Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Late Work, Inefficiency

Working late today, but everything I'm trying or touching right now is falling apart. My printer won't print, I dropped a pile of folders today and got all my student writing from 6 classes mixed up, the Spring Forward Daylight Confusion is giving me some insomnia, and I have a spa hangover (dry eyes, odd aches from laying around for hours on end on tatami mats - go figure). I may be coming down with something. Plus, it's cold and grey outside. All these conditions are conspiring to send me screaming home to take a walk, and then just go to bed and hope for a do-over tomorrow.

Sometimes you've gotta hang it up for awhile. I am buried in Day Job tedium, with no interest in doing a damn thing. This is my typical state when Spring Break is 3 weeks out, and state testing is glaring me in the face. Add that to my typical ADD mind, and I'm a hot mess. Mercifully, my classroom/office is in a trailer at the far end of campus, so mostly I can spin my wheels unnoticed, and I can also work late or come in on the weekend to compensate for all this dysfunction. 

It will get better. That I know - I've been through this before. I know with sleep, protein, exercise, meditation, and a few days of sunlight, I will snap back. It's just that right now, being at work is hell, even tough work is going fairly well. 

Self-care is the order of the day. Employment will sort itself out tomorrow...I am trying to dig deep and find pleasure in my job, as a means of defending myself against all the depression that's springing from being around some friends my own age who are constantly obsessing over  or planning for their retirement. I am not there yet, and am a bit sad about it, but for the most part, I enjoy my job. It's only when I'm around the obsessive "since I'm planning to retire 3 years early" crowd that I start to feel like my life isn't what I wanted it to be. Of course I didn't think about that when I spent those years traveling the world, changing school districts, going to grad school, or just plain damn taking a year off because I was fed up. While that last thing SAVED me professionally, it did cost me some money, in savings and retirement contributions. Ah well, experience has made me rich...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Laying Off, Playing Hooky, and A Day Without a Woman

I was a habitual truant as a child. My father enabled me in this pursuit. He was a barber who worked Saturdays, therefore, his other day off was Wednesday. On Wednesdays, he would invariably be engaged in some interesting pursuit, such as building a boat, going fishing, or just taking a long ramble down the Blue Ridge Parkway. My sister and I used to love to join him on these adventures, and every couple of weeks, we'd beg off from school. My mom didn't really put up a huge protest, and the old man would say something inviting like "y'all gonna lay off from school today?" as a joke, and we'd start begging to stay home...sometimes complaining of an ailment.

We also took vacations during the school year with little regard to the academic calendar. Once my mom took my sis and I for a week to visit family in West VA, in October. Our school system didn't get a fall break, either, it was just decided that it was a nice time to head over for a visit. They used to take us to Key West, as well, over Christmas break, usually missing a day or two on one end or another of the vacation.

The way my parents saw it, we were getting something valuable, family time was important, and as long as we read, made decent grades, and more or less behaved, the arrangement stood.

So I grew up appreciating the value of the mental health day, and continued to take time off for fun, household maintenance, and self-care, over the years, though various employments. I was not, and am not a member of the "Friday club" or the "Monday club;" that set of employees who are always out of school on a Friday or a Monday. I like a mid-week day off...

My work attendance these days is better, mostly because I'm trying to bank sick leave. I am relatively new in this district, and don't have a ton of sick leave accrued. I was wretchedly ill 2 years ago, and missed nearly 2 weeks of school, and used up most of what I had, so I'm trying hard not to squander it willy-nilly.

I am not calling in, nor taking off tomorrow, for the Women's Day Protest. I wish I could, but I work in a school that is notoriously short on subs. I have been out of the classroom for 6 weeks, testing children's English proficiency, and have just started teaching again, indeed, have just fallen in love with my work again (due no doubt to being away from my students for so long). Missing tomorrow would cause my other teachers hardship. If I had personal leave left, I'd use it. I used my last 2 personal days to go to Washington for the Women's March. As it is, I will don my pussyhat, go to work, spend no money, wear red, and make my daily 5 calls to my reps in the afternoon.

