Still here

I am still here.

I had a Martha day today, when everyone was Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and I was the one who carried the load or making sure everything was as it should be.

Husband sent me to bed for a nap and I slept for two hours.

I have not worked a normal week this week and was completely unmotivated to work this weekend, instead spending time with my husband and using the quiet hours when everyone else is asleep – like now – to tidy the house and prep food for the week without interruption, or another mess being made.

Week working hours: 42

Weight lost this year: 0

 

 

Finding the Balance…

…. oh how much I suck.

This week I have worked 44 hours and this is not when I have been working at my optimum. Usually I tend to work about 10 and half hours every day, 8 and half at school and then on average 2 hours each night – this is of course if my children let me. All in all I expect that with that work load I will be working 46 or 47 hours a week (that’s with taking Friday off).

I try really, really hard not to work when my children are home and awake. This time is for them. We may go out and do things or just hang out at home, but it’s about being their mother and not a stressed out, deranged teacher who has no time to actually reach the deadlines that are set (by myself I might add).

This week I was ill on Saturday and fell asleep at 6pm and slept until 1:30am when my sick daughter crawled into bed and scared me silly with how hot she was. I then spent the most of the morning, before the rest of the house woke up, looking after both of them as they tagged teamed in illness. As it is, I will be staying home to look after one of them because daycare would send her home and my husband starts his new job tomorrow.

I don’t know how other double working parents do it? My husband is constantly reminding me that no one is indispensable, but when you are teaching seniors and at a tiny little school that struggles to get relief, it can be hard to be the one that calls in the carer’s leave.

Still, family first – even if I do work crazy hours.

I would like to point out that my bosses are even worse than I. It is not unusual for them to still be sending emails at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

Do me a favour. Hug a teacher today…. or just buy them coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

panda printed paper coffee cup on table

Coffee, the lifeblood of the staffroom.

 

Faithfulness

It takes a lot to be faithful.

There is sacrifice – putting another person or an ideal – a discipline – in front of what you want.

There is submission – choosing, constantly choosing to follow and to carry out what it necessary to do want you have chosen to do.

There is action – working, striving towards the vision you are being faithful too.

There is doubt – for in the work there are times when you question what you are doing and why, and those questions invariably become “I am enough?” “Have I done enough?”

There are other things but then all become sacrifice, submission, action or doubt in the end.

Finally, however, there is the reward. The funny thing about the reward is that is doesn’t come at the end, although there is a reward at the end of any faithful work, or a chosen action that is completed. Instead the reward comes in the doing. At times in our working, in our striving to be faithful, our actions, our submission is rewarded with achievement, growth, knowledge, and love.

Being faithful is an act of love.

Working hours this week: 49 hours and 40 minutes

Planning and Preparing

As many of your know, I am a teacher.

During the past six weeks I have spent most of it not thinking about school – except to keep my eyes open for interesting materials I can use in class, and the current issues swirling around the cyber social sphere – until this past week. This past week was my start of work week.

Today is my first ‘official’ day of school. I won’t have any students but I will be thinking about them. My fellow teachers and I will be conducting PD (Personal Development), looking at mandatory reporting courses, QCAA courses to increase our knowledge of new curriculum, IEP preparation meetings, special needs discussions and then the meeting with our head of department to discuss overall planning of what we are teaching, the assessments we are aiming for and whether or not those choices fit the Australian Curriculum, the school’s curriculum and the class it will be implemented with.

This is planning week.

But I have already started, for you see, you can not simply walk in planning week without having already done SOME planning.

For me, planning always starts with the calendar and the timetable. For my planning to be successful, I need to know how much time I have to teach what I am going to teach. This means the difference between a brief overview of historical events that at least give the students a taste of the Medieval period or we end the semester with a pot luck feast of authentic medieval recipes (I have done both).

I have already sat down with the three calendars that matter to me – the school calendar, the state calendar and the QCAA’s senior assessment calendar – and collated them onto one single calendar that will then be put up over my desk in my office at home. I will do another to be put up in my office at school. These are essential for keeping track of time, assessments, due dates, marking, feedback and other commitments that need to be kept.

I understand that some (most) teachers are moving to digital calendars, and I do tend to keep everything recorded on a digital calendar as well, but I keep the paper based because it is a part of my process and also more then a little bit ‘zen’ for me. You see, I love colour coding.

