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18 Strong

Thirty years ago, a group of eighteen bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young people donned caps and gowns and spread our wings, ready to take on the world.

Some of us flew to far off lands:  Miami, Hawaii, and North Carolina.  Others stayed closer to home, the allure of small-town living anchoring them firmly in place.

We’ve lived a lot of life during the past three decades.  We’ve gotten married, raised families, crafted careers, loved on grand babies, and even, for a lucky one or two, retired.

We’ve had a lot of personal ups and downs.  Many of us have lost mothers and fathers – parents who not only raised us but were integral to every other classmate’s upbringing.  When you hail from a small town, everyone knows everyone, and you’re always at someone else’s house being fed and loved on.

We’ve watched, from afar, as classmates have faced challenges:  physical, emotional, and relational.  It’s par for the course in life.

Despite the changes we’ve faced as we’ve gotten older, one thing has stayed the same – our love for one another.

I think I can speak for every one of my classmates when I say that this love has been especially meaningful this past week as we received the sad, sad news that we had lost one of our own.

Our friend, Angela, went to be with Jesus early Tuesday morning.

She fought her battle with cancer bravely and with one of the most positive attitudes imaginable – a testament to the kind of person she was.

Our hearts are devastated, and the sense of loss is keen.

Even though I had not seen Angela since we graduated, my heart is tender as memories of our time together have been rushing to the surface of my mind.

I moved to our small town in April of my 4th grade year, went to school in a bigger town the next year, and then started at our private school in the 6th grade.

By then, nearly everyone in the class had been together since kindergarten.  Angela’s mom, Ms. Dolly, was THE kindergarten teacher in the town.  It was a tight-knit group.

As I began learning the ways of small-town schooling, I quickly noticed how sweet Angela was.  She was tiny, with long brown hair that she always wore in a side ponytail, and a soft voice.

She was a busy girl with dance lessons and cheerleading practice.  Her partner was the tallest gal in our class, Beth.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the girls gave gifts to one another.  This was something new to me.  We never did this in the schools I attended before.

Angela was artsy.  She could draw anything, and her writing was beautiful.  I still have the plate she made for me that first or second year.

I’ve moved a LOT over the last thirty years; this plate has traveled with me everywhere.  In fact, I wouldn’t even let my kids eat on it when they lived at home because I didn’t want it to get messed up.

It is a link to my past – maybe silly to some people but important to me nonetheless.

Because Angela lived in a small town ten minutes away from my small town, I didn’t see her much in the non-school hours.  I do, however, remember the day she invited me to attend an Auburn basketball game.  Her dad was taking her, and she wanted a friend to go with her.  I think either her brother or sister was a student there at the time.  It was the first time I’d been invited to an event like that, and I remember how excited I was.  We had wonderful seats – low and at one end near the basketball goal.  It was a magical afternoon.

True to form, we both changed as we grew into our adolescent skins.  I remember the August she came back to school with acrylic nails, short hair, and MAKEUP.  Y’all, this girl had grown up over the summer, and it took some getting used to!  Back in the day, nobody wore acrylic nails.  One thing I learned is that changing how you look on the outside doesn’t mean that you’re a different person on the inside.  That was Angela.

10th or 11th Grade Prom

I don’t remember a lot of specific interactions with her our last couple of years in school.  I know that sounds awful, but y’all, this gal is getting older and time has a way of smudging the edges of memories.

I do, however, vividly recall one evening when we went to an under-18 club.  I drove, we partied, cleanly of course, and then headed home.  South Alabama is really just a network of two-lane country roads with the occasional highway thrown in for good measure.

I got lost and, having absolutely no sense of direction and essentially no street lights to guide me, crossed over one of these highways (four solid lanes) without even pausing at the stop sign that I never saw.

God was watching out for us that night, let me tell you, because that highway was devoid of cars at that moment in time.  We didn’t realize what had happened until I turned around to go back and then saw the sign.  It was scary, to say the least, but Angela laughed it off.  I’m not sure if she ever rode anywhere with me again, though.

Ahem.

I lost track of her after graduation, but others in the class were good about keeping me posted on some of the happenings in her life.  Some were quite devastating, while others were incredibly uplifting.

Last fall, our little group got together; Angela had come to town, so they gathered at a favorite restaurant from back in the day.