I teach the children of women who work too many hours for too little money. Their jobs are hard-won, and their existence here in Donald Trump's America is fraught with uncertainty. Some of my students tell of not seeing their mothers all week, because they are asleep when their moms come home from their housecleaning, restaurant, chicken plant processing jobs each evening. I don't know if they'll go in to work or not. On the Day Without An Immigrant, we had upwards of 200 students absent at our school. Parents did take off, and kept their kids home, some because they feared their families would be separated if ICE raided the neighborhood that day.

Protest is good. Resistance is important. Fight the Power.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


I went to a stash sale this morning at a lady's house. She had an extraordinary collection of high-end yarns, and was, in the process of decluttering her home, getting rid of a fraction of her stash - knitting and fiber. I guess I showed some restraint. The prices were awesome. I bought a couple of braids/bumps of BFL, because I've recently come to the conclusion that I love spinning BFL. I bought more fingering weight than I have need of, but it was sooooo pretty...

I broke the Wollemeise cherry - I've never used it, never owned it, regretted not buying it from a friend in HI, when I could; I scored a skein of Pure Merino for myself, and a skein of Sockenwolle Twin for my sis. Score!

Now I'm home, and trying to find the motivation to do my own decluttering pursuit. I DID upload this stash to Ravelry...

Friday, March 3, 2017

Spring Things

We've had the craziest winter-into-spring that I can remember, this year. It never got really cold, and for the most part, stayed in the 50's. One piddly freezing rain storm caused school to dismiss early, but without the big anticipated-for ice storm that Georgia is so fond of.

Of late, it's been swinging wildly from days in the 50's to days in the 70's, which is damn confusing for how to dress on one's daily ramble through the woods and fields. I mostly adopt the t-shirt and jeans approach, and toss on a sweater. The days in the 70's make the 50 degree ones feel cold, and the sheer strangeness of 75 degrees in February leads me to believe that we're in for another long hot summer...

I have been reading up on herbal medicines, planning a harvest of my comfrey patch, really the only herb I've been truly excellent at growing, as it's so invasive, and researching salve recipes. We have so much plantain growing at work that I think I'm going to harvest some next week and dehydrate it to salve up with the comfrey.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Moving Forward

In the Chamblee Methodist Church orchard, one lone tree has one twig that has leafed out. I marvel and wonder at the conditions that triggered this event, but it gives me heart. One leaf at a time, that's how things are done, that's how the season changes.

It has been awhile since I've come to the blog as my preferred manner of self-expression, but I'm trying to avoid the rabbit hole of social media right now, and I still read and enjoy blogs, so I thought I'd wade back into the pool.

It's Lent, now, and a sliver of the new crescent moon has emerged. Always a good omen and a good time to start, or re-engage in new ventures. I am finished, finally, with our 5-week long district English proficiency testing, and am ready to start teaching again. The school year feels like it's pitched entirely toward testing now, and while I don't support this, I am sort of stuck in it at the moment. Test prep makes things uncomplicated, especially in the realm of reading comprehension and constructed response...never mind that we ALL could be doing things that are more fun, and rewarding.

I have been suffering from a terrible bout of start-itis, in the knitting zone. I started The Love of Spiders shawl a couple of weeks ago, in some Malabrigo Arroyo, and last night began the much simpler, and IMO more rewarding Hansel half hap out of some beautiful blue-grey Shetland handspun. I'm planning on knitting this entirely out of my handspun, and am earnestly spinning up various colors of natural wool to go with it. Our spinning guild has a member who raises Shetland sheep, so I've quite a bit in my stash.

In other news, I've been trying to sustain a meditation practice, joining with some meditators in my neighborhood on alternate Sundays to sit for increasing amounts of time in a wonderful house a few blocks away. I've gotten to know some neighbors, and meditation with them is a way for the introvert to be extroverted without too much pain. Some of the same people have also started a Resistance group, to participate in calling representatives on issues, joining protests, attending town hall meetings, etc. The little leaf on the bare tree feels like a metaphor for life right now. You can't change the world all at once, especially if it's been winter, and the light is just returning. But the days are longer now...

