Hellloooooooo

Hello, dear friends and three followers.

A long absence, indeed, but like a bad penny or an ad for porn, I always pop up again, and often when least expected.

For the months of November and December, I was struggling emotionally, and not producing as much art as I’d like. However, I will be posting what I have done in the last 2 1/2 months on the Art Journal page after this post.

Much of that struggle was soothed. First off, by healing a rift between myself and my friend, and also by making some decisions about my future, which will be revealed as they come to fruition.

So what have I been doing? Keeping on keeping on, as always. Teaching, learning, adventuring. Spending the holidays with my family, and finding ways to lead my spirit back to wholeness.

Be blessed, in whatever way delights you most.

What’s Up, Buttercup?

Hello friends! Just checking in. I’ve been running like a cat trying to catch his tail, and knocking down everything in its path in the process. Work is a beast, but mostly because I’m trying to raise the bar for myself, while still trying to have a freaking life. Not an easy task.

In the ever more lunatic crazy-making world, I have done my best not to become unhinged. I have been hanging out with my friends, learning, listening, and nurturing my creative heart.

For one, in the last couple months, I have listened to Joyous Body, In the House of the Riddle Mother, Mother Night, and I’m beginning The Power of the Crone…all Audio books by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Several months ago I listened to The Creative Fire, also by Estés. It made me weep. I have read “Women Who Run With the Wolves” several times, as well.

Everything Estés does and writes is magical. Rarely do others’ writings inspire me to create so strongly (perhaps Angela Carter. Her stories rip my imagination apart…mind blown) Estés’ work has enriched my life, both mundanely and spiritually, beyond measure. I am thankful to the young therapist (not mine), who furst pulled me by the hand and said, “You have to read this book!” (WWRWtW) In my opinion, every woman over 30 should read it. Every creative human being could benefit from listening to her stories.

Anyway, This month so far, I have created several pieces of art, and I am feeling more inspired daily. I wish I could just stay home and make art all the time, but I’m a modern woman, and I work like almost everyone else. Of course, if I didn’t work, how could I afford art supplies?

That’s only one part. The rest of my life is filled with other little interesting things, like “losing” my car because it is a gray car parked in a line of nine nearly identical gray cars. Or a fistful of brightly colored flowers handed to me by a five year old. Or laughing my ass off weekly with the guys in my Spanish class. Or conversations with the amazing people I work with. I thank the Source without Source for everything I have, and the fact that I have abundance of all sorts to share with others.

Now back to work, so I can earn those art supplies.

Mathemagicians in the Making

wordwallpapers

 

So, BOY (beginning of year, not gender-specific) testing is over, and it’s time to sort our students into groups. This year I find myself with 22 groups of 2-5 students, grades K-5 who need remedial intervention in mathematics. That’s 65 kids who will be coming to me for guidance and support. Wow! No pressure.

Now honestly, throughout this cycle of intervention (October-December) I will no doubt find that several of these students simply suck at testing (especially the little ones, who are taking their first test ever, and on a computer, no less.) But of course, that is the joy of my work, to see children rise, and grow, and think, and help their peers do the same.  I tell my students all the time that it is my job to put myself out of a job, and I need them all to help me.

So now I am scheduling, and planning, and creating anchor charts, and prepping for a parent night. I am also prepping notebooks and folders and thinking about videos and all the ways I can support parents in person, through home-school intervention, and via the internet.  It’s fun. It’s overwhelming. It’s exciting.  It’s a lot of work, but I love it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cut a bunch of stuff out.

Finding Peas in the Whirl

peas-2686_1920

I’ve been doing a lot of stuff. Making stuff, organizing stuff, planning stuff. Why do I always feel I’m never getting anything done? Perhaps it’s because prioritizing isn’t my strength. I guess it’s not that high on my list of priorities. I don’t tend to work smarter, I just splatter stuff everywhere until a project comes together. It’s my way.

It may be mania when I find myself whipped up in a frenzy of ideas and activity, but its a productive mania. This time, though, I am hoping it’s just inspiration and vitamins, because I hate it when I fall.  I’m actually pretty optimistic these days, because art seems to be keeping my sad at bay, or at least allowing me to work through stuff in an active manner. I am recognizing the fact that I am not writing as much poetry (despite PSF, which has yet to find its wings…it will.)

I  am fighting, then, to keep my joy alive and thriving. I switched to a Spanish class that is mainly review (because I’m honestly just not as fluent as my other friends were in my advanced class), and I am taking the leap to practice with actual people a little more. I am writing even when I am not particularly inspired (or inspiring, sorry, my faithful readers), I am hugging kids, regardless of germs, and I am planning to math the heck out of ’em in a little over a week. I am still making art, even if I’m going a little outside the boundaries of art journaling. Who cares, right? It’s my art, and it doesn’t need to be confined within the bonds of a book.

I have some ideas for blog posts. I may write some. I may post them here. I may post pea-sized nuggets of wisdom, or stray thoughts, or random pictures of my cat. Whatever springs from the cyclone that is my brain. Until then, I will visualize whirled peas, and let peas begin with me.