I colour code EVERYTHING. My students assessments are colour coded depending on what group they are in and what modifications they have. My filing system is colour coded, my diary (which I will get too) is colour coded, and decorated! I just need the colour. Although it takes a very long time to do, it is a small little creative thing I get to do through out the term that keeps me sane. Most of my creativity and time goes into designing engaging lesson plans, or improving them.

This year, I experimented with watercolour pencils that then turn to paint when you add water for the back of my diary;

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 10.14.31 pm

Where as with the front, I played with washi tape woven together. I am very happy with both of my efforts, although I must say the front is pretty boss:

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 10.14.02 pm

Other then mapping out the calendar and playing pretty with my diary (which is not yet ready to go, I haven’t done the inside yet, but I can’t do that until I get my timetable), I have been creating assessment for my year 12s, drafting a scope and sequence for our Humanities subjects from year 7-10 (with assistance from my fellow Humanities teachers), and completing overviews for the Humanities subjects with possible teaching times and assessment times.

All together I have spent 24 hours this week working.

It is important to note that all of this preparation – except for the diary – is really just draft work. I can’t write solid unit plans, lesson plans or assessments until I have had my meeting with my department head and have the go ahead. I expect I will, we have been doing this together for a while now…. Oh well, I will find out soon enough.

When a Hack is not a Hack – A poem

When did this irksome word

Appear in our lexicon

So insidious a worm to burrow deep

And render down our language

To a computer term

That doesn’t mean what it suggests.

A HACK! A life hack!

It screams from our screens

(which is ironic considering its anti-establishment birthings)

Instead is becomes the New Idea of cyber coffee tables

Pinterest pins

Facebook posts

and Youtube content for disreputable hosts

which in turn is proven or disavowal by reputable hosts

for laughs, no offence meant.

And the memes

Oh the memes

shall I go on about the memes?

I think not

for when is a hack not a hack?

When it does squat.

 

Breathing Deep

It is the 6th of January and for the past four days I have felt like I can breathe again.

There is a long, LOOOOOOOOONG to do list of household chores and projects and school work I need to accomplish but I am studiously avoiding it to simply sit and read, watch TV, play with the kids and just, not be on a schedule or simply ‘on’ around people.

Although there are many people who would be very put out by the idea of being ‘on’ around others – because their argument is that you shouldn’t be anyone other than yourself… an argument I agree with – there is still the niceties of society that I choose to follow. To be polite and kind and compassionate to others. To put myself in other people’s shoes and consider what difficulties they are experiencing, or what joys. To be dialled in and connected to others.

For some people this is very easy, its like a default setting in their DNA. For me it is much harder than those who know me might think. My tribe, who know me closely, know I need to be apart, or quiet, or even completely secluded so that I can recharge ready to be ‘on’ again as the process is very exhausting for me. Probably because I am a very selfish person and I fight those selfish tendencies all the time. Another possibility is that I am very empathetic and will get drawn into another person emotions and reactions. This too is very tiring.

Thus, being home, in my own space with the freedom to be completely and utterly myself (within reason, I still have my husband and children to consider) is like breathing pure oxygen; refreshing and a little heady.

I am also grateful that this process doesn’t take long. Already I see the mess that is my desk at home and I am ready to dive in and organise it, not avoid it. Whereas for most of last year my desk was a growing pile of slightly organised clutter (my work colleagues tease me for my ‘tidiness’, but it’s not organised, its just neat piles of my own work avoidance).

Today is a day for quiet, peaceful fun and then we will get into the projects that need doing to help sanity to be maintained when time and work and life takes off again.

Work Tracking: 30 minutes.

 

Goals – A Reflection and A NEW HOPE

Well, the year comes to a close and I naturally come to reflect on how we preformed on our goals. To remind you, here where my goals for 2019:

  1. To be around 65kg and around a size 12/14 by the 31st of December.
  2. Commit to set devotional and work out times and routines.
  3. Commit to having a routine writing time by the end of the year (that is kept and respected by family, friends and myself)
  4. Finally, this year I aim to finish some projects:
    1. Advent Calendar
    2. Elena’s Memory Box
    3. Scrapbook Wedding album
    4. Outline In the Shade of You
    5. Completely rewrite and finish In the Shade of You
    6. Begin outlining Dark Waltz Main Story and Sub-threads.
    7. Just Paint STUFF (anything, just be crafty when the mood takes you!)

How did I do? Well I feel like I have failed all of them. ALL OF THEM, but I haven’t really.

