Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ian's 31st Birthday

I am behind on blogging and am trying to catch up, bear with me!

School technically ended last Wednesday, and Ian and I worked our butts off to make three cakes for a bake sale that Thursday at my nani's retirement home.  A family friend recently passed and they were raising money for her daughter's college fund.  We made a mess but made three of the cutest cakes ever, that ended up raising $75!  It was a long day but worth it to contribute to all the goodies.

I got called back in for a mandatory meeting on Thursday morning (and found out about it after I already left school on Wednesday).  Our principal picked a new leader for our department and wanted to hear our thoughts before letting us know his decision.  After the meeting, we came home and started cleaning for Ian's birthday.  His birthday falls on the last week of school, always, and we want to have all of our fam and friends over so we rush around to make sure the house looks nice (and it's an excuse to clean for summer break too!).  Friday we headed in to pick up our last paychecks (big summer money!) and then went to happy hour with some school friends.  I said goodbye to two lovely ladies moving on with their husbands to bigger and better things, I will miss them and so will our students.

Saturday night we went out with Ian's friends and sister to the bar by our house.  It was fun being with all of our friends (mine, his - ours).  Everyone came out to celebrate with us and again I remembered just how lucky we are to have such wonderful people in our lives.  We have the best of friends and family, it amazes me every day just how loved we are (and how much we love all of them right back).  

Sunday, after a long night of drinking, we had my dad and Ian's family over for a BBQ.  We also invited our family friends from Oregon, Bruce and Cheryl and had the best time with everyone.  It was a crazy weekend and went by so fast, but was just as fun as always.  We realized that our big birthday celebrations might be coming to an end (we are getting old!) so it's always fun to get together when we can.  The older you get the harder it is to plan something with everyone, but we appreciate it so much when everyone can come out, it means a lot and we always have a good time!

On Ian's actual birthday, he and his dad were fixing our broken pool pump.  Our pool guy didn't bother to tell us that he had let our pump run dry, due to a broken backwash valve, so we ended up replacing the whole thing (and our pool guy).  He wanted to work on it on his birthday, even though I told him to just relax, but they ended up fixing it and it didn't take very long.  (Thanks Henry for always coming over to save the day, we still owe you from the attic!)  

I made gluten free chocolate croissants while they worked, a birthday tradition.  8 years ago on Ian's birthday, when we were just friends, I bought him a chocolate croissant and brought it to him at the school we worked at with a candle in it.  I sang Happy Birthday to him in my classroom, and from that year to this we've always eaten one on his birthday.  This year, since I am going gluten free (a post on this to come!), I had to make them from scratch.  It was tough, took forever, and I made a mess (and screwed up the recipe) but they turned out ok.  

That night we decided to stay in and watch a movie and eat Pei Wei instead of going out, it's our favorite thing to do and we were still beat from our crazy weekend!  Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, I love you so much more than you will ever know.  You are my best friend.

(I gave my students tomato and pepper plants back in March and took home the plants they did not take.  Now I have tomatoes!)

(Part of our cleaning involved trimming the bushes in the turtle pond.  Molly, the turtle, is so happy now she can get out and get some sun!)

(I also made Ian a gluten free pineapple upside down cake.  It was delicious, but I forgot to flip it over!)

(He got a welder and mask for his birthday.)

(Another one!)

(Ian got a welder, and helmet, for his birthday from his parents.  Apparently the helmet goes on our bedroom dresser?!)

(Gluten free chocolate croissants.)

(Made a mess and spent $13 on hard to find xanthan gum!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stopping the movie

The best part of my job is the kids (ask any teacher and this should be their answer).  The only reason I am a teacher is because of the students.  This year, as you read here, I took on a job that didn't really benefit the students and actually allowed me even less time to focus on them.  Never again.  I will remember next time that it isn't about leadership, it is about the kids.  And, even if you think your leadership will change things for the students, it may not; so you should just focus on what you are good at - teaching your students.