I wish I’d been able to attend, because the pictures show what a wonderful time everyone had.

You’d never know that this sweet girl lost her precious mama the summer before and that she, herself, was fighting a terrible illness.

Just look at Angela’s smile in each photo.  I can look back through old yearbooks and see the same expression in every picture.

I’m the only girl missing from the group photo below.

I saw a picture that someone posted a few days ago.  It showed Angela in a hospital bed, hair done up in French braids, bright smile on her face despite the medical equipment around her.  She was radiant.

My heart is hurting as I type this, the knowledge that her husband, young daughter, and other family and friends are saying their final see you laters to her during this afternoon’s funeral.

Though she is no longer in pain and has been reunited with others who have passed on before her, it’s still hard.

Her loss is sobering.

It is a reminder of how precious friendships are, no matter the years that pass.

The day after Angela passed away, we learned that our former math teacher had also entered heaven.  Ms. Lyon was 100 years old; she’d retired the year we graduated.

Our little group has been chatting via Facebook Messenger, and the sweet memories we have been sharing over the last few days have been priceless.

I remember being eighteen and so ready to get out of Dodge.

Our chats have made me wistful for days gone by, and I wish I could tell my younger self to not be in such a hurry to leave.

As I have watched the interactions between my own students this week – especially the spirited (ahem) ones, I have been taken back to a simpler time, when my biggest worry was wondering which word parts Ms. Warr was going to ask for on her notorious vocabulary tests or if I was going to use the correct formula on Ms. Marilyn’s chemistry exams.

I remember the days of Christy dragging me around as I held onto a mop (oh the stupidity of youth), Toby coming up with the craziest antics, and the girls literally helping the boys pass English every year.

Every Friday night when I attend my own school’s football games, I am invigorated by the sounds of the cheerleaders, the roars of the crowd, and the pounding of cleats as they rush down the field.  Our boys could play some football, let me tell you.

It’s sensory overload, but it’s the good kind – the type that sends me back to when we were 18 strong.

We played hard, we fought fiercely, but ultimately we loved deeply.

We will always feel like a piece of our hearts is missing.  I am thankful that we have the assurance of heaven – that we will get to see our sweet Angela again one day – that we will one day catch up on our lives from all of the years spent apart.

Rest up, precious Angela, for a grand reunion will greet you one day when the Class of ’88 becomes eighteen once again.

Year 9, Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of my ninth year of teaching.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it’s so hard to believe that so much time as passed since my first year.

I woke up before my alarm – typical for the first day because I always fret about oversleeping.

I made myself roll back over, though, and only hit the snooze one time before crawling out of bed.

I had miles to put in.

Yep.  Isn’t that the creepiest photo?   Here’s an even creepier one.

Ha!

The sun was barely coming up when I finished.  I snapped this beautiful photo of the pond across from my house as I made the final loop . . .

I was pleased with my distance.

I showered, carefully applied makeup, and dressed in the clothes I’d semi-agonized over the evening before.  First impressions are always important, even when your clientele is a group of teenagers.

Yes, I am wearing wedges.  I’d been wanting to give this another try since they had not graced my feet in almost two years, before I broke my ankle.  Gianni Bini and first days of school go along marvelously, don’t you think?

I packed a pair of Vionic sandals just in case my feet gave out, which they did around lunch time.

I was pleasantly surprised when I entered my classroom . . .

Notice anything?

Y’all, the cleaning crew had set up the chairs around my tables!  I always leave them stacked in groups of five to make it easier to sweep and mop my floors.  I have NEVER had a crew set up my room this way.  My room was so inviting!

I was a little nervous, as I always am.  Timing is a huge issue with me the first couple of weeks of school; getting back in the rhythm of the bells and planning each day’s workload can be challenging.

One of our art teachers sent out an email inviting anyone who wanted to go to his room for a pre-school prayer to join.  I did, and those of us gathered there held hands in a circle while he prayed.

It was wonderful – the absolutely perfect start to our school year.  I’m so fortunate to work with selfless educators.

I was also a bit anxious about how my newer and stricter cell phone policy would be received.

I had labeled every seat with numbers and had assigned those numbers to my roster of students.  Everything was done alphabetically and numerically to keep things easy for all of us.  As students walked into my room, I asked them to check the board, where I had the rosters and numbers listed, put their cell phones in the corresponding pocket numbers, and sit at the same seat number.

