Tennis Shoes and Underwear

5 Apr

I have returned yet again, from camp. I am unscathed, save for the Stevie Nicks voice and exhaustion that accompanies the return home. A hot shower, shaved legs, teriyaki and a nap have returned me to almost normal.

This year was wonderful. I have never laughed as much as I did. Made as many new friends. Enjoyed myself immensely with well behaved fifth graders and my own class that sat next to each other on the beach and reminisced about our first grade years. I smiled. A lot.

I had fun singing songs that I forgot the words to and somehow over the years the bear song in underwear got changed to the more politically correct version of dandy pair of tennis shoes. Who knew? I figured it was more appropriate to meet a bear who covered his junk than one just in dandy tennis shoes. I call that a flasher.

Either way, I am home. Coupeville on the first and last day of camp with sunshine was amazing and I can’t forget the last day was a bit more impressive than the first because the hot fireman stopped across the street from us and I got to enjoy that parade for a bit. EVERYONE likes candy at camp, however, EYE CANDY is even better.

My heart is full of new camp memories that I want to wrap myself around tonight in the comfort of my own bed and begin my spring break. Sometimes being a teacher has some pretty awesome perks.

Typing in the Dark

29 Mar

Not to be confused with Dancing in the Dark.

It is 10:30 on a Friday night and I have been in my bed since 8:30. I tried to read but my eyes keep closing. The week has been full. Good-full. Crazy-full. A little drama-full. Tire-some full. In between deciding if I am going to bed, I am washing laundry. Packing for camp as I leave on Monday for five days of fifth grade camp. It is one of my most favorite memories to make with my fifth graders-well, if I don’t choke them during the process. In the past seven years some of my most memorable camp “lessons” have included:

1. Don’t run to the lunch lady, your teacher will grab you by your backpack and spin you around so fast your eyes will take a full sixty seconds to catch up to you.

2. I can light fire in the rain at Survival. I refuse to tell my secret.

3. Gatorade is liquid gold. It cures tantrums. Homesickness. Meltdowns and even fist fights.

4. I am the master kite builder.

5. Sea lab guy gets creepier every year.

6. EVERYONE oohs and ahhhs at the camp fire. Even though it is like 3 feet by 2 feet and the kids are not anywhere near it.

7. Two years of being a high school cheer leader comes in handy when you lead camp songs. Who knew, “Hey Pirates” would become “Hey campers” and they can still do a surfer dude.

8. There are ghosts. Trust me.

9. It is pretty amazing to see the kids grow in change in a few short days…and to see them outside of the classroom. I love that they love me back while I am there and want me to be in every picture, tell me about their candy, counselor, falling down the hill, and ask me things like “Do I know how awesome the light house is?” (Duh, yeah, it is a lighthouse!)

10. All four of my own children have attended–two while I was there as a teacher, and so far one as a camp counselor. Once, three of us were there all the same sesson. Teacher. Camper. Counselor.

11. Putting your flashlight to your face in the dark never gets old.

12. Yes, your teacher will make you eat. Yes. I know it is fake eggs. Eat it anyway.

13. High school kids really do step up and do a great job as counselors. Unless they try to sneak out at night. Then it is on like Donkey Kong.

14. I like the “J” building to sleep in. The showers don’t honk when you turn them on.

15. Sleep is overrated.

16. Kids don’t understand currents, yet they still try to throw their wooden boats into the water and “say” they get it.

17. It is a very very very long walk from the fort to the survival camp.

18. Heat. It is never overrated.

19. A good meal on your time off is awesome. Make friends with someone who drove so you can go into town.

20. Smiling. There is a lot of smiling.

So I get my rainboots ready-because sometimes it rains (ok, all the time) and my raincoat. I packed some hand warmers, washed my sleeping bag and my camp “sheet”. I have my hiking boots and my plethora of hats because my curly hair cannot take the camp water, sky water, or constant water in the air. I don’t want to scare kids with the frizz I am trying to grow out.  I prepare my body to eat camp food in a mess hall. Although, I LOVE camp oatmeal. I am not sure what it is about the sticky mess with brown sugar and raisins, but I eat it every day I am there.

Each yearI arrive, I remember how wonderful camp is. How much I love being there and not just the experience for the kids, but for me. There is something wonderful about climbing up to the Fort and standing where soldiers were and just breathing the salt air. Peaceful, yes, but also knowing it is a transition time in the school year and wrapping up with my kids. I have great memories with my teaching partners too. Freezing up at the fort and huddling for body heat as kids run around for the scavenger hunt. (I have since asked to PLEASE not be put on fort for the scavenger hunt because I seem to piss off the weather gods and bring out the wind. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.) Staying up late after the kids go to bed and just talking. It makes me feel like a camper instead of a teacher. Seeing my teaching partners sing camp songs and shake their booty and make a fool of themselves in front of 500 fifth graders each session or trying to get the rockets to go in the rain–because kids need to light their rockets! Weather be damned! It is priceless.

