Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Always Teaching, Always Learning.

The beauty of being a teacher is that there is always something new to learn. It can be new material about your subject. It can be a new insight on how to present it. It can be a minor revision in your approach to it. Sometimes just when I've finished a class, I realize a way I could have done it so much better. When I'm organized enough, I make a note of it, so that the next time I teach I can utilize that insight.

The primary goal of a teacher is to pass on knowledge. An equally important role, however, is to increase the hunger for learning. Nothing makes my day more than to see students' faces light up with discovery.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Coming Home

Streaking through the night sky
Coming home to me.
My beloved is a-traveling.
His face I long to see.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Door to Door, Face to Face

I just did my first installment of door-to-door collecting of signatures to get Jack on the ballot. Several things tend to run through my mind while I'm doing this.

1. I will never shut the door in the face of anyone who comes to it without hearing what they are there for. Doesn't matter if I don't like their cause, their religion or their product. Door-to-door takes energy, time and some guts. I respect that.
2. Politeness isn't hard. Rudeness doesn't help any situation.
3. I wonder what is going on when people won't even come to the door and you can see them through the window. Goes back to point 1.
4. The democracy we enjoy is a precious gift. If enough of us ignore the processes that keep it alive, it will die.
5. Some people tend to assume all politicians are corrupt. Why does it seem like they are also the ones who are most apathetic about changing that? If you don't like slimy, stinky messes, you have to clean them up. If politics was an essential organic resident in our living rooms, you can bet it would be washed, deodorized, and dusted off. Broken parts would be thrown out, replaced or repaired.
6. I will never posted a NO SOLICITATION sign on my door. Goes back to point 1.
7. Lots and lots of people have dogs.
8. Lots and lots of people have dog decorations on their houses.
9. I hope that Republicans are not as rude to Democrats as my experiences as a Republican exposes me to rude Democrats. Goes back to point 2.
10. On a sunny day that is reasonably warm, going door-to-door is not a bad way to get exercise.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Loving Friday Night With No Place to Go

Bought me a brand new popcorn popper, 'cause the last one just blew up. Gonna pop me some popcorn and put on some real butter. Gonna get out that bottle of Creme Soda hidden in the back of the fridge and chuck a DVD into the system--one at least four hours long, and sit back. Not gonna answer the phone. Not gonna make any other plans. It's gonna be good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You can say no.

"If not you, then who?" The ultimate guilt trip! I just despise this quote. Here's why.

It is a manipulative challenge. It is basically saying, "You are the last person left. We don't see anyone else on the horizon that will do it. And since we don't, you either have to do it, or tell us who can." You have to recognize your limitations on time, energy, and talent, and that just because there is a need out there, it is not necessarily true that because you are asked, you are the one to do it. Our culture encourages us to over-commit, creating harried, exhausted, frantically weary people. Even great saints recognized the need for relaxation, refreshment, and down time. So a legitimate answer to the challenge is, "No one." How about that! Mother Teresa didn't sacrifice time for morning prayer or evening fellowship to do that pressing need that never goes away. You can say no, too.

Another reason: You have to ask yourself, "What it is about this service request that no one else wants to do it?" Granted, there are services that take a compassionate and humble heart to get done. But I am always suspicious that the thing being requested isn't getting done because it just isn't necessary. Jack once heard on the radio a plea to donate money so that no kid had to start school on the first day without new clothes to wear. His first reaction: Aww! Who would send a kid to school in September without new duds? Then it hit him. We do that! A middle-class family, trying to make ends meet, and we sacrificed new clothes for school. I know our kids never suffered much from it either. So when you are pressed to do something, ask yourself, "Is it even worth doing?" This is another thing to which you can often say no.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On a Roll

My goal this morning was to work on two science experiments as possible activities for my science class. It is often a frustrating and futile effort, since so many of them do not work. But, but, but!!! Today with only a little extra effort and minimal aggravation, I got them both to work in a very short time. This was supposed to take all day, cost me buckets of tears, and involve much weeping and gnashing of teeth. I am sorely tempted to try to make another one work for which I had bought many parts, one of them costly, and for which I have only met with failure thus far. I'm batting 1000--do I push my luck? And I know what you all are saying: "No guts, no glory." But hey, I just had two glories already this morning. Moderation in all things is my motto. Why spoil a good day when you're on a roll?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Up at Midnight

