Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Do All My Blogging Juices Go?

When school starts why can't I suck up anything to write about? I guess my creative juices, I mean dribbles are sucked up for classroom activities. I spend 1.5 hours Wednesday night coming up with an activity for my students because I could see they were having a hard time getting a concept. Then last night I left school at 6 p.m.   School...hmph.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NYC Non-poem

Her eyes danced at the prospect of finally going to NYC after all these years
And we’ll eat lunch at Tavern on the Green. For so long I’ve wanted to go there.
If all I do is go there, I’ll be satisfied.

But how will you get around? How will you handle all that walking?

Oh they cater to older people.

It didn’t take much convincing me because the excitement in her voice was enough.
I would do this for her. I would go to NYC and be her traveling companion. My inner voice was saying   m-i-s-t-a-k-e. But I ignored it. My mom, almost 80, wanted to go to NYC and by golly I would go with her. On a tour bus. With old folks. One of those. But still. Big busses have steps. She doesn’t do steps well.

Every so often she would call me from San Angelo. Still going, right? Yes mom. I will send you my money in March. I haven’t forgotten. OK. Just checking.

March came, we paid, we were set to go. She would call…..just two more months, Melva, are you ready?

This tour out of Abilene TX did everything for you. It toured all the typical places in NYC, let you stay at a fancy hotel, showed you major landmarks, and see two Broadway shows and still let you have time to roam around. What a deal!! We talked often about how excited we were. I was secretly worried about her traveling, but she assured me she was ready for the challenge and she was.

Our tour was set to go in June and she was so excited. In April she went to St. Louis to visit her brother who was dying and would stay with my sister who lived there at that time. She bought all her clothes for the trip while she was there. She carefully picked out the fanciest dress for the Tavern. She would call me and ask if I had my shopping for the trip done. I would ask her what to wear…and she would reply, It’s New York you HAVE to dress up. Especially for the shows and the Tavern. Oh gosh mom.

But, she never made the trip. Strange things started happening to her on that trip to St. Louis and she never recovered. We still held out hope though. After a clot in her lung and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure we still hoped for the best. The doctor told her: After three weeks of rehab Mrs. Namken you’ll be able to do whatever you want.

She never recovered. In rehab she got dehydrated-she nearly died then….she got moved to a nursing home….oh we still talked NY but things like…well I want you to go if I can’t were spoken…..Oh mom you’ll go…just concentrate on getting better. She didn’t. Infections happened, fluids got trapped inside her, nothing was going right. It seemed hopeless. We stopped talking about it.

I went in June with my niece. Yes, we had a great time. My niece is 23 years younger than me and all the old people on the bus thought we were roommates. It was awesome. But it was terrible too. I felt so alive there, but constantly thought mom should be here too. It was sad.

I showed her pictures when I got back. Tavern was the biggest disappointment. I told her , but I don’t think she believed me.  By then her mind wasn’t as clear. She didn’t comment on any of them….just smiled and said they are nice. She didn’t seem happy or sad. She was just there. That’s how it was until the end. I didn’t know if her mind was there or not or if she was happy or sad. Sometimes she would say I just don’t know how to get better. Then you would think she was there…but then she would go back into her world of quiet. Depression in old people sucks the life out of them.

Mom lasted until the end of September. We actually saw her improving and yet was she?  None of us knew.

She’s gone and I’d love for this to be a poem. But it isn’t. There’s nothing poetic in me about her right now except grief and gratitude. I’m so happy she lived so long and so sad she left so early. I miss her.

Mama's Losin' It

This poem was inspired by Mama Kats writing workshop!! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gratitude Smatitude

Time for a gratitude photo essay!!! Thanks World!! 

My good friend who has stuck by me for a long time!!!!! Thanks Camille!! 
 Bubby of course :)

Parker is just awesome and makes my life fun fun fun!!! 

Parker doing skateboarding. Hasn't done it since 6th grade.@@@@ 
Still I'm grateful for him and all he can do. 
He's been watching too much TV. 
Wore out his perfectly good shoes. 
Laughing at himself. :) 

 Oh gosh....These two creatures are my babies too.
 Molly is my girl and Jack keeps me moving. 
Some divine universe intervention or just randomness made us pick
you both. I'm just glad we did. :)

 Flowers. Lots of flowers. 

OH the list could go on and on and on :) 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

3.) The most unbelievable blue eyes you've ever seen... from Mama Kats of course!!!  
Me at age 5

      A beat up, dirty, skinny, matted, ugly thing with amazing blue eyes was my first love. At five I could love anything in need and this kitten was in need of love! I had just left my friend Susan's house and was headed home per my mom's instructions when I heard and saw her.
     She was hiding under a car crying and without thinking of all the dangers associated with strays I had been taught, I picked her up and walked up the block home. I think Susan's mom fainted when she saw what I was doing! My mom was glaring at me from the front door and within hearing range she screamed at me....PUT THAT CAT RIGHT BACK WHERE YOU FOUND IT!!!!! I did...I had to crawl under the car to put her back because you know that 5 year olds are literal.I tucked her safely back under the middle of the car. 

