Sunday, November 28, 2010


It's been a big week of being conscious of being so lucky. And a big week for eating... which reminds me again just how lucky I am. It's like the Morton's Salt Girl of Thankfulness.

We started with Sunshine Thanksgiving on Tuesday. I can't really describe the magic of the event. To the outside world, I guess it doesn't look like much. But when I hear each reason they all have to be thankful... well, it gets me every time. I love that I am able to build that kind of relationship with them-- that school is not just for work, but it is also for positive relationships.

From there we headed to Cape Cod. It was a low key event this year, as Dave's brother in law had broken both his arms a few months ago, so his sister's family sat this one out. There were only 6 of us, and so the stress of having it all ready "on time" evaporated... we just cooked and played solitaire and Boggle and enjoyed each other. And then we ate. 4 pies for 6 people is a bit overkill, as was a 20+ pound bird... But then there are leftovers...

Yesterday Girly and I headed out shopping with some friends. We didn't get much, nor did we find any great deals. It started as an attempt to find more ideas for our PTO holiday store, but became a delightful day spent with wonderful people. Driving home in the unexpected snow wasn't as much fun... but we made it home, safe and sound.

Today was Gamma Day. Very few people in the world celebrate this holiday, yet it has become one of my favorites. It started when we'd go to Thanksgiving meals with 15ish people, and there were never enough leftovers to go around. So, we'd cook a second dinner for us, and invite our bestfriends over to share. The Bean named it in honor of her Gamma, and so it became our holiday. It's not always right after Thanksgiving-- we've had them in March before-- but they tend to be. And so we ended our three turkey week as it began; sharing our bounty with people we love and care about. I am incredibly thankful, for all the things and all the people, which put together make my life complete.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

{that moment}

This was last week's {moment}, but Blogger wasn't playing nicely with my pictures. I'm breaking all the "no words" rules, but this one deserves it. My kids rallied around their own and helped him through the night. I have never been prouder of them than I was then... no mocking, no teasing. Just love. Oh, I do love this bunch, and they do make me so proud...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual, often a Saturday one for me, from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the season of the Grinch

As I think most of you know, I often take Friday detention. I certainly like the paycheck: I submit all my dates at once so it's a decent chunk of money (which yes, I do use to make an extra payment on something. Aren't I just a Responsible Engine?) But the $30 a week is not enough to keep me coming back... the real reason is because it gives me 2 hours to hang with the kids on the fringes and try to help them move forward. To let them spend time in a negative situation with someone who does enjoy spending time with them, even when they make bad choices.

Some weeks they come in quiet and resigned, other times fired up and looking for a distraction. If I told you the full moon for this month is in 2 days, would you be able to guess what sort of week this was? We weren't 5 minutes into the DT when I knew it was going to be a rough one. We made it, but it wasn't pretty. I left feeling like I let them down, and that my heart is too big to do this anymore. I'm already emotionally spent by 2:30PM on Friday, and to stick around for another 2 hours, in some ways doing an even tougher job than the first? I must be insane...

And on the drive home, I saw 2 kids walking. One had spent time with me, the other waiting around for the first. The two rides they'd lined up to bring them the 8 miles home fell through. I had my daughter's friend in the car to come play at our house, but I just couldn't drive by: in the dark and freezing cold, I knew they didn't have many options. "You're going to have to indulge me hon..." She was silent from the back seat, but really, what could she say?

As we left their driveway, I gave her my standard speech. "No matter how mad you get at your parents (and you WILL get mad at them) I hope you always remember just how lucky you are." Her 2 word reply, while simple, seemed heartfelt. Sixteen miles later we were back to where we started. " Thank you for letting me sleep tonight." I couldn't say more, because it's not safe to drive while you're crying.

