Friday, January 17, 2014
"The road goes ever on and on."
~ J.R.R. Tolkein
"It's your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you."
Those are the quotes for today's bell work. I asked my students to describe the road they are currently traveling--literally and figuratively. Who is going with you? Where are you going? Where do you wish you were going? Why? I'll be interested to see their responses.
During the school year, I'm on a road kind of like many here in Arizona--a straight shot getting you fairly easily from one spot to the others. When I first moved here, a friend I had known in Boston (a city not known for it's straight, logical roads) sat down with me and described the road system here and said "you'll love driving here. It's so logical. You'll always know where you are and where you're going." Wrong! I have never been more lost and confused within a mile or so from my house or work than in this state! You can be driving along on a road and suddenly you will dead end into a neighborhood. So, logically you'd think you could go left (or right) and then right (or left) and then left (or right) again and find yourself back on your original road. But no. You can't get around the neighborhood so easily. Instead, you'll find yourself lost in a labyrynth of twists and turns that have you going in the complete opposite direction from where you started. Drives. Me. Crazy.
Then there are the mountain roads--north and south of where I live. I'm not very good at driving on roads I don't know and that do not give me a fair amount of distance views. Roads that have a lot of twists and turns are slow roads for me because I don't want to miss a curve and lose control. The first time I drove north to Sedona and beyond took quite a bit longer than I drive it now. And I didn't offer once to drive the hairpin turns of the White Mountains on our road trip East this summer. Once I know a road, though, I travel it easier. And faster.
So much for the literal road I'm on. Figuratively, I start my day on a winding road that I have no idea where or how it will end. For some reason, that doesn't unnerve me the way the actual unknown road does. Perhaps because I've gone into this unknown so many times before. Coming to Arizona was one such big adventure. But every day has its own journey with its myriad opportunities to wonder about the day's mile posts. But that's a whole other story. I'll have to leave that for another day.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Photos taken in Butterfly Wonderland in Phoenix, Arizona
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
She is founder and past president of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters."
Having read nearly everything she's published, I think it's safe to say that I admire and respect her on a number of levels. I am "friends" with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and read her blogs faithfully. Now, this week, I am embarking on a journey inspired by her book Starting Points: Weekly Writing Prompts for Women with Stories to Tell. My plan is to do much of the woodshed writing in my private journal, but to write at least one entry a week inspired by the daily writing I do based on the prompts. We'll see how it goes. I always have grand plans at the start of the year to "write more." This year, I hope to actually do that. Wish me luck!
The prompts for the first week of January have to do with changes. Significant changes in my life over the past year. An easy question on the surface. There are changes that time brings to us, that we can do nothing about. Unstoppable changes that come with aging. The eyes grow dimmer, the joints ache more in the morning, the energy drops a little more than it used to at the end of the day. Those are things to be expected, and yet they are not necessarily easy dealt with. They are part of what comes with living longer, though, so I must find a way to deal with them. That, too, is easier said than done, but must happen if I am to move on with my life, my future, and not stay rooted in the past--or even the present.
Photo: New decals on my laptop :)
Photo: New decals on my laptop :)
"You were born with the ability to change someone's life. Don't ever waste it."
The words shout across the classroom to me. I've been teaching for 35 years now and I'm quite conscious...now...of the opportunities I have to change someone's life. They are a regular part of the majority of my waking hours 180 days out of the year...minimum. Every minute in my classroom is an opportunity to effect change. Genuine, gut-wrenching, simple, subtle, silent, achingly slow change. Being a teacher gives me all that and more.
I didn't know that at the beginning. I was not prepared for the tidal wave of realization in the first week of my first teaching job. It came on me suddenly, quickly, and overwhelmed me, causing my own flood of tears at the peak of the epiphany. I thought it was too hard and too much. I thought it was impossibly to carry that responsibility. I thought I was too young, too small, too naive, too shy, too everything... I very quickly realized that a) I couldn't be everything to everyone, that b) I had to make the most of every opportunity, and that c) it mattered how I went about making the most of those opportunities.
Photos taken at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, Arizona
Friday, January 03, 2014
The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work.
Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.
~ The Remains of the Day
|Sunset over Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Rangeley, Maine|
- 1991--quit my job, go back to school at UNH to work on my PhD, join NEYE (orchestra), begin to travel the world (China-Thailand-Singapore tour)
- 1992--move to Brunswick, Maine to be Kaitie and Christopher's nanny, continue to travel the world with NEYE (Egypt, South Africa, Jordan, Israel), play in Carnegie Hall numerous times
- 1993--move to Boston, take job at GBA
- 1996--continue world travels to England and Russia, begin work as recruiter/fundraiser
- 1998--go to Russia again
- 1999--take spontaneous long weekend trip to Paris
- 2002--take a Western Caribbean cruise
- 2004--take writing course in Aix-en-Provence
- 2005--explore Norway with family, become principal of GBA, take seniors to Peru on a mission trip
- 2010--move to Phoenix to "just" teach
- 2012--go to the Grand Canyon for the first of several times, take on administrative responsibilities at TAA
- 2013--go to Zambia for mission trip, take a cross-country road trip
|Sunset outside my back patio|
|Sunset over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon|