Friday, February 29, 2008

i am thinking of your voice

I did some coursework last night in which the topic was schemas.  In the world of psychology, a schema is a mental construct, an idea of one's own self or of others that helps organize one's way of understanding people and relationships.  When people behave in ways that don't fit with the schema we have developed for them, we tend to either rationalize to make the behaviour fit, or else discard the new information we have received.  Changing schemas is difficult, far more difficult than making things fit, and it's one of the objectives of the learning theory of psychology.

When I read this, I immediately thought of N, my student teacher, for whom I am afraid I may have too-quickly developed an opinion of who he is and what he's all about.

Today I determined that I would attempt to do away with the negatives that I have both been told by other teachers, witnessed myself, and extrapolated in my own evil imagination.  A new day in which I would honestly and without bias, observe.

That's not an easy thing to do and it took some sharp internal reminders when I heard the inner voice being sarcastic.  But in the end, I'd have to say it worked to some degree.

It worked enough for me to extend some extra time after school helping him to prepare for Monday's classes.  It worked enough for me to try and gather up some empathy and help him to create his own desk space to work in and take some ownership of the class.  It even worked enough for me to listen to him tell me a very long story that seemed to have no discernible point.

I want to be the kind of person who can see progress and evolution, not one who remains trapped in the past.  I'm going to remind myself to help him improve while still remembering to spotlight what he's already capable of.


look away

It occurs to me now that when the picture of my eye first disappeared and then reappeared, this was probably the hosting site getting ready to take it down for good.  Perhaps they wanted me to realise they really meant business and so when they briefly returned my image, I was probably supposed to feel grateful enough to quickly capture it and put it somewhere else.  Of course I didn't do that - and now I think it's gone for good this time.  Drat.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

better learn how to kneel

There was a girl who purchased a box of slides at a garage sale.  She wanted the box, not the slides, but the sale included both and so she took them.  And then found a surprising joy in looking at the slides:  other people's surprise birthday parties, ladies in old fashioned swimsuits and bathing caps.  Someone laughing by the mailbox.  A puppy.  Children playing on the lawn.  She projected them on her bedroom wall and stared at them while she lay recovering from her nausea.

Sometimes other people's special memories can be special to anyone.  It's the same thing as the old postcards in Banff.  The pictures are lovely but it's the messages I like the most.  I always look for the ones signed, Love.

That girl who spent the afternoon with someone else's memories, I have spent some time looking for her and it turns out I can't find her.  I am concerned, of course, that she has died.  She was in palliative care with spinal cancer. 

But disappearance takes an effort on the part of someone who is alive.  Dead people don't pick up and hide all evidence of their existence before they go.  So the fact she has vanished so completely might be a good sign.  I hope so.

I want to hear her voice again.  I want to see her slides.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

love changes everything (everything)

I am gathering student-written scripts for the one act play festival I want to put on in May.  Today a student handed in a short play and asked me to read it and tell her whether I would allow her to enter it.  My goal is to have as many student-written pieces as possible, and to have students do much of the direction too.  I was excited to receive a script from this girl, a girl who previously showed no real inclination to attempt any writing.  

I brought it home to read and found it odd, containing both vocabulary and themes that seemed unrealistically sophisticated for a tenth-grade student.  I began to ask myself whether the girl could be more gifted than I'd ever given her credit for.  Did I have a young prodigy in my program?  Exciting, that prospect.  And further proof that there is often more to people than what is readily obvious.

But sometimes I'm a cynic.  It only took one search word to find the website from which she'd downloaded the play, and the author whose work she'd grabbed - and not only grabbed, but messed with by changing the climactic poetry at the end to a rap song.  Goddamn it.

No prodigy.  No script.  And on top of the disappointment now I have to have a conversation with this girl about plagiarism.  Blech.


PS:  I have plagiarized almost every single blog entry title from the first one forward.  But when the original title was a love ballad I always refrained from rapping to it.  For the record.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

But I should have told you, Vincent (This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.)

As much as reading helps me to determine and define things about myself, it also helps me to figure out who I am not.  There's more useful in that than I would have thought.


Monday, February 25, 2008

let me go on

The tourists have arrived on the boardwalk and are drinking beer as they stroll up and down cursing loudly in front of small children and old ladies indiscriminately. 


