Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Little Rubber, a Little Road and a Lot of Questions

I spend a lot of time looking at rubber and road and wondering how often the two really meet in my life. 

My actions are often less than godly and a little more flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants in response to whatever situation is in play at the moment.  (My slightly broken verbal filter often leads to the same sort of responses in conversation.)

Sometimes I wonder where I compartmentalize all the scripture I've purposely tucked away in my mind to respond to these occasions.  Clearly, I failed to file it in the "Read and Respond" portion of my brain.

Of course, there are other things that were misfiled.  A regular schedule with my laundry and hangers, for example.  But a little laundry on my couch puzzles me far less than my inability to act on the things that most break my heart.

Namely, people who need to be seen.

But when it comes to freely offering a few moments of "seen-ness," I don't always respond with sight.  And I'm just going to come out and say the thing you're not supposed to say:  Neediness turns me off and simultaneously fascinates me.

I say that in full knowledge of the fact that I am needy.  In fact, not only am I needy, I'm learning to cultivate that neediness into something profoundly dependent on a Saviour I think I would largely fail to depend on (with the exception of the "big things").

Some part of me is repulsed by neediness.  Some part of me is drawn to it.  And the rest of me is trying to figure out which factor changes my response.

And without any sort of answer to that question, I'm learning to stop hedging my investment and protecting my responses.

Or at least, that's what I'm learning to pay more attention to at the moment.

Eventually, I'm hoping the rubber meets the road.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I'm An Educator. Not a Gymnast.

Most people think the first week of school is relatively slow.  Boring, even.  We review rules.  Syllabi.  Classroom expectations.  Small bits of important information before we address the first unit of the semester.

It takes a while to generate class discussion.  It takes even longer to get students into the routine they manage to forget over three months of freedom.  But eventually, everyone finds his/her footing and the routine is established.

Except if my first week is any indication of the remainder of the school year?  We are in for no sense of routine whatsoever.

First of all, our air conditioning has been on the fritz.  I know there are people who live without it, but hometown high is shut up like Fort Knox so air circulation without air conditioning is next to impossible.  And actually?  I'm one of the lucky ones, because I have a window in my classroom.  The teachers with interior classrooms have no hope of any sort of air circulation.  So the equation?

Tired, grouchy students with no sense of a schedule + no air = miserable classes.

I'd like to tell you that problem last one day and then became a distant memory.  Unfortunately, I sweated through my underwear more days than I care to admit to you.  I guess it wouldn't be shocking if I worked construction, but teaching English isn't exactly a highly physical activity.

In addition to the "no-air-nightmare," our internet has been beyond unreliable.  Before you get all high and mighty and Jesus juke me with statements like, "Our Lord and Saviour didn't need the internet to draw thousands to His side," please remember that I am constantly encouraged to use the newest technology in my classroom as often as possible.  And Prezi?  IS AN ONLINE PROGRAM.

Not only that, but our attendance/discipline/gradebook program requires?  You guessed it.  THE INTERNET.

All week, I think it worked a sum total of 5 hours.  Five minutes here.  Fifteen minutes there.  I finally gave up and started taking attendance on my phone, and at one point, I had a student turn his phone into a mobile hot spot so we could just finish the lecture I had prepared for class.

And just when we thought most of our problems had been rectified, there was Friday Night Football.

Before we even hit the half, hometown high was winning 29-0 and the visiting team had completed more passes to us than to their own teammates.  I seriously started questioning their reasoning ability because they were trying to play a passing game when not one guy on their team could catch a football.

Anyway.

About two minutes before the half, the scoreboard, half the lights and everything in our concession stand (including the announcers booth) lost power.  We sat for a while as the officials tried to determine their next course of action.  Eventually, they sent both teams on break for the half and the band took the field.  About that time, we lost any and all remaining lights. 

No power.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.

We couldn't even see the poor band on the field.

So what did they do?  They played anyway.  And people sitting along the fence turned their headlights on so the audience could watch the band.

I'm not sure what they decided to do about the game because we left, but I'm pretty concerned that this week is just a precursor for the weeks to come.  So I'm off to plan lessons and then plan backup lessons in case something else in my class turns out to be temporary.

