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

Saturday, December 31, 2005


I understand that everyone in the world is emailing this SNL video to everyone else. I wouldn't want to be different, now, would I?


Thursday, December 29, 2005

OM (Organize Me) IV: Time Record... final tally

Hooray! Four day weekend starting now. I'm exhausted I suspect I'll be asleep before 9 o'clock. I'll hopefully get up early as I have about 15 more anecdotals (report cards) to write and I want them done before I go back to work on Tuesday.

However, since I'm so wiped, I'm not going to do anymore work tonight.

So today I worked 8 1/2 hours.

Grand total of 53 1/2 hours over 6 days including early release Friday and Sunday for average of about 9 hours per day for six days in a week, or 10.7 hours in a five day week.

I know it's a busier time because of anecdotals, but it's also Channukah so we in theory had some other break time. Besides, anecdotals take up 2 months of a 10 month school year and if it's not anecdotals it's something else.

So now I know the reality. Next time is figuring out if I can reduce it and how it will change as I adjust to the same school over a number of years.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

OM (Organize Me) IV: Time Record... party tonight

Less time today because two hours were spent at staff Channukah party. I guess that doesn't count as work.

Today - 9 3/4 hours.

Grand total of 45 hours over five days including early release Friday and Sunday for average of 9 hours per day. Not so bad, I suppose. But again, that counts weekend days...

I should add that I don't always mind working so many hours. I'm not just complaining here. But I wanted to know what I'm dealing with.

Still have one day to go.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

OM (Organize Me) IV: Time Record... extra long day

It is not normal for me to be up until 11 PM at all, but tonight had a planning meeting that hopefully will become weekly with the other class in the same grade. This hopefully will save me time throughout the week.

However, this means I worked 12 hours and 40 minutes today.

Grand total:

35 hours and 15 minutes over 4 days.

and an average of 8.8 hours per day, including early release Friday and Sunday.

I hope it's not totally obnoxious that I'm doing this. There are a bunch of other things that I am probably wise not to be writing about instead right now. :)

Feeling better today, by the way. I actually really enjoyed tonight's meeting.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

OM (Organize Me) IV: Time Record... continued

Today wasn't easy. Between being up most of the night from sudafed and husband coughing from his own thing, and possibly having my sinus infection coming back AGAIN I've been feeling down again. I wish I would stop feeling this way both physically and emotionally. More time I guess...

Today, even while feeling yucky, my hours were:


or 10 1/2 hours.

In other words, a grand total of 22 3/4 hours.

That averages 7.58 hours/day, counting Sunday and early release Friday.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Just One More Thing: This Is About Channukah

I heard this on Friday and was really annoyed by it. Way to reduce Jews and Judaism to the old stereotype of exisiting only as oppressed Polish leprachauns.

I also objected to her complaining about Channukah being about war. I wonder if "war would be her thing" if she had something more authentic to defend.

I like Judaism to have a bit more substance. More alive than an old book.

(And I really like books.)

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OM (Organize Me) IV: Time Record... try it again

The last time I tried a time record for work, I got sick. And what do you know, my nose is still quite stuffy.

But I'm trying again anyhow. This will be a weird week since it's Channukah, but every week is weird some way. Since I have Friday off this week (before New Year's), I'm starting with last Friday.

So far I have:

Friday - 6 hours
Sunday - 6 1/4 hours

for a total of 12 1/4 hours

and an average of 6 1/8 hours per day.

I usually like to go out and enjoy the silence of XMas. There's something peaceful about all the Christians doing their thing, like what a Shabbat could be if the streets slowed down a little, but I forget that I'm no longer a complete minority. Went to the woods today for a desperately necessary break and the first family I saw was definitely Jewish. I think the Nature Center was open too. I was supposed to volunteer but have let my boss (who is also Jewish) know that though I've been out sick all month, I'm going to be out more because I'm so swamped with work. It's anecdotal season. That means report cards, but we write them out in paragraph form. Two pages each. So as I mentioned this to a friend today, and the fact that I have 36 kids to write for, she mentioned that's over 70 pages.


Good thing my assistant is doing the math portion and I've got a couple of specialists doing reading on the kids they work with.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Caring Gone Bad

Last week was tough. The hardest day was Wednesday. I had a fantastic morning teaching with some unexpected breaks. During one of them a colleague/friend of mine stopped in. I commented how well things were going this morning. She said she was glad because I sometimes seemed stressed and that she worried about me. She said she wished she could just take over my class for me sometimes and give me a break.

Now, as much as I like sympathy, I do not like appearing to others to be stressed or that I need help. I was embarassed and, as a result, made a mess of the afternoon, actually getting stressed and raising my voice with the kids.

Had trouble sleeping that night and wondered again if I can survive at this job for a lifetime. Then Thursday ended and Friday came and then Shabbat and now we're starting over again.