Sunday, February 24, 2008

rest his head on a pillow made of concrete

I put up a bird feeder in the backyard yesterday afternoon.  The salesperson at the store told me that it might take a few days for the birds to find it and start using it.  I also got a squirrel feeder because all the information I'd read about feeding wild birds said that squirrels will steal all the food unless one does one of two things, either: feed the squirrels something they like more than bird seed (peanuts or corn); or, get one of those magical squirrel-proof feeders that causes the squirrels to fall off when they try to eat from it.  I opted for the friendly approach and got the squirrels a treat that is made of cornmeal pressed into a cylinder that looks corn on the cob.  I put it up in a tree on one side of the yard, and the bird feeder on the other side.

I haven't seen any squirrels yet (but I think the squirrels in this neighbourhood are extremely well-fed judging by the number of peanut shells we find in the yard every day) but the bird feeder has been a smash hit.  It didn't take a few days or even a few hours.  As soon as I walked away from it, birds arrived.  I chose a type of seed that has many different kinds mixed together, and this is supposed to result in the greatest variety in types of birds who will use it.  It's fascinating to watch the ones with the little black heads (I think they are chickadees) who sift through the mix to find the black oil sunflower seeds and throw the rest on the ground.  This is a happy situation for the ground feeding birds who like to pick up whatever falls.
Because the bird feeder is on a tree near the kitchen window I can sit and watch them in the mornings while I have coffee.  Things like this that used to make me think my parents were the nerdiest people on the planet have become some of the greatest pleasures.   


Friday, February 22, 2008

left my shadow waiting down the road for me awhile

We both called in sick today; my first non-sick sick day since I started this job in September.  It was so much fun it made me think we should do it far more often.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tomorrow's going to be fun.  Sshhh... don't tell our bosses.  

Not many ways out of this cold northern town

My first year of teaching, in 1997, was exhausting.  Aside from teaching Drama, the only area where I knew what I was doing, I was also required to teach English, Psychology, Health, and  Information Processing.  I was perpetually stressed out.

One afternoon at the end of the school day, I walked around the room woefully picking up scraps of paper and wondering why I had chosen this career when a dejected looking boy entered the room and cleared his throat to get my attention.

"Oh hi, Justin," I said.


There was a long pause during which we stared at each other.  Finally I broke the silence.

"Did you need something?"

"Yeah, you gave me a detention.  Remember?"

I thought about that.  I didn't remember.  

"Not really," I finally admitted.  "What did you do?"

"I dunno."

"Seriously?  Why did I give you a detention?"

"I have no idea."

I didn't doubt his sincerity.  I was a new teacher, prone to inconsistency and bouts of ridiculous strictness to compensate for being too lax most of the time.  It was entirely possible I'd given him a detention for something I'd only perceived he'd done wrong, and the fact that he'd even turned up for the detention at all seemed indicative of a certain degree of honesty.

I told him to go home.  How could I punish him without either of us knowing why?

What I've learned since 1997 is that detentions are NOT a useful way for me to torture kids.  I don't have a good enough memory to keep track of detentions, so it is necessary for me to do all my torturing on the spot.  When I tell my students that I don't hold grudges and they get a fresh start with me every single day, it's not because I'm the Queen of Zen.  It's because my brain is defective.  


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

things to lose, things to take

My Punjabi lesson for today - with phonetic spellings:
-- my nose ring is called "koko"
-- crazy = "boolay-boolay"

My grade eight boys are so delighted when I try to speak Punjabi that I find it irresistible.  They are overcome with merriment when I struggle to make sounds that my mouth can't make and absolutely roll with laughter when I get things bassackwards.   The fact that they enjoy it so much makes me want to do it even though I know I'm making an ass of myself.  Heehee.


My student teacher is really odd.  He's started following me around the room while I'm teaching, walking almost on my heels as I move around the room talking with students.  There's part of me that feels irritated and wants to snap at him to back off and give me some space... and there's another part that is feeling real empathy for someone who doesn't know how to behave in a new situation.

I was discussing this with our school coordinator today, the woman whose job it is to organize our school's participation in the student teacher program, and mentioned that unfortunately, this student teacher isn't the first one I've had who has had some very strange social behaviour.  Half-seriously,  I told her it makes sense since Drama is often where us social misfits find a loving home.  And she said, "So how did you turn out so normal?"