Saying goodbye to my students every year is like shutting off a movie halfway through.  Sure, I will see them around school for one more year, but never again will I spend 180 days with them.  And the seniors, who I previously had, are gone forever, never knowing about their lives again - most of them.  It's like stopping a movie before the ending - who will they marry?  How many kids will they have?  What jobs will they get?  What will they be like at my age?  It's depressing but hopeful at the same time, they have their whole lives ahead of them.  It's so amazing to be just starting out, so exciting.  When I say goodbye I am both sad and happy to see them go.  

Here are some pictures of students I will not see again.  Sure I can keep in touch, eventually, through Facebook or something, but I will not really know them ever again.  If you are a teacher, I am sure you can relate.  For a brief moment in time I affected their lives, hopefully, but now it is up to them to make it all happen.  Good luck class of 2012, it has been fun getting to know you.  Keep in touch!

(And for liability reasons - These students are all graduated, over the age of 18, they all signed an internet release form and are left unnamed here.)

 (Without this guy I would not have been able to do yoga and recycling at school.  He has helped me so much, I will miss him terribly!)

(And once in awhile you get these from students.  It totally makes your job worthwhile.  One "thank you" lasts for years and years and years.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Old Friends & New Ones

So, school is out for summer.  This summer is especially awesome because we got our early and start a week later so it is technically a week longer than usual.  It is a much needed break from a very stressful year both personally and professionally.

I will start with an event that happened last weekend.  Just when I thought I was going crazy from work, a friend from long ago invited my girlfriends and I to her birthday party on the roof of a bar downtown that none of us had ever been to.  It was out of the blue but totally fun.  We got dressed up, took the light rail and saw two old friends and had some cocktails.  Ian came and looked very handsome and so did Jeremy, Christine's man friend (and baby daddy) of years and years, and the twinsies and our new friend Marisol came too.  The night started off pretty relaxed and then got kind of crazy, see pics below.  We all got pretty tipsy and the light rail/car ride home (thanks Jenny for driving!) was super funny.  It was a night of letting loose and letting go, and I'm so glad we all went.  (Thanks Jenny and Katie for taking pics!)

(All of the ladies with the birthday girl.)

(On the light rail with Jenny and Christine.)

(Us smiling like Christie smiles!)

(Hair blowing in the wind at the bar, super nice night weather-wise!)


(This is when the night turned a little crazy.)

(Waiting for the rail.)

(On the rail!)

This night was so needed, more than I ever told any of the girls.  I had a really rough school year that culminated into a pretty awful ending.  I experienced a lot of people's true colors, found out a lot of things about myself and others and just was really down about the whole year.  A lot of events depressed me and I became really disappointed in people in general.  Without going into detail this sums it all up:  I always try to find the good in people and expect the best out of everyone.  It's extremely disappointing when they prove you wrong, or when you think you know people and you find out you don't.  Sometimes people are just mean to be mean, even if you've always treated them nicely.  And sometimes, that's just who they will always be, no matter if you saw them differently or not.  

This was a very difficult realization.  I have a job that I love and that I look forward to going to every day, every day except for this year.  So many mornings I woke up dreading work, making myself sick, stressing and not being able to sleep.  I want to work somewhere where I can go and have a good time, not be afraid to see people or nervous about what drama will be starting that day.  Aren't teachers there for the kids?  I thought that was our main objective?  How can we teach students how to get along if we can't even get along ourselves?  

Some things happened that I wasn't proud of and it caused me to lose faith in people (and a bit in myself).  I became a different person this year, both because of my leadership position at school and because of blueberry.  I was hardened and didn't like who I'd become, I felt like a stranger in my own skin.  Before Katie's birthday party, I had even cried at my desk for 3 days in a row and I had had enough.  But, going to the party, drinking and dancing with old friends and new ones - really lifted my spirits.  The girls revived me and reminded me that work is work and isn't your life.  This year I let work become my life, I took it all home with me, something I vowed never to do.  I didn't have as much time for my friends, to focus on my relationship with my husband or even to let myself live a little.  People at work are not your friends, you actually have real friends who care about you and love you and want to be around you, friends that know you for who you really are and love you none-the-less, even if you've had a busy year. 

