My New Crush

I am not putting a picture in this post because I have absolutely nothing that will do justice to the content. Not that this post is any more awesome  than any other post in my blog history, but I just have nothing in my arsenal of pictures to use. More importantly, there are no pictures in the universe of my new crush because he only exists in the pages of a brilliant, yet ridiculously heartbreaking book called, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I’ve wanted to devour it like I usually do with great books. Stay up all night and read, but being how crazy busy my life is right now, I have been reading little snippets as often as I can instead. It is brilliant, I can’t say this enough. I have never read anything else by John Green, but I have a feeling that will be changing soon.

I normally write about books and such at my other blog, and I will more than likely post something about this over there too, but it has opened up a sore spot from my past and I thought it would be good to address it here. The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) is a love story and a life story of teens who are dealing with the side effects of cancer. Green does an impeccable job of explaining what this life is like. I have not been a teenager dying of cancer, but I felt like a professional sickie for a handful of years during my late teens and from my experience, he gets it just right.

I had a really trying day. I’ve been on prednisone for my silly lungs that just don’t want to let go of this bug and I was emotional from watching kids feel defeated from hours of standardized testing that does nothing but demoralize them. Nothing went according to plan today and that has now rippled into next weeks events as well. I called my mom and just broke down. She watched high school kids struggle through CSAP for years and understands. I also talked to her about how wonderful and tragic TFIOS is and she said, “Are you sure you should be reading this? It sounds a little close to home.” I answered with a choked sob.

It is close to home. I will say again that I did not have cancer. I did have a horrible illness where my brain believed I had a brain tumor (even though there was no tumor) and I went through everything someone with a brain tumor would go through, with the huge exception of not losing my life. I did almost go blind, and I am still beyond grateful that all my stars aligned and I moved up the food chain of specialists who were able to save my vision. I did lose most of my peripheral vision, but that is something I can live with. It was two years of spinal taps, excruciating headaches, E.R. visits and daily visits to the litany of doctors who were scrambling to fix me – it was hell. I am grateful for all of it because I never overlook the beauty I am lucky enough to witness. I know when things seem horrible that I have survived worse and it too shall pass.

Back to my crush.

Augustus Waters is one of the characters in TFIOS. He is irreverent and metaphorical, he is romantic and sarcastic. He is fictional, unfortunately. He is everything I would have wanted when I was going through the fight of my life. In all honesty, he is everything I would want now. I am grateful that Green wrote this unbelievably beautiful story, but I also hate him for making me fall for Gus.

I was lucky enough to have two incredible friends stick with me through my illness. Most people stayed away, it was a lot to handle. These two people and my family held me together. One friend was with me almost every day. She brought over movies and watched re-runs of Friends with me on the couch, even when my eyes wouldn’t work well enough to watch. She helped a doctor keep me still during a spinal tap even though she’s terrified of needles, she would call and check in with my mom when I was drugged up on pain meds and not up for visitors. She made the worse time in my life bearable and I will never be able to truly thank her for that. Ironically she will be in town this weekend and I can’t wait to tell her thank you again and hug her tight.

TFIOS isn’t just a book. It feels like a memory. It hurts to read about the injustice of losing life before it has even begun. It reminds me of how lucky I am that my brain was confused and not full of real tumors. It makes me glad that I am starting counseling soon and I can start to cut away the layers of scar tissue around my heart and really feel all I have ignored for so long.

Please visit John Green for yourself – his website is cool and his video blogs are awesome.

 All this inspires me to keep writing my stories and loving the beauty around me, despite the brutality and injustice that we all face every day.

Get a Do Over

Today was just one of those days where you wish there was a “Do Over” button.

I was super sick yesterday with an awful stomach bug. I was up all night on Monday and sick most of Tuesday. This morning, I woke up to bad winds, 20 degree temperatures and horrible roads. We had a staff meeting at 7:30 am, so I left at 6:35. The roads were terrible. Tons of accidents and bad visibility. I pulled into the school parking lot at 7:30 (my usual commute is 20 minutes) and I was the only car. A couple of minutes later, a few other teachers arrived, but many teachers were in accidents and didn’t arrive until 9:00 am. Needless to say, we did not have our meeting this morning.

I had my work computer and personal computer in my backpack, so I put some of my other important things in a separate bag to take to school. Of course in my rush to get out the door, I left the bag in the entry way. This normally wouldn’t be a huge deal, but today I was observed and my lesson plans were sitting at home in the entry way. I also had to scrap the lesson I had planed because students were missing due to the weather. The actual lesson wasn’t bad, but some of the students have slipped into old behavior issues and there was a lot of back and forth with one student in particular.

It was frustrating to be observed on a day when I was off my game. I felt horrible and the observation just made me feel worse. I know it is hard to impress this observer, but I am so hard on myself and hate disappointing anyone. I felt disappointed in myself. I am writing about it and getting it out, then I’ll need to try to move on.