I'm yawning so widely I can't keep my eyes open, but I've caught up (almost) with correcting. Tomorrow, invariably, I will log on and find a whole new slew of assignments to plow through. But it just feels good right now, to be able to go to bed with a clean slate. We kid ourselves when we say we are all caught up. It is such a temporal pleasure, but I was willing to stay up past midnight to experience it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Home Alone

I'm actually not alone right now, but the one person here is still sleeping. It's quiet, and not just because I can't hear the noise. There are no appliances running. The phone isn't ringing. The radio is off. I recall my mother saying that she often left the radio on all day so that she would not feel lonely. It comforted her to hear another voice.

I am content to be my own company, but sometimes I get tired of myself. Quietness does not bother me, but emptiness does. There are days when my soul says "Ah!" to the stillness. Other times the solitude closes in like a painful blackness.

Today, I say "Ah!", but I clearly recognize the relief of knowing there is still someone around asleep.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What You're Good At Isn't Always What You Love

There are some talents I could do without. It's not that I don't think they are useful, but that I just don't enjoy those activities. You can be good at something and not like doing it. Yet, the talent is needed, others recognize it and request it, and you know it is at least not wrong to help, and at best, the right thing to do. So you find yourself doing lots of dreary things very well, while your heart pines for something else.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

All the little details...

Life changes so quickly. Why I feel so fascinated by progress beats me, but there are so many details, some of you just don't know what you've missed like...
...TV dinners whose foil cover is hard to remove without getting burned,
...public schools with only one vending machine--for no. 2 pencils, stores with only one or two brands of whatever you want,
...nylon stockings held up by a girdle with clips,
...girls being required to wear dresses or skirts to school every day,
...putting on a coat, scarf, hat, mittens, snow pants and boots before going out,
...shaking a pan on the stove for popcorn,
...sitting down together as a family for every single meal eaten at home,
...personal hand-written letters arriving weekly from family members,
...wearing white gloves to church and a hat, and white television with a curved rounded screen,
...only two TV channels to pick from if the weather cooperates, otherwise one,
...bicycles with only one speed--you back pedaled to brake.
Enough for now. I've got to finish that meal for all the family members who are coming to sit down together to eat it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm not so sure this is a good idea...

1. Drinking a white Russian followed by a black Russian on an empty stomach.
2. Accepting those double Manhattans from the lecherous ogler at the bar.
3. Doing handstands in the living room.
4. Starting a 10 page paper and a 15 page paper in the evening of the day before they are both due.
5. Riding down that steep hill in a wagon with two toddlers on my lap.
6. Deciding to hike the two miles to the nature center because there's nothing better to do because school was cancelled because of all the freaking snow that fell.
7. Deciding to camp even though our tent doesn't have a rain fly because what are the chances it will rain tonight anyhow...
8. Taking the short cut back to the house under those tall elm trees because this thunderstorm is coming on a lot faster than I realized.
9. Going to the prom with the guy I just had an argument with anyway, because heck, it's just one night. What could happen?
10. Walking home in the rain because my ride didn't show up, and what's a little drenching going to do to me anyway...

I admit it. I did all of these things at some time in my life, and ignored that wee voice in my head warning me that I shouldn't be so sure that it was a good idea.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Never Been to Cedar Point? Ha!

Riding that roller coaster every day
Elation to depression giving sway
To the plunging down, taking breath away.

Then grind, grind, grind to ascend dark to light
A gasping at the heavens from that height,
A panicky vision: despairing plight.

Screaming, roaring, sucking wind, swift descent
Clutching handrails, hoping the plunge relent
Knowing rock bottom is where you are meant.

Is not striving through life this: up and down?
We work to conquer and gain the prize crown,
Never suspecting our fleeting renown.