Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

*Groan*

Forget the last post for a bit. I started off the week great. I taught a great class Monday morning. By afternoon was exhausted. That night I was hot, cold, hot, cold and ended up taking off most of Tuesday and all of today. It keeps getting better. Had the pleasure of throwing up a few hours ago. Only my third time since I was 12.

No idea what to expect for tomorrow.

Pity me, please.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

OM (Organize Me) III: Time Record

Today I started timing how long I spent on school work. (5 1/2 hours today alone) Also keeping track of blog time, house work and writing time. It certainly makes me more conscious of how I send my time. I think it will annoy me soon.

Just had some more writing time. I'm back to work tomorrow. Hard to get into work again after a long break. (Hard after a short one too.)

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Writing Addiction

I've always said that the reason I have such a fast typing speed (I once tested at almost 90 wpm) is that in high school I was an obsessive journaler.

That seems to be the case lately as well between this blog and my SECRET one.

On Shabbos especially though I realize just how much other writing I need and want to do... so many projects that take a lot more work than a simple entry and that could eventually earn me a little money and fame.

So I'm going to try to be disciplined and do that now instead of this... tonight at least. (Saturday night is my one designated writing night currently and that doesn't necessarily mean more than a half an hour's work.)

On that note though, the author who most inspires me right now is Anne Lamott. Author of "Bird by Bird," one of the best books about writing, she's totally inspiring me right now with her book Traveling Mercies.

See now, that entry took about 8 minutes. I could have written a poem in that time, including creating links. But I get much quicker gratification with this.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

OM (Organize Me) II: Bedroom and Schedules

Took most of the damn day but the bedroom (which is mostly MY stuff) looks a little better. Thank goodness for music and This American Life broadcasts from the internet. (Shabbos is coming. No time to create link!)

I've also made a schedule of things I NEED to do each week on certain days like "Plan reading lessons for next week" and "sweep floor." It's on the fridge. And am timing myself when I cook so I can list the most efficient meals on another schedule.

Yeah, I'm having fun with this short Thanksgiving break.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

A New York Thanksgiving

What a great day today was.

I usually think of Thanksgiving as being about being by a fire with family and eating Autumnal foods. But over the years I've learned to avoid travelling on that day and finding other ways to celebrate. With all the Jewish holidays, there are plenty of other times to be with family. (Besides, I'm going to Portland fairly soon for a few days.)

We've got a good friend from Portland here living in Washington Heights with whom we decided to get together. (I mentioned her in Preparing For Rosh Hashanah -- scroll down on this link.) So today U. and I took a bus into Manhattan, a subway to midtown and tried to explore a little of Manhattan in the afternoon while we waited for dinner. Sadly, it got much colder and wetter than we expected... later it even snowed a little. So we ended up just hiding out and getting work done in his office building up on the 20th floor. 20 floors feels high to me. My ears popped in the elevator.

At last our friend got off work... yes, she had to work that day. And the three of us went to a very fancy bar. How fancy? The Heineken cost $8.00. But what ambiance! It was this classy room that looked like an antique library with books high high high up on the walls. They could have been bricks dressed up as books for all I know, but it was awfully cozy. Don't know the last time I had a beer but it went straight to my head and I enjoyed it.

This made riding the subway afterwards an act of faith. This is the first time I've been on them without a map and just had to follow my well-practiced companions to make sure I knew where we were going.

At last we had dinner at Abigael's. Very very very tasty dinner. We didn't even have to decide what to eat with the exception of the entree, and of course as nice as the other dishes sounded, we had to get turkey. It was all a set Thanksgiving menu.The waiter ("Hello, my name is Aaron and I will be your waiter tonight") brought over his fresh pepper grinder and everything.

I've only eaten in fancy Kosher restaurants maybe twice before, so this was a real treat.

And again, quite the New York experience once we got the bill.

It was all worth it. My one disappointment about the day is more of a dread. It was SO COLD walking through the biting wind out there. We went to our friend's house afterwards and she loaned me an extra layer of clothes. But this, they say, is only the beginning. Thankfully I was wearing a new pair of boots. Our friend says that now I'm going to have to get a nice down coat.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rerun

Check it out. I'm a rerun. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Now She Could Fill My Heart."