It was a beautiful thing to behold.

For the most part, the policy was well received, and I barely heard any complaints.  A couple of my classes had about half of the kids who put their phones up . . . until I told them that I’d be taking attendance based on the cell phones present in the pockets.

You better believe that those kiddos got up really fast and placed their phones in their appropriate spots.  Nobody wanted a phone call home that they had missed my class.

I did have a few kids here and there who either had not taken their phones to school or plain old didn’t have one because their phones were broken.  Hmmm.

Now, I am not dumb enough to think that some people might have been lying, but the cell phone policy I’ll go over with them today will explain, in detail, the consequences for being caught with phones during non-approved times.

This is the first year that I’ve been this strict.  I think that a few other teachers are doing something similar, so the consistency should help.

The morning flew by; my classes were angels.

I’m hoping that this wasn’t the honeymoon phase.

But seriously, my first period class is the smallest.  They were either still half asleep or their personalities just messhed well together because they were a true delight.

My bellwork was fun.

I wanted to do a different kind of icebreaker.  When students finished writing their responses, I did a stand up, hand up, pair up activity.  This is what took the MOST time and threw my schedule off.  Kids have to be taught EVERYTHING.  I put music on to get them moving around the classroom – 60’s music.  So much fun!  Then, I taught them guidelines for being good listeners and good speakers.  Everyone got a turn to share with their partners, and we shared out a few answers as a group.

Good times, y’all.

I have fourth period planning this year which runs into both lunches, so I’ve got an extra long time strung together.  I am not complaining at all.  Someone could market time and make out like a bandit!  I was able to eat leftover Mexican Quinoa Stew, which I’d made the afternoon before, and indulged in a homemade cupcake.

Lunch was interesting.  I got caught in a downpour as I made my way from one building to another.  The gutters around our school are horrible.  Water comes down between them, so you’re essentially walking through waterfalls when you go from one section of awnings to another.  I begged my principal for a ride in the golf cart, which has a roof.  I mean, this girl had straightened her hair for school.  I’d gone all out.

He handed me an umbrella instead.

Chivalry anyone?

Ahem.

Gianni Bini got wet, so I slipped into my sandals (my feet were thanking me), and I proceeded to teach my afternoon classes.

Night and day, y’all.

I think we should just do morning school and be done with our day.  Kids cannot function after lunch.  They just can’t.

One of my classes was quite spirited.  I suspect that they will be my challenge class this year.  The kids have some big personalities that I’ll have to tame.

Fortunately, my last class of the day, and also the largest class, was the sweetest group of kiddos.  I’m praying they stay this way so we can all end the day a bit quieter and calmer.

I stayed a little later after the final bell rang because who in the world really has their act together that first day?

That’s about right, y’all.

Honestly, though, I think the day went very well.  I am nervous about the lesson planning involved with my English 3 class (I have two sections this year), but I felt as though I exuded confidence in my reading classes.  I have kiddos who do not want to be in reading, but I think that as we proceed and trust grows between us (teacher and student), all will be well.

Requiem to Summer

Dear Summer,

Oh, how I miss thee already.

I miss sleeping in until 9am, staying in bed another hour, and slowly sliding out of my bed, no plan in mind and no lesson planning on the agenda.

I miss not being in a hurry because I don’t have anywhere to be.  I think the dogs will miss this too.

I miss working out at 11 or 12 instead of 4:30am.

It was a lot easier to see what I was doing without sleep clogging my eyes.

I miss no-makeup, messy-hair-bun, maybe-I’ll-shower, in-my-pajamas-by-4 days when the desire to apologize to the public at large, if I chose to go out amongst people, waned the further into vacation I got.

I miss lazy afternoons by the pool, or rather in the pool, and hours upon hours of leisure reading.

I miss Netflix binges until midnight and knitting to my heart’s content.

I miss being able to go to the bathroom whenever I want and however many times I need to.

I miss afternoon siestas – sometimes two if the need arose – because teaching is tiring business that requires months of vacation to recuperate from.

I miss afternoons spent in the kitchen, baking up all of the goodies that struck my fancy on Instagram.

I miss being able to put two complete thoughts together because my brain isn’t being pulled in a bazillion directions.