I told her I'm not normal, just a better actor than many of many colleagues.  She laughed hard at this, but I think it's actually at least partially true.  I feel compelled, sometimes, to behave in ways that I know aren't normal.  Most of these compulsions are anti-social, like the desire to stay home instead of going out to social events.  Or wanting to eat lunch alone in my classroom instead of in the staff room.  Or sitting in a loud chatty group of people and being unable to open my mouth to say a word because I am so overwhelmed by the noise and voices.  It's just that I recognize these feelings as being slightly "off", and can force myself to act against what I want to do and choose to do what "normal" people do instead.  So it doesn't mean that I AM normal; it just means that I know how to act normal.


I hurt my finger today when I somehow cracked my hand against a door frame.  At first I was afraid it was broken, but after a bit of time I found myself able to move it and all those things you're not supposed to be able to do with a broken bone.  Now I think it's just a sprain... but it hurts like hell and I don't think there's much I can do except wait for it to heal on its own.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

morning fields of amber grey

Definitely feels like spring.  I am thinking I will be want to start walking to work again soon.  I wonder if the slugs are out yet.


My student teacher is a bit of a dud and I'm not sure what to do with him.  It's one thing to teach teaching strategies, and another thing entirely to teach social skills, especially when it comes to working with adults.  I find it difficult and awkward to tell an adult man how to behave in ways that won't make him seem like such an oaf.  I got better at these kinds of discussions while working at the university and I'm hoping I can find some ways to get through to him; the other teacher I share him with is not too happy about him either.


I almost fell for a scam last night when some guy who wanted to buy my bracelet (the one I won) asked me to go through an escrow service to protect both our rights in the transaction.  I was almost about to agree to it when I decided to just check quickly what the selling site advised about use of escrows, and found that the service the guy was asking for wasn't approved.  When I asked him to use one of the approved escrow services he suddenly lost interest in the bracelet.  This was all enough to make me wonder.... but I was absolutely positive he was trying to scam me when I received an identical email, the same word for word, even with the same spelling mistakes, making an offer on the bracelet - from yet another address.  I'm glad I stopped a moment to think and double check before falling into that trap.  I've become distrustful of online "stuff" and I think it's a good thing.  If the bracelet doesn't sell, we want to give it to Shawn's stepmom.   If I'd gone for this scam, not only would I have lost the money for the bracelet, but also the fake "escrow fees" and the cost of shipping and insuring the shipment.  Wow...  I reported the situation to the site management, but I worry that someone else is going to get screwed in the meantime.


My students are trying to teach me to speak Punjabi.  They get me to say things and then scream with laughter when I mispronounce the words.  Today while trying to tell one of my students that he was acting like a "monkey", I actually told him he was acting like a "blender".

Now "blender" has become a big insult in my class.  They keep saying, "Hey, quit being such a blender!" to each other.  It's wonderful.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

we've got all the time in the world

The weather has turned abruptly springlike.  J says the flowering purple thing in our yard is an azalea, but having looked at pictures of other azalea plants, I'd have to say I don't think that's what it is.  I have no idea what it might be, however.  I just can't believe it exists in February in the first place.

We let the puppies outside for the first time this season, and they were predictably delighted to be charging through the mud and eating leaves and pulling up moss.  Their rampage was slightly terrifying because they were so excited that they ran so fast I truly feared them having a head-on collision that would result in serious injury.  Fortunately everyone made it back inside safely, and D managed to bring an enormous clump of moss in his teeth, with thick crumbly black dirt attached.  He chose to do this, of course, immediately after I vacuumed the living room floor.

With the house vacuumed (twice) and filled with fresh air from outside and the windows letting in bright sunshine, today seems optimistic about its future.  


Saturday, February 16, 2008

now face west

We had big plans today to do several household chores as well as some shopping, but things got derailed the way they often do when outside forces insist on poking their ugly needle noses into our bubble.  So with the bubble popped, we abandoned the plan and satisfied ourselves with simply finding some lunch.  We drove to the sea and had lunch on the coast at a place that was once an old boathouse, then walked along the beach at low tide.  We meandered down the shoreline for what seemed like forever - reading the messages other people had scraped into the sand.  Sandy loves John forever.  I put pebbles in my pocket, washed smooth and round by the sea.


