This feels like a momentous year for some reason.
I know I was busy, I know the children were busy, and I know that Tom, throughout, was calm and patient and steady.
The year began with me in pain and taking a half load of coursework as prerequisite for graduate school. I liked the class, I didn’t like the pain. The year ends with me able to walk some days without a cane and taking a full load in a Master’s program. I am still slowed down, but since we have no answers yet on the hip pain there’s not much to do except keep on with plans while we keep looking for answers. In between the summer was extra busy with guests, classes, plays, travel and The MEETING.
The children began the year in school, and end the year in school, similar activities and similar results. They are good, solid students with engaging personalities and many friends.
Tom is… Tom. Calm, patient, steady — the rock to which we all cling as we weather life’s storms.
Lucky… began the year at my feet, waiting for me to throw the ball, and ends the year (one guess where and why).
The yard is a mess. But it’s a healthy mess, and it’s ready for me to start working in it again. As long as it stays “normal” for weather, there should be some hope for the tubers, and the trees… well those that are still alive need a good pruning before the spring growth begins.
What I did right in 2009: I kept up with schoolwork and still had time for the family. I made new friends. I established myself as a strong student and good colleague. I discovered another allergy and by eliminating it eliminated migraines as well.
What needs improvement: I want to continue to work on my physical strength so I can dispense with walking sticks altogether. I want to do better with staying ahead of the clutter in the house, not letting it pile up to scary heights before I panic and put things away. I also want to do a better job staying in touch with friends and family. I would also like to be more diligent at writing for myself — blog, story or “whatever.”
And that’s enough.
For the world, I wish a return to some sort of balance — that people don’t feel the need to force their beliefs and practices on others and that we can all learn to trust each other again. Truly, none of us need be tolerant of abuse, but we can let go of expecting everyone to be carbon copies of a single cultural model.
Today, at the end of the day, the elder stidkid and I decluttered one counter of the kitchen, washing and cleaning, and getting all the appliances on one surface, ready to use. The table was cleared off after as the large pots and such found their real homes… a little still needs to be sorted, we’ll get to it tomorrow or Wednesday.
Here are one before picture, and two after pics.
It took two full weeks after the end of my school quarter for me to feel fully recovered and ready to begin reading, cleaning and being creative again. I have another 7 days (exactly) before classes begin again, and am hopeful I will be able to start the second quarter with some measure of organization and comfort.
I found the camera! Here are a few pics of the last month, beginning with supper in Portland with my grandfather and his partner, and a family friend. Oh yes, Tom and the boys were there too!
a couple videos of December concerts, (hope they came through okay):
the older stidkid enjoys a new book from the stidgrands:
and another video, as Tom snags stidkid#2’s gift from the stidgrands… metroid prime; and lounging pants for the boys. It starts out sideways, but I figured it out eventually!
Of course, more happened than supper, concerts and gifts… but these were definitely highlights. Missing are images of stidkid #1’s birthday, the amazing late autumn foliage and cute dog-turtle-bird pics.
Oh well, always room for improvement!
of autumn quarter was actually pretty good. Teachers: 45; me: 55. If it really were a competition, against anyone else I would have not made it. But it was more interesting and collegial than a typical grad school experience, and I am pleased with the result.
In fact, the BEST part of this Master’s in Teaching program is the set of students I am with. About 43 well-matched, interesting and fun, and absolutely brilliant people who are completely focused on the students they have worked with and will work with. We enjoy working together, problem solving and supporting each other when things are rough, and getting together for fun times as well.
So yes, I managed to survive, and even did quite well on the term paper and final set of essay questions. I believe my teacher was pleased with my progress.
I also had a good time with many of the assignments, though I continued to be worried about whether I was living up to expectations and leaned heavily on all three of the faculty team for reassurance and assistance with some tasks. Which, I suppose is why they are there, in part. I am fortunate that at this school (The Evergreen State College) the emphasis is less on weeding people out than it is on supporting the learning process. They would rather work with a student who is struggling than let that student fall through the cracks. This is, in my opinion, a fine model for me to use as a teacher: when a student is clearly making a strong effort and staying engaged — even if the work isn’t what you expect — you stay with them and they improve.
To be honest, I do have a lot of skills in specific areas, and feel confident when I work with students; I have patience with others more than with myself. In speaking with my teacher at the final conference again it was clear that I am much harder on myself than anyone else is: of course there are areas that need improvement — the point at which I stop learning and growing is the point at which I become plant food!
Overall, the quarter was physically draining (didn’t help that I had two major allergen exposures and a couple viruses) and mentally exhausting; it was also a good test of my resolve and my ability to adapt. I think I did pretty well.
On a side note, my teacher — who is an accomplished author — reflected to me that “writing isn’t ‘fun’.” I generally find it relaxing and helpful, though when I am highly stressed out I don’t write as much. So I wanted to poll my readers informally — do you find writing fun, tedious, difficult, rewarding, or some combination of the above? What type of writing do you enjoy most? What type of reading do you enjoy?