As I start my ninth year of teaching, leaving summer behind doesn’t get easier – the parting still brings sorrow to my heart.

BUT . . .

New batches of teenagers await my reading expertise and mama love.

They don’t know it yet, but they will thrive on the routines that make my classroom run like a well-oiled machine (if the stars align), not to mention the high standards to which they will be held.

I’ll spy pictures on my camera roll – reminders of warm, carefree days, and I’ll get wistful – especially when my nerves are fraught by the child who has asked, for the upteenth time, if the assignment we are working on is formative or summative (they’re all going to be summative by that point).

There will be days when I am so invigorated by my students’ aha moments that I almost forget about you (not quite though).

SO . . .

Though we must part for now, it is only temporary.

But who’s counting.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing what God has called me to do . . . bridge the gap between His littles and the big world that’s waiting for them after high school.

Weekend Miscellany

Miscellany – yes, that’s a word.  I looked it up just to be sure.

Let’s talk about random things from the weekend.

Saturday

I got in my walk and did #somuchgood

Here’s the photo without the Charity Miles info . . . because Gambit is so cute.

I received a package in the mail . . .

Megan showed hers off during our meeting last Thursday, and I think two or three of us ordered one on the spot.  I’ll let you know how it works!  I’m hopeful because being able to stand in proximity to some of my more spirited students, as opposed to standing in front of the board, will take my classroom management skills up a few notches!

I spent most of the day reading and finished this book . . .

It was excellent!  I gave it four stars on Goodreads.  The author has another book coming out in January.  I’ll probably pre-order it.

Sunday

I slept in, opting to skip church because of the loud music and my head. The dogs were not amused because they were waiting for breakfast.

After they ate, I went for a walk.  Then, I did some laminating.

For some reason, I was really tired, so I slept for an hour.  Unfortunately, I woke up to find a migraine brewing.

I also had a craving for a cherry slushy, so I loaded up the boys and took them along for the ride.

Aren’t their faces priceless?

Despite taking a pain pill, which I had been able to avoid the past few days, the headache lingered.

I decided to do some baking.  I used the same recipe as last week, but this time, I topped them with chocolate frosting, a suggestion from the recipe writer (she kindly responded to the question I asked on her Instagram post).

The frosting is amazing!  It tastes like the kind I’ve always bought at the store.

The Mr. had been at work all day, not his usual schedule but that’s how it goes.  When he got home, he saw that I wasn’t feeling well and kindly ate leftovers.  Bless him.

Meanwhile, I wound up a skein of yarn for a new project.

Weekends sure do fly by, even when you’re not doing a whole lot.

Friday Fun Day

Since I made the copies I needed on Thursday, I didn’t need to go into school on Friday.  Truth be told, I don’t have a key to the building I work in, and my school district only works four-day weeks during the summer, so the building was locked up and secured with an alarm, so there’s that.

I wound up sleeping in, which resulted in not getting out to walk until ten.

The heat was bad, but I didn’t let that stop me from getting the job done.

After that, I headed out to take care of a few things.  I spent quite a bit of time at Walmart.  I have a football player I provide goody bags for during the season, and since our first game is on the 17th, I wanted to get some stuff for him.

This is the list he made me last year . . .

I’d left it at home, but since it’s my third year as his football mama, I think I did good operating from memory.

That will last me the entire season, I think.  I still need to buy his Gatorade and fruit.

Later, I checked the mail and found this . . .

I am such a fangirl!!

When I was setting up the books in my classroom, I noticed that the first in this series had not turned up.  Someone walked out with it without checking it out on the form I have.  Ugh.  I’d ordered a replacement for it and plan to book talk it the second week of school.

I really can’t remember the rest of the day.  I think I tried to nap but couldn’t.  I must have been on my feet awhile because by the end of the day, the knot on my right foot was not looking good.

I’m researching non-surgical treatments for bunions.  The thought of surgery and being off of my feet for months is not appealing.

I definitely enjoyed my last Friday off before the crazy ensues!

Getting Closer

When last I posted, I was emerging from my back-to-school funk.

Writing that post was cathartic; I woke up on Thursday in a much better frame of mind.

God, as always, was faithful and filled my heart with peace.