Plan vs Reality

  1. To be around 65kg and around a size 12/14 by the 31st of December. – is a complete failure. I am the largest and the heaviest I have ever been. My husband and I agree that we really need to get on to this.
  2. Commit to set devotional and work out times and routines. – also a complete failure. I can nail my personal mental and physical health down to my lack of being able to do this. I must do this. It is imperative I do this. I am not sure I can do another year like this one if I don’t.
  3. Commit to having a routine writing time by the end of the year (that is kept and respected by family, friends and myself) – Nope, not even a little bit.
  4. Finally, this year I aim to finish some projects:
    1. Advent Calendar  – Nope, didn’t happen.
    2. Elena’s Memory Box – YES and I delivered it. She cried. It was wonderful.
    3. Scrapbook Wedding album – Nope.
    4. Outline In the Shade of You – Nope. 
    5. Completely rewrite and finish In the Shade of You – Not doing that anymore.
    6. Begin outlining Dark Waltz Main Story and Sub-threads. – I wish
    7. Just Paint STUFF (anything, just be crafty when the mood takes you!) – This didn’t happen either.

2020This year has been very, very difficult in regards to having time to do anything. Thus, in an effort to have SMART goals, 2020 looks like this:

  1. To be around 65kg and around a size 12/14 by the 31st of December.
  2. Commit to set devotional and work out times and routines.
  3. Edit and complete In the Shade of You by posting one chapter a week on WATTPAD.
  4. Create a writing journal that records the ‘practice’ of writing. Make it pretty using coloured pens, pencils and washi tape.

So I now have ticked the usual New Year’s Resolutions boxes (I like to call them Goals but they are what they are). 1. Fitness, 2. Mental and Spiritual Heath, 3 and 4. Creative. I have a separate document on my computer that keeps track of these goals and they come under those ‘boxes’ every year because these are the things that are important to me. Hopefully, 2020’s end of year reflection of these goals will be very different, with a little more green rather than red in my ledger.

Addendum: a weekly project I am going to attempt to do (note, this is not a goal but an interest) is to track my work hours. Roughly how much do I work. It feels like all the time but is it really? So on a Sunday night I will post on here and on facebook, how many hours I worked – hours at school and hours at home. Because just from doing a rough average based on last year, my hours were 9 hours at work each day, with 2 hours each night on the week days with at least 5 hours over the weekend. That’s 60 hours a week.

Hmmmmmm, I really hope that is an over estimation. Well I guess we will see.

 

 

2019 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before? I was a full-time working mum of two small children. I know that it is no big deal for some, they are full-time working mums of much smaller and more children. It is a hard gig. I am exhausted – still.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? See pending post that goes up tomorrow.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Chantelle did and he was a little miracle.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not as yet but it was very close for a while there.

5. What countries did you visit? None, not even in my imagination. This year has been a desert of creativity.

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019? Sanity. I am not kidding. For a while there I truly was expressing borderline psychotic behavior.

7. Which date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, why? First day back to work and thus my daughter’s first day of daycare. Gah! Hard!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting through it, finishing everything I need to do to a decent degree.

9. What was your biggest failure? Um, I would rather not say. I just failed at my job big time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? This year I suffered from a mystery illness, it was incapacitating where I was 100% with it but my bodily reactions were slowed or almost fully shut down. Specialists are stumped, it’s not epilepsy. Next year I will be seeing a Nurologist and another special doctor about it. Also, I am getting something done about my sinuses.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Washi Tape for making my stuff pretty.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My son’s. Joseph has a long way to go but I am soooo proud of how well he did this year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Mine. Always mine.

14. Where did most of your money go? Paying off debts.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Movies, going to see my family over in Perth, but not much else. I have had a rather down year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2019? Nothing comes to mind. I didn’t really listen to the radio this year or music. I listened to a lot of podcasts but their opening jingles are all instrumentals.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Sadder
ii. Thinner or fatter?
Fatter
iii. Richer or poorer?
Richer, always richer. We are in a rich country and I count my blessings for it.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercise! Write! Craft!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I don’t know, I won’t say work because I did what I had to do.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Breakfast at home with the family then Lunch and afternoon with the extended family down at JaDe Park. The evening at home listening to the miracle of rain at Christmas.

21. Personal goals for 2019, completed or not? Let’s see – Please see pending post tomorrow.

22. What are your personal goals for 2020? As Above

23. Did you fall in love in 2019? I worked at love this year. It’s not hard but its still work.

24. How was your relationship with Murphy this year? Oh he has had some fun with me this year. Can’t think of any specifics but it was interesting.