But the real lesson here is educators should be nothing if not flexible.  Right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Prezi

School started and life as I know it ended.

No more sleeping until 10 am.  No more naps.  No more planning meals when I felt like it or keeping the house relatively clean.

Now, I'm learning to navigate the ridiculous and confusing aspects of Prezi in hopes of giving a few of my lectures a little more umph.  I started at 5:30, and now, at 8:22, I am finally finished with one presentation.

I seriously need a student to share the finer points of the program with me so I can figure out what the crap this program can do.  I know it's awesome, but the tutorials suck and it is not a user friendly program--particularly for people who are used to navigating dummy-proof powerpoint.

By next week, I should be back in the groove, and that groove should include blogging from time to time...though I seriously doubt it will be as frequent as it has been in the past.  I fear I'm running out of things to say.  Or creative ways to say them.  There is my real fear:  my writing aspirations are slowly circling the drain and I haven't even realized it because Prezi is sucking my last brains cells out my fingers.

I'm going to try to find some way to plug the hole so I can keep something going on here. 

And now?  Bed.

I know it's 8:30.

Don't judge me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

NutriCraig

Every time Marie Osmond appears on my television and starts touting the benefits of NutriSystem, I begin to think maybe I've taken the wrong route with this diet/exercise regime.  Marie, after all, looks fantastic.  So does Mariah.  And Valerie.  And Kirstie Alley did, but I'm not sure if this is an "off again" moment.

And if eating prepacked food with little variation and paying exorbitant sums of money for those frozen meals sounds appealing, I'd say NutriSystem or Jenny Craig are for you.  Yet there's this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that says their definitions of eating better and my definition are two very different things.

See, I like texture, color and taste.  I want fresh food with nutty olive oil and the bite of fresh grated parmesan.  I want to grill a steak, add fresh mushrooms and carmelized onions and appreciate the sweet and savory working together to make a meal that absolutely bursts in my mouth.  I need the creamy, cheesy bite of potato soup with the added hickory smoked flavor of real bacon pieces.  And I don't want to forget how fresh blackberries taste folded into buttery, flaky crust.

By and far, I think the definition of dieting has grown to mean that those participating cannot eat anything that tastes good--forget delicious.

But I'm learning that reprograming my mind doesn't mean what I originally thought it did.  I don't eat boxed, frozen meals.  I eat good food, and I've re-evaluated what "good" means, too.  I kicked the three year old out of my mind who believed chicken nuggets were a gourmet masterpiece.  Not because I'll never eat another nugget again, but because I was compromising what was good for what was available.  For some reason, I thought those things were equal.

Now, good and quality are closer to equal in my mind.  The size of my portions have changed drastically.  There is certainly a change in the way I approach meals--not just for pleasure, but for the way my body is going to process it in the hours afterward.  (How did I discount that before?  I was willing to enjoy an hour long meal for hours of misery afterward.  Is that even sane?)  And then there's the movement.  (Which will hopefully increase in the coming weeks.)

I would probably show larger losses in a smaller period of time if I committed to Jenny or NutriSystem, but I feel like I'm making greater gains right where I am.

Even if Marie looks amazing in her tiny clothes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Regrets, Target and Flashing an Audience

Sometimes, when I hear people say they regret nothing because all those things have worked together to make them the people they are, I think, "Wow.  It must be awesome to have that sort of perspective."  Because I'm pretty sure I'm never going to think that flashing my behind to all the people in Target brought me to this place of clarity and purposefulness. 
 
Then again, I have an awful lot of regrets--from simple faux pas to egregious errors in judgment--and I'm pretty sure I would go back and change several of those things given the opportunity.  And if that opportunity were available to the people who say they don't regret anything, I would be willing to bet significant sums of money they'd change a few things, too.

But I've been thinking about the things I don't regret, and none of them include spending hours on Pinterest.

  • I rarely regret a workout--whether it's walking three miles or running 1/2 mile.  And, so far, I've never regretted choosing to eat something decent for me.  Especially since eating horribly generally leaves my stomach feeling distended and gross.  Stupid gall bladder.

  • I don't regret encouragement whether it comes from me or is for me.

