"I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself." -CS Lewis, The Great Divorce


Thing #30: As Seen on TV

I am willing to bet that 75-80% of items sold on television do NOT work as promised. However, it's that promise of some fabulous feat of awesomeness that draws me in. Yesterday, I bought the mold for the jumbo cupcake. Why anyone needs such an item is unknown; still, I'm incredibly excited to try it out for tonight's dinner. I have no idea if I'll even be marginally successful, or if the product itself will work. The hope that the giant cupcake will be awesome excites me, regardless.


Thing #29: Daddy.

No matter what, there are few things I enjoy like a good conversation with my dad. I remember many conversations (topic completely irrelevant) with dad that lasted for hours. As much as I am like my mom in temperament and perspective, there are things that dad and I see eye-to-eye on like no one else. Like stupidity, books, education, and great ringtones.

I keep rewriting this, knowing that dad will read it. It's silly...I can never quite put into words how comforted I am by knowing that somehow, I'm still daddy's little girl. I respect him immensely, and when I spend time with him, I feel like he respects me the same way. I feel loved and safe and special, like I did when I was younger and dad treated me like a little adult, amused at my opinions, but honestly respectful that I had my own perspective. And when I get a hug from dad, I feel that he loves me. I just feel it.

It's silly how much of a little girl I am deep down. Maybe it's not, though. I love my dad, and I'm so grateful to be able to spend time with him, just the two of us. Dad, thank you for making sure that I feel loved and safe and special.

That still feels insufficient, but it will have to suffice.

How lucky am I that both of my parents are "things to be happy about"? How blessed am I?


Thing #28: Observations being over

As a teacher without tenure, I am observed by my administrator several times a year. Last Thursday, I received an email that said, "I will be doing my first evaluations of the year next week." Immediately, my brain goes to panic mode. "Do I have all of my attendance records straight? Oh no! I must now write lesson plans for the first time all year. Yikes! What will I do that will be both interesting and engaging, not to mention appeal to multiple learning styles and present my skills as a teacher? When is there TIME?" Eventually, the brain settles down, and I get it together. I worry less and less about a horse and pony show and more and more about ensuring that the essentials are there (questioning the students, guiding them to the answer, a little literature, a little grammar, a little vocabulary, a little writing). I get the lesson plans together and the binders organized.

Then, the week of the observation arrives. During most classes I look at the door, thinking, "Will it be this class? This half of the block? Do I have all my binders together?" Regardless of my preparation, my observer always walks in when I'm not expecting it. One observation, he walked in during a rousing round of "happy birthday" I was attempting to get out of the way before the observation may (or may not) occur. At least he was entertained.

So today, my observer walked in to a rowdy class, "studying" for their vocabulary quiz. I am sure that this isn't good teaching technique (the studying for the quiz before the quiz bit), but it's great for a little bit of good-faith report with my students. Whatever. I'll apologize later. Unfortunately, the rambunctiousness only led to 15 minutes of silent quiz taking. Ugh. But, it did get better. We analyzed "Mother to Son" for elements of extended metaphor, and it was lovely. Lovely. They "got it," and they were well on their merry journeys to writing metaphor poems for themselves when he finally left.

And why am I happy, really? That it's over and it's only Tuesday. I can breathe for the rest of the week, knowing that my main objective, really, is to actually teach these lovely students and attempt to grade the ever growing mounds of papers. I will do things at my own slow little pace, knowing that my efforts are simply good enough.

Deep, cleansing breath of freedom from prying eyes (well, until Drew comes to "observe" me on Thursday. But that's an observation without any pressure, except that I be witty and delightful, when I am not always so at 7:25 in the morning with likewise tired seniors).


Thing #27: Coming Home

Trips are delightful. It's fun to see new and old places, to get away from email and most communication, and to spend time with people you love. But eventually, home just seems like a good place to be.

The feeling you get when you drive up to your driveway or parking spot is delightful. It's nice to plop down your bags, check the mail, put on some comfy clothes and just sit and be calm in a place where you are the only one (mostly) to answer to. The grind is obnoxious at times, but the comforting rhythms of day-to-day life are what keep me centered, and I appreciate the rhythms I'm creating more and more.

Ah, home.