So, I drank and danced off my negativity and vowed to leave it all behind from that night forward.  And it worked, I feel more and more like myself every day.  It's hard to let it all go, hard to let go of the hustle, the craziness and the rushing around, the hurt feelings the disappointment - hard to just sit back and relax.  I'm re-learning it and it feels good.  I need it for my sanity (and for my future baby making!).

Here is the moment that school ended for me.  After Katie's birthday we still had a small school week left, with its own set of drama, but none of it affected me like the week before.  I had already started leaving it behind, and at this moment (with two new friends at dinner), with this margarita, I knew summer was finally on it's way . . .

Thank you Katie for inviting all of us to celebrate your birthday with you.  I needed it more than you know and was so happy I went.  Cheers to old friends and new ones . . . 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A nice little tune . . .

Here is a song that I feel represents my last couple of weeks. 

This song is funny because it has a very sweet tune, sung with a very sweet voice and sounds like a lovely little song; but then it has some not-so-nice lyrics.  That's how it is sometimes, isn't it?

I know I haven't blogged for a bit but we are busy closing out the school year and as of Friday we are officially done!  I will write more when we are relaxing at home eating organic hot dogs and floating in the pool.

So, enjoy this nice little tune in the meantime . . .

(And mom, I apologize ahead of time for this song, don't read the lyrics.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Life moves pretty fast . . .

. . . if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.  Ain't that the truth.

The older you get the faster the days go by.  It's fun when you only have 7 full days left of school (like us, yippee!) but not so fun when you get to spend a whole day with your husband doing absolutely nothing and all of a sudden it is 8pm out of nowhere.  I remember when I was young life moved so slow, minutes felt like hours.  But now, it is just whizzing by.  Is this what people mean when they are on their death beds talking about how life was just a blur?  Or when parents say their kids grew up so fast?  You don't fully grasp this until you get older and it happens to you.

So, that's what happens.  I know this blog was supposed to be a pregnancy blog, then it turned into a life blog for awhile and hopefully one day again it will be about babies.  Having to write about life is really hard when you're old, because it just flies by.  I think of so many things I could blog about but never have the time to do it, I actually have to make the time.  I miss the good old days of nothing to do, but 7 days from now I will have more time and can't wait!

So, here's what has been going on.  On my way to yoga a couple of weeks ago, driving down the same street that I always have (for the past 4 years), I looked to my left and realized that my dad's old apartments were there.  I remember when my parents got divorced and my dad moved to 10th street and Camelback, it seemed like the other side of the world for a 15 year old girl.  I had to take the bus there and didn't like staying there because it was so far from everything I knew.  But, now, I drive down that street at least once a week and sometimes even twice on my way to yoga.  It's funny because it seems like a whole other life, when I was in high school, when my parents were still married to each other, when it seemed the world revolved around you.  But now, things are different and we are older, and a bit wiser.  It's funny reflecting on who you used to be.  Never forget it, just put it in your backpack and carry it with you, who you used to be is part of who you are now. 

I experienced this at my high school reunion.  I read this book and Robert Fulghum said that you should always go to your reunions, at least one, to see who you were and how it made you who you are today.  I agreed with that, and other things he said (we actually took our wedding vows out of that book too) so I went.  I wasn't really friends with anyone in my grade, all my besties are a year younger, so I was worried if it would be fun or boring.  It turns out, we had a blast!  We hung with a couple of girls I used to hang with, their husbands/boyfriend were awesome and kept mine company as I flitted around the place talking to everyone.  That night made me realize that all the years I spent blaming others for my unhappy high school experience, could really be because I shut people out as well.  I think I was so jaded and felt so "different" that I went around acting like a jerk to anyone that wasn't like me.  So I was partly to blame for my feeling of alienation.  What an amazing realiztion!  It made me put this piece of knowledge in my backpack and take it with me, learning more about myself than I knew before.

