Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Watching and waiting...

I'm on Tybee's north beach, watching and waiting as four cargo ships enter the shipping channel from the open ocean. Don't believe I've ever been at this corner, seeing so many ships at once. I can see several more on the horizon, no doubt bringing in holiday cars and products.
The 70 plus sun temp is warm on my back, two hours from slipping away, leaving us in darkness once again.

I'm here alone, consoling myself in the best way I know how, as it looks as though a job I would have loved to have had has been given to someone else. I can accept that, but I still feel a loss - a loss of what could be.

The job was at a local college, as secretary to a department head. A wonderful job perk is that, after six months of employment, you can take classes at no cost. I could see myself getting a Masters in English, teaching as an adjunct professor.

I'm stretching out these peaceful moments before I'm back to my "to do" list and problem-solving how to pay bills. Life goes on, watching and waiting some more....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Being thankful...

We're here, Mark and I, at the north beach channel, with our chairs and backpacks full of writing implements, cameras, sandwiches and drinks. The sky and water both appear cornflower blue in color, punctuated only by the islands across the channel. The strips of land are the only way to distinguish the horizon line. Temps are mild; low 70s with a gentle breeze and no clouds for the sun to hide behind. I like my beach sun in November! A man nearby is digging up mussels, the smooth sand interrupted by small mounds he has scratched up. A few people, probably tourists in rentals, walk by. A nearby beach house of modern design, with lots of glass, stands with windows and doors flung open to the breeze. Kayaks in bright blue and yellow are piled nearby on the small dunes. It looks so inviting I want to walk in or grab a kayak!

We are heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. What am I thankful for? To be alive, to be cognizant and and walking, with good health to this point. To be with my husband and son together, we three. To be aware of this moment in time. To be able to appreciate the past but still look with hope towards the future.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One step at a time...and loving it!

I have had some great walks on this three day weekend. With this pic, I am standing upright; the tree, on the bank, is leaning into the river. I took this near Skidaway Island on Veteran's Day and it was a cold, windy walk!

Today at Tybee Island was glorious! Mild temps and loads of sunshine! Calm winds with a low tide to boot!

Even the shore birds seemed to be enjoying the day. I love sandpipers!

Pelicans tend to be so skittish, so I was pleased to get this shot.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making the most of fall days...

I was sitting with Mark at Ft. Pulaski on Sunday, at the beach by the shipping channel. We brought beach chairs, drinks and sandwiches to enjoy after our walk. Each season in Savannah is pretty, and I'm enjoying the blue sky, the golden marsh grass, and the blue-gray of the ocean. The temp is near about perfect today - upper 60s with a breeze. The sun feels great on my face! Visibility on the water is so improved in the fall. I can see details on the neighboring islands you normally couldn't see in a summer haze. No ships or pilot boats have gone by today. A smaller shrimp boat came into the channel but then left for open water. The sound of the lapping water, and the quiet of nature, is hypnotizing. So far we've had this area to ourselves - no yelling kids, running dogs, etc. Yesterday we were on Tybee walking. Mark showed me where two "free" parking spaces are. I'll check there first from now on. The smell of the marsh and open salt air is so familiar and welcome. This is the best way I know to enjoy unemployment! If I'd kept the teaching job, I'd be mired in lesson plans and a "to do" list today. I feel foolish after all the rants about not getting a teaching job. We each have a finite number of days, and I want to look back on each one to say that I used my time wisely.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Retreat from misery to happiness...

I'm sitting on a large piece of driftwood (remnants of a tree, bleached smooth and white from the elements) at Fort Pulaski. I'm at the shipping channel. It's high tide, or close to it. The water is almost at my feet. Oops, a pilot boat went by, but no, the ship is leaving the channel, not entering. No water worries! A ship can force a foot or two of extra water to the channel edge. Actually, I do have to raise my feet for the waves generated by the pilot boat but oh well....

I'm thinking about the history this area has seen. Ft. Pulaski sits on Cockspur Island, where James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah, and John Wesley, founder of Methodism, both landed. The Confederate fort fell to Union troops firing from Ft. Screven at nearby Tybee Island. So much misery in the mid 1800s...now today a beautiful wildlife refuge and historical monument.

