Monday, October 24, 2016

Teachers rock

Last night I saw a linked post a friend posted. And I read it. And it was awesome. So of course, I reposted it. Since I'm not feeling original this morning I'm sharing what I posted:

Honestly, I've discovered I love substitute teaching. However I will admit I would never would want to do it full time. Teachers put in hours of work outside of the school day. They leave me these detailed plans on how to run their classroom when they schedule a day off or are out sick. Could you imagine creating an entire plan for the day for someone to cover for you while you are ill? Teachers rock and they totally deserve our respect.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pawtuckaway North

A few weeks ago I did something I've never done before, I went hiking alone.  I've always had my kids with me, or gone with a friend.  This time I went alone.

It was the first day I was not scheduled to teach or work for someone.  I had a lot of work to do for my businesses, but I decided I really needed a mental health day.  I also had to be back to pick Jacob up from school to get him to New Heights, so I picked Pawtuckaway since it was close by.

It was a great hike!  The top of the North Mountain does not have stunning views, in fact I walked around a bit before I realized I was at the top.  There are a lot of trees, and Pawtuckaway is not a tall mountain.  Parts of the trail were pretty steep and I had to climb rocks.  Not what I was expecting, but it was a great hike.

Yes, I climbed up this.  And another slope that was all rock.

The view from the top.

I had a few reasons for trying solo hiking.  Mostly I needed time to think and recharge.  It was really cathartic to just focus on putting one foot in front of another and to figure out how to climb one of the rocky slopes.  It was relaxing to just sit at the top and do nothing but listen to the wind.  The only sounds I heard were chipmunks, a flying hawk, and my own breathing.  I only came across a few other hikers.  It was a completely different experience, and I really enjoyed it.

Next hike will be with others, I'm chaperoning Jacob's school trip to Mt. Cardigan and we'll be there for 3 days.  I doubt it will be quiet.  But it will be fun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Climbing out of a well

I was having an email conversation with a friend who was cautioning me not to be persuaded to do something for someone.  And suddenly all I could think of was that I was at the bottom of a well.  

I wrote:
I feel like I’m at the bottom of a well and trying to climb up wet sides.  I keep slipping backwards and am not making quick progress.

And honestly, that's what I feel like.  

I feel guilty saying I'm behind because my mom died.  And it's not completely that, it's almost 2 weeks of driving to a hospital out of state every other day.  It's 2 1/2 months of driving weekly 2 states away to visit.  It's the guilt I was feeling for not driving down more frequently.  It's the time spent in the car, 4-6 hours each trip, plus the time spent visiting.  During all that driving and all that visiting I wasn't getting any work done on my business or volunteer work.  I wasn't getting projects and housework done at home.  I wasn't doing fun summer things with my kids.  It's that phone call of 'come down now' and several days of just getting through the basics.  It's a lot of things that didn't get done.  And now they need to be completed and I haven't started them.

And suddenly I'm at the bottom of a well looking up.  And each stone is something that needs to be done so that I can get out of the well and onto level ground.  Except that there are so many things keeping me from climbing up each stone.  I have scheduled classes to teach, my kids need rides to their activities.  I have housework to do.  It's mid September and I've finally posted October classes, but not advertised them yet.  I have organizations emailing to schedule classes and I can't fit everyone in because I don't have the rest of my fall schedule on my calendar.  The stones are wet and slippery and there are just too many of them.

It's overwhelming.

I'm scattered.  And not doing well at keeping up and replying to everyone's needs.  I'm not drowning or treading water, I'm just standing at the bottom of the well looking up at all the myriad things that should have been done that are still waiting for me to reach out and tackle them.

I need several days of no scheduled activities to get caught up.  But my calendar is pretty booked.  I also need a day or two somewhere to just decompress and breathe.  Trying to pick which to do on a day I have a few hours open is my current challenge.  Do I get caught up and climb a bit out of the well or do I take a few hours away to re-energize?  Do I start to climb up the well or do I take a moment to regroup, focus my energies and spirit before beginning the climb?

I think I will go for a local hike, and return to begin the climb.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Goodbye Grammy

Cancer is an evil thing.  I haven't posted regularly about it, but we've been driving to CT almost weekly to visit my mom.  She seemed to be holding her own.  And then a quick phone call the day before we were planning on driving down... 'can you come now, we don't think she is going to make it through the night'.

In under 30 minutes we're all in the van headed south. Plans for the afternoon and evening forgotten. I don't think any of us realized what we were going to see when we got there.  She did so well to hide the pain and discomfort on our last visits. It was upsetting for the kids as this was not the way they remembered her.  This was the beginning of the end.  She was asleep due to the pain medications, but not completely pain-free.  She seemed so close to passing and leaving the pain behind. But then she lingered, and didn't seem to get better, but did not get worse.  So we drove home late that night.

The next morning John and I went down alone.  We stopped in Boston on the way to let Becca know what was happening.  I did not want her to hear via text, phone or Facebook.  We brought her the quilt Grammy had been working on and that members of my mom's quilt guild had finished for her.  It was an even longer drive going to Boston first, but we eventually arrived.  And sat, and waited.  I held her hand and we all talked.  And she continued to linger.  So we headed home, thinking of what we could re-arrange to come down again soon.  But before we got home we received a text from my dad.  She had passed away a few minutes ago.

It's sad, but it was expected.  It's awkward to say we welcomed her death.  But to be in so much pain is not something you wish for anyone.  We are all very sad, but thankful that she is no longer in pain.

Goodbye Mom.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer 2016

We've had a super busy summer.  Not the lounge around lazy days of summer type of summer, but a working, traveling type of summer.

In early June I wrote a quick post about my mom.  She was hospitalized suddenly and the diagnosis was terminal cancer.  This began a summer of driving down to the hospital roughly every other day for about a week, and then weekly drives to a rehab hospital, and then to her home.  Each drive is 2 or more hours each way so I'm spending 4-5 hours in the car just driving one day each week.

In between, we had summer camps and classes.  Almost every day had something scheduled.  On the days we were home we were busy with housework and paperwork.  There is a lot of administrative work in running a small business.

Suddenly it's the middle of August.  And we've done very little as a family.

This past week we took two day trips as a family.  We went to the Flume.  We took the Downeaster to Portland, ME.  We bickered a bit, we hung out as a family, and we were pretty much offline while doing it.   We visited my mom on her last birthday today.

Over the next week, we're going to try to fit in a few more family activities.  Our eldest daughter will move into her college dorm in just over a week and it will be months before all of us are home again.

It's been a super busy summer, and I'm super behind on a lot of class scheduling.  My class schedule is mostly posted through the end of September.  I think I'm missing a class and I still have to create a schedule for the rest of the fall.  It will get done eventually.  At the moment I'm focusing on time with my husband and children before the start of the school year.