I always pack a book and the list of treats my own kids want from the candy store in town-jawbreaker, Swedish Fish, and Sour Patch Kids. I always bring them home something from the candy store. OH and rockets this year. I even made my own. So, we shall see if it actually goes up in the air or lands in the ocean or tries to take out someone’s eye. I never read my book. I always eat the Swedish Fish before they make it home.

OH! And I have a whistle. AND I use it.

This year I am excited to go all week for both sessions. I just need to finish packing and organize my stuff before hand. Try hard to NOT forget anything. Like a towel. Because that sucks if you do.

So, no more typing in the dark. It will be a week of pretty much technology free days.

I look forward to that and the great memories about to be made.

Change

27 Mar

Yeah. Not like coins or pennies or quarters. More like, HEY DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

I am here to say, “Change” is work. Lots of it. Constant effort ninja like moves to keep you from sinking into old habits.

Just thought I would throw that out there for everyone today. Championing change is a bitch.

John Denver Was Not a Liar

24 Mar

No. He. Was. Not.

He had it right from the beginning.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

It is amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for your soul. Today, I got up early. Went for a walk with a lovely friend. Made some winter amends with the lawn mower and together we made a pact to take out the moss. United we stand! Then, Home Depot, some flowers, fixed deck lights and a nice lunch with my mom.

The weather was perfect. The air felt crisp and springy and I was smiling.

Thanks John Denver for knowing how to say it so succinctly.

Reason #4357

18 Mar

It could be more like reason number 5, but it feels like it has thousands of reasons. Reason for what? More like reasons why insomnia sucks. Currently that reason is I have to be up early and observed as I teach a lesson during reading on plot. The irony? The book I read is called My Lucky Day.

Sleep.

Overrated or needed?

I should get up and be productive, yet I cold so the tossing and turning is at least in a warm bed. Albeit, the bed is a tangled mess of restless.

It’s too bad insomnia didn’t burn more calories. Sort of like midnight exercise without leaving the blankets. That might make it worth it. Just a little bit.

So a big yawn. A flip over. A pillow shaken out and a new- hopefully sleepy- position. Counting sheep or goats or cats or problems. Something I hope will allow the Sandman to find me before 4 am…..

Please. Or the lucky day might not be so lucky.

Pete

14 Mar

I  cannot TELL you about the adventures that Pete has had. Pete is my beloved Point and Shoot Camera. I LOVE LOVE LOVE him. He is an Casio Exilim line up.. 10x the zoom, –NOTHING fancy compared to my Nellie. But I absolutely adore him.
Pete, however, is a trouble maker. He got lost in Italy…seriously. He literally jumped out of the car on the side of the road as we were driving up the windy road through the Tuscany Region. We had just visited the Verazzano Castle and stopped to take a few pictures. Two miles down the road I am was like WHAT happened to Pete? I panicked and thankfully Sandie and Etta were game to drive back up there road. We saw him. Totally just sitting on the side of the road where we had stopped for a photo moment. Pete. Sheesh.

Most recently, I loaned Pete out to a friend. This is something I NEVER EVER do. But, she was in a desperate spot for a camera. She went to the Seahawks event, but Pete was stolen. STOLEN. Somehow, someone had lifted him out of the pretty purple case and claimed him as their own. I was devastated. I broke my own rule to lend him out and now I was paying for it. My friend offered to buy me a new camera and I said, let’s wait. I was worried that my photos that were on the disk were forever lost and gone. I was very sad.

Fast forward about 6 months. I was finally thinking of letting her replace my camera when she emails me that that SeaGals had received an email from a parent about a camera that was found her daughter’s bedroom and it didn’t belong to their family. HOLY COW. So, my friend immediately emailed back–I think it is MINE! However, she didn’t know the brand, so the SeaGal sent over a picture that was on the camera. BINGO! PETE had been found.

Pete is now safe and sound, home. But I was still upset about the photos I thought had gone missing. Well, apparently, when I loaned him out, I was smarter than I remember being. Just yesterday, I was cleaning out my desk and came across a SIM card of photos. The pictures were recent, and I scrolled down….and BINGO, my missing pictures! Apparently, I had taken the card out and swapped it with a different one (also had some photos on it, but those were also returned!) but low and behold, the disk was with me all along!

So, Pete, has gone to Mexico most recently and arrived home without further incident-well, except when Cleo pulled him out of his case and hid him under the chair. Be still my heart.

The Very Loud Silence

14 Mar

Sometimes the silence is so freaking loud I can’t bear it. Most recently, I have had more time on my own than I can ever remember having. I spent a lot of my “time” filling my “time” post divorce and as the sequence of post divorce events transpired within my life and social circles. I spent a lot of time just “doing” so that the silence was avoided. I invested in someone. I tried my hand at loving and spending that time giving instead of thinking about what I should be doing. I spent months creating things to do-with people. For people. For myself. I wanted to be busy so I didn’t have to contemplate all that needed contemplated.

