music segments.

5. The friends and family who make my life beautiful and valuable.

It's funny how, when you think about it, the little things in a life are the things that matter the most. So simple, but genius really.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Friday Five...

Today's addition is dedicated to the wonderful world of poetry. Namely the poets whose work has changed me in some. Consequently, they are my favorites.

1. Mary Oliver. Her poem Wild Geese is one of the most beautiful things ever written. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to you imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things. One her lines has been running through my head a lot recently and I am left asking what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

2. Adrienne Rich. If you like poetry at all, read Rich. She is a genius. I discovered her in anthology and instantly wanted more. To fill the need I went to a local bookstore's poetry shelves. I found Dream of a Common Language and was left crying in the stacks. Her work is that beautiful. ...Within two miles of this Pacific rounding this long bay, sheening light for miles/ inland, floating its fog through redwood rifts and over/ strawberry and artichoke fields, its bottomless mind/ returning always to the same rocks, the same cliffs,/ with everchanging words, always the same language/--this where I live now. If you had known me/ once, you'd still know me now though in a different/ light and life. This is no place you ever knew me.

3. Walt Whitman. His poems more than any others have shaped my own poetry. He taught me the importance of the little things, the beauty of the everyday.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

4. W. B. Yeats. Reading his work was when I first learned the power of poetry. I balanced all, brought all to mind./ The years to come seemed waste of breath,/ a waste of breath, the years behind/ in balance with this life, this death.

5. Louise Gluck. Her poetry is desperate and beautiful. It is grief and longing and shadows, glimpsed raw and then quietly healed.

When I woke up I was in a forest. The dark
seemed natural, the sky through the pine trees
thick with many lights.

I knew nothing; I could do nothing but see.
And as I watched, all the lights of heaven
faded to make a single thing, a fire
burning through the cool firs.
Then it wasn't possible any longer
to stare at heaven and not be destroyed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Knitting socks...

Given my hectic schedule, I have very little time to knit. It is a sad reality for me as I love knitting. It is sanity in an increasingly insane world. It is balm and beauty, isolated industry, calmness and quiet. Next to reading, it is the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I miss it.

In my knitting history, I have a plethera of projects; an abundance of scarves and hats and blankets and wraps and a single sweater. I also have several lone socks whose match was never knit, never even started. It is sad really...pairs of one sock who remain unmatched. I am told it is a common ailment among knitters. They even have a name for it: "One Sock Syndrome" or if you like abbreviations, then "OSS." Sometimes it is known as "One Mitten Syndrome" or "One Slipper Syndrome." No one knows the cause, but I think it has something to do with finishing something only to knit the exact same thing again. It seems a bit redundant. Perhaps my OSS is the residual effect of writing, where repetition is frowned upon. I just can't bring myself to repeat knit.

In light of this problem, as well as the hole in my kitting history, I have committed to make a pair of socks...a whole pair...both socks. In order to be successful, I choose a tube sock pattern so their would no horrible heal gusset, and a lovely buttercup yellow yarn, that looks just like spring. The first sock was started last night and is moving along well. The second sock should be on the needles shortly.

I am sure their is a life lesson in this story somewhere. Maybe it is as simple as this...sometimes in life we have to do repeats. Real life is full redundancies and maybe making a pair of socks...a whole pair...shows the gumption required to make a goal, pick a pattern, add something beautiful, and work until it gets done. That in itself is balm and beauty, isolated industry, and a perfect way to spend a life.
*Image borrowed from Google.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

News from Tuesday...

It has been good day. I was officially invited to the final interviews for Teach for America. This is very exciting because it means I get to skip two in between steps. I feel pretty confident about being placed...as long as I don't blow the interview. Things are looking good and looking forward.

In the glow of the news, I feel happy and excited. I have to decide my region and grade preferences by March 23rd, which is proving to be very stressful. I would feel better if I could just turn my fate to the fates and say whatever is supposed to be will be. It is the personal input part that is causing me trouble. The region choices I initially listed were New York, Boston, and San Antonio, but I can change any of them if I want too. The grade preference is the easy choice, K to 3rd, and I am hoping for Kindergarten. Dear friends, Dear fate, Dear Father help me choose and give any input you think would help in the decision.