This week’s list is about things I am really good at, so bragging about myself. I know it is often viewed as in poor taste to ring one’s own bell. As I write that I am thinking about so many students I have worked with that struggle with self-confidence and self-esteem. In my, English class students had a warm-up to name one positive quality about themselves. I had students tell me that didn’t have any good qualities. I know there are some days I feel like that too. I feel like I am just taking from the world more than I am contributing to it. Well back to the list~
I am good at making others feel comfortable. I often have total strangers telling me their life stories. When I was riding the T on a regular basis, I made friends with total strangers. One woman was going to school to become a minister shared with me her experience about the day of the bombing. Another person I also met on the T, we became friends when he gave me a ride to the Women’s march in Boston in 2017. Through the year while riding the T together, I learned about his family and he learned about mine.
Another way I try to spread joy or at least positive thoughts is through my post-it notes. I have these stick all over post-it notes. I put inspirational quotes or sayings on these and then leave them random places. One of my favorite places was to leave them on the T. At one point I was a topic of conversation on Reddit. People wanted to know who and or why someone was doing these. I am not sure how I started doing it other than thinking that Erin and I were riding the same trains maybe if I wrote positive notes she would see them and it would bring a smile to her face. I could probably do a whole entry on the post-it notes. Why and how I do them and different interactions I have had with people about them.
I am really good at laughing. I can find so many things to laugh about throughout the day. And often I can get those around me to relax enough to laugh too.
I am a really good friend. I will stick by my friends even when we have grown apart. I have former teaching assistants that I was especially close to when we were working together, most of the time people then grown apart after they stop working together. Not me I will continue to send postcards or text messages just to let them know they are still in my thoughts.
I am a great letter writer. I not only write good letters to people but I actually write letters and mail them the old fashion way. So many people have told me oh you are so good at doing that, I wish I was. What a cop-out, I do it because it brings me joy and hopefully it brings a little joy the recipient.
I am pretty good at letting things go~ now this is on a few different levels- post-it notes. I write them and then I am done with them. They are not for me to gain fame or recognition. They are just something I write hoping to spread a little joy and then let them go. When I have an issue with a person, I say my peace and then I am over it. If I have a problem with a student the same idea is true for them too. What happened in the past stays in the past. Now, I am not perfect about this but for the most part I try to be.
So I picked up this book called 52 Lists for Happiness. I bought it last year and did some of the activities but didn’t write them down in the book. Probably because this time last year I was working full … Continue reading
Laura was ten years older than me, and she was my idol. When I was 18, she and I shared an apartment at the start of the school year. Her boyfriend Ron started off with us also in that apartment but then moved out and on with his life a couple of months later. So Laura, her dog Shiner and I fell into a rhythm ~ we were both taking classes at the local university, she was working as a waitress at a bar/ club. I was searching for myself and dating lots of guys, going out and dancing and enjoying my youth. Laura was working but also enjoyed dancing and just hanging out. Living with Laura was always an adventure. She was protective, yet wouldn’t hesitate to tell me to get off my butt and stop whining.
Laura and I both had our own bathrooms and its funny but many of our conversations took place in one of our bathrooms. Our conversation about her tattoo was no different. She was in her tub when she told me she wanted a spaceship tattoo. She wanted to have either people or an alien waving from the inside of the ship. This was back in 1982 before tattoos became mainstream. Laura explained she was going to go up to Chicago and make a trade with some tattoo artist. I am not sure if she was planning on exchanging beadwork or what really. I don’t think she knew either. I was not happy about this idea at all. I felt that tattoos were for other people, not my beautiful sister. I begged her not to do it. But she did, that January, she got a spaceship tattoo over her left breast. It was about 2 inches wide and about an inch and half tall. It was colorful and had a little person on the inside waving or maybe I just imagined that part. She didn’t make a trade but paid cash for it. She said she drank some whiskey to help with the pain when she was getting it. Great now I had a sister with a tattoo~ a spaceship tattoo.
Fast forward~ almost 20 years. Laura was living with her husband and her dark-haired beautiful daughter when she found out she had breast cancer on the same breast as her tattoo. I had lost a best friend a couple of years earlier to breast cancer so I was very nervous and upset to hear this news. Laura being the big sister that she always was ~ wanted to reassure me that, she was going to survive this and not to worry. So Laura started having the talk with her doctor about her plan of action. Living in the Boston area she was fortunate enough to be surrounded by excellent doctors and proven cancer treatments. This was some reassurance but still, I had not only lost a close friend recently but I lost my father to cancer when I was 13. And my sister was now my best friend I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her. So Laura opted for standard traditional western treatment with a few eastern treatments as well.