  • And even though I'm pretty sure it's going to make me sound like a dirty slob, on days I'm staying home, I rarely say, "Wow.  I totally regret that I didn't shower, do my hair and put on makeup."  Don't judge me.
It just made me wonder if my decision making skills would actually improve if I approached everything the way I approach Long John Silver's (i.e. Yeah...that's gonna taste good, but I'm going to have to live with that one meal for the next three days...)

So what about you?  You have regrets?  They too few to mention?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The HodgePodge 9/8/12

(I don't often do this, but today I'm joining up with the Hodgepodge.  Join us by clicking on the picture and linking to Joyce's blog.)
1. In an effort to combat obesity, the mayor of NYC has plans to ban the sale of large sugary drinks (anything over 16 oz.), initially in restaurants, movie theatres, and street carts. Corner stores would also be affected if they are defined as food service establishments. You can read more here. Your thoughts?

I think it's great we want to help people make better decisions, but there are some things that just cannot be legislated.  Part of living in the United States is the freedom to make your own decisions--good, bad or indifferent.
I'm not sure, however, that selling drinks in a smaller ounce size will solve any sort of problem since people can refill them as many times as they want--often for minimal cost.  And if they fill that 16 oz. drink 6 times, how has the ban benefitted anything?
I'd like to say this issue hinges on lack of education, but I also know people learn what they want to learn.  If we want to spend the rest of our lives believing food/drinks solve our problems, we will likely be the people who constantly purchase the 32 oz. of sugary drinks when something has gone badly in our day.  Truly, that same argument works for more than this issue--people will be as responsible as people will be and they will value the things they value.

2. Art festival, music festival, food festival...which would you most like to attend?
I'd rather a music festival than just about anything.  I love quaint, hometown sorts of bands you would never hear unless you attend this kind of event.

3. What are you irrational about?

According to my husband, irrational is my natural state of being.  But I have been a bit paranoid about what people think about me.  When God started to push me out of my comfort zone regarding those fears, it was one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  Believe me when I say there were any number of people who openly shared how "snotty," "arrogant," and "rude" I was while also indicating I was closer to following Satan's influence on my life than God's.
After a while, I had to start learning to let go.  It's none of my business what other people think about me.  It's definitely nice not to walk around in constant worry regarding what other people think, though.  (At least, most of the time.)

4. Do you feel confident you'll have a comfortable retirement?
Oh, not really.  But I have no intention of retiring.  One day, a few years after Favorite retires, I will quit my job and it will be fine.

5. What's been your favorite Olympic moment so far?
(Not ever, just in the 2012 Summer games.)
I don't really watch the Olympics.  I've never been a fan of sporting events, and while I have a great appreciation for these athletes, I've also had things that have taken me away from the television for the bulk of the events.

6. What would you label as the messiest room in your house?

By nature of what it is, my mud/laundry room is fairly messy.  It's not "a mess" persay, but it's a little less than orderly because I have to sort laundry for the next load.
And also, there's Favorite and his shoes.
There's also a shoe rack, but his shoes rarely make it there. 

7. Do you follow your heart or your head?
I used to go with my feelings regarding everything.  Then I realized how unreliable my feelings are.  My feelings chased after boys who were not the best choices.  When my feelings were hurt, I would act accordingly--even if they were hurt unknowingly.
So I've had to train myself to follow my head.  Which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  And given my level of irrationality, sometimes it doesn't matter.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I really need to plan a few things for my Advanced class since school starts next week, but my mind is just not there.
That said, I'm looking forward to a new school year.  I like seeing people on a regular basis, having a reason to get up and find some structure to my days.
Now, if only I could learn to feel that way about grad school.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Firm as Jello

My mind is firmly positioned on my classroom. 

Well, if jello and firm have the same denotation, then my mind is on my classroom.  Basically, I mean I'm thinking about anything and everything in great spurts that don't much amount to epic blog posts.

And that would be new and different except it's pretty much the way my mind works and guarantees that when I have a conversation with a new person at church and he states he's from New Mexico the first questions out of my mouth will revolve around scorpions and whether or not he's had to fight them in his bedroom at night.

Standing proof that loving Jesus doesn't mean a lack of awkward conversations.  And it certainly doesn't quell my fascination with scorpions.

It's a wonder more people don't want me at their social functions.

But I promise I'll work on sharing something more substantial--as soon as my brain gels.