I believe in paying it forward, and live by trying to leave everything I encounter better than I found it. My detentions are not the strictest ones around, make no doubt about that... but I sure hope they leave knowing I enjoyed spending time with them. Because even when they make me mad and break my heart, I keep coming back...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

red crosses look a lot like plus signs

I gave blood this week at our school drive. I like that I am able to give blood... but I hate the act of giving, especially at school. I always worry that things will go wrong while I'm out saving the world, but I can't have the vampires that close without giving it my best shot. Let me sum up...

I've always been a tricky donor. My first attempt at giving was successful... sort of. I was a senior in high school, and I just made the required 110 weight (I know, those were the days, huh?). I gave, sat up, and got escorted to the cantine. My sister and her best friend were working, and BFF looked at me and said "Do you feel alright?" I don't remember the bell ringing, or me being carried back to a table. Or my sister fainting after seeing me faint before her eyes. Good times.... but hey, I waited until they had a full pint before passing out, so mission accomplished, right?

I haven't passed out since then, but I have had a couple of unsuccessful attempts. Between low iron (I learned to ask them to spin it instead of using the drop...nowadays it's all computerized somehow, but hey, I pass every time!) and being a slow bleeder, I was batting .500 for awhile. I did finally have one tech tell me to force water all day, and that little trick has got me in under the 20 minute wire ever since.

When I was taking an online Children's Lit class 10 years ago, I brought one of my required novels along with me... and that was true inspiration! Kiddie Lit tends to be light enough you can hold it with one hand while you give, and the print is a bit larger, so you can read it while laying on the table and pumping the rolling pin thingy. I could dominate an entire book in a session. Win-win.

All these little tricks make it more likely that I'll complete the task (except for the one time in the bloodmobile that I was so claustrophobic that they couldn't get me to bleed at all), but I still hate the process. The waiting, the questions (I have not had relations with anyone I shouldn't have, thank you very much!)... and the 20 minutes on the table. I don't mind the stick as much as the queasy feeling I get while giving. Just typing this is making me feel queasy.

So why do I keep going, you ask? Because I can. Because 90 minutes of my discomfort could save someone's life. And because of that, I will try every time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual, often a Saturday one for me, from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

looking up

I am an optimist. That darned glass is always half full even if it really is closer to three quarters empty. This week I've had interactions with different sunshines that confirm to me that the exposure they get to my kind of optimism is helpful. The interwebs being what they are I can't go into detail, but suffice it to say a few kids reached out to me, at different times and in different ways, and I grabbed ahold of them and held on tight. I have no guarantees anything will work out, but it is so nice to be there with an outstretched hand when they need it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

just keep swimming

Just another day in muddville today...

20 kids with 20 different reasons for being there.

I may not be able to save every kid. But that doesn't mean I am not going to try.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

compassion, defined

Girly asked me today if I was an organ donor. Out of the blue. I am, of course.

"Am I?"

Good God in Heaven, how can I even ponder such a concept?

If the unthinkable happened, and parts of you could be used to make another child, another family, whole again, without hesitation yes...

And as my eyes filled with tears at the very thought, she reached out to comfort me.

"Good", she said with a smile on her face.

She is something, that Girly of ours...

Friday, November 05, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

preaching to the choir

Poor things.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

it's so much easier when you've got someone to lean on

Yesterday I had a meeting after school. We start these meetings with a check in: we go around the table and everyone says something-- life is good, my truck is dead, had a hard day, it's my birthday... even "I've got nothing" is an option. Mine included a reflection of all that's going on... and the acknowledgment that, in spite of it all, I love my job. I am making gains. We are making gains. It could always be worse. And on those bad days, there are people around who will hold me up until I can stand on my own again.

Meeting continues, I get picked up by WB because his truck died and he took the van to run errands. We call for a tow truck, vote in the statewide election, and continue on our day. Later in the evening I get a text from a Sunshine telling me about all that happened in his afternoon... and suffice it to say it put our parked-truck-with-leaking-brakes story to shame. Monday night I had a graduated Sunshine call because "I always feel better after talking to you". Two others popped in after school, just because they could.

It may not look like it every day, but we are getting somewhere. I may not be able to solve many of their problems, but at least they don't have to go through it alone.