      I had tears of anguish at having to do this. Mom's can be so mean and cruel I thought. Oh cruel world.  I said good-bye to my pathetic and beautiful new friend and sobbed my way home. Only about 1/2 way there did I realize that cat had been following me.I even tried to loose it. If I walked towards the left, she did. If I did a circle, she did. I could still see my mom glaring at me from the front door, but I knew this time it wasn't my fault. I had done EXACTLY what she said! 
   When I arrived I realized that my mom's glare had turned to compassion and she melted too. Her first meal with us was softly fried eggs. Once infused with love, food and a good bath Tiger Lilly was a striking Siamese mix that melted even my mom's heart!! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gratitude and Prayer

I started reading Eat, Pray, and Love a year ago and stopped for some reason. So since the movie is coming out starting Julia Roberts, I decided yesterday that I wanted to finish it. In the book she goes to three places in year. The first place is Italy and I read that yesterday. Then I started the India visit.'s different. I'm into what she is saying and it all makes sense (I think),  but there is so much to remember and it's such a different mind set to have a Guru and go to an Ashram and meditate and do yoga with a yogi and get up at 3a.m. and not talk for many hours. 

But it has inspired me this morning to remember to be grateful for the people, opportunities and things in my life. I stopped asking for things in my prayers long ago and started simply being grateful 
(Ok, I ask Mother Mary for certain things since she too is a mom and can understand and I think she is good about listening!)
I do acknowledge the want or need I or a friend might have and acknowledge that I am thankful for the opportunity either positive or negative and the opportunity it gives. 

I usually always start my gratitude list with this guy or my husband. I especially like that he has the same sense of humor as me and is always teasing and joking. (unless he's hungry)

I put the typical things on it....Thank You for our beautiful home, the people in my life, my dogs, my job, my ability to work, my ability to care, on and on....

Instead of concentrating on missing my mom so much I am thankful for all the wonderful years we got with her and that Parker and her were so close. So thankful for that! It helps. 

This summer I'm so grateful to have the time to think and play with blogs and read a lot of amazing blogs and exercise and get back on track with my emotions.  
As school starts up my focus will change and I will be so involved in my job and the extra duties I have this year and I will really miss and crave this time. But thankfully I will be able to do it and have the ability to do it well. 
Thank You!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Outside The Comfort Zone

This blog was inspired by Mama Kats @ Check it Out!!!!Steppin outside the box (describe a time when you went way out of your comfort zone)
(inspired by Sherri from Matter Of Fact)

Interpret This 

My Classroom 
I work in a non-suburban, non inner-city high school. It's not a poor school or a rich school by any means. It probably is a very middle class school. It has a great mixture of students of all ethnicity. It's not snobby or ultra-competitive like some schools. It reminds me very much of my first HS which is why I like teaching there so much. 

I have confidence in what I do there and feel pretty comfortable most of the time....unless I'm being watched by another adult. Evaluation put me in a frenzy. I hate being watched. I love when someone spontaneously comes in my room and catches me in my natural state. I hate being on display. I freeze. I am definitely not in my comfort zone! 

So, when I got two deaf students, I silently panicked. My school is also the district HS for deaf students which are mainstreamed with the other students. All it means for me is that I will have an intrepreter in my room. Mimicking me. Saying what I say. Watching me. Really listening to me. AWKKKKKKK.

So, I think, other teachers do this, so can I. But inside I was dreading it thinking...why can't I just for once have a normal, non-stressful year? Not comfortable. Not comfortable. 

The interpreter came by before school and told me about the two deaf girls I would have. We decided to seat them across from each other so they could easily see her. The first day was weird. If I smiled and laughed. She mimicked me with my hands and sort of imitated my facial expressions somewhat. 
As time went on, I noticed that if I talked out-loud to another student she interpreted it. If I said something quietly to a student she interpreted it. If I said something quietly to her she answered in sign. Nothing was said in there without her interpreting it.
 I actually got over the nervousness of having another body in there pretty quickly although at times I felt awkward. I also learned a lot about the deaf and how interpreters are really the key to making it possible for students to be in regular schools. I was out of my comfort zone that year several times as I got used to her and the imitating. I was more aware of how I spoke and said things. I think I became a better teacher and didn't wing things so much so I wouldn't say something stupid!!! I got so used to her that I would forget she was in there and that the girls couldn't hear me. 
Since then I've had several interpreters and observers and even parents watching their kids,  and now I'm teaching with a coach in the room with me and it doesn't even phase me. Evaluations still freak me out....but I think they always will.