Friday, February 15, 2008

if you are confused check with the sun

Yay for Friday.  It's my favourite day, when the whole weekend still lies ahead, no part yet wasted.  My book club book arrived today (Three Cups of Tea) and I celebrated its arrival by forgetting it on my desk at school, which means that this weekend I will read, instead, my psychology textbook.  A Hundred Years of Solitude has slowly disappeared beneath the bed and will probably spend a hundred years in solitude under there.  I give up.  Again.  (This is only temporary, I want to believe.)  B also lent me Middlesex, which she says she enjoyed; I don't know B well enough to know if I will like the same things she does, but the fact that she didn't like The Kiterunner or A Thousand Splendid Suns doesn't bode well.  

I've finished the first two chapters of the textbook and I hope that by the time the course officially starts, I'll be ready to write some of the tests.  


There are a lot of things that Should Be Done this weekend, like laundry and dishes (damn my kitchenlessness to hell) and grocery shopping.  And things that I want to do too, like going back to the gallery to look at stone bears (if I can convince Shawn to come with me) and going walking by the sea if the rain lets up.  

The weather has been strangely springlike the last few days, and there's a prickly bushy thing in the back yard that has begun to blossom with tiny purple flowers.  Where am I?  Things blossom in February here?  I've also noticed that it's not nearly so dark at 6:00 as it used to be a short while ago.  All in all, it feels like May back on the prairies.  I still can't believe this is where we live.


My parents phoned earlier this week to wish Shawn a belated happy birthday, ashamed that they'd somehow forgotten to call at the right time.  Shawn, being the sort of guy he is, really wasn't bothered when they didn't call, but enjoyed teasing them about it afterward.  I like that he gets along with them so well; I'm feeling rather resolved not to go visiting without him ever again.

They have plans to come here in the summer to visit us as well as some other friends of theirs who live on the coast.  By summer we should have completed our sailing course and be ready to take them out sailing for a day.  Sometimes Shawn gets wistful and dreams aloud of buying a big sailboat to live on in our retirement.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

leave enough room for heart #2 and maybe some text

Wow, today was long.  I felt like I was sleepwalking through most of it.  Fortunately, the morning classes were pretty bleary-eyed themselves and didn't require too much from me.  By afternoon I was half-awake  but the assignment I gave them the previous day was kind of weird (even for me) and watching the weirdness that ensued as a result was hard on my brain.  I couldn't make any sense of what they were saying or doing, sort of like being caught in a never-ending too-much-food-close-to-bedtime dream.


Speaking of dreams, I dreamed of Yvette last night.  I know I was thinking about her yesterday, specifically about a conversation we once had in which I was trying to convince her that her weight wasn't something she should be so concerned about, and she got angry with me and asked me, if I could, would I trade bodies with her?  If it really didn't matter so much, would I trade?  I remember thinking about that seriously, suddenly , where before it just been words, suddenly I really thought about what it would feel like to switch, how my life would be different in her shoes.  And I realised I couldn't really answer her question after all, because I wouldn't switch.  Life would be so much harder.  She made me see it more clearly.

I don't remember the dream I had last night, but I remember that Yvette was angry with me again, the way she often was.  And like always, there was nothing I could do about it.


Valentines Day.  I broke the rules a little bit (we don't buy stuff) by picking up some wine and sweeties ... but I think he will be pleased.  When I offered to make dinner, he asked if we could order pizza instead (a true testament to my astonishing culinary abilities) so our plan for the night is to stay home, eat, drink and snuggle by the fireplace.  Of course, any true romance will be interrupted by overly affectionate puppies... but that's good stuff.  


location near you

Weird.  My eye came back.  I wonder how that happened.  


So tired.  It's Thursday morning before work and I'm wishing I could stay home today but haven't planned ahead to allow it.  Staying home is so difficult when you're a teacher.  Valentines Day today.  Shawn and I don't really do much for most of these kind of events because we tend to do special things when we feel like it anyway, so there just isn't any reason to feel compelled to squash into a restaurant with hundreds of other people, trying to create the same magical moment they are on a specific day.  But at the very least, I think I'll try to make him a nice dinner tonight or something like that.  