(This entry mostly for the benefit of newer readers.)

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Happy Blogday to me!

I'm writing this at 9 PM on November 20th. In 3 hours Brainsite will hit its first birthday. Happy blogday to it, happy blogday to it.

In the interest of OM (Organize Me) I'm not going to write any further about this but will, instead, get to bed.

Just be aware I'm tweaking the time clock on this blog entry a little to see if I can make this just show up on the Blogday itself. I will be working from 8 AM to 10 PM (conferences) so won't have time for any more gratification on the real day.

(Yeah, I know... I wrote more anyway. More proof at my organizational difficulties.)

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

OM (Organize Me): Part 1

The past weeks have been trying (obviously... if you've been reading my entires) though I haven't put so many details here. A major component of everything (including the more personal crisis) has been adjusting to my new work situation. The school in which I work is private and has a reputation to guard. As a result, my walls are quite transparent to other teachers (including my assistant/coteacher), the principal and others always in and out, seeing everything I do. In addition, the principal expects us to turn in lesson plans weekly and gives feedback. All of this forces me to see my weaknesses glaring at all times, and makes me feel like a first year teacher.

There is good and bad to that, of course. I feel insecure much of the time, but I also have the opportunity to grow from this. My victorious survivor spirit is, unfortunately, working against me most of the time, causing me to feel resentment at having to work so hard and want to defend myself against it at all costs. But if I can submit my ego to all of the very correct criticism (both positive and negative) that I receive, I just might become a much much better teacher and maybe a better everyday person too. It's not as though any of the criticisms are new to me or unjustified. I just have to improve upon them right away. (It's not easy to know I'm about to publish this, by the way.)

I've decided that the first step towards all of this is to become more organized. If I can minimize the crazy paper flow and know when during the week I'm doing each task etc., I just might have time some times to cook dinner and sweep the floor too in addition to thinking more carefully about how to plan a good guided reading lesson.

The organization will take all different forms, from getting papers in the right place to watching how I protect and nurture my body, mind and spirit, and I want to document it all here because:

1. It will make me more conscious of what I'm doing.
2. I've been blogging pretty obsessively lately and it feels like it's good for me.
3. Others might benefit.
4. I really miss friends right now and feel often like I'm presenting myself to the rest of the world as a complete unfinished product. People are more of a process than a product, changing and shifting all the time, and I feel safe enough to show that growth here on Brainsite.

Some things to watch for in upcoming entries (assuming I stick to the plan):

A plan to document time spent on actual school work. (I won't do this until after Thanksgiving.)
A weekly schedule of what I should do each day.
Menu planning for the week... I hope I hope I hope.
Paper organization.
How I fit in yoga and meditation and what I do with it.

Etc.

Hope you like it.

Incidentally, in the last entry I got a book suggestion. My dad sent me one too called "How To Be Organized In Spite Of Yourself." Both sound great, but one thing I'm going to do is just dive in instead of waiting for a book to arrive, then having to read the book, before I get started on things I think I at least partly already know.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Not Such A Filing Queen

There was a summer, I think my first summer after first year of teaching, where I told myself I would love to organize. By two years later I had a co-teacher who referred to me as the filing queen. Maybe it's just because I can't find those little tabs when I want to to label the files, but I'm not the queen anymore.

There are papers everywhere in here from poems to bills to homework and reminders for meetings I'm supposed to somehow not lose.

Any suggestions?

I'm re-accepting my imperfections at the fullest right now. Trying to be okay with them. "Take them out to tea" as one friend of mine calls it.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Another movie

U. worked on Susanne too. See the credits.

Edited on November 19th when I should be in bed... The above entry was rattled off before Shabbos. I just want to add to it that I wrote a review of the movie on the site itself. It may not appear for sometime as that seems to be the way the site works. I liked the move though. An interesting combination between intriguing and quickly developed characters and sheer shock value gore.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"The Box"

My husband did the set design on this movie. It was not shot in a real restaurant but in an office building. The black bar on the window sill was added for effect as well as the wallpaper you see. (In one shot you can see that the bar ends.) Also, that table in the front of the picture is really just a cardboard box with cloth on it. It's presence prevents the shot from looking "flat." Apparently this is called "forcing the perspective."

