Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A "blue Christmas" for me is hardly a sad one! For me, it refers to the color of the sky and ocean water at this time of year. This shrimp boat seems to be floating on air! Normally our water looks brown or green.
I am grateful for the sun, after so many rainy days in December, grateful for good health, that allows me to get outside and walk and enjoy nature, grateful for family and friends to share with, and grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in our country, such as freedom of religion.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Of course I was out on the beach the day after Thanksgiving, and particularly enjoyed watching the shore birds - the sandpipers, the skimmers, the plovers, the seagulls, the pelicans, and a few others I don't know the names of! They were gathered in mass on the north beach.
This holiday weekend has had its share of ups and downs. I went with my son to take his driving test the day before Thanksgiving, his birthday, and he did not pass. What a bummer for him and what a heartache for me! But he is over it and determined to retake it next week...
Our family went to the in-laws in a nearby Georgia town for Thanksgiving. Actually one of the better visits with in-laws, and a great meal. No big dramas. Maybe the beer helped. Also this was the first day of sun in over a week - an unusual weather pattern for our area.
Looking at the shore birds, I noticed that the sandpipers change positions every few minutes, the front birds going to the back, so that no one has the head wind for too long. Smart birds! I took a number of pictures of the skimmers in flight - the black and white looked great against the blue sky and blue water.
I guess this weekend I am in a "holding pattern" in flight - grateful for the people in my life, and the experiences I've had.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I took this picture Friday morning at the beach. The sun was trying so hard to shine through the clouds and fog! I feel like I am waiting....for the fog in my life to clear up as well.
Thomas had a discouraging week in high school. His friends were in "The Glass Menagerie," being performed for the entire student body (whoever bought a $1 ticket) and the behavior of many was so poor that it was almost impossible to enjoy the play. He had advisement and is frustrated about his transcript - reasons a bit unclear. Being in the IB program for two years, he should be well ahead of others in credits. Maybe he is just frustrated that he may not be able to get all the AP courses he wants, and also do joint enrollment at the local college next year. I think he was also a bit bummed that he is currently 12th in a class of about 350 - he'd rather be number 1! Ah youth! He really is an amazing kid!
I'm trying to gear up for sub teaching in December, while counting down days to Thanksgiving and Thomas's birthday. He has his driving test next week. Mark is still plugging along at his teaching job, and seems to be doing o.k. but doesn't say much, so then I wonder are things REALLY going o.k. or not? The dog has a sore on his leg and the vet said it is either a venemous insect bite or probably cancer. Cancer! In my dog! After really expensive and involved dental surgery this summer, I can't in good conscience, as well as for financial reasons, put him through more surgery...Seems like I have had a relative with cancer each year lately....Mom just last summer. I can't stand the uncertainty of not having a teaching job now, even though I did it to myself. With the economy like it is, can I find ANY KIND OF JOB in a 50 mile radius? Are my nerves going to be able to handle this? Will the sun quit hiding and come on out in earnest? Please?
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Here's the lowdown...We are a family of three living on one teacher's salary - a teacher with 25 years in the system. Our biggest ticket budget items are a $700 monthly mortgage (no Taj Mahal but cozy nevertheless) and a $400 car payment on a modestly priced car ($16,000), which will be the first thing to go if we DO get desperate. We have to use about $300 of the money I saved back from my last year's teaching salary to make the budget, which should last through the year but hopefully will be supplemented by my sub teacher pay. We have no bills overdue, and certainly the lights in our home are not about to be cut off. We have basic $9 a month cable, no phone but two cells, and our other vehicles are over 12 years old. We do not eat out except on rare occasions and at the cheapest of restaurants (God bless mexican food!) We do not buy new clothes and I handmake gifts from recycled materials or materials such as shells.
Yes, we are dealing with about $150 a month less due to furlough days, but at least Georgia is not following Hawaii's model yet, only working four days per week. And I know that life happens while you are making other plans. My husband has had unexpected medical bills. But I'm still grateful my husband has a teaching job. I'd just love to have a job to whine about again.
From my past years in both pubic and private schools, I know that there are some high end cars parked in the teacher parking lot, and some high end clothing walking those halls, not to mention the dinners out since teachers work harder than anyone else and can't be expected to cook. (I have one word for you - crockpot).
O.k., enough whining of my own. But let's be appreciative of what we have, folks!
