Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Love My Job

Where have I been? Obviously not blogging. I have been busy with many things - good for the most part: biking, a new relationship, patching up my old relationship (we're becoming friends!), and school.

School has been consuming me. It always does, but I always forget how wrapped up in it I get. And I love my job. Today's highlight came when I was subbing for another teacher. I got to talk to a handful of kids who I taught my first year here. They're seniors now. It is amazing how much they've changed. One girl, in particular, gave me hell in 6th grade. She was a snotty (though smart) little hair-tosser. We had found our peace by the end of the year, but today... it was really cool. We talked about what she's interested in career/college/lifewise. It was a conversation I would have had with my niece - very comfortable. And wow. Has she matured. I love seeing these kids grow up. My job is fulfilling.

And finally - after bouncing around grade levels and job titles for 8 years - I'm finding where I fit. I am a middle school Reading Teacher. While it was enjoyable talking to those high schoolers today and I enjoy the one section of high school that I teach, I belong with middle schoolers. In a Reading classroom. Talking about books and characters - which really means telling our stories to each other, helping these very energetic, very talkative, very curious adolescents see themselves and others. It's real stuff. And I love it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lightning Finds Me

4:30 AM
I awoke to a flash of lightning
followed shortly by a HUGE crack of thunder
Lightning found me.

I jumped out of bed ready to ride.
I want to face this storm
I want to ride it out
I want to be in it
to live in it
to be tossed and turned
to be scared out of my wits
but stay true
to me
the motion.

By the time you read this
I will be on my bike...

7:30 AM Addition
I made it to school high and (nearly) dry. The gods put away their sabers and stopped shedding each other's blood the minute I stepped out the door.

Pussies. Afraid of a little girl on a bike.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

IM Wisconsin 2007 Volunteer Report

What does an Ironman do for you?

It gives you time out of life
a time of complete focus
Even as a spectator this year
I was focused on the athlete
the individual swimmer who was cramping
and screaming in agony as he clung to my kayak.
I sounded three whistle blasts to
summon a boat to pull another wretching,
pale athlete out of his Lake Monona misery.

And then, with the majority of the athletes out of the water
came my favorite part of swim support...
We got to adopt a swimmer
I shadowed #1820 from mile 1.9 to mile 2.4
He'd poke his head up every once in a while
and I'd point him in the right direction.
In those 25 minutes, getting #1820,
- a complete stranger -
back to the beach
was my mission in life.
Seeing him crawl out of the water and stand on the beach
at last
and hearing his name
was sublime.

Our time out of life continued in Verona
where my friend and I were completely absorbed
in watching those Ironbikers roll on by.

We saw and clapped/shouted ourselves silly for...
  • A friend who had hypothermia at last year's race and spent 40 minutes in T2 - a deathknoll to her Kona dream. She finished in 11:25 yesterday.
  • A smiling Rural Girl who whizzed by so fast I could barely identify her. By her second time through, we had learned to watch in fast forward and cheered our lungs out for her. What a racer!!
  • Bubba in his Spiderman shirt. No mistaking him!
  • Steve, the hairless wonder. He rode Rhonda fast and true.
  • Trigreyhound who I first was sure of after seeing his name on the back of his bib. Even belatedly though, he heard me yell, "Go Greyhound!" and - class act that he is - took the time to lift a hand off of his handlebars and acknowledge my yell with a fist pump.
  • TriShannon who turned around with this huge smile when I yelled her name - but is probably still wondering who the heck I was. :)
  • Erin - truly "The Smiling Girl" - she knows the way to do an Ironman.
  • Pharmie - who heard us the second time we yelled, "Go Pharmie" and burned us with the brightness of that smile.
  • JWM - Who I thought was so focused that he didn't even realize that this crazy lady yelling "Go JWM! Go JWM!" was talking to him. Later I found out that he'd been looking up for every "Good job" thinking it was "Go JWM" and his neck was getting tired. So, "Go JWM!" anyways!
  • IronWil - who I also only recognized after she'd passed. But cool x 10, she acknowledged my yell with a fist pump and a smile.

As you can see, smiles were a common theme yesterday. All of these people were happy to be doing 140.6. Wow.

Heartfelt congratulations to all of you Ironmen out there! You are inspiring.