I got up early and walked almost four and a half miles.  This was the second and final leg of my Royal 10k, another Hogwarts Running Club race.  I am looking forward to the arrival of the race shirt I ordered and the medal!

Then, I treated the dogs to a banana with their regular breakfast.

When they finished, I headed to work.  I had an ELA meeting to attend, but it was helpful, which I appreciated.  I felt so much more with-it.  I like smaller groups, remember?

After the meeting, I was free to work in my classroom to my heart’s content.

Y’all, it was simply wonderful to be in my own space doing my own thing at my own pace.  I got so much accomplished!

The advice we always give new teachers is get your lesson plans finished first; however, as a not-so-new teacher (this is my ninth year), I like to start with my room prep.  I cannot function if my room is in disarray.

I always like to add personal touches.  This is one of my favorite displays . . .

I can’t wear the sparkle heels any more, but I’m not about to get rid of them.

Another teacher came by to chat, and in the process, I mentioned that I was going to be at the school on Friday to make copies.  We didn’t have have to work that day, but my friend, Megan, has a key to the building that has the copy room, so she was going to copy stuff too.  I figured it would be easy to get in and out of there with teachers being off.

The teacher who I was talking to told me that the copy room was dead, and it might be a good time to go in.

Y’all, I almost ran there.  The place was indeed empty, so I got to make copies for ALL of the work we’ll be doing the first three days of school.

Take a look at this career interest survey I’m having my students fill out.

I’ll be teaching six classes of juniors.  I want to keep them thinking about their future plans.

I think that reviewing the results of this little test will be a great icebreaker!

I worked until 3 and headed home; it was time for a nap.

I was pooped, y’all.

After dinner, I noticed that my forehead was burning.  It’s still got some healing to do.

I watched TV for the rest of the evening.  Pele wasn’t amused; he came out of the bedroom to let me know that it was time to go night night.

So, as the 15th, the first day of school, draws nearer, I’m finding myself closer to being ready.  It’s definitely a marathon, where I’m pacing myself, as opposed to a sprint.  Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was my classroom!

Emerging from a Funk

Y’all, I have a confession to make.

I’ve been in a major funk this week.

The combination of saying adios to summer and holla new school year has done a number on me.

Yeah, the struggle has been real for this here girl.

One thing I know about myself is that I do not do change well.  No sir.  I am that kid who wants to throw a tantrum in the middle of the floor.

Real mature, eh?

On Tuesday, we began two days of meetings, and it was all I could do to hang on for dear life.

Now, let me tell you that I work with some fabulous educators.  They really are.  We have our quirks, and we fuss like family, but we do an incredible job with children who are facing so much adversity.

My not wanting to kiss summer goodbye doesn’t have anything to do with people.

The beginning of the year is freakishly overwhelming.  Like totally.

Hearing about new mandates being passed down from on high doesn’t always sit well either.

Good hair day; accurate expression

I try hard to be peppy, positive, and a team player, but I couldn’t find my mojo on Tuesday.

I wasn’t feeling well, the result of random headaches, although they aren’t constant like before.

It takes me awhile to process information, especially when I’m overwhelmed and a bit emotional (the two tend to go hand-in-hand for me).

It didn’t help when a teacher I have always gotten along with acted snarky toward me.  Grrr.  I later found a sticky note on my cup, and she apologized.

I love this lady; she taught both of my kiddos in middle school.  All ended well.

Sometimes, I forget that I don’t live on an island; we are all struggling, especially this time of the year.

I did manage to win a free Starbucks card when I got Bingo.

I must start being more discriminatory when I post pictures online.

I am not going to lie:  my less-than-stellar attitude, stubbornness, and sensitive nature did not make for a happy afternoon when I got home.

What do you do when you’re stressed?  I did a bit of late-night baking.

I like to fool myself into thinking I’m cutting calories in half by making mini cupcakes.

I found the recipe here and even managed to whip up the icing – at 10pm.

I should have waited longer to ice them.  They were a bit melted.  I took these into work on Wednesday so my taste tester friend, Leanne, could critique them.  She liked the mint icing.  Another friend, Penny (hey Penny, welcome to the blog), didn’t care for it too much, but she loved the cupcake itself.  The frosting wasn’t my thing either, so I’ll figure out a different flavor next time.

But I digress . . .

