Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life Sentence

Sick, the day after
my diagnosis.
I received my life sentence six years ago tomorrow. Among my tribe we call it our diaversary. I've written about it each year and this blog was initially created with the purpose of processing my life sentence and finding balance. My mission hasn't changed.

Well-Managed, six years later!
Over the six years, I've learned some key steps to the management of my chronic disease with the sole goal of living with the longest life sentence possible.

What I know for sure is that what we worry about or imagine is not as hard as we make-it-up to be when we actually face it. Taking care of yourself requires care and patience and a tiny bit of selfishness. Paying close attention to the overwhelmedness clues in your life matters. My clues happen to be a misplaced purse, phone, keys, meter, or pump---never lost, but misplaced.  Gently educate the people in your life, they mean well, but they don't know well. What they do or say is often out of love and a desire to help. Don't beat yourself up about the management or mismanagement of your life sentence, you are working as hard as you can.  I know I will continue to learn more, but acknowledging my diaversary is one small step in celebrating my daily wins over my life sentence.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Aloha means hello and goodbye! It signifies greeting and parting.
Aloha students!  Wednesday is our district's last day for students.  Some of you have already said goodbye and some of you have a few more weeks. I love the arc of teaching. It is the perfect story. The end.

Aloha slicing! I always think I have more time to write in April and May, but invariably find no energy. I spend most of my time during the 4th nine weeks proctoring tests.  At last count, 28905 tests were administered to the 2900 students at our school. .This number doesn't include other mandated tests.  We are still counting. Test fatigue or life fatigue, I am not sure.  I have find that with last nine weeks comes the planning for next year while closing the current and my energy isn't there to write. I have no excuses now, it's June.

Aloha self! A year ago I injured myself and I was in the midst of getting stronger and fit. I ended up being sidelined for 7 months in 2013 and have spent the last 5 months of 2014 moving closer to fine.  I'm not 100% yet.  I'm not where I thought I would be, but I am closer. I feel great.  Summer is the perfect time to challenge myself and meet my fitness goals.

Aloha summer! Time to explore my one little word, well.   Time to traipse in the mountains and disconnect. Time to push myself as a writer. Time to to learn something new, paddle boarding. Time to swimm in the springs. Time to lay in the hammock and read. Time with my daughter, friends, and family.   Aloha summer!

How will you spend yours?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You've Got Mail

A fed ex package from New York arrived for my daughter on Saturday.  Luckily the driver waited for us to get home. The chances of him being able to actually deliver it to my door on the weekend are slim to none.

We opened a small package from my aunt in New York. She is the only one of five children left on my father's side.  She mailed us her great-grandmother's ring and a picture of my grandmother at age 20 with the ring on her finger.  I guess this makes it my great-great-grandmother's ring and my daughter's great great great grandmother's ring.  It was a welcome surprise since my dad passed away when I was 21 and I haven't been to see that part of my family since my daughter was little.  We exchange cards. They send Christmas cards and I send Happy Spring cards.

What I've learned in the years that have passed is that sometimes when someone in your family dies, you just don't lose that person, you lose part of your family too.  The struggle is to rebuild it in a way that makes sense.   It was nice, however, to recapture a small bit in the mail this weekend. A thank you note is on its way.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ruminating on my Saturday

I got be a part of many wonderfuls this weekend, but the most wonderous was my afternoon spent with teen writers and a former grad student in the Teen Zone at the UCF Book Festival. Seventeen teens from all over the Central Florida region varying from grades 6th-12th gave up their spring afternoon to spend indoors on their craft.  They brought their pieces for feedback and were treated to Kristen Simmons' discussion of her writerly life and a question and answer session. Time flew.

What stood out to me listening to Simmons was how long it actually took for her to go from writing a book to actually getting one published. It took her ten years.  Her continued effort reminded me of the ten thousand hour expert rule shared in Gladwell's Outliers. She wrote over four books in that time and endured 200 rejections.  What a story for these teens to hear. They got it.  They walked away understanding the tenacity and practice it took for her to accomplish her dream, of holding her published book in her hand. Many of them not sure that was what they could do, write every day and endure the rejection, but most left happy to have their writing heard and  advice to think about as aspiring writers.