Monday, September 12, 2016

stress and a lack of fun

This summer, which, by the way, is now over, was the summer I became an insomniac. I slept an average of 5 hours per night, which is not enough for my brain and body. I have no idea why, be it travel, change in routine, crappy sleep habits, too much screen time or what...
Once work started up again in August, I started monitoring it more closely, and lo! I am at least getting 6-7 hours per night, which is about the best I can do right now, and a considerable improvement upon the summer's slumber.

Work has gone to hell, for a huge variety of reasons I'm too professional to go into here, at the moment. Maybe later, kids...suffice to say, I'm not digging the job, the schedule, the way things be. It's early in the school year, and I'm committed to riding it out, but the view from here means I'm thinking of taking transfer paperwork, to look around for another school site. I won't go into a transfer lightly; I'll do my homework, and research the hell out of any admin and school site I apply for. But I just don't want to feel like I don't have choices in how I work out my days.

Some good things...

I have been meditating, early in the mornings, when I first get up, using this little app on my phone to help me out. I like it. It's free, and friendly, and I like to think the effect is cumulative, and that over time, the stress will not take its toll, and I'll be able to roll with things.

I'm trying to get my share of outdoor time, exercise, St. John's Wort, to combat the slow creep of depression that comes with the shortening days. Meh. I have been running off and on, with recurring un-running-related complications: allergies, flu, ongoin rotator cuff issues. So I keep starting C25K over and over, going to the gym and running on the rubber track because it's still freakin' 93 outside each day! I'm hoping something breaks through, energetically, soon. The heat, it is oppressive.

This is not a happy post, I realize. I'm just trying to document how it feels to go through a doldrum period; the slog, the feeling of "is this all there is?"

I need to have some FUN, dammit.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Knock-knock. Anybody home?

I am sitting in my office, amid a pile of shredding-to-do, recycling sorted, a box of things to head to the thrift store donation center, and a box of supplies to take to school. Deep in the clutterpurging hell, I have yet to turn a corner, but I know that will happen, with sustained effort.

February always finds me with renewed optimism. The temperatures outside may be cold, bitterly so, but the dark time of the year has been survived, once more, and I'm forging ahead with plans for spring, home improvement, yardening, summer travel, and all kinds of projects.

I have not blogged in over a year, I think. I still read blogs, but my main muse, these days, is Instagram, whose brief peeks into the lives of others pleases me. Facebook is a mire of political scuffle, reposts and addictive clickbait that just exhausts me. I seriously am considering a media fast, now that we've tipped over into both the pagan and Christian lenten season.

Events that did not get blogged last year:

1. I won a fleece in a raffle, processed it by myself at home, and spun it up. YouTube, helpful advice from experienced friends, and my own can-do spirit were instrumental in this project.

2. P and I went to Switzerland, Germany, and France in July for 10 days. Wonderful, expensive, and exhausting. Travel changes one's perspective, each trip layers another worldview onto my existing one, and I am grateful for the opportunity to get out of my box, periodically.

3. I took a solo roadtrip in June, driving up to VA for a week with my mother, and then on to visit dear friends in Richmond, Goochland, and DC. Ended the trip with several days spent with my sister, doing sisterly things.

4. I started running; using the app C25k, and actually ran in an 5k fun run this fall! I found out I love running, and even when it's hard, it makes me feel great.

5. While blowing leaves off my house this fall, I fell through the patio roof, fell 8 feet, landed on my elbow, and sprained my shoulder, tearing my left rotator cuff. An awful, painful injury, and one that I thought would require a surgery, but 2 months of physical therapy, after a month of rest and recuperation, and I'm close to normal again. I can do yoga, now, and am starting back with my runs.

6. I continue to celebrate the pagan sabbats with a local druid group, and am really enjoying learning about that path. Is it mine? Time will tell.

7. I'm spending this year buying NO new clothing, and NO yarn or spinning fiber, in an attempt to corral my consumerism. Doing a little bit of KonMari to my house; the process is slowslowslow and painful, but a healthy change.

There. That's the update. I hope to be back here more in 2016.