25. What was your favorite TV program? NCIS still but the new McGyver has been added to the weekly watch roster. Other programs that don’t really fit TV but were still favourites was the new Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Dragon Prince, She-Ra and the final season of Voltron – all on Netflix.

26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope.

27. What was the best book you read? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Reading, I wish.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery? My church. They really are very gifted in the musical talent it holds.

29. What did you want and get? My Craftbox.

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Hands down has to be Endgame. It’s not the best film I watch this year but it is my favourite.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 43 and I honestly can’t remember.

32.What would you have liked to have had in 2019 to make it a better year? Motivation.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019? Slowly exploding out of my buttons.

34. What kept you sane? Nothing. I was not ‘sane’ in the sense of this question. Work and the constant boxes that needed to be ticked were what kept me going. Finish one thing then do the next, then the next, then the next. There was not time to ‘break’.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Chris Evans as Captain America is very alright.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?  There were so many. Deleted facebook multiple times to get away from it.

37. Who did you miss? Me

38. Who was the best new person you met? I know I have met many lovely new people this year but I cannot sift through them to decide on a ‘best’.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019: I am a lot stronger than I ever thought but doing it on my own leads to brokenness, exhaustion and anger. I need to realign my centre.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: It’s not a song lyric but it has been over me all year – stand in the breach. All year I have been filing holes, standing in the cracks, holding up walls. Small little things that on their own are nothing but altogether have been relentlessly slamming me like the incoming tide.

The Dam

I have been silent so long. The words have become a muddled rising tide of tangled thoughts and stories.

This morning I woke and wondered through schools: past, present and future. I saw faces long gone from my universe as well as everyone else’s.

I am thrown through the bubbles of one reality to another; My realities constructed from my mind to entertain, to envision, to discuss, to float; To carry me away from memories and pain and lost purpose.

There is no control. I am battered from one to the other. There is no up or down. There is no left or right. There is only expectations and schedules and hit after hit after hit. There is only the whirlpool in the deep.

 

Being Authentic

I have both been inspired and shamed by my husband and my friends.

Every week, my husband opens up a deeper part of himself to others. He is truthful, thoughtful and sometimes raw with his ideas and emotions. I get to read and edit his posts before others do, and at times I have argued with him about expression, or even pushed for him to reveal even more of himself.

I am a hypocrite.

Here I am, pushing him to go deeper where I sit and write nothing and when I do write I do not go as deep as I could – I will not say should. And there is the rub.

Is withholding information from readers – some of you faceless and nameless – something I must do? Am I required to rip the inner workings of my mind and heart and lay them before you all to see? I am sure you would agree that I am not and yet I am shamed by the depth of humility it takes for my husband to share so much of himself because it is not the best of himself a lot of the time. It is the dark frayed places of his mind.

Then there is a friend of mine, a Mr. Danger McLovin, who posted about his experiences being accepted as a Kindy teacher even though he is a male who wears almost exclusive pink and is almost completely covered in Tattoos and piercings. This too both inspired and shamed me for his willingness to be authentic in his fears and victories.

fear-liar

Two days ago I rang my mum and innocently mentioned I was not sleeping. With any one else that would be a random comment with forthcoming commiserations and understandings. Not to my Mother, she landed on that like a hawk, she knew what no sleeping meant for me.

Going down the rabbit hole.

Unfortunately this analogy does not mean I am in for a wacky adventure full of cabbages and kings. My mother rightly identified that I was allowing my mind to get the better of me again. Thoughts, ridiculous unwarranted worries, panic inducing images and ideas are on a rising attack. During the day I am reasonably okay, I am busy and my mind is focused on other things. The thoughts lurk in the background, like a radio played while doing the housework only tuned into music you don’t like but don’t really hear because the sound is low, if one rises I can hold it up the light and tear it apart – identifying it for what it is. During the evening, however, there are no distractions and they come out to play havoc.

I have been staying up later and later in the hopes that exhaustion will aid in sleep taking me faster than the nightmares will. I have only just started to shake like I used to, small tremors as I lay in bed.

What does this mean? More time in my head actually. More time set aside during the day to sift through each thought and each fear and confront it for what they are: truth, lie, possibility, not my problem. That last one tends to be what most of the thoughts come down too. I take on issues that really have nothing to do with me. I can not cure all the suffering and ills in the world thus; not my problem.

Going forward I am making the following my scripture of the year. I appears I need to delve deeper into myself and into Christ.

2-corinthians-10-5

Peace be with you.