There are a half a dozen reasons why next year should be easier. Will it be? Won't it? One day at a time, I guess. I have wonderful wonderful moments almost every day along with all the stress. And just learning new ways to cope and have self-confidence makes me proud of my growth.

I just want to be honest and neither be unreasonably glad or unreasonably worried about how things are going.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lose the Ego

So yesterday was fun... Thursday night, horror or horrors, I felt my throat starting to swell up again, and yesterday my face was stuffed with mucous. (Yes, I could be even grosser describing it.) My principal let me leave work early and the nurse/secretary sent me to her doctor. I was almost in tears and still didn't tell anyone there that I'm a cancer survivor (hence the tears). This is a subject for another time, but a few people have told me I shouldn't ever tell an employer. There are laws against them asking me my medical history, so apparently I shouldn't tell. I don't like keeping it a secret.

But that's not what this entry is about.

In short, on the above topic, the doctor I went to was great, says I have a sinus infection now. So I'm on antibiotics and feeling much better.

I just have to remember... NO SUGAR and NO RECESS DUTY. (Two things that I think made me worse on Thursday. But one of my students brought me a cupcake on behalf of his birthday. I couldn't say no...)

So, about losing the ego.

Today I was reading God Is A Verb. It's a good book and helps me a lot with my view of the world. Cooper was discussing tzedakah (literally "justice" this means giving charity) and said something I've heard many times in a different way.

Take 2 situations.

1. A guy just earned $100. He leaves his office, finds a rude beggar on the street. The guy gives the beggar the required 10 % of his earnings and goes on his way. The beggar is rude, even spits on the ground a few times. The guy who gives the money is emotionally uninvolved.

2. A woman has already given her 10 %. But she sees a homeless woman with a baby and is moved to give further.

Both people have done a great thing, but which is better?

I've heard before that number 1 is better, that giving out of obligation is better than just from the heart. (It is a greater challenge to give when you don't necessarily want to.) But Cooper had a NEW way for me to look at why. The guy who gives his 10% is not giving because it makes him feel good. He is giving because he knows that he is God's tool and that that money is not his to keep. He knows he is merely a vehicle for passing the money on to the needy person. The woman, on the other hand, is making a great choice to give, but she is not giving selflessly. SHE, her ego, her emotions, are involved. Again, she's done nothing wrong, but there's something beautiful about the first situation.

I'm constantly fearful of what it will be like to G-d-willing, be a parent some day. How can I give more of myself? I already struggle with giving too much in my classroom and making myself ill. I think that if I can learn to have my work be separate from ME, then I will not deplete myself so much. I've learned this before and it has helped me before. I'm trying to create a graceful tripod of myself, my work, and my body, and try to keep all three healthy, but balanced.

The person I mentioned at work about whom I worry about approval... I still worry about it sometime. Sometimes I think she likes my work and sometimes I think she doesn't. But I'm noticing that she sees so much urgency about our work. I see the importance of it too, but am not addressing the urgency. If I put too much of the wrong kind of energy into my teaching I will stress out the kids and make myself unhealthy and into a useless vehicle. So I allow myself imperfection and am becoming prouder and prouder of this choice. I improve every single week as a teacher. That's enough. And it's only through this attitude that I can remain a teacher in the future. Otherwise I'd burnout like a bright but short match.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Do this:

Stop for a minute and think of something you're doing much better than you did a year ago.

Say "Good job, Me."

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A choice for something is a choice against something else (and vice versa)

Thank G-d I'm feeling much much better. Still coughing and sneezing and... you don't want to hear all the details of my mucous so I"ll skip that part. But my brain finally feels clear. (Unfortunately the proof of this is how much work I've been doing since I got home and the fact that I have to stop myself from continuing! Way too much to do this week, as always.)

I was just petting my gorgeous cat who has those beautiful green eyes and I remembered picking her out from the shelter right after my cancer diagnosis. My dad warned the shelter for me that I"m allergic to all cats except Abbysinians (that don't create dander) and asked them to keep an eye out. Sure enough two cats arrived soon... an Abbysinian and another short hair that they thought I would be safe with. The first one was white, I think, and purred and cuddled from the moment I met her. She was so sweet. But I fell for A., the minute I saw her. Ironically she was a little scared and contrary, but I knew right away that she was the one. Maybe it's because she looked so scared. I wanted to take care of her as much as I wanted her to take care of me.

Is it this bad habit of taking happy thoughts and finding darkness in them that made me just wonder about the cat I DIDN'T choose? She was so sweet. What happened to her? What about all the others that also didn't get chosen? I know I partly fell for A.'s eyes. This cat didn't have those eyes. Beautiful cats don't get chosen as quickly, do they? That's sad. Why does it have to be that way?

