Friday, October 14, 2011

Update on goals and realizing the power of words...

Well, well, well - let's see I established goals for my new year back in August. I'd say it's time to take stock in how I am measuring up, wouldn't you?

Goal: Be home at a decent hour; Grade: C
Ok so I am better at this than I was, say, last October but not nearly where I want or need to be. However, just today- this morning at 6:00, I found even more motivation to stay committed to this goal---
Wesley asked if I would be home when he got home. I answered that most likely I would be. The following conversation ensued-
Wesley: Oh...I was hoping you wouldn't be.
Me: Whaaaaaatt, why? Don't you like it when I meet you at the door and begin to bombard you with all kinds of questions and ideas about what you need to start working on (chores, homework, studying for a test, etc.)?

He laughed even though he and I both knew it was the truth. Then said, "No, it is just that when you aren't here when I get home, I can do whatever I want and if I want to leave, I don't have to check in with you."

Oh hell no- no 16 year old young man needs to be able to do "whatever he wants without checking in" with his Mama.

Goal 2: Keep up with grading; Grade A
Isn't it ironic that I HATE placing a grade on work but am using a grading system to rate myself in  maintaing the goals I set??? What the hell is wrong with me? A grade, REALLY? I honestly have no idea what a grade means...does it mean I have met a standard? worked hard at meeting a standard? Whatever-- the remainder of my goals will not be graded. 

Goal 3: End with as much steam as I began with
I'd say that I have maintained this energy. After a little more than a week at the coast with 40 20-23  year olds, I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to recover and NO, I did not try to act like a 20-23 year old! Ahhhhhh to be 20 something again. 

Crap--you know you are getting old when you say shit like this. Note to self- never, ever, ever, ever, say out loud or even worse put in writing that you would even consider being 20-something again...

Goal 4: Maintain a routine for eating, sleeping and exercising
Geeeeeeezussssss--the only routine I have kept is the one for eating. BUT I did talk today about exercising. That has to count for something, right???? Maybe I'll replace eating with sleeping and exercising...ya know when I want to eat, go to sleep or go exercise. 
Clearly, I am still working on this ...

Goal 5: Submit 2 articles
YAY- have submitted 1 and am waiting to hear, only 1 more. BUT I have about 6 in my head that I need to get on the paper.

Goal 6: Hang out with the BFF
No- this has not happened enough. I am thinking it is going to get better though. Last week we pretended to be sisters for a discount membership at local business...OMG, see that is another sign of being middle-aged...Yes, who doesn't want to save 20 bucks? But she and I both probably blow 20 bucks on something a lot less significant. We did consider representing ourselves as a couple and I have to say that if I was to ever have a girlfriend or wife, that I'd want it to be her! When we were 20-something we never made this commitment to each other but we did agree that if by a certain age (and I can't remember what age that was) we weren't married or had children that we would get artificially inseminated together. Yeah...we gotta hang out more.

Goal 7: See my nephews
I have seen them each week but I think one of them "unfriended" me on facebook! Whaaaaaaaattt?? I am cool...I can't imagine why on earth he wouldn't want his aunt stalking his facebook page (if you know me, you know I being very sarcastic here) haha---I see this as a good thing. He is independent and it is OK! 

Speaking of independence...I have always wanted and tried really hard to intentionally get my kids to be independent and to question things going on around them in school, home, life-- everywhere. I think this is important. I want my children to know how to question and be critical of some of the stupid things people do. Ironically, the only place that I've seen these qualities not really appreciated is in schools...I am floored that more teachers are offended when Wesley or Cameron exercise their abilities to question the teacher. 

Don't get me wrong--I don't promote disrespect. In fact what I do promote is that they (Wes and Cam) look at things from the perspective of others and to respectfully ask questions. listen to rationales and suggest alternatives to whatever it is that they don't agree with. I don't get it. I always love it when my students have been thoughtful enough to raise questions and suggest an alternative. I am convinced that this is a necessary life skill! 

Tonight while trying to really understand more about this, I asked Cameron: "Why do you want your teachers to listen to you. His answer: Mom, I have power with my words. 
I'll let you think on that one for a bit.

Remember: By words we learn thought and by thought we learn life.  -Jean Baptiste Girard

Until next time...
Choose your words wisely.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy New Year in August!

I LOVE back to school time. Not because I've been home with the kids all summer or because I am bored but because this time of year signals a new beginning- a fresh clean start. This is the time of year I get to start over and perhaps do things better or differently than I did last. For as long as I can remember, the beginning of school marks the new year for me-- not Jan. 1.

