Thursday, April 27, 2017

Untangling

Unfuck Your Habitat is my new favorite site...encouraging as I try to unfuck my own surroundings. I like that it breaks daily tasks down to elements like "unfuck your morning" which has you laying out clothes and putting your keys in an obvious place. 

My sis is coming into town for a visit, and the weekend is unbelievably slammed, not my favorite thing, but I couldn't reschedule some of it. sigh. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Update on life

Hey, mid-to-late April here, and I'm buried at work in testing children, but we're coming to the end of the school year, so that's something.

Swim lessons went well, and I'm finishing them up this week. Hey, I can swim!!! I'm swimming laps, now, not fast, not graceful, but it has become a do-able thing in my life. That feels good...

Last night, I went to bed early, around 8:30. As I was tucking into my "Fellowship of the Ring" re-read, my friend Yoli called me from CA. We caught up; I adore Yoli, and we don't see each other nearly often enough. One of the things she shared with me was that our other friend, a lady we'd taught with for years, had been in a serious car accident, one which took the life of her sister, who was one of her few living relatives, and left her in a coma for 3 weeks, so that she didn't even know what happened. She woke up, in a care home, with a tube in her throat, and her 4 extremeties in casts, and the news that her sister was gone. Damn. She is 71. Yoli's rounding up friends to write her, and rally round her. I can't even imagine...but it's all too real. We have no idea what will happen from day to day.

This, 5 days before my sister comes to visit me, and while my husband is driving home from Florida. I want to call them both and say "Stay off the road, stay alive, I want you to be safe..." but I don't. I act normal. I call them, and just have mundane conversations, punctuated by "I love you's" and "I miss you's."

I am working hard, this week, at trying to find ongoing inspiration to continue unfucking my habitat. I am making some headway, but it's slow going.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Breakin'

It is April, it is rainy, it is Monday, it is my Spring Break. I'm sitting in my messy office, the Clamcave (feminine version of the Mancave) in the middle of a rearrangement, and taking a think-break, namely because the placement of hardscape (furniture and shelving) baffles me; maybe I had the only workable arrangement already? Nevertheless, I wanted a change, and need a setup that doesn't require a complete rearrangement every time my sister comes to stay, so I can put out the futon couch...

The weekend was auspicious and wonderful. I went on retreat with my spinning guild, stayed at a cozy conference center lodge, took long walks in glorious weather, earthed myself in cool moss, and spun a lot. What I didn't do was sleep well, but that was to be expected, maybe. I made new friends, cemented old friendships, and ate a lot of great food, drank wine, finished knitting my long-languishing Ringwood gloves, and in general, reclaimed my spinning mojo. Always good.

Now I'm home, and trying not to be too unproductive, for the remainder of the week.

In other news, all my observations for school were completed, with good scores. I've been fighting a tendancy toward personal negativity at work; hoping the break helps me raise my spirits and my sense of buy-in and vision about my workplace a bit. Things are kinda shitty at work, not affecting me personally, but politics, testing burnout, and the seeming disconnect between admin/staff/students/parents is tiring in a low-level, depressing way. A hard look at my finances with my financial advisor confirmed my suspicion that I don't have nearly the $$ to retire, and so I soldier on...but I'd like to do so with some more enthusiasm. Meaningful work would be awesome. My work is socially redeeming, but is it meaningful to ME anymore? This, I ponder. But the good news is that we have a little less than 2 months left, and the evaluations are in, so I can breathe a little bit. The downside is that in 2 weeks, the over-emphasized state tests will start; 2-3 weeks of endless, grueling examination; the culmination and disruption of all our learning for the year.

My little break is over. Tonight, I go to my first swim lesson at the Y. I am taking this adult swim class to improve swimming technique, because I want to start swimming laps. Part of me dreads getting into that cold pool tonight. I think I'll have to park in the hot tub beforehand to make it even bearable...



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

Yarning

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.