Because contemplating is so effing loud.

I hear the thoughts running through my head and the decisions I am currently faced with. I hear the doubts shouting across the room and the clicking of the clock for the time. I have come to realize that I am not sure where or how I fit in and I have started to avoid the busy of my life and find some solitude in order to think. But thinking is so effing loud too. It isn’t about tears and crying. Yes, there have been some of those, but truly, those are more a release and a relief than a burden.  I love my job-I love teaching. Sometimes the politics that go along with teaching are hard to handle and the ability to feel successful can be masked by the limits of what resources we have. The good feeling can also be overlooked by a small mark of handling the issues that come along with teaching.
The P. Word.

Parents. It can wreak havoc on one’s self esteem. OYE.

I love my family. I love my friends. I love my kids. I even love the stupid little rat-dog that is part of our household. I care about all of those things and want to take care of them and have a life with all of them with wonderful memories.

But I am not sure if I am just going through the motions and avoiding the silence that needs to be addressed. It isn’t about loving someone. It isn’t about having a man in my life. I thought for a while that it could be about that because  I was feeling very lonely and alone. I am so busy and have so much good–yet sometimes I have this lonely. It isn’t a void. It isn’t an empty type lonely. But it is that of not fitting into the life that I had been carving out for myself. I am not married–a lot of my friends are and I feel sort of out of place on more occasions than not. I don’t to get married and I am not even sure how I feel about dating someone right now. We ALL know my track record with men. A convent seems most appropriate right now.

My kids are growing up and I am still in the same house. Same car. Same all that I had prior to getting divorced and that is SO LOUD that I wonder if I am shouting over it sometimes. I used to think it was about stability. I thought it was about doing what is right for my kids and staying here and keeping things similar and simple. But I think it was about being chicken. I am still scared. I am scared to think about selling my house. Moving. Getting a new job if I move far away. I am not necessarily great at change, but I wonder if my lonely and my funk that I am in currently, is because I refuse to truly change.I have changed–but my actions haven’t necessarily caught up to the feelings of my changing.

I had to make some hard decisions lately. This has caused the dam to burst on the tear ducts. I have had to cut the apron strings on how involved I am with my adult children and given the  GO FORTH AND PROSPER speech.  You know the one–go eff up on your own, try to fix it, and have some sort of accountability for your life because I am not fixing it for you anymore. Yes, I still cook dinner on Sundays and you can borrow my washer. Maybe. Sometimes. Figure your shit out.  Yeah, I have that one for my kids now. I have had to make some tough choices for my son and hold him accountable in a way that breaks my heart each day. Sometimes stupid choices have a very hard life lesson attached. Even if we don’t want to do it, we have to. I have had to walk away from someone I really love because there is no common ground on where we are at currently, and I have tried to do the same thing over and over and hope for a different result. Now, I know the result will be different because I am acting differently.

Everything is so quiet. I am not as  busy because I think I really am avoiding people. I wouldn’t call it anti-social per se, but it might be. Just a little bit. Ok, it probably really is about being anti-social.  I am just not great company and I do not have much to say. No one wants to hear how hard life has been lately. That my heart is broken. My kids are moving. My son is far away and I miss him. No one wants to hear that I had my feelings hurt at work AGAIN because I am trying to do what is best for kids.  So I just don’t talk. I just have even more silence. I do not mind the solitude, but sometimes I find that I am not exactly sure what to do with myself. My house has been really clean though which is freaking awesome and freshly painted, too. I have a redecorated bathroom . Oh, and made a lot of cookies lately, crocheted a blanket and organized a shit ton of shelves. At least the loud quiet is productive.

I guess I just don’t know what to do. The road. The path. How to balance all the changes within myself and the direction I need to take to be who I really am. I don’t really want to leave what I have. But I also feel like I can’t stay or I am hoping for a change that might never come. But it is so loud, and everywhere I turn I just want to cower from the sheer screeching of it.

I am sure that there are many more incredibly loud days coming my way as I figure shit out. I hate figuring shit out. Its too fucking loud.

Belief

14 Mar

Quiet House

12 Mar

Ryan is currently spending some long over-due time at his dad’s. It has been really quiet around the house without him here. Even Neo, the bird misses him and will shout his name out of no where…. and tell Ryan it is time for dinner.

The other day I caught myself hollering up the stairs as well. Seems that old habits die hard.

I know the time he is spending at his dad’s and with that side of his family is invaluable. Ry has struggled a bit this year with making good choices and those good old growing pains that come with, well, growing up. He seems to not always learn his lesson. The change of pace, change of scenery and maybe even the change of the person enforcing the rules will help him find some peace with the growing pains.

But wow. I do miss him.

Tranquility at the Beach

10 Mar