Surgery would be the first treatment. I made plans to fly out after she returned home to help take care of her and her daughter. So her husband could continue working and supporting the family. I would sleep on my niece’s top bunk. I fixed meals, did laundry, and cleaning. And I helped Laura take a shower. Laura opted for a lumpectomy so they only took part of her breast. Laura wanted me to really look at her scar and pointed out to me that she still had her spaceship tattoo. I had to laugh. Yes, Laura you still have your tattoo. She told me this was one of her concerns she was told she had cancer. Seriously sister? You were concerned about losing your tattoo? She told me she asked the doctor if they had to take the skin with the tattoo on it. She wanted to keep it. Yes, keep the skin with the spaceship tattoo. She said, and she told him she wanted to put it in a jar so she could still keep it. I guess it was lucky for all of us that the surgery only took part of her breast.
July 30, 2015
This past year I made a lot of changes, moving 1,000 miles away from friends, family and ex-partner as well as my job. I was a social worker~ I facilitated visits between parents and their children. I also helped with parenting skills and relationships and relaps prevention. It was draining work at times~ but mainly the driving that was involved with the job. Prior to that I was a special education teacher. A job I loved until we got a new administration that took the attitude of bullying teachers rather than supporting them in the classroom.
I live in a different state now and one that appears to have a more supportive view of teaching. So I am cranking out job applications. My hope is to find a job that I can love again. I started teaching at the high school level my first year after graduating with my 2nd degree in special ed. It was a small rural high school the students that would be in my class had experienced the loss of a teacher Ruthy they loved. I had to step into this classroom in this community where I was an outsider I was from the big city on the other side of the river. But I was hired because of my social work background (that’s what my first degree was in). I was warned about the department chair but introduced to one of my new co-workers. Kelly~ she later told me she didn’t want to like me because she felt like she would be betraying her friend ~ who I had replaced. But she said a lot of my quirky behaviors were similar to Ruthy and also that I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, ask for help or laugh at myself. It was a rough job~ I had grades 9-12 and I taught all subjects ~ math, English, science, history and then later an employment skills class.
The day I was called to schedule an interview I was coming back from vacation and I was a few miles from home and only had nibbles of jobs. We were less than 20 miles from home and I had just decided I would just go to grad school and continue to substitute teach. Rex called me to schedule an interview. He told me how sensitive the situation was~ Ruthy was in her final hours. I was able to convince them I had the skills to be the perfect replacement. And I was~ and then the time came for me to change jobs and move to the middle school which was another perfect job.
Nov. 19, 2017
I have started job hunting again after working for two years at a place I thought was my dream job. ~ check out unemployment checks. I am not worried I know things will get easier and the perfect job will fall into my lap again when the time is right.
When I first moved out here to the Boston area~ I thought I would live with my former brother in law and niece for a month or so till I got on my feet unaware of how much more expensive … Continue reading
Since my job was restructured last year~ I have been able to recuperate from my last teaching job. A job that started off as a great place to work and I thought it was my dream job but after the first year~ it became a nightmare. The director though a nice man ~ he is also a very weak administrator so there was no follow up on discipline or support given to staff. Even though I was the most experienced on staff and the oldest and the most grounding I still needed support especially since I was put into a nearly impossible position. Full time special education teacher (or in charge of all the paperwork and making sure all the services were being met and teaching 4 history classes. I thought at first no problem~ the director understands this is a big job he will support me. But nope he didn’t in fact when I asked him for help and even gave him suggestions as to what would help me do my job better and/ or make things easier for me. He actually gave me more responsibilities. WTF? dude seriously? But the guy has some serious passive aggressive issues. I started to push back too. I didn’t make any attempt to waste my time doing pointless paperwork such as writing out my lesson plans in a complete format ~ and I told him I felt like I had more important things to do like actually teach rather than fill out some sheet that he would look at once and then forget about checking on it ever again, ok I didn’t say that to him but I had noticed had been his MO.
When he told me he was going to restructure my position, I told him good luck with that. And good luck finding someone to fill my shoes. Well, he then restructured it to what I had originally suggested to him but he waited to tell me that on the last day of school. And told me I could reapply if I wanted. Well, that and I needed to pass this fvkkcing exam that has nothing to do with special ed. As of this writing, I am still waiting to hear if I pass it or not again. I was angry at first ~ feeling like he never appreciated me. Well, seriously he didn’t until it was too late. I did speak to him and told him my issues and I recommended he think about going into another field where he could actually make a difference instead of holding back progress at the school. He rolled his eyes at me~ asshole. So he lost all 5 of his teachers. He had lost 5 teachers the year before too. But he was saving the collab. money by hiring new inexperienced teachers every year. The program be damned.
But I would not have been ready to return to work back in mid-august ~ the woman I lived with was dying. I was still feeling burned out, and I had that exam to retake. eye roll! But lucky me~ I could get an unemployment check. So I go through the motions~ applying for jobs and re-writing cover letters. But this time has given me time to think and appreciate. I will write later about Marion’s death but if I had been teaching I wouldn’t have been an option to assist and then be apart of her transitioning. I am reading books, going to the beach, spending time with Lucy, hiking in the woods, think about my own health and write letters. We don’t know what the future holds for us~ and sometimes we are giving such sweet little gifts thrown in among the sludge.