Friday, October 30, 2009
My son finishes mid terms today, so he will be ready for a weekend as well. He was like an excited puppy earlier this week, talking about how he had the highest score on recent AP English and AP History tests. Boy, all you need to do as a teacher to motivate him is print out a list of test scores by student number, or tell who the top ones were. If he's not there, he'll hustle to GET there....
My husband has been doing well healthwise, and managing his computer classes. I still don't know if he wants to finish out his five years until retirement or not. It is great to see him happy and content after a couple of rough months. I remember how he was such an amazing teacher 25 years ago, and I was so jealous I wanted to start teaching myself. I can only pray that he finds his way. As teachers, I do feel that what we lose in energy as we get older, we make up for in knowledge and wisdom.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I spend a lot of time watching sandpipers on the beach - my favorite shore bird. To be so small in such a large world! I am trying to remember that dwelling on daily troubles, or worrying about a certain possible future, represent wasted energy, and are just not worth it! Better to be grateful each day for awakening and drawing a breath, one that is free of physical pain or mental anguish. Like the sandpiper, I have been going along gathering little pieces this week, content in my actions - chatting with a store clerk, comforting a friend, making a cake for family, picking up my son and his friends from school, sitting outside in the sun with the dog.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Mark and I had two wonderful walks this past weekend - one to local fort and nature preserve, and one at the beach. The weather is just about perfect here in Georgia in October!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
My son and I have been talking about school administrators a lot on the way to his high school in the morning. Last week he had dress down days for homecoming - no uniforms! - but the week was marred by the "rules" for each day being changed at the last minute. Why is it so hard to get a school administrator that can relate to teenagers? What good is a dress down day if you can't wear jeans? This is a minor, inconsequential thing, but indicative of the larger problem. Do administrators give up brain cells when they take on this job? Why do they act as though they never set foot in a classroom as a teacher themselves?
I went by my local branch of the public library and was amused to see a display of "banned books" - books that were banned when they first came out or thereabouts. Kudos to the librarian who prepared that one! I saw books from 1900s on to present. Surely the best way to get someone to read a book is to ban it, but the whole idea of book banning is like poison to a teacher/English major. A book incident was the beginning of the end for me and one previous administrator. Now, mind you, I welcome positive or negative comments from peers, administrators, students and parents on book study choices, and I will follow what a principal decides with grace. BUT DON'T DIS A BOOK UNTIL YOU HAVE READ IT!
When I attended my son's public high school, we had an amazing administrator - she was respected and loved by all. She brought together two races, both disgruntled a bit over busing, and made the student body a unified whole. Then, when I started teaching, my husband and I each worked at separate public elementary schools in the downtown area. Our principals were close friends, and just about perfect. Both have long since retired, but the ones who rise to take over leave a lot to be desired. I have come to the conclusion that power truly can corrupt, and much quicker than ever before!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
On a much happier note, my son, who is a high school junior, FINALLY got his schedule straight and he is in four "good" classes - one International Baccalaureate elective, two AP, and the last Spanish he needs. He dropped out of IB this year, due to heavy work load and dislike for the A/B schedule, but AP pickings are slim at his school. Tragic that most of the students DON'T want an education, and they make it insufferable for the ones who DO. I really think public middle and high school are "dinosaurs," soon to be extinct in the education field. Those who can afford it use private schooling, and more and more families are drawn to home schooling in the upper grades. The safety issues are just not worth it! I don't think this is the situation our founding fathers imagined for education in America.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I want to talk about the white elephant in the room, or to use another symbol, the stinking, dead fish on the beach that everyone just walks by, holding their breath. That would be racism. My son came home from high school yesterday, aghast and perplexed that so many fellow students feel it is perfectly acceptable to talk about things like "beating up gay guys" or "how much they hate white people." He attends a public high school with about an 80/20 black/white racial balance and a 10/90 gifted to low achieving balance; he is decidedly in the minority. As a political independent, I voted for Mr. Obama, and I'm glad I did, though I admit I'm disappointed at the push and confusion of the health care reform bill. I still believe he will make strides in global relations. I realize, however, that I was naive to think that a mixed race President could heal the divide between the races just by taking office. Now some African Americans might say I am just experiencing what they did for so long - point taken. But why, decades after the civil rights movement, do I have to hope and pray that my son makes it home safely? Why does anyone have to? Schools have become like jails - see through bookbags, metal detectors, constant searches, no doors on restrooms - built to keep unruly students in, and earnest, hard working students out. I don't think any healing can take place until we can admit there's a problem here, and bury the dead fish.