Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holding flight

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

C'mon sun, shine on through!

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

The waves roll in, the waves roll out...

I've been thinking about opposite forces - good and evil, positive and negative, the breaking wave, the receding wave - in light of health care reform. We live in a country that prides itself on acts of selfless courage and commitment. Goodness knows there are military personnel, medical personnel, social workers, teachers, and countless volunteers who are making life better for someone, somewhere in this country, right now as I piddle at a keyboard. But there are also many who are so afraid of losing a piece of their own "stuff" that they rant and rave about politicians who are working to make life better for everyone through health care reform. Anyone who thinks that impoverished individuals have it made with free health care should take a good look around clinics and shelters that serve these populations. Not many would be contenders for a Ralph Lauren ad. Sure, there are some who can afford to purchase health insurance and choose not to, but isn't choosing a path in life part of living in a republic? I'm sure there are many like me who have insurance but still pale at the thought of copays, and when visiting a doctor, quickly add up what's left in the old checking account to see if a visit really is doable. Our family insurance is through my husband's teaching job - not the best perhaps but a long way from the worst. For one brief year, we had insurance through a major private business that my husband moonlighted with (yes, two full-time jobs). The coverage was amazing! But yet I'd give up a little of what I have - in the form of at least slightly higher rates - if it meant someone else who needs medical care gets it. I call it being a grownup and learning how to share. Guess some people in this country didn't get that lesson as a child.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ready, set, go....?!?

My "sub teacher card" came in the mail Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Veteran's Day, I happily got online and registered to be available for calls, and then by Wednesday evening, a bundle of nerves, I changed my availability date to Nov. 30th, after Thanksgiving. What is going on? Why am I nervous about doing something I've done twice before in a 20 year career? Do I think it is so terribly hard at age 49? I should be grateful to have the chance to sub, and for others to see what I can do, in the hope of landing a permanent job. Have I gotten too used to being at home, just since last June? Or do I just want to do something else? Yeah, there are so many opportunites for middle aged women in a medium sized southern city.....hmmm...lots to ponder once again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Budget cuts - different for everyone

Thinking about budget cuts today, after seeing a local teacher's union protesting furlough days at the local board meeting yesterday. Furlough days have become a reality for many people, and are certainly more desirable than layoffs, no? Listening to teachers rant to the news reporters about how hard it is to concentrate on teaching when you don't know if your power has been cut off, I wonder....does everyone make an effort to budget like my husband and I do?

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!