I left with some unanswered questions know that writing is a solitary activity, but you must have some kind of community to share.  I wondered what that looked like for her. She also shared that now with a one year old daughter she writes during naps.  Again confirming that what you value, you will find time to do. If you want to be a writer, then write every day.  Just like the SOLSC in March pushes one too.  How do you carry on after that?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One Little Word: April Focus

April kicks off the next chapter of my one little word action.  The word being, well.  The intent being well-balanced.  It is a continuation of my focus last month on being well-ordered.  Last year I seriously derailed at this time.  Perhaps it was the non-stop proctoring.  The third job. I am not sure.  My goal this month is to continue to focus on maintaining a work life-balance, especially amping up my cardio, focusing on my food and water, and lowering my blood glucose levels while cultivating my writing life.This slice makes 32 days in a row.  It's time, however, to shift a little energy toward my fitness. I was much better at blogging this past month than completing my My Fitness Pal and reaching my daily goals.

I took my first step toward being well-balanced last night.  I was able to mostly run and a little walk a half mile in 6 minutes, a super big deal to me since I haven't been able to run like that since May 31st, 2013. Last night I came in last, really far last, some might describe it as, earmuffs please, DFL, but I finished.  Random people in the park cheered me.  It was embarrassingly nice.  Not really an attention I wanted, but one that made me smile. Someone in our Camp Gladiator workout team actually came back and ran with me the end with me. When someone is behind, no one gets left behind.  My CG family cheered me when I finished. I didn't elect to do it the second time, I chose a personal dispensation knowing that adrenal will sometimes mask the forthcoming pain.  My knee felt great today. It was the right thing for me to do.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Slice 31 and Done (for today)

This is my last slice, last slice, last slice for March. You know it is funny---a song resonated through my head this morning as I began to think about my last slice even before I went to the Two Writing Teacher's page and noticed that Stacey had a song in her head this morning.  My song was Donna Summer's Last Dance.

My first official dance class, at age 3.
Writing is like dancing. We all can dance. We can all write. Granted some dance or write better, but I would wager that they have spent more time practicing.  Practice is what it takes to do most everything better. What we deliberately practice, we get good at. We only read books like Gladwell's Outliers, Coyle's Talent Code and Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers to understand about the power of deliberate practice.   Practice is at the heart of growing as a writer or a dancer and growing our students as writers. That is what the SOLSC challenge is for me, daily deliberate practice at writing, practice that is not always easy or fun, but most definitely deliberate.

I often say that I prefer reading over writing.  It's true.  For me, it is easier and an escape. I love sci-fi and fantasy.  Writing is hard work. Writing every day is harder.  I've noticed, however, a changed writer self through my participation in the SOLSC over the past three years.  I used to anguish over about what to write each day and wanted it to be meaningful and powerful.  I used to worry that I wouldn't get my blog posted each day.  This year I wrote with a confidence that I would get my writing done each day. I knew it wouldn't always be meaningful or power, sometimes it would just be done.  My two years of practice helped me with develop that confidence.

I am also confident that all of us are able to carve out time to do what we point our eye toward.  In the past I've been exhausted trying to post at the end of each challenge and not been able to muster the energy to write. I don't feel that this time. My practice over the past two years built that.   As I posted earlier this month, the third time's a charm.

I want to thank my friends, the readers I know, the readers who only know me through my blog, and the readers who comment during the month-long Slice of Life Writing Challenge.    Your life is busy and there are many distractions and much work to do. Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my words.

I want to thank Stacey and her team for putting in the time to do, craft a space to cultivate teachers as digital writers and students as digital writers.  I wouldn't have understood how digital writing matters for students without the opportunity to do it myself and deliberately practice.  I still dance, but I don't practice.  After this month is over, I will, however, keep writing and practicing since those are the moves that I am still aiming to perfect as a writer and a teacher of writers.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Break Blues

Although spring break is over officially at 5:00 am tomorrow, I did reach some of my short term goals.   I almost finished my taxes. I read and wrote every day. I almost exercised each day.  My daughter did clean out her room over the course of two days without my help.  I did paint my toenails, sleep in, and hang out with friends.  I didn't develop a model lesson plan, set up my tumbler, scan old photos, or make an infographic. Despite not achieving some of my spring break goals, I did accomplish the important things such as spending time with my family.  I discovered that I am still the queen of the hoops despite my knee injury and age.  Yesterday we had tornadic rainstorms and so went my day at the beach, but it would have been my second day at the beach this week.  There is always a slight let-down going back to work, but I know that I am a better caretaker of myself when I work.  An order to my life exists in the frenetic energy of work. I work out more and eat better.  Even so, I will be sad to leave the best part of Florida weather, the spring, behind. Work beckons once again.