I've gone from misery to happiness myself. I haven't posted in some time and that is because I applied for, and got, a public PreK teaching position in September. I worked all through August setting up the room. I left after two weeks with the kids. The stress of having 22 students from 8 to 4 with no break and only one very young, very inexperienced and sometimes rude helper, scads of state paperwork, county training obligations, and lots of school level battles was just too much for me. This fifty-something would rather be a lot poorer and have time to get outside and enjoy nature. I had almost 20 years as a teacher, and it is time to leave it at that. I'm now looking for any kind of retail, customer service, or food related job. Lesson learned - misery and money often go hand in hand, and the price tag is too high for me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New challenges for the fall

Just when you think it will never happen...I received a call back on a pre-K teaching position I applied for, interviewed and accepted the job! This happened around my birthday - best present ever! I am sorting through little kid stuff, making displays, having fun!

My son starts college next week, and today is dorm move in day. It is just a 45 minute drive away though. My husband is going to help with the loading and unloading. It will be an adjustment. The house is going to feel very empty. Not that he was always around anyway!

I see there's one spot left on a post at present....Pelicans are so cool!

Here's a recent sunset from Tybee. I haven't seen any manatees yet this year; have seen lots of dolphin pods with plenty of little ones playing. This month the jellyfish are making it hard to stay in the water without pain, and the black flies make sitting on the beach uncomfortable as well...this too shall pass by September....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July - the heat is on!

Sunday morning I took a walk at Ft. Pulaski on Cockspur Island. I love all the canals and side trails!

My "reward" for walking 3 miles is a nice seat by the water! I would surely lose my sanity if I wasn't near a large body of water....

I love sunflowers! My hubby grew just a couple of the large ones - this one is about 9 feet tall. I loved that I caught a bee busy on it! My husband has gotten back into gardening more. Right now we are getting plenty of tomatoes. Earlier we had radishes and lettuce.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cherished moments in June

I can't believe June 2011 is almost history! I am working thru my summer "to do" list. Hubby is teaching summer school, and my son is chilling after high school graduation. I took this pic of a dolphin during a local eco day cruise on Father's Day. I love these animals, and never get tired of seeing them! I have seen a manatee again at the Tybee north channel - wonder if it is the same one from last year? The other pic is an early sunset on the north channel - a favorite time and location for me.

I think the highest point of my parenting years, with the exception of birth, was seeing my son lead the procession for his high school as class valedictorian, and then giving his speech. He did an awesome job! It was a surreal experience - one I'll never forget!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Endings, beginnings, new discoveries

I was feeling out of sorts and out of balance this hot May morning, so I took off for a walk at Tybee. I've stayed fairly busy sub teaching, and the jobs are harder as the students get tired of school. So today I blew off any possiblility of working...I love the way the morning sun shines on the waves! This is one of my favorite views of the Tybee Lighthouse.

The first pic made my day, my month, my entire year! In all my days of trail walking in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, I have never seen a bobcat in the wild. Bears, yes, bobcats, no. Of course they are normally noctural. I've always seen scat, but that's it. Sunday at Fort Pulaski, near Tybee Island, my husband and I saw one at 9am, as our car passed by marsh and forest areas to get to the parking lot. What a rush!

I've been reading, off and on, a book by Dr. Henry Cloud on Necessary Endings, the employers, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward. I never really thought about it before, but to start a new challenge or relationship, you usually have to say goodbye to something.

My son graduates from high school in June. He was already dual enrolled full time at the local college. I am excited for him to be going back, this time with a dorm to end a rather aggravating commute. Definitely a big ending and beginning for him!

Still lots of gloom and doom on the educational front...more teachers layed off, less pay for those who stay. Looks like my husband's job is secure, but I am anticipating a third year of subbing instead of teaching. I love the freedom but sometimes I really miss not having my own students.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Climbing mountains....

I was climbing mountains during Easter break. The top two photos are from Crabtree Falls, Virginia, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. This has been a favorite mountain hike of my family for generations. As a kid, I could climb the two miles up, view the falls, and make the two miles down, as an "after dinner" walk. I didn't make it to the top of Crabtree this spring, primarily because....I climbed Sharp Top Mountain, part of the Peaks of Otter, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the day before and some muscles were really sore! The curse of being a coastal Georgia flatlands hiker! The bottom two photos show the view from Sharp Top. There is nothing like standing on a mountaintop for clearing the mind and opening yourself to new challenges!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Early March, and a small row of buttercups stands next to my mailbox. A resolute harbinger of spring, the sturdy stalks push up from the cold ground. And just when I think, "o.k., this is it," a few more shoots emerge overnight.

