Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Last night I left yoga feeling like a broken-down mess. Not the desired effect probably.

I am getting over a two week marathon of illness. I am a skeleton girl. My boney fingers are haunting to me.

I went to a yoga session that I had no time for, because I thought it would "right" me in some way. It had the potential to, but it didn't. It didn't because my mind won't let go. I refuse to let go.

I didn't linger after class, I tore out of there. As I was pulling onto the highway I had a desperate thought. A sob rose up though my chest and throat. I pulled it together and wouldn't let go.

I don't know where to begin. I am admitting that I don't know anything. And I am also admitting that I'm afraid I might end up being a person that chooses her fear and worry over an actual life.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hand Wash Cold

If you had a baby in the last year, I have probably already given you a copy of Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller.

She has written a new book Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life which is due any day now.

Maezen will be doing a book reading at my actual home in late May. I know, neat, huh? I'm pretty fortunate. You can be too, just send me a note and I will put you on the guest list.

You don't need to be Buddhist or a mom. All you need is an ordinary life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

back to "work"

It was nice being home with my little gal, but I'm ready for this Spring "break" to be over. And from the looks on her face, so is Ramona.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Guilt - It's What's For Dinner

"Of all the Charley Browns in the world, you are the Charley Browniest."- Linus

Well, that's me! I'm so the Charley Browniest.

Today, despite the sad baby eyes and the annoyed fellow co-worker husband eyes, I broke out of the house so I could take a yoga class.

I'm doing yoga so I can be more comfortable sitting still and not moving for longer periods of time. I'm learning to breathe.

I loved the moving and the stretching and the breathing. Everything was great except I felt guilty the whole time about how I really should have been home cooking lasagna for my family. At one point the instructor said "Ask your body how you are feeling" and as clear as a bell I heard, "I feel guilty for not cooking the lasagna".

I can't get ANYTHING right. I don't cook the lasagna. I go to yoga instead and engage in discursive thought the entire time! When we got to the end where you lay around (seriously, I know it is called something in Sanskrit, but to me it is like sleeping) all I could think was "I need to stop laying around and get home and cook the lasagna!"

So....I guess it was a good start?

I was once told that a student should have a beginner's heart. I love this concept. I want my heart and mind to be open, I don't want to be afraid to ask, I want to not worry about being stupid, and I most certainly don't want to be under the false impression that I know anything. So, anyway, I will try again. My beginner's heart will brave the sad baby eyes and the annoyed co-worker husband eyes. I will find a way to make dinner before hand, so I can do the whole lying on the floor thing with a clear head.

Oh enlightenment, you elusive football, you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

book chat - Spring Break Edition

I have the good fortune to be on Spring Break this week. I will not be doing anything wild, but I will be playing with Ramona and reading a lot of books.

Just like last time, I have high hopes.

First, I really need to finish Sea of Monsters. I've been working on this one for awhile, but it isn't because I don't like it. I just haven't been reading. I know, shame.

After that:

The Viper's Nest (book 7 of the 39 clues) - I need to read it and get it back to school before my tires get slashed.

Gabriel's Journey - Book 3 of the Riding to Freedom trilogy.

The Georges and The Jewels by Jane Smiley - I am a huge Jane Smiley fan. She wrote a book called 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel which includes a list of 100 novels that she read or re-read to write the book. It isn't a list of the greatest 100 novels or anything, just 100 novels that she read. It's a great list and whenever I am at a loss for what to read, I read something from this list. That is, when I used to read grown-up books. Now I just wander around my library and grab something. But.....back to The Georges and The's a middle grade fiction book that she wrote for horse lovers. I am a huge fan of horse stories and so are my students. I was a little unsure of it being appropriate for my 4th and 5th graders, so I'm going to give it a read before I put it out there.

Also,I'm reading a book called Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. I don't count books on Buddism as "grown-up" reading. So, there. Also, I'm reading it really slowly because I'm trying to put the teachings into practice before moving on. I appreciate the practical nature of this book, because I have no interest at all in philosophy right now.

Nothing gets me back on track like reading a pile of books. I hope this time next week I have a backpack full of books to return.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth, methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." - Ishmael

I feel like knocking people's hats off. My house is a mess, my program has totally fallen apart, there is a major break down of my practice. My blog has gone unwritten.

But, when I am growing grim about the mouth, and I'm standing in a pile of crap, I account it high time to sit down and write about a book.

I want to write about the lovely book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. I also want to write about figurative language.

This is a tense time for public education. We are preparing to jump the only hurdle that our state and federal government cares about. In two weeks we will be taking our major state assessment. This means that I'm drilling test taking strategies and teaching the snot out of heavily hit test items. This means figurative language.

I can't do anything about the politics. I can teach the best I can and move on. This week I'm reading Owl Moon to my students and we are examining the figurative language.

I'm moved by the power of beautiful words:

Somewhere behind us a train whistle blew, long and low, like a sad, sad song.

We watched silently with heat in our mouths, the heat of all those words we had not spoken.

I am lucky to read aloud to children every day. I don't know if over teaching figurative language helps students enjoy literature and write wonderful poems, letters, e-mails, and stories. But I don't know if it hurts them either. Lately I'm so busy playing the public education game I can't even think about what my purpose as an educator is.

But in the words of Jane Yolen: Sometimes there's an owl and sometimes there isn't.

I'm going to let these wise and true words be my guide.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

out of the head

It's not that I haven't been writing. I must have started at least three different posts since my last one. It's just that they were really vortexy (as in, "like a swirling vortex").

I have been very messed up. My head is filled to the brim with judgement. Sure, other's judgement. But, more damaging, my own.

I'm going to take some time to clear the air. To clear the vortex and write about things that are real.

Ramona is 10 months old. She has once again grown so that I don't recognize her. She is taking little steps here and there. She is very adventurous.

She has been very chatty. Filling my ears with cute little Ramona-isms. It sounds like she says the words buggy and baby. Of course she isn't really, but it's fun to play. Also, she says Mama. She doesn't think it means me. No, mama means that she needs something. It doesn't matter what or who. Just that she needs something. Isn't that exactly what it actually means? Smart girl.

I have been cleaning my house, deeply. Last week I cleaned my bedroom and bathroom. It is still very clean and has been appreciated by both Brian and me. When I see things that need to be cleaned, I stop and clean. Another thing, when something is out of place, I put it away.

This is it. I apologize for not being that interesting. What I really had to say was so much rubbish.

I'm in rehab for thinking. and worrying. and judging. Just say....nothing.