Life is like that.  It's hard to relate to someone in their early 20's because they think the world is against them and they have to struggle just to get by.  Everything seems like a disaster or a BIG DEAL when really it isn't.  I relate better to my 16 year old students for some reason, I guess I feel they aren't so set in their ways.  Your 30's are pretty fun, life seems to click and things just make sense.  I like it and feel the best I've ever felt at this stage in my life.  Recently, my friends and I talked about how cute we are now compared to in our 20's - who let us walk around looking like that when we had such young bodies and were so cute and little?  Now, just when you are figuring out your style and what hairstyle looks good on you, you have to work your butt off to look as good as you did in your 20's!  I wish we would have enjoyed it more then!  (And let's not even talk about all the tattoos we wish we could all remove - take note little ones!)

A friend died this past week.  She was like an aunt, part of my family ever since I was little.  Her death was sudden (aren't they all?) and it was so sad.  She left behind her daughter who will miss her terribly, as well as all of us.  I hate cancer and wish we could find a cure already.  Aren't there people working around the clock on this, people whose JOB it is to find a cure?  Ugh, I hate it.  It made me think of my step-mother, Leslee, and made me remember her in the hospital.  Those were dark days too.  Isn't it strange how when someone dies it's as if a hole appears in the sky (in your world) and it's like it will never go away?  And then, over time, the hole is still there, and you still notice it, but it gets smaller and smaller.  And suddenly you can breathe again and think clearly again, but every once in awhile you remember the hole.  That's how it was this week, my hole got a little bigger with the passing of my friend.

So, it's the end of the year and soon I will say goodbye to my kiddos.  I don't know if it's me or them, but these past two years I have really enjoyed my students.  Only teachers understand this but when you say goodbye to a group of kids, it's like watching a movie and turning it off before the end.  Sure, you will see them next year, but you won't really KNOW them anymore, you won't get to see what happens after high school and in life.  We finished our novel (another one of my favorite books) today in class and I almost cried at the very end.  Every year when we finish I know the year is over, and I get emotional (even after 11 years).  I wish them all the very best in life and hope they keep in touch.

My job is also ending this year.  I will still be a teacher but will no longer be a department chair.  I heard recently that a teacher was placed on leave for talking badly about her job on a blog, so I won't do that here, but I will say that it has been an interesting year.  With all of our personal stuff, and the demands of this position, it has been one of the hardest years of my life.  I can't wait for 7 days from now, when I'm sitting at Dos Gringos (you're all invited!) and can drink a margarita and toast to this horrible year being finally over.  Come and join us, I will tell you all about it!

I will leave you with one last thing.  At my yoga class on Tuesdays we sing the Anusara Invocation.  If you are new to the class it is weird, three rounds of singing (especially when you don't know the words), but having been there a long time, I know the words now and sing along.  I looked up the song a couple of years ago but did not fully grasp it's meaning until lately.  For some reason, just in the past couple of months, it has almost brought me to tears every time.  Just singing it, feeling everyone's energy and feeling the peacefulness of being together and not having to do anything else besides focus on your own energy, completes me.  We sing it in Sanskrit and I now fully understand the words and the meaning of the song.  I have included it with its translation:

namah shivaya gurave
saccidananda murtaye
nisprapancaya shantaya
niralambaya tejase

I offer myself to the Light, who is the true teacher
within and without (the teacher of all teachers),
who assumes the forms of
reality, consciousness and bliss,
who is never absent and is full of peace,
independent in its existence,
it is the vital essence of illumination.

I wish you could hear the tune, it is really beautiful, everyone singing at once.  It makes you bring your focus inward, and slows you down to reflect on your life.  Since life move so fast, times like this are so precious.  If you'd like to hear the song without attending the class, I would be happy to sing it for you next time I see you.  Namaste.