Three and a Half Weeks

I’ve been out of school/work for three and a half weeks now and, although I still have tons of packing to do, I am finally starting to get a little bored.  Have I done any planning, you ask? Have I accomplished much or even left the house, for that matter? Negative, ghost rider. 

As a first-year teacher experiencing her first summer of freedom since undergrad years, I am still basking in the loveliness that is a work-free and student-free summer.  Not even the education section of Pinterest has appealed to me yet…. yet. 

Oh, and packing, you ask? Well, I’ve tried to keep it a secret, but we’re trying to buy a house.  Trying, in that, we are currently in escrow and have had to delay closing due to construction.  Construction – yes! Lucky us, we Raders found an under-construction home in a sweet little established neighborhood downtown, a four-minute walk to the zoo.  Many a year ago, the former owners of the house next door had originally planned on building over the two lots, but when the city said nay, the lot proceeded to sit empty for the next umpteen years. The builder has been lazy as hell, to put it kindly, and thus, we are still waiting to close and move.  I’ve slowly been packing up our rental bungalow, but being in limbo makes that quite difficult.  Not to mention, the constant trips to stalk the progress of the house and our tiny menagerie of puppy and kitties.  

Our first house though… right!? I have been nervous and ecstatic for a few months and those emotions are starting to get exhausting.  Can I just relax and DIY my pretty little house already? 

It’s yellow, by the way.  With TWO toilets.  TWO.  We won’t even discuss the anticipation my oft-blocked bladder feels at the thought of never having to wait on a single bathroom again. 

And granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances… all of those things that House Hunters and the Property Brothers mention, that, to be quite honest, have very little meaning to me.  I just want it to be mine.  And for it to be pretty.  

Well, I’ve gone on long enough and I have big plans to take a long shower, exfoliate, and give myself a pedicure.  Will someone please remind me of this luxury come November when I want to tranquilize myself and my students with an elephant-sized dose of something? Or perhaps also in August when I realize that, oh crud, I haven’t done any planning and this month shall be a perpetual Sunday night? 

 

Man oh man

What a year.  I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve been able to sit and write openly.  Little did I know that all the rants and raves about teachers being underpaid for their 70+ hours a week of work were so justified.

But you know what?

I loved it.

Even if my kids were the baddest, bitchiest, most thug-a-licious of them all, we all cried in a big huddle together on the last day of school and I can honestly admit that I’m not entirely sure who learned more this year — them or me.

Aaaand, though it might take me about two weeks to recover fully and calm my body down from the 180 days of stress, I can’t wait to tackle some planning for next year (evaluation year, at that).

It was a wild ride.  I’ve never been meant to do something MORE.

Can’t wait to do it all over again next year.  And the next.  And the next.

2014

I always get really beyond excited about the new year.  It’s probably cliche to acknowledge that it’s a “clean slate” and everything feels fresh and new, but that is the beauty.  Robert and I are going in to this year with full-time jobs, friends, a lovely little rental home, and a city that makes us feel warm and adventurous.  

We made a lot of transitions last year; our lives changed drastically nearly every three months.  This year I’m looking forward to a steady rising action and strong mind, spirit, and body.  

I’m not waiting to see what 2014 has in store for me… I’m excited to take 2014 and DO something with it. 

Keats

One of the great loves of my life is John Keats, though I’ve been terribly negligent for some time now.  Some poets create mainstream verses, but my Adonais always reminds me that words are the most gentle of touches, most soothing of whispers, and most enticing of experiences.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, we are wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth..

The first few lines of Endymion pair mortality and the ethereal beauty of nature that only Keats could see and feel.

And his letters:

I kiss’d your writing over in the hope you had indulg’d me by leaving a trace of honey

So much attention to those tiny details that we often overlook or deem insignificant.  The perfect words woven into elegant imagery.

In times like these, that Bright Star always knows what to say.