Wednesday’s meetings seemed to go by a little quicker, although I pretty much stayed in my shell again.  I felt so weighted down.

I worked in my classroom during lunch and got some books boxed up for my friend, Barbara.  She had loaned me a number of them eight years ago when I started teaching reading, and I had finally gone through them on Monday and pulled the ones I knew my students had not been reading the last few years.  This made room for the oodles of new books I’ve purchased recently.

Being productive helped me feel a tad better.  My classroom is my safe haven at school, and watching it come together was very satisfying.

We had one last round of meetings during our afternoon session before we got to leave.

I was still in my funk and checked in with a friend to see how she was doing.  Hearing her perspective on her day and her reflections on the week gave me pause.

This was the conversation I needed to remind me that I needed to snap out of it.

I realized that I was probably setting a poor example and giving new teachers on our team a bad first impression of me.

So, I’m swimming my way to the top of whatever huge wave I’ve been crushed under lately.

I’m trying to pray, although if I can be honest with you, I’ll admit that I wasn’t in a good place emotionally to pray Tuesday afternoon.  By Tuesday night, I was ready to talk to God and re-read my devotion.  I slept well that night despite the angst in my heart – proof that there is One who is able to pull me out of whatever hole I can’t find my way out of.

Please pray for all of the educators and others who work in the system.  Please pray for energy as we prepare for the littles of all grade levels.  We are already worn out, and the school year hasn’t even begun for many of us yet!  Please pray that those in leadership will make wise decisions – decisions based on what is best for kids – and that such people will see these students for who they are . . . young people with names and personal stories . . . not data points.

Thanks y’all!

Setting Up

Even though we didn’t have to report for school on Monday, I went ahead and got up early.

First on my to-do list was a walk.

It was 73 degrees – almost blissful when compared to the heat I’d faced the day before.

The sunrise was glorious.

I am so glad that the developer of my neighborhood left some of the natural foliage.  It’s a welcome respite from the sidewalks and streets that line my route.

It was just early enough to see a bunny friend.

Y’all, I put in some miles!  I was proud of myself when I finished.

When I finished, I gave the dogs some treats to placate my guilt.

Then, I loaded up my car because y’all, we teachers bring a LOT of stuff home during the summer, and headed to the school.

When I opened my classroom door, this is the sight that greeted me . . .

It may look bad to you, but this was the best shape I’d ever found my room in.  The floors had been waxed, and some of the tables had been returned to their proper places.

After rearranging a few things, I got down to what my true love is . . . books!!

It was like a family reunion as I pulled each stack of books out from under my cabinets.

There were a lot of stacks, because I buy all the books.

I grouped the books by author, series, and theme and began setting them out on my tables, countertops, and book displays.

I set a few out to do as book talks the second week of school.  My plan is to have students read independently the first ten to fifteen minutes of class each day.

I stayed until 2pm and headed home and relaxed the rest of the day.

It’s all about the pacing, y’all . . . slow and steady wins the race.

Weekending with Auburnchick

It’s Tuesday, and I’m only now getting around to posting about last weekend.

Yep, school prep is in high gear.

Sigh.

Let’s begin with Friday.  Gambit had an appointment for a bath, but I accidentally slept through it and had to reschedule.

Oops.

Although I didn’t have to go in to work, I was so overwhelmed with an already-growing to-do list, so I spent the day on that.

Lesson planning is extremely time consuming.  We don’t start school until the 15th, which means that we’ll only have a three-day week with the kids, but the planning is still intense even for that short amount of time.  There are so many routines and class norms, even at a high school level, that a teacher has to establish.

I’ve got two preps this year, which many teachers would trade their loads for but which is overwhelming for me.

I’ll be starting out by explaining to each group of students what their respective classes entail.

That’s my Smartboard file, which I create for each week as a visual for the kids and myself.

I worked all afternoon and was tired when I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

Yeah, I think I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I really cannot remember.  That could have been the evening we went to Chili’s.  If we did, I changed clothes.  I promise.

On Saturday, I took Gambit to his appointment, which I’d smartly rescheduled for 11am – plenty of time for me to wake up.

He smelled amazing when I picked him up a couple of hours later.

How bad would it be to say that I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day?

Y’all, the struggle is REAL.  I know that I didn’t work because I forced myself not to.  I’m still recovering from my concussion, so I know that I can’t push myself too hard.

