Last January 5th I planted two classic rose bushes in my front yard ~ Double Delights. With unexpected warm weather, after two weeks of rain, one bush is putting out two buds. They are my and my mother’s favorite rose, for their rich, creamy smell and the lovely way the pale color blooms out of the red petals.
Also unexpectedly, my mother has moved into my home. She sits across from me at the dining table, comforting her aching shoulder, reading the paper and having her late afternoon martinis.
So January was an auspicious beginning for 2014: I finally got the attic insulated on January 10th, after years of getting other things done and having the electrics upgraded so it was safe to blow in those layers that make the 1917 bungalow both warm in the winter and cooler in summer.
I went back to school after the winter break to have one of my intervention students loan me her copy of Wonder which was a terrific read. I like YA fiction in general, but this was a page turner. Other good news was that the CELDT scores came in and my intervention for intermediate level language learners moved 17 of 24 students out of that level up to LEP 4. This was with a writing unit I designed and led. Yep, that felt good.
January found me dating a man, for which company I was grateful, but it seemed like early on like a dead end. Like I knew it wasn’t going anywhere I wanted to go. Oh well.
The grant work I coordinated for our district gave me the opportunity to lead two Moonlight University sessions for elementary teachers on writing. I loved the group. So grand to do professional development with teachers who chose to be there.
With the blog “Two Writing Teachers” I continued to be inspired to write and reflect on teaching. My word this year was “moi.” In the spirit of taking care of myself, in doing what pleases my soul I learned to meditate, and made a little yoga space in my home.
In February I had the joy of taking my younger daughter, Alice, on an overnight coastal trip, which began in the deli at the Jewish Museum. After fabulous food we browsed through the Arnold Lobel exhibit, joying in his illustrations.
I have lots of neighbors and friends in for my birthday. My date gave me a knife sharpener but was clear that he wasn’t going to fall in love with me. Just wanted sex. And I got a very acute edge on my aversion to his negativity.
I wrote blog posts to help me through difficult moments with teachers as I served needy students. I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving some of our more challenged students. And yet, teaching as if I was retired led me to do some serious homework about when I can retire.
In April I was ecstatic that I could pay my property taxes. And I enjoyed quite a few airbnb guests in my home in late spring and early summer. I flew to Florida to be with my lifelong friend, Joy. We also went to New Orleans on spring break, which was a perfect trip.
I closed the school year with very strenuous purging and packing so that our building could be remodeled. Mom and I drove up to Ashland to start summer in vacation mode before I went to work. I recall being barely able to walk the first few days after the strain of boxes and hauling stuff.
I wrote a piece in the Advanced Summer Institute that Jonathan called my best piece of writing yet. That felt good.
It was midsummer and I’d already read six books. Better than average for me, the proverbial slow reader. And getting those daily walks in, with even a teensy bit of jogging. Just to prove to my brain and feet that those old Scottish country dance injuries really are gone.
In summer I had two yoga classes weekly. The tremor yoga class was the best, in which I released the trauma in my neck from a car accident some years back.
The job this summer was to direct the two student writers camps, one at an elementary school and the other at SJSU. It was weird not to teach, and I will arrange to lead some workshops during this coming summer’s camps. We had a great time, though and the kids enjoyed the writing, socializing and freedom to create.
I returned to school in the fall to a beautifully renovated classroom, with cabinets for all those LLI boxes and books. And I added teaching the Red System to the Orange, Green and Blue. Juggling many schedules and learning new stuff.
In the fall my Mom talked to me about not being able to do the stairs at the house in SF where she has lived for 20 years. So she moved in with me, which, after projects to put rails, safety bars, and better doors in, brings us back to December and holidays.
The end of a long and satisfying year. It is strange this time compression thing where a year doesn’t seem like a very long time at all. Slice of life, small moment story from a day, but not so big to look at the arc of a year either.
Glad for vacation time now. Those two rose buds will probably open in the morning. Mom and I will go to our neighbors next door and have breakfast. It will be sunny and leaves need raking. We will wait on our spoiled cat, probably make a little fancy supper and have champagne. Celebrating the return of light. Peace. Love.
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