FlameYeowFlame likes to watch Discovery I.D. and My Cat From Hell.
He worries me.

Children Make Me Sick

 

kids-eat-boogers-1

 

For the last couple of weeks, I have been working with kindergarteners. All those adorable faces, all those grubby little fingers in little snotty noses. All those little hands, touching everything, and then touching me. I love every minute of it, brand new voices, tears and smiles, sweet, spontaneous hugs.

But children + the first weeks of school = germs. (See, I’m mathing!)

Last weekend, it hit me. The first cold of the year, and it hit me hard. Sinus headache, scratchy throat, cough, and the stuffiest/runniest nose ever. I wasn’t the first to go down, and turns out, I’m not the last. Plenty of my peers are feeling the first tickle of the plague as we head into the three-day weekend. Fortunately for me, I’m beginning to emerge. Last Monday, though, I was forced into quarantine, after not being able to sleep all night for fear of drowning in a pool of mucus. Nothing more disheartening than watching one of your precious PTO days disappear before you even hit September.

Yesterday, at our staff meeting, leadership passed out packets of Emergen-C. They get it: the struggle is real.

Still, it’s worth it. I get the wonderful privilege of seeing these tiny persons, some barely five years old, learn and grow and emerge into big kids. My original kindergarten class, from my first year at ROMO, are fourth graders now. (My very first kinders, from another school in another state, can legally drink now.) The fourth graders are big, rough and tumble, beautiful brilliant beings. I love them, and still see them as they were then, little precious gifts, with grubby fingers in snotty little noses.

We’ll pass around the Kleenex  and Clorox wipes, and forge forward, as we always do, with grit and persistence, to get better every day.

There’s Something in the Air

My beloved friend Ruth posted on my FB wall: “Is there something in the air that speaks of almost crushing heartache right now?”

My response: “Yes. But also of healing. I see positive things on the horizon, which might also cause heartache, but for the higher good.”

As you all know, I have been immersed for the last month in professional development for the 2018-19 school year. A week ago Friday, we welcomed 100+  kindergarteners to our campus for their first day of school. It was a “trial run” of sorts. We taught them how to sit and stand in line and move back and forth between classes (we have a rotational model; separate classes for math and literacy, even in Kindergarten.) We showed them where the bathroom was, and reminded them of bathroom expectations: flush the toilet. Wash your hands. One pump of soap. One paper towel. Use the trash can. They were pretty good at it, with adult supervision.

I was on Potty Patrol, like I pretty much am every year. I guess my patter is inspiring. It’s boring as hell (for me), but I get to see all the cute faces (at least the girls) and they have their first exposure to me. I usually make at least a few friends.

Last Wednesday was the official first day of school for our entire student body. Nearly 600 children, grades K-5. What beautiful chaos! All the hugs (from the bigger ones), all the tears (from the little ones.) It was beautiful.

I spent the week with the Kindergarten students, acting as back up and enforcer. (Well, not really, more like the constant nagging reminder: Sit up straight! Raise a proud hand! Eyes on the teacher!) By the end of the week (three days, with early release) there was definite progress. Most students would respond to the teacher’s request for attention. Most students could find the bathroom all by themselves. No one got permanently lost. They did wonderfully!

We (the staff), however, were exhausted! I would  wake up at 5:15, arrive before seven, and be ready to greet students at 7:30. While the students got out at two, the staff stayed until 5 (or longer) for staff meetings, lesson practice and debriefing. I went home “early” Thursday night, fell asleep at 6:00, woke up at 7:30 to make dinner, and was asleep again before nine. As someone who suffers from insomnia, I can tell you that hardly ever happens.

Despite being exhausted, and feeling a bit irritable (sorry everyone outside of work…I have to hold it in there) I managed to have a nice weekend (after a bit of a rough start.) All intentions to go to work for a few hours flew out the window, but I did get some pampering in, and my last bit of birthday shopping (Spending my annual Amazon gift card…) and some art, and a bit of writing, and this post, which may be sub par, but at least it’s here.  I’m here, and that’s what matters, because this is what I do: write or die.

I feel like this year is going to bring immense change, and I’ll be called on to take things more to heart, more seriously. To care more deeply, to breathe more intentionally, and to work more diligently. I have a feeling I will be moving forward in a big way, but I am called to also slow down and appreciate every moment. To use it, whether actively or passively, with clear purpose and intent. To love. To grow. To heal. To use my gifts and my voice. To find my heart and soul again. To do all those things is often heartbreaking, but always well worth it. I can’t wait.

 

Welcome Back to the Madhouse

We’re all mad here.  (It goes without saying.)

Training and preparation for the new school year is in full swing, and I’m getting used to the getting up early and forcing myself to bed at night, and starting on my “To Read About Math” pile, and trying to find time to blog and make art and poems in the meantime.

Just posted my Art Journal projects for July, and a new post  on the Making Mathemagicians page.  Hope to see you there!