O blush not so! O blush not so!
Or I shall think you knowing;

And if you smile, the blushing while, 
   Then maidenheads are going. 

There’s a blush for won’t, and a blush for shan’t, 
   And a blush for having done it; 
There’s a blush for thought, and a blush for nought, 
   And a blush for just begun it. 

O sigh not so! O sigh not so!
   For it sounds of Eve’s sweet pippin; 
By those loosen’d hips, you have tasted the pips, 
And fought in an amorous nipping. 

Will you play once more, at nice cut-core, 
   For it only will last our youth out; 
And we have the prime of the kissing time, 
   We have not one sweet tooth out. 

There’s a sigh for yes, and a sigh for no, 
   And a sigh for I can’t bear it!
O what can be done? Shall we stay or run? 
   O cut the sweet apple and share it! 

Image

What can I say? I’m a capital “R” Romantic.  I will always feel, see, and think like they did, and cause trouble for myself behaving as they did.

Survival

Ummm, I don’t even know where to begin!

School started on Wednesday, and the last three days have been the most heart-warming and challenging of my entire life.  I met all of my students on Wednesday and not a one of them wanted to have anything to do with me or school, for that matter, and by the end of the day I was more exhausted than I thought was possible.

After a glass of wine and an hour of moaning and groaning to my husband, I pulled myself together and moved on to the next day.  Thursday and Friday my students seemed to recognize the fact that they have 170ish more days to either fight the man or buckle down and succumb to the routine of school again, and most of them have started to warm up to the latter.

Guys, the variety in personality is awesome and incredible! I know I’ve had kids before, and they were just as unique and fun, but these little guys are part of the TMS tough love culture and they have made their (pretty high!) expectations of me known – loud and clear! I love them all to death already, but I know that I have so much growing to do and SO MUCH TO LEARN.

My colleagues are definitely the best in the universe.  I’ve never laughed so hard and felt so intrigued by so many different people.  And they like me! I think.

I’ve done a lot of this:

Image

Some of this:

Image

But mostly this:

Image

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this journey brings me.

Love,

N

Back to School

I’ll start off by confessing how much I’ve secretly cried over the last two days.  Not bad/sad tears, but tears of utter amazement and awe that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and with a group of incredible humans.  It definitely made me feel better today when one of the assistant principals started to cry while welcoming all the new teachers… at a new teacher breakfast where they fed us homemade pastries and breakfast casserole! 

Image

(not my image)

It was quite tasty.  I kinda need the recipe now… so I can make it and eat an embarrassingly large amount.

Image

I also got some serious edu-nerd loot.  Tons of informational texts (great for new teachers, I can’t wait to fill my brain) and a basket FULL OF SCHOOL SUPPLIEZZ! MY FAVES!

Image

I mean, there was a packet of like sixteen dry-erase markers in every color you can imagine.  It was glorious.  I’m pretty sure it included mauve.

Image

My classroom has been scrubbed and polished (no, Jessica, I did not get angry and flip them over hulk-like ;),  so tomorrow I’m going to drag my muscular husband down there with me to haul the boxes of YA novels that I’ve accumulated over the years.

Should I be ashamed that I have that many copies of The Watsons Go to Birmingham? NO. Never.

PS – Check out my sweet Promethean board, what what

I also met my incredibly sweet and spunky mentor today,  who has already offered to give me a million things for my room and tons of advice.  I know I’m a total creeper, but I wanted to hug and kiss her and ask her to be my BFF.  Or LYLAS.  Remember that? Too bad I don’t think that can be used as a noun.

So, despite the stress of the move and the fact that we are still trying to unpack and find a place for the millions of things we own (I swear we’re not hoarders), we are really enjoying our tiny bungalow, our new city, and each other.

Image

Especially this guy right here.  Can you tell how excited he is to be here!?

I hope as your week is winding down that you look at your busy lives as a gift.  Let that gift swell your hearts, but relax enough to look grace in the eye and say THANK YOU!

Love,

N