On a happier note, the afternoon turned around when I had a great science lesson with a student. He worked hard and our experiment was a success. It helped to see his joy.

The roads home were not nearly as bad as they were this morning, thank goodness.

I want to thank my co-workers for doing their best to point out my strengths and make me feel better. It was a crappy day to be observed, but I have to suck it up and move on. I was still a good teacher today, even if it wasn’t evident to the observer.

Now I’m going to sit with my heater and try to get my mind onto something else.We don’t have special “Do Over” buttons at our disposal, but we can keep our ego in check, be kind to ourselves and try again to do better tomorrow.

Hello 2012! Nice to Meet You

Happy New Year! The smiling pig says it all, I think.

2011 went out with a bang and I was happy to ring in 2012 with Prince singing in my ear, dancing with some friends. I was happy to be out on the town, living it up in the present moment.

I am a bit sad that this is my last free night of Winter Break. I have a lot to get done tonight to get ready for school on Tuesday. I’ll be in meetings half the day and in my classroom the other half. It will be good to get me back into the swing a bit before we get students back. Winter Break was amazing. I needed it. I am gearing up for a busy spring semester and these two weeks have been bliss – staying up late, sleeping in, seeing friends and family and getting some quiet time to just be with myself and check in.

Today, I really slept in since I didn’t get home until 3:30 am. I made a good breakfast, ran some errands and had a nice afternoon with some friends. Tonight I think I’m going to journal and watch a movie.

I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store. 2011 was full of surprises and even though it was sad to say goodbye, I am grateful for all the opportunities that it offered me. I can only hope and intend that 2012 has more pleasant surprises, opportunities and dreams come true.

I hope 2012 brings all of you lucky endeavours and beautiful days.

Cheers!

Yes, I’ve Been Avoiding You

I thought I would distract you, blog, with this adorable marebear picture and you will overlook the fact that I haven’t posted in weeks…

It was worth a shot.

I have been avoiding you, it’s true. I have a bunch to write about. More than I can get out in one post. I will fill you in this weekend. I promise.

 

Season Change

Sorry about last week. I had parent/teacher conferences and crashed when I got home. This was the view from my front door last Monday. Things changed quickly and now most of the leaves are now fallen.  We have had some nice weather for a couple of days and then cold temps and yucky snowy roads. It was miserable getting to work today, but my ride home was just wet. I wish we could have kept the beautiful fall for a bit longer, but it was lovely while it lasted.

Here is the view from the lake in my apartment complex. I have been enjoying walking here. I am sad to have the colder weather make it harder to be outside. It has been very good for me to have such a wonderful place to live and be active. I have also been cooking well for myself. This was not the case when I lived alone before. I’ll close the blog with some pictures of my most recent culinary masterpieces!

I haven’t had much time for present project…it is still a major focus, but a lot of other stuff has come into my view again as well. I have been working hard to get my book ready to print again and figure out what promotion elements need to be put in place. I have been making things much harder on myself than need be…as I discovered a template file of the book tonight and I have spent over a week reformatting it in another file. Oh well – sometimes I get the cart in front of the horse!

I might have some more present project insight on Saturday, but for now I’ll say goodnight.

Exhausted

Hello blog,

I’m sorry I have been avoiding you. School is great, but the commute is KILLING me! That said, I am moving in a week and a half and that will help improve my life a great deal. I wanted to give a real post with honest reflection and news, however I would need some heavy-duty super glue to keep my eyelids open…I will check back in tomorrow.

Thanks for understanding.

Love,

Mary

The Rain is Gone

My parents have been up on the western slope for a week and I’m super jealous. I was only able to go up for two days this summer. I think I am going to go up for Labor day which will be nice.

I thought about posting on Saturday and never did get on the computer to do so. I ran a bunch of errands and went shopping. I took myself to a movie.

It was a nice weekend, but I’m sorry I forgot to post. I need to get back to my grid in September. I kinda let some things fall away in late July/early August  but now that I am settling into my new teacher life, I think I can get back to some of the things I was tackling with this project.

I can say that I have been making healthier choices for myself and that feels good. The fridge is stocked with fresh fruits and veggies and I have been sleeping better.

Right now I am driving about an hour both ways so I am hoping to find a place much closer to school and move in September. A friend lives in a great apartment complex not to far away from work and I’m going to go check it out this week.

It’s an amazing peaceful feeling to have things in my life falling into place. I am much more at ease these days then I have been in a long time. I’m also having an easier time setting boundaries with people in my life. I still care and love them, but I am not running in to put out their fires any more. The part of me that used to be is not quite gone – I still feel a bit of guilt about not rushing to the rescue, but that part of me is getting smaller and smaller.

I am still dealing with the disappointments of another unrequited love, but it is so much more complicated and simple than what the stereotype of unrequited love implies. There are moments when we are together when I know without a shadow of a doubt that someone even better is headed my way, but there are also other moments when I am shaken by how much I care for him and I am floored by our connection. The beauty of it is that we found each other this time around and I believe with all my being that we will make our way back to each other again.