Well, at least I got my A. I'm very glad I adopted her. (Trying to bring the happy thought back.) And besides, that purry cat was a very sweet cat. Maybe she got snatched away quickly too.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005


Bout of insomnia last night. Pulled a book off the shelf that reminded me to avoid needing approval of others.

There is a person at work who I like and with whom I work well but who I sometimes thinks doesn't approve of me.

I'm letting this go as much as I can even though we need to work quite closely together. I try to dismiss the thought with cheats like trying to find fault with her or consider her in some way ignorant of the ways of the world.

I am who I am and am pretty okay whether she knows it or not. Any suggestions for strengthening my resolve in this area?

Incidentally, she might NOT disapprove. I may just want her to love me too much.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Shavuah tov... please please please

I didn't have to feel guilty about not going to work on Friday because we got snowed in. Yay! Tonight I tried to give U. a ride to the bus stop but now I really understand what "snowed in" means. I couldn't even open the door of the car. We need a shovel.

Went to shul today and discovered:

1. That I really have made some friends here that I really enjoy talking to.
2. That talking makes me feel worse.


I finally stopped taking the cough suppressants which means my throat is no longer swollen. Guess I needed to cough up some nasty stuff. (Sorry for being so graphic.) But I'm still weak and my throat is still dry and I just don't know how I'll manage this week. I really need to try. I'll just have to take it as easy as I can. Allow myself to take more breaks and go home early if I have to.

Remembering this Rebbe Nachman quote:

When asked how things are don't whine and grumble about your hardships. If you answer "Lousy," then God says, "You call this bad? I'll show you what bad really is!"

When asked how things are and despite hardship or suuffering you answer, "Good," then God says, "You call this good? I'll show you what good really is!"

One final note... though I hope I'm not crowding out the rest with this final bit. Taylor Mali whom I don't know, and Ben whom I do have both gotten me turned on recently Billy Collins. A poem from Sailing Alone Around The Room for your reading pleasure:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quiet, please!

I went to work this afternoon for the following reasons:

1. I had a couple of meetings I wanted to get over with rather than reschedule.
2. Pride.
3. I needed to prove to myself that everyone believes I'm sick.
4. Boredom.

In fact, by the time I was done I felt more energetic but my throat felt much worse. I'm not going back tomorrow or Friday. (And everyone's hoping for snow on Friday anyway.)

Depending on who asked me why I was there I said,

1. Because I had a meeting and wanted to just try coming and seeing how well I did.
2. Because I couldn't stand hearing my inner voices anymore.

My kids were very happy to see me and gave me a get well card that made me want to cry.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

At least I'm not crazy

Just spoke to a friend of mine from work. She said she had the same symptoms as me last year and that it was, indeed, the flu.

She warns me though that even after the worst was over, she still felt under the weather for the next 3 weeks.


I must say, I've done a pretty good job this round of not letting all this mess with my head too much. Sure I went through my usual self-defeating thoughts:

"Everyone thinks you're just playing hooky."

"Clearly they operate fine without you. So much for keeping that job."

"What kind of a person are you anyway, getting sick all the time, taking time out to get well... sicko."

But for the most part I can tell that people just want me to get well and come back. I'm annoyed that I won't be my best. But on the other hand I've had some time to rethink how I do some things at work and hopefully I'll adjust those when I come back.

As for people thinking about me, they probably are like me and spend a lot less time thinking about other people and instead are more worried about themselves. I certainly don't care if anyone else misses work because they're sick.

And whatever happens, I know the kids will be happy to see me again. How is it that the kids, the center of what I do, so easily get eclipsed by all the other stuff?

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Spoke too soon

Just home from the doctor. She wants me to keep taking the cough syrup with the codeine. Says I can probably return to work Wednesday.

Hey, the fact that I'm blogging again has to be a sign that SOMEthing is getting better with this, right?

Good news... no strep, no tonsilitis, no pneumonia, no giant gashes on the back of my throat from all the coughing, no cancer. (These are just a FEW of the things I've thought this virus might be.)

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Off the codeine now

Well, it's been a full week that I've been super sick. Still home today, but a little better. Yesterday (Sunday) in desperation I called my doctor and asked for a better cough syrup. I had these terrible coughing episodes that just went on and on and on and hurt my throat so much it felt like fire. I was learning to lie very very still on the couch to avoid further coughing. Today, I"m off the medicine and just wondering what it will take for my throat to heal. For one, I'm not talking hardly at all. U. and I have had an ongoing conversation in Charades format. Oh sure, he gets to talk, but I don't want to risk it. Just write things down when I get tired of gestures.

This AM when I called to get another dr. appointment the receptionist asked, "How did you manage to reach the doctor yesterday?"

"I demanded it," I said. "I know how to do that now."

"Good for you," she said.