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

i will try not to sing out of key

Oops, I forgot about the fact that the server that held my profile picture was shutting down.  I'm not sure I saved my eyeball anywhere else... so maybe I'll need to find a new picture?  Or maybe I don't care that I don't have a picture.


I'm supposed to be going for dinner with some women from work and I'm having trouble convincing myself to bother going.  It's so difficult once I get home to leave again.  I get all snuggled up with the pups, looking forward to Shawn coming home, and the idea of leaving just doesn't make sense.  On the other hand, it's my first invitation and if I skip out, they may not invite me again.  So what do I really want here?  I want to be able to split myself in half so one Lisa can be here with the family and the other one can go and be sociable.  Well, while I'm splitting myself anyway, I may as well go in thirds so another one can go to the gym and work out for me.


We made it to the gym yesterday, which I didn't expect.  In an effort to ensure I would go even if Shawn changed his mind, I went immediately after school.  When Shawn got home in the evening and said he wanted to go after all, I didn't want to discourage him, so I went a second time.  First time I did cardio, second time weights.  It was a good day for exercise.


I had a terrible sleep last night, thanks to three insane dogs who seemed to feel that they would like to start a marching band that would run through the middle of the bed every fifteen minutes or so for several hours.  All night long it seemed there was an endless parade of tails, feet, and tongues making their way across my face.  Sigh.  Sometimes I don't know what's wrong with us, letting these pups into our bed.  In between marching band sets, Shawn filled the silence with snoring.  (Sometimes I don't know what's wrong with me, letting this man into my bed.)  Tonight I am hoping I can get to bed earlier and get some rest.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

i've been a fool playing dumb

The cabinet installer never turned up and we don't know what happened to him.  Hopefully he's just forgetful and nothing bad happened.  


The boat show wasn't what we expected at the beginning because the downtown centre was filled with nothing but powerboats and what interested us was really just sailboats.  Eventually we found out that we could take a shuttle down to the harbour to look at the sailboats that were all on the water.  That was more fun than looking in the building anyway.

So we went to the harbour and spent the afternoon snooping around inside various sailboats of all different styles and sizes.  I don't really know anything about sailing yet, but looking at them was fun, kind of like looking at show homes.  I found it hard to imagine that T actually lived on a boat for two years of his life.  Even the biggest ones are small when you compare them to living in a house.  And yet, I can definitely understand the appeal of it, especially to a single person.

We decided to sign up for sailing lessons so we could learn how to crew a boat properly (and legally) ourselves without needing an instructor with us.  This will allow us to rent a sailboat on weekends and travel the Gulf Islands and other places like that - though I think there are limitations about travelling on "open seas" - which is fine with me anyway.  The classes start in May.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

how could I ever forget?

My Abnormal Psychology class is so interesting that I am devouring the textbook.  One Hundred Years of Solitude is abandoned once again.  I especially like the book on Case Studies.  Yesterday's case study was O.J. Simpson, an interesting case indeed.  While the whole legal/trial aspect of his life story never particularly interested me, his psychological case history is fascinating. 


The cabinet installer is coming here this morning to finally add the last missing door to our cupboards (he had to fix one that was scratched).  After that we are going to the Boat Show with Shawn's Dad and stepmom.  I made the mistake, once, of blurting out that I wanted a sailboat (this after several glasses of wine) and suddenly all of them are dying to go look at boats and imagine what life would be like with one.  

Shawn and his father are both very excited by stuff - big screen tv, cars, electronics, etcetera etcetera, and I've been growing increasingly bewildered by the ever-growing piles of stuff finding their way into our home and lives.  I don't think I care about stuff in the same way.  Not that I can't appreciate nice things, and I have been really enjoying planning out the new kitchen... but I guess I mean I don't really care about whether I watch tv on a small set or a 50 inch plasma... or whether my furniture is solid wood or plasterboard.  Shawn does care about these things.  Sometimes it makes me feel a little panicked when he wants to buy and buy and buy stuff... because I've always been a cautious spender.  And he tends to believe in enjoying what one has.  Not that he's reckless or stupid with money, I think it's me who is too careful.  

But I think a line needs to be drawn in the water here.  No boat.  


