Saturday, August 23, 2008

7 - 2 = 4??

I've forgotten how to subtract. Or something akin to it. I know this phenomenon. I've witnessed it in my students countless times when I introduce a complex new process, e.g. long division. Suddenly, kids who've been subtracting beautifully since the 2nd grade forget they ever even knew how. Their brain is spread too thin trying to grasp the whole divide, multiply, subtract, bring-it-down process of long division.

That is me in this new job. I've forgotten basic things. I am a space cadet, a walking hazard to the planet. I double book myself for meetings, I respond to parents in ways I've never responded before, I forget things. And I realize that it is happening and then second guess myself all the more. Eejah. It is horrible.

I know what it is - I am overwhelmed right now, my poor little neural energy tapped right out - but it doesn't help my feelings of utter inadequacy.

I benchmark this spot because I know that someday I will regain my old automaticity. I will get my groove back. I will be the teacher and reading specialist that I once was: organized, with-it, there for kids and parents and other teachers, a trusted resource. For now... 1+1 = 2, 2+2 =4.

I think.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Hair Smells Good

My hair smells good
I am just back from a hike
where all the spicy, sagey
plants of CO were on the bake

I have picked up their odor
integrated their roots
borrowed their sage-acity

I have met countless people these last two weeks
some kind
some curious
about me, about Wisconsin, about tris and running,
some self-absorbed
bridges that led only inward
Still others who have sniffed me out and tucked tail to run
They didn't like me
Others with stories bigger and longer and more interesting than mine

I have met countless people
I worked at their sides at our new school
I biked at their sides and
- on the hills -
at their backs (Gax!)
I hiked in their wake
talked and smiled and sifted and sorted
and absorbed this new place

I am here
pinching myself when the sight of the mountains
astonishes me yet again
gripping my handlebars a little tighter
when the Denver lights come into view
shaking my head to get a whiff of this
good-smelling hair.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Am Bike Commuter

It's not as if I didn't see the yellow light. I just knew better than to stop. I know this suburbia-land community well enough to know that at 5:30 AM, the roads are mine. All the mama-teachers, corporate daddies, and burbie-babies are still fast asleep or waking up to laidback cups of latté and ... other fru-fru stuff.

So it's not like I didn't see the light. I just knew better. I also knew that my ride to school is mostly uphill and I'd be damned if I was going to brake for a yellow (-ish, OK, more red by the second, shall we call it orange?) light when I have the only downhill of the ride. Also, it should be said that this was my first commute in the dark so far this year. The air was cool and moist and sweet and... sort of intoxicating. So I blew it. Blew right through that baby at 5:30 AM and fleetingly wondered out of my peripheral vision - out of my peripheral brain - if either of the two cars waiting at the cross streets were police vehicles.

One was. He pulled me over. On my bike. For running an orange light. And I told him the truth. "I'm high on the morning ride." I beamed at him. My face, my smile exuded all the happiness and joie de vivre you can squeeze out of a cool, moist, sweet, fast downhill in the morning. He understood, I think. He gave me a verbal warning. (My third traffic warning in 8 months; the other two were for speeding. In my car, silly! But I digress. Except I am sort of spotting a pattern here. Oops...) Funny thing is - I was almost happy to see him. Such beautiful rides and feelings should be shared with someone.

My little joyfest concluded, I continued on my merry way.

La-la-la-dee-lah. I'm goin' uphill, but's it's all good cuz life is good. The Denver lights are to my right, the mountains to my back. La-la-la-dee-lah.


Thumpity, thumpity, thump.

Wait. That sound is not a happy sound. I craned my neck down and back to view my rear tire. Flat. Dead as a doornail. Baaaad.

I pulled off onto the side of the road and quickly ascertained that I'd picked up a shard of some moron's glass bottle in my back tire. I carry an extra tube and tire for just such occasions. I whipped them out and changed my first tire of this commute year about halfway through my ride on the side of a getting-busier street with traffic zooming by me. There was no way I was getting that tire up to pressure with my telescoping pump, but I got it up to "rideable" and was back on my way in 15 minutes. Thinking: this would have to happen to me this first week of school when I'm trying to impress my 78 new colleagues and four new administrators. On the first day that I decide to retry the road route instead of the trail. On the first day that I got to wear my headlamp, reflective vest and flashy red tail light. Big, bad boo.

Unbelievably, I made it to school on time. Through orange lights, flashing reds & blues, and a tire change. Up, up with Type As! We leave early enough so that a typhoon wouldn't impinge on our punctuality.

After this morning's ride, I wear the badge. I am Bike Commuter. Hear me roar. See me soar.