Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lackluster Days

lack·lus·ter  ('lakˌləstər)    adjective 
  1. lacking in vitality, force, or conviction; uninspired or uninspiring

Oh, yes. 

The word lackluster describes me exactly. I'm not sure where my motivation went, but it took a two-day trip and I have done very little about anything during that time. I have a job/career to finish in two days and a summer-long trip to pack everything three people will need. What am I doing watching TV and reading books when I have so much to do? I believe it's called procrastination

Anyway, I want to tell you about what I have read/watched because I really enjoyed all of it.

First, is a new Netflix series called Grace and Frankie, which starts Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson. 

Sheen and Waterson are law partners married to Fonda and Tomlin for 40 years. In the last 20 years, however, the males discover that they love each other. The show begins with full disclosure and impending divorces. Fonda and Tomlin claim the beach house, become roommates and learn to tolerate each other. This part of the show is like a more mature and feminine Felix and Oscar from The Odd Couple.

I like this show because it has a plot different from the norm and also has some really fine acting. The characters are believable, sad and funny. I binge-watched the entire season, 13 episodes, in two days, and many times I laughed out loud. I really appreciate that Netflix gives me the entire series at one time which makes my binge-watching easy.

Another item that helped me procrastinate is a novel by Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

I really like historical fiction and lately have read several set during World War II, as is The Nightingale. The story, told in flashback, is of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who work to survive and help others survive while the war rages in France. I was caught up in the characters and their actions, so much so that I actually cried at the end of the novel. Rarely does a book make me cry anymore, so I’d say Hannah told a good story.

Now that I have confessed, I will have to get back to work. I’ve moved almost everything that I’m bringing home out of my classroom, but still have two more days to work. The packing for summer is another matter, one that isn’t going away while I sit here. 

Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Female Friendships: Ovaries Before Brovaries

As I'm winding down this 35-year career in education, I keep thinking about all of the things that have shaped me into the person I am. I'm not talking about the rather round shape I have from sitting at the computer for hours while editing countless yearbooks, sitting at a desk while grading papers, or just sitting. I'm talking about the people who have shaped me. Many people have come and gone during those years -- students, colleagues, husbands -- but one of the strongest influences is the women with whom I have worked.

I've always wondered about this female relationship thing. Why is it that we women feel the need to join quilting circles, go to Tupperware parties, have girls’ nights out, etc.? Why, in some cultures, do women willingly live in communal housing away from men? My husband has an idea about why men prefer it that way, but I won't go into that now. 

My answer is that women need women. We need to share the births of our children with someone who truly knows the pain and joy only a woman can feel. We need a woman who knows the pain that those children cause us when they grow up and make such devastating mistakes. We need someone who understands that when we bitch about our spouses, we still love him. We need someone who will be on our side no matter what because she knows we will be on hers.

Most of all, we need someone who will laugh with us or even laugh at us. I found out early in life that laughter can get me through really tough times, so I’m always looking for something to laugh about.

This laughter binds us, gives us stories to share at later times that will make us remember those quick hall visits and make us laugh all over. It makes us forget about our failures in the classroom, about the God-awful evaluations by administration, or about this one kid who may drive us to drink (See Previous Post).

I’m really fortunate to have worked with some amazing women who have been an integral part of my life, even though we are together for such a short time each work day and are very rarely together away from work. During the work day, we gather for quick stories during the six minutes between classes, share lunch when we can, and at the end of the day, we catch up on the day’s interesting events or better yet, the gossip one of us heard that day. At each of these quick meetings, we usually find a funny tale, often about something a student has done, to share.

These women share my hall at work, and most of the time, this is what we look like when we are supposed to be monitoring the students in the hallway. 

I’m going to miss these remarkable women who work tirelessly to stamp out ignorance, to enlighten the masses, and to motivate those who are seemingly unable to be motivated. The relationship I have with them, and with all of the women with whom I have worked, is unlike any other friend relationship I've experienced.

I guess I’ll have to learn to quilt or start selling Tupperware.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Week of Many Endings

This week was packed with all kinds of activities and events that have created a huge mound of stress. As I was busy taking "one day at a time," I thought about my post for the week. I really didn't have anything special to write about, no earth-shattering or profound statements or events on which to expand. But I did see a common theme throughout the week -- the endings, or last times, that certain events would happen for me and others.

This week was the last semester exam for my dual-enrolled seniors. It's also the last semester exam that I will probably give since seniors are exempt from second semester exams if they are passing. I'm working hard to make sure mine are all passing. :-)

I also graded my last outlines/essays. Funny that I've had these kids all year, and they still won't put their names on their papers. 

Yearbooks arrived this week, too. It's the first book I haven't sponsored in 33 years, and I thought I might feel a little sentimental. I did not. I'm very grateful that the book is in the hands of a wonderful teacher who will produce a good book each year and will probably enjoy sponsoring the class for many years as well.

These students scan through the new yearbook. This young lady doesn't normally dress in her grandmother's church clothes, but it was "Senior Citizen Dress-Up Day" for the seniors.
Drew and I attended the last FSU Capital Children's Choir concert for the semester to hear Cloee sing. It's always great to hear those beautiful voices of children!

Friday, many of the seniors went to Grad Bash, a night when Universal Studios closes down except for seniors from all over the state. Only a handful of kids actually come to class that day, so I decided to buy them donuts. It's my final treat for them.


And finally, the final "last of" belongs to Kelsey who is finally finished with college, or at least until she gets into grad school!

The picture is not quite in focus, but I think you can see the excitement and enthusiasm that Kelsey felt with the completion of the first four years of college.

With only 30 days before retirement, the end weighs heavily on my mind, but mostly, I'm looking forward to the new beginnings I will pursue.