I'm thinking of my Granny, 94 and in a nursing home following a hospitalization for a lung and fluid problem. For her, this is likely a slow decline, before she leaves us. I remember the buttercups lining her driveway, and how excited she was to see them each year!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Diving/working through life

I've been watching pelicans dive for fish, here at 1pm on Sunday at the north beach rock jetty. Today is a real tease for spring; apparently the shore birds sense it also. I see various types of gulls, pelicans, and what I think are cormorants floating in the surf - perhaps more than I've seen at any time just floating. I suspect some schools of fish are running parallel to the beach.
Mark is sitting beside me writing in his journal. We walked to the north channel, then went to the car to get chairs and writing materials. There are a fair number of people on the beach, some already in swimsuits, and a few young children in the surf. The water still feels pretty cold to me, but I did walk in my bare feet (and loved every minute of it!) Yea, spring!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tybee - more ebb and flow

My husband and I are sitting between a couple of small sand dunes, looking out toward the water to the distant horizon of sky and sea. I can hear the persistent droning of a small plane as it circles around Tybee Island. Today is blissfully sunny. The breeze has a distinct nip, hence the sand dune location, which blocks the worst of the wind. Waves gently hit the sand - unseen from my current location but heard nontheless. Several seagulls sit about 50 yards from us, checking for signs of food in our writing bags. Sorry, fellas!
Just as we are huddled between sand mounds, Savannah is between two rain systems. One moved out yesterday, after two dismal, mind numbing days of steady drizzle and downpour; another will be upon us tomorrow. This evening is "Super Bowl" time. I'm betting I will have plenty of sub teaching opportunities tomorrow...
My life is still "up in the air" - will I get offered another teaching job ever? Will I continue as a sub? Can I afford to be a sub? What will be my second act at age 50? Do I want to go back to school? Could I even do that while my son is in college? I am grateful, with so many questions, to be in a "no obligation" situation for now. No contracts, no worries. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beach moments...

Sitting in a canvas beach chair facing the north channel, with the sun warming my back and a cool breeze tickling my face. Savannah's high was to be around 67 degrees today. I'm trying to write but feel the pull of sleep listening to the tide lap at the banks. The sound is different from breakers on the main beach - more gentle, hypnotic and rhythmic. I could sleep and put off writing so easily...

I've watched two ships come in - a car carrier and an Asian freighter. Nearby sea gulls seem disappointed that I'm not munching on anything. They pass nonchalantly by, switching from walking to swimming.

Winter blues in the sky make the water appear more blue and clear than it actually is. I see islands on the horizon - one is Hilton Head, the other Daufuskie. The tide is coming in - in a few minutes I will have to move my chair to avoid wet feet. Like a fresh salty breeze, my mind feels unfettered and open.

Mark is with me. Together we walked around the channel back toward the north beach. We found the carcass of a Sheep's Head fish. Many small jellyfish had also washed up on the beach. I saw the fish bones yesterday, but since then someone has taken the teeth out of the fish's mouth. They were pretty scary looking! A reminder that many ocean dwellers besides sharks have teeth.

The breeze is becoming a bit more chilling and cutting - more of a slap than a tickle - as the sun drops a bit in the afternoon sky. No perfect moment can last forever!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January passages...

I haven't posted anything all month, due to recent life events. My mother-in-law, who suffered from bipolar disorder all of her life and multiple sclerosis for a decade, passed away December 31st, after being in ICU for almost three months. Thankfully she was in a hospice facility for the last two days; wish my stepfather-in-law would have accepted hospice care sooner. My husband and his brother logged many hours at the hospital. Interestingly enough, my husband Mark was present for the sudden death of his father from a heart attack almost 30 years ago, and he was present when his mother also took her last breath. She loved the beach, so I'm posting a couple of pics in her honor...

I'm finishing up a long term sub job as a teacher's aide in a kindergarten inclusion class tomorrow. I've learned a lot about teaching younger kids, which was helpful since most of my experience is with 4th-8th grades. I've also been able to work with students with Downs Syndrome, which was a new experience. I was recently moved into another regular kindergarten class to work only with one conduct disorder child from the previous room. I am all for inclusion, except when a child who hurts others has the right to stay in the mainstream. I'm happy to be finishing up, as this one-on-one situation is not my cup of teaching tea! So....I'll be back in the sub pool again, waiting for the phone to ring....