Friday, February 08, 2008

too bad (too bad) that you're not as smart as you thought that you were in the first place

All the district Drama teachers met after school today to talk about local issues and stuff.  These meetings, hilarious as they may be, are also overwhelming to me.  I have a really hard time being with twenty raucous adults who all want to be the centre of attention at the same time.  It's exhausting, and unlike when I'm with the students, I can't tell them to cram it for a minute and let each other talk.  The meetings, though optional, are kind of important in terms of making connections and being part of what's happening with theatre education in the district.  At the same time I find them aggravating beyond belief.


When I think about being "little" for real, I mostly remember my grandfather, with whom I was truly little and wasn't supposed to try and act mature and set an example, with whom being little was a good thing and not something I was supposed to hurry up and try to grow out of.  My grandfather wanted to play - or at least, he made it seem as though he did - so I wasn't self-conscious about being little as though being little was a liability.  

He liked taking me for walks, and at the end of our walks there was always a candy store or a popsicle stand or some sort of treat.  I can remember walking with him through the neighbourhood to the Mac's store for candy and then realising, together, that we didn't know our way home.  I feared briefly that he might be angry with me for not knowing the way home since I was the one who lived there and he lived far away, but he wasn't angry.  Instead, he almost seemed to delight in being lost and asked a policeman for directions home.  It seemed like an old, innocent movie from the 50s where a friendly policeman is always leaning up against a building when you need him to supply directions or to help a little old lady across the street.  

My grandfather was the kind of adult who played in the pool with the kids instead of sitting on the deck reading a magazine.  He was the kind of man who sang made-up songs while pushing me on the swings and called me naughty in a way that meant he admired naughtiness.  Yes, with my grandfather, being little meant being fun and funny and special and treasured.  I adored him.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

i couldn't get to sleep at all

Today I got the final copy of my teaching evaluation and it's really good.  If it doesn't help me keep this job, it will at least ensure I can find another one.  My AP is trying to get me to transfer over some credentials that might make it easier for me to keep the job... if she sets it up so I'm teaching Drama plus something else.  The idea is that this would prevent other people with more seniority in the district from bumping me.  Sneaky.  But I'm not so sure I want to teach something else.  Yuck.


I spent part of the day tracking down people who would be willing and able to write me a reference letter to get in to the program I want to start next year.  My current AP said she would be willing, and I also have a previous Curriculum Leader with whom I am still in contact.  Now I need one more.  I sent an email to the Associate from when I worked at the University, thinking that her PhD would look nice in my list... but haven't heard back yet.  If I can't get ahold of her, I'll have to find my old principal.  The rules about who can provide a reference are sticky, which is odd in light of how non-stringent some of the other application requirements seem to be.


Things at work are going well.  Too well.  I wonder if something horrible is about to happen.  The kids have become far too compliant and pleasant for me trust them.  Are they secretly plotting my untimely demise?  At least I'll die happy.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

in my defense

Last night I started reading the textbook for my new course in lieu of One Hundred Years of Solitude.  (How am I ever going to get through that thing?  And why do I feel I must?)  The textbook is written in that familiar, chatty way that modern textbooks are written , as though it's your friendly Uncle Joe telling you interesting facts across the dinner table, rather than a dry reference book.  I find that thing kind of off-putting, to have the author reach out to poke at me from inside a book, asking me how I would feel if that happened to me, or what I would do in same situation.  I like making that leap on my own when and if I feel so inclined.  However, I guess it's preferable to trying to excavate facts from a dry reference book, and since the material itself is something I find extremely interesting, I can get over my aversion to that writing style.  Sad, really, that I am finding the textbook a more enjoyable read than the novel.  Apparently, if I finish these two courses by September I will be eligible to apply for the program I want, and this gives me more time than I thought I had because I thought I had to finish them by the application deadline, May 15th.  According to their website, I just have to register by the application deadline.  Check!