Oh, and how could I forget about the mail.  Look what I got . . .

I found the case on Amazon, but there was a card inside from fakemeats.com.  I think this was the actual seller.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but I found two or three recipes that include jackfruit in them in this cookbook, which I purchased around Christmas.

I’ll be sure to post the results of anything that I try.

Sunday, the Mr. had to go in to work.  I’d already elected to stay home from church because loud stuff still makes my head hurt.  He wound up needing to take my car since he couldn’t get into his work vehicle, which forced me to not run errands.

Darn.

I did get out and go for a walk, my first since June and really, my first workout of any kind since hitting my head.

I had signed up for the Half-Giant Half Marathon, a Hogwarts Running Club event.  Sunday’s walk was going to be the first leg of it since I knew I couldn’t make it the full distance.

It was a little later in the morning than I would have preferred, and it was hot as all get out.

I was careful, though.  Although I could hear my pace being announced through my ear buds every half mile, I tried not to let it stress me out.  Yes, I was going slow, but I knew that I needed to reacquaint myself to the whole move-your-body thing.

I had originally told the Mr. that I would only walk a mile.

He should have known that I wouldn’t stick to that.

Truth be told, I should have only gone two miles.  I wasn’t feeling very good when I got home – probably the result of the heat and my head hurting.

It felt good, though, to get out.

You can only put Baby in the corner for so long.

I spent the rest of the day, after I showered, in my pajamas while I binged on my new favorite Amazon Prime show, Bosch, and finished up a knitting project (pictures to be posted eventually).

Selectively Social

Thursday morning was my first pre-planning day at school. It was Day 1 of three of meetings.

It had been storming for over twenty four hours; my headache was worse than the day before.

I tried not to let that affect my mood as I left the house.

The theme of this year’s planning sessions is “We’re under construction.” My school is literally under construction with two buildings torn down and a new one on its way up.

The administrators had fun with the decorations. I may need to keep the hard hat to protect me from errant walls.

I said hello to a couple of teachers and got myself a spot where I could see and hear well.  If you’ve ever been in an educational in-service, you know that teachers are the worst about talking when someone is presenting information.

Ahem.

So, here’s the thing. Although I can talk a person’s ear off one-on-one, I just do not do groups well. I’m quiet. I’m content to sit on my own, observing others or lost in my thoughts.

If you’re an introvert like me, you know how much energy it takes to engage in social situations.

I needed to conserve my energy on Thursday. Fighting a constant headache had drained me.

So I sat, tried my best to listen to the information coming at me – most of which I already knew, and stayed aloof.

I didn’t go out to lunch, even though I was glad to be invited by a tender-hearted Freshman English teacher. I wanted to check on my classroom, but mostly, I needed to sit in the quiet library.

I was able to plan most of the first week of school and start work on my Smartboard file for those lesson plans.

I found the ninety-minute lunch break a blessed respite.

The afternoon session was taken up by ELL training. It was one of the best I’ve ever had, but I wasn’t up for all of the collaborative discussions and moving around. The trainer was a loud, energetic gal (a gem of a teacher, truly), which was hard on my throbbing head. I did my best (well, maybe not my best, but we all have our days), but it was a struggle.

I felt bad after I left. I had not spoken to a couple of people I’m close to. I had not introduced myself to a new teacher. I stayed in my shell, or rather my Hogwarts Running Club hoodie.

It’s hard when you’re introverted and shy. In the past, I’ve been accused of being a snob. Sometimes, people think I’m angry.

I’ve was once told that being introverted was an excuse not to engage with people. That statement hurt my feelings and made me withdraw more.

Thursday, our principal advised us to stay in our lane so we don’t get caught up in or create drama among ourselves.

Y’all, I live in my own lane. I’ve seen what can happen when I veer away from it – I do dumb things like trip over dogs or walk into walls.

I really hope that people don’t misunderstand me. I have a sincere love for most people (sandpaper people not so much), and I am loyal as all get out. I’ll bend over backwards to help someone too. I’m passionate about what I do and give 150%. I think that’s why I run out of energy.

Ugh.

I wish I was an extrovert. I guess we always want what we don’t have, eh?

Maybe I should just stop worrying about what people think and just be me.

Now there’s a thought.

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