And yes, those are REAL salt and pepper shakers!

We encourage you to leave constructive comments on the motionflicks site. It makes it all more interesting.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On The Go

This poem came to me this morning as I was rushing out of the house. I figured out the details on the drive to work and jotted it onto a receipt when I got to the school parking lot.




On The Go

Good Morning.
I'm on my way.
When will you be home tonight?

Oh yes...
I forwaded you a poem
that was emailed to me last night
by an old friend of ours
and which during breakfast
cause me to weep.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Back in the Game

So, I guess things are sort back to normal again. It was hard to come back to work today after such a hard few days last week. But suddenly I was rushing around like crazy again.

Will teaching ever be less stressful?

The events of last week were significant enough to me that I started another blog elsewhere. So I've been venting a whole different set of thoughts and feelings in a separate venue. I realize that back in the olden days (like a couple of years ago) I probably would have just written these feelings into a private journal of my own, but for some reason I really wanted to make it all public. Just not make ME public. I have a different user name there etc. I think knowing someone else CAN read it made my writing better and helped me to not wallow too deeply. At the same time, I can get a little dramatic if it serves the writing.

In any case, I'm back in Evenewra's world again, with all the good and bad and easy and hard it includes.

I also know that I can split my personality up again anytime I need to when the difficulties of last week catch up with me again. And now I have a web-place in which to do it.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bitter Blogging

I haven't written in awhile because something has been happening.

Unfortunately it did not turn out the way I wanted to and once again I wrestle with what is and is not appropriate to tell on this blog.

I've decided to be unspecific for several reasons. One is that the thing that has happened does feel quite personal even though I have no qualms about telling friends and trusting colleagues on an as-needed basis.

But I'm also having trouble with the fact that so many people feel the comforting thing to say to me is that this happens so often to other people.

So I'm not going to talk about the thing that happened, because that will just make readers think about what they know about that thing and right now I want to talk about my own feelings without connecting it to other people's memories.

I know that there are people who have had this, or other things, much worse, and that things turned out fine for them in the end and that there is plenty of room for hope in the world.

But those sentiments are irrelevant until I'm ready for them. Right now I intend to be as angry and bitter as I want to be about this thing itself and about all the other things that are related distantly or not. (No event happens in a vaccum. It brings up memories of the past or separate worries and issues of the present and future.) How can I help but indulge in some well-earned self-pity when it's been such a rough few years anyway?

On top of all this, I feel somewhat alone in this new place. Thankfully, those who know have been as supportive as they can given how little they really know us. My one complaint I'm really saying here not to be unthankful, but instead to offer advice...

When someone is having a hard time and you don't know what to say, then don't. Don't look away either. Be there. Show in your eyes that you care. Then say as little as you can. Listen.

(I know perfectly well as I write this that I've been as bad a listener as anyone else, and for that I am sorry.)

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Enjoy The Silence

For better or for worse we recently discovered the addictive wonder if iTunes. (You can be very proud of me that so far I've purchased only one song and one album despite temptation.

The song I bought was "Enjoy The Silence" by Depeche Mode. I've always been very fond of that song and also of the video of the king wandering around looking for a nice place to sit. (This link plays only part of the song.)

In my search for the video I came upon this more recent version which utterly fascinates me. I'm not sure what's going on in it. (That's part of the beauty of music videos.) Partly I just really like the animation of the people moving. But the tense situation such as it's built up in the beginning seems to literally blossom into something liberating.

I suppose the neverending sound of the music (it just trails off) is another thing that leaves sort of a sense of longing.

What do you think?

Oh yes, and we've been watching a lot of little web videos in this household recently and I just don't see how anyone can exist another minute without watching Matrix Table Tennis or without feeling proud to witness poetic justice.

(Please ignore the obnoxious additional stuff on the website.)

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