I attended my first book club meeting today after school, after coming home briefly to feed the pups.  Like always, before leaving the house to attend this social event, I had a small inner battle where the phobic Lisa wanted to stay home and avoid talking to people.  There are always all kinds of excuses to justify that choice -- the dogs will be lonely, I'm tired, there are things at home I should be doing, blah blah blah.  In the end, I decided to pull myself together and just go and I think it was a good thing I did.  I wouldn't say the conversation was terribly enlightening, but it was definitely more enlightening than laundry or television would have been.  I was mildly surprised by the fact that this group seems uninterested and unwilling to read anything but light stuff, but certainly couldn't say I cared enough to argue about it.  I can read whatever I want on my own.  I asked if any of them had survived One Hundred Years of Solitude and none of them had.


Shawn will be home soon and we're supposed to go to the gym tonight.  I have a slight headache (maybe from the weather change) and as usual, am half hoping he decides not to go so I can blame him for my laziness.  He's so lucky to have me.  :)


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

never a breath you can afford to waste

My course textbooks arrived in the mail today and I am now looking forward to getting started.  I love being a student.  My inner nerd is drooling.


Day two of the new semester was good.  I have been extremely proactive with the one class that I suspected might be problematic, behaviour-wise, and I think the right tone is being set successfully.  It's a lot of work in the beginning to intercept every single thing that isn't right - but it pays off in the long run.  I had one girl give me some attitude about putting a can of pop in her locker instead of leaving it on the stage floor - we had a small face off, and though I'm really NOT a person who likes to power struggle, it was definitely necessary to win this one, so I puffed myself up big and she backed off and did what I said before it got too ugly.  Phew, I hate stuff like that.


Things feel like they're falling into place properly.  I feel safe.


Monday, February 04, 2008

kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

The new semester is officially underway and the new kids seem nice so far.  Hard to tell this early on, but I was encouraged to see them being nice to each other for the most part, because it's always so hard (and exhausting) to deprogram people who believe that they have to be mean to each other to be cool.  It's already time for me to start thinking a little more seriously about what I want to offer this semester in terms of a Drama production.

I'm reluctant to undertake anything that will prevent me from leaving the school at a reasonable time at the end of the day.  It was so tiring being there late every day throughout the rehearsals last semester and then fourteen hour days during the shows.  The kids, of course, do not understand this and have been nagging at me to get going on another show.  It's different for them because when they are involved in a play they are getting to spend extra time with their friends.  When I am involved, I am being kept apart from mine.  It's also different because they are young and filled with youthful energy, and I am a crabby old bat.

I'm wondering if I could put up a few one act plays and cram the rehearsals into some lunch breaks so I could still go home at the end of the day.  It would mean no break throughout the duration of the day - but it would mean getting home sooner.  Much to think about.


We did end up making it to the gym tonight, and that was nothing short of a miracle because I was feeling lazy and tired and Shawn came home half an hour later than usual.  If he had said, "Let's skip it tonight," I would have been all over that plan, but he wanted to go.  By the time we got there it was 8:30... but we actually did it.  Amazing.  Now that I'm exercised and showered and feeling virtuous, I'm glad we did it.


I'm reading (trying to read) One Hundred Years of Solitude, and for some reason, I just can't can't get into it.  I hate it when a book eludes me in this manner, especially one which is touted as being spectacular.  Why isn't it grabbing me?  I'm going to stick with it a few more nights and see if I can find a way in.  This is the third time I've started this book.


I got to spend time today with a friend I have missed.  


Sunday, February 03, 2008

mostly foreign nationals

Tomorrow is day one of the new semester, new classes, new kids.  A fresh start, in some ways, and also having to start over in terms of teaching kids the basic rules of surviving in my theatre.  It's hard to believe the year is already half over.


I spent today cutting and attaching shelf paper to the new kitchen cabinets and drawers, and then transferring things from the living room floor back into the kitchen.  Looking at it now, it seems like I've barely made a dent in the work; there's still so much to be done.  It'll be another month, most likely, before we will have countertops, and we can't have a sink or dishwasher until the countertops are done.  So we're nowhere near finished, but not having tins of soup lying haphazardly about the living room is moderate progress.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

who made who

We went to the gym this afternoon and it was a good thing to have time to fight with the machines because I was feeling like fighting with someone.  Machines are less apt to have hurt feelings.  Or to retaliate.

Watched a terrible movie at the inlaws' place and drank some red wine... and I'm already feeling like bedtime at 9:35.  This is how I rock through the weekends.

I'm tired.  I put up a hard battle but I think the machines won.


so there.

I'm feeling testy.