Some of the things I hope to do better this year include:
  • Be home at a decent hour to help the kids with HW and so that we can all eat dinner together
  • Keep up with grading. I always read and respond to students' work as soon as it is turned in (because I am curious about what they think or have been doing) but I HATE placing a grade on it so then I find myself with all these papers waiting for their marks. Maybe I should just start giving feedback and letting students assign the grade...hmm (Now, I am wondering if any of my students are reading this and thinking that I am really crazier than they originally thought!)
  • End with as much steam as I begin with
  • Maintain a routine for sleeping, eating and exercising and a schedule in general
  • I want to submit (and hopefully have accepted) at least 2 articles that I am first author on. I am not sure if that is a lofty goal or not. It doesn't sound like much but this will be difficult for me. I am so slow at writing for academic purposes. I think the more I do it, the easier it may become. 
  • Hanging out with the BFF. All of her kids will be in school so we ought to be able to get together at least 1 morning a week! 
  • Seeing my nephews. I love them and love being around them but it seems like time is always an issue. 
  • Pay my bills. When I get behind on this, it drives the husband insane, which I find sort of funny (but don't tell him I said that, OK?)! A stack of mail will pile up on the kitchen counter and then one day one of the kids will arrive home to find that the "lights don't work". Yeah, the youngest called his Daddy at work last year to report this. Of course the husband called Duke Power raising hell only to be told that the bill had not been paid. Oooopssss...This series of events was not as funny to the husband as it was to me. The money was in the bank, I just hadn't taken time to pay it along with all the other bills. Oh yeah, the youngest also posted this mishap on Facebook, which I found to be quite funny too, but the husband was less than amused. 
  • Gauging what can be accomplished in a 3-hour class! UGH-- now that drives me crazy. I always run out of time and end up having to carry things over into the next class meeting. I am certain that when I taught elementary school, my timing was right on target. I swear, I never have enough class time to do all the things I want to do with students. In a lot of ways, I wish I had them everyday for an hour or so instead of 3 hour chunks. 
I wonder if accomplishing all of these things is even realistic. I've never been known to function around what is realistic but I am going to put a good honest effort towards realizing these goals! So here's to a new year-

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Insights Garnered by Sneezing with Coffee in your Mouth

Have you ever sneezed with something in your mouth? When my kids were babies, I remember this occasionally happening and it seems they were always eating rice cereal when this happened. Spewing rice cereal across the highchair into my face and beyond was cute then. Now? Not so much...Sneezing these days is not so simple.

This morning as I sat drinking my coffee while checking Facebook Newsfeed, reading my email and the newspaper - a necessary routine that I began sometime around 2007, I sneezed only to have my Starbucks Via speckle across my computer screen and settle into a pattern along the front of my t-shirt.

Really, sneezing was the least of my worries. You see, sneezing at almost 40 takes on a whole new meaning that I never imagined at 20, 30 or even 35. Yeah, all those women out there who are almost 40 and have ever had children KNOW exactly what I am talking about, don't you? Yep, so not only did I sneeze and loose my coffee but I also peed myself a little...Look y'all, quit thinking in your head 'I can't believe she is writing this'. You know you are laughing like hell at my misfortune. And that is OK by me, you should be.  I laughed too...after I cleaned up my mess, took a shower and threw back a Zyrtec (hoping that would head off any more sneezing episodes for the day).

As I write this, the ways I have changed since becoming middle-aged are seemingly glaring at me!  Never before 35 did I need a morning routine that included coffee. In fact, back then I resisted anything with routine. And contrary to popular belief, I don't think my kids have suffered in monumental ways as a result of me neglecting this aspect of them growing up. I hope they have learned to be spontaneous and always open to new opportunities. Seriously my morning routine came about, I think, as a way to control what is going on in my life.

Around 2007, I was celebrating my victory over breast cancer while at the same time devastated by my brother's diagnosis of metastasized colon cancer. I was also trying to make up for the lost time in grad school, and lost time with my family and friends that had been put on the back burner while I dealt with my diagnosis. 2007 sent me reeling into an out-of-control-of-life state. The way I go about taking control is to first look for order. To establish order, I developed a routine. The first routine that I established was this coffee and reading habit. It was calming and I was in complete control. For some reason this routine has stuck. This is probably due to a couple factors. First, I like this easing into the day sort of thing so that I can gather all my thoughts. This should be no surprise, after all I am almost 40 so thought-gathering should be needed, right?

I also think that this habit has turned into an addiction. Hi, my name is Melony and I am addicted to the caffeine jolt that ONLY Starbucks Extra Bold Via can provide. I simply cannot do everything that I want to do without it. Plus the caffeine that this addiction offers seems to help curb my appetite...hmmm from the looks of the scale and the floppiness of my skin (it isn't fat, it is thick skin), I might want to re-think the one cup and add another (We'll save this conversation for a later post, Ok?). And so my morning routine has carried over into the present and provides me with way to control my day.

Who knew that an innocent sneeze could lead to such insights? Aren't you glad you stopped by today?

Enjoy your day and middle-aged folks, if you too are feeling out-of-control try a morning routine but just don't sneeze with coffee in your mouth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My First Blog-- Why I am doing this

So, I'll be 40 soon and yep, I consider that to be middle-aged. Some may think this is a little too old for middle-age and others may see this as being too young. I really don't think I would make for a happy 80 year old. Really-- at the young tender age of 39, I am impatient and can be cantankerous. I hear these sorts of things get worse with age. Lord help my children is all I can say. If I am still around at 80, they'll probably be as happy as they are now (what 7th grader is EVER happy?? and the 11th grader is convinced that I am his mom just to nag him). Anyway, a lot has happened in my almost 40 years of life that I think others can benefit from. I have been fortunate to have some really great friends and some really bad friends. I've had opportunities to handle terrible circumstances with grace and dignity and have also failed miserably at dealing with some circumstances. So, I am hoping to take the life's lessons that I've learned and continue to learn and explore them through writing.

I think this blogging thing may help me achieve some balance in my life that has been missing for sometime now. Through the process of writing, I can think, reflect and share. I enjoy writing but it has been a really long time since I have written for just ME and I want to take that back. I hope you'll feel free to comment and share your experiences as you wish! I love learning about other people and this is your invitation to join me in my journey.