In the Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo talks about getting bogged down in disappointment of any kind – Sometimes we can’t get what we want. While this can be disappointing and painful, it is only devastating if we stop there. The world thrives on endless possibilities. In contradiction to the endless number of eggs that spawn a fish and the endless number of cells that blossom to heal a wound, we can hold out the one thing we want as the only food. From here, crisis and desperation are a short step. It becomes a sorry occupation, beating oneself up for the one seed that didn’t take. For once we pour ourselves into loving another person, it seems as if they take who we are with them when they go. In truth, they take a deep part of us, but what feeds the heart from within is endless, and everything that is living heals.

It is a prophetic truth that even the most broken eventually heals. I am healing in deeper ways than I expected.

Presto Chango

This picture doesn’t connect to this post much, but I took it about a month ago and hadn’t had a moment to use it in a post yet.

A lot has changed since I last posted. Not my M.I.A post from this weekend, but a real post. I was getting pretty down and slumpy, not knowing why things had just stalled out. I have worked super hard during this masters program and had felt that I made good impressions, but nothing seemed to be happening in the job market for me. I was applying and applying, but not getting calls. I knew that the teaching market was competitive, but every time I heard that someone had been hired, I was happy for them but I seemed to sink a little deeper into despair.

And then…

Everything changed. There was one excruciating week when I didn’t know anything, but my life literally changed last Tuesday afternoon. I am officially a teacher. A special education teacher to be exact and it is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen this century. That might be an exaggeration, but I doubt it 🙂

It has been a bit overwhelming because I reported to school the morning after I received the life changing phone call and as a new special ed teacher I have had to be in a bunch of training, but I am not complaining at all!

I know people complain about teaching salaries, but it might as well be a million dollars to me. It will more than afford me a secure living and I have access to amazing insurance benefits, not to mention getting the honor to work with incredible kids everyday.

These last two weeks have been a testament to my personal growth this year. I have always been determined and persistent, I have never been very skilled at sharing and being honest with my struggles. It is incredibly difficult for me to lean on anyone. In my excitement, I posted on Facebook and asked for good vibes to be sent my way. As the week progressed without any word, I almost kicked myself for spouting my mouth at all because then I would have all those people to answer to if I didn’t get it. However, I tried and succeeded to push those thoughts away most of the time.

I also received an immeasurable amount of support from people because I reached out and I honestly believe that it made a big difference. In many ways the process was spiritual and faith affirming. And I was welcomed at my new school with open arms. It felt comfortable from the first day and that is a blessing too.

Even as my frustration was on the rise and I was questioning why things were shaking out the way they were, I knew that I can’t always know what is happening behind the scenes for my greater good. Yesterday, my dad reminded me of how miserable I was before I took this teaching journey. He reminded me about an awful tragedy that seem insurmountable at the time, but that moment when it seemed like my life was crashing down around me, actually was the catalyst I needed to guide me to my true path.

I know there will be challenges, but I could not be happier to have the opportunity to take this job!

Presto Chango – brand new day!

Who’s Exhausted?

I have so much to write and every day I think that I will get too it, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

I owe an explanation and I have a really good excuse…really, I do.

However, I can’t do it right now. I am so tired that I need to pin back my eyelids in order to continue.

So – I will do all my catch up this Wednesday.

Sorry I was M.I.A. for a bit.

Talk soon.

Fire and Rain

I had the chance to go to the mountains for a couple of days this week which was bliss. It wasn’t enough time, but at least I got a couple of days. It rained hard every day, but I was able to go soak in the hot springs and spend some time in Salida. I even found a pair of peacock rain boots at a 2nd hand shop.

I’ve been out of the loop for over a week. Mainly because I’ve been working and in spots without internet. I’ve been kind of inside a shell anyway.

I interviewed for a special education job last Monday. I thought the interview went pretty well and they said they would be trying to make a decision that day or the next. I went home and packed for the mountains full of hope and excitement.

I had a great and relaxing time in Buena Vista with my mom, but never heard anything back about the job. I came home and went to pugsit for my aunt and a couple more days passed with no word. I finally texted my friend who works at the school. She found out that they narrowed it down to four candidates, including me. Two first year teachers and two veterans. They told her that they wanted someone with more experience, but if I made the cut, they had to think I had something special to offer.

That was Thursday.

I still haven’t heard. I hope I’ll know something this week. Part of me feels like I’ve already lost it, but I’ve been trying to squash those thoughts whenever they crop up. I know that I would do a good job. I felt a rapport with the other special ed teacher and I felt I was genuine.

As a friend of mine said in a voice message tonight, if it doesn’t work out it’s only because there is something better waiting for me.

Even though it rained most of the time I was away, I saw little glimmers of light – like this wet flower. It had been weathered a bit, yet it was still a bright spot to remind me that something better is always waiting when the clouds clear out.

I’ll be better about posting this week. I’ll keep you posted about the job.

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