Category Archives: Lorena’s Chunks

I was going to write…

Laura’s recent post inspired me:
I was going to write, but the dishes were dirty…
so I washed them.
I was going to write, but I had to go the gym first…
so I frolicked with the weights, did some cardio,
imitated some moves from a muscular man,
drank a protein shake, and when I got home, it was too late.

I swear I was going to write, but the laundry had to get done…
so I separated out the colors and dutifully did as large a load as possible to conserve water.
I double swear I was going to write, but the amount of dust on the lightbulbs in the chandelier hanging over the table was unbearable…
so I cleaned it with a Swiffer wipe cloth thingy.

I am being darn serious that I was going to write, but the floor needed sweeping…
so I used my Swiffer Wet Jet thingy to polish and shine it.
I kid you not, I was going to write, but my brother was utterly hungry…
so I stuck a frozen pizza in the oven for him (and helped him eat it).

Cross my heart, swear to die, I was going to write, but when I sat down with my laptop ready to go, I realized I had nothing to write and would need more “rehearsal” time…
so I looked around to see what cleaning I could do and DAMMIT!! The whole house was already spic and span!!
So I had to write…

I love this piece, even in its infant stages…there is much more that it is begging me to do: play with the words, make it more rhythmic, but for now I am really content with how it is. What keeps you from writing? Is it the same things as these or something else? Why is it that all of a sudden everything else seems so much more important than getting to our writing? From cleaning the kitty litter box, to taking care of bills, to scrubbing the kitchen tiles, we always find a way try and avoid what really matters…

Why?

Have you ever had that feeling that no one really understood what you were saying? You know the blank stares, the crossed arms, avoiding eye contact… I got that today and it made me wonder something…can anyone or should I say, can any person teach writing? Can you take a regular Joe off the street, stick him or her in front of some kids and teach writing? I swear I don’t think that is possible… Regular Joe cannot teach writing unless Regular Joe is writing.
If I sound annoyed or frustrated it is only because I taught a PD session on using mentor text and I swear no one knew what I was talking about. Out of a group of 31 participants only 5 raised their hands when I asked how many see themselves as writers or if they love writing. I should have known by this formative assessment that this would not be easy, but alas I am still young and make stupid mistakes. Ugh, I can still hear the voice of the teacher who asked me if the words I showed her would be taught as vocabulary…but that was not the point! The point was to teach students that if they wanted their reader to emphasize certain words, that they could italicize them, but no lightbulb there… Then the discussion with another teacher about whether students had to know what a blueberry was before reading the book…I almost lost it…
I think I see the light now, the participants were not ready to hear about mentor text because they were not reading like writers…yet. I think what they needed was time to write what they wanted to write and to write for real audiences. Oh, I feel as if I made so many heads turn in that PD. I can still feel all the deer in headlights glances…
This is where I wonder and ask, why? Why do I do this? Why do I lug all these materials (chart paper, pens, post it notes) and why do I have to clean up all by myself?
Why?

The First Day

Today was strange, I mean STRANGE. It was my first day on the job and instead of heading off into the direction of a school, I set sail in the direction of the district office where I proceeded to sit in a “cube.” Oh my, this is going to take some getting used to. I would have liked to have been able to twiddle my thumbs, but I actually had tons to do! I had to update my email, complete a PPT, read up on the standards, look up stuff on the web (all work related), organize some materials, learn where the darn pencil sharpener was located, find the closet with the “treats”given at PD sessions…ugh the list goes on.
Is it just me or is the first day of any new job, strange? You don’t feel the rhythm, the beat of the day, you are unsure (like when you do a new dance I suppose), hesitant, and just darn useless. I can’t be the only one who has these feelings right? I swear I felt this way on my first day of teaching (yup felt useless then too). And the worst part is that while you are trying to figure out what to do, everyone else around you already has the rhythm down, so they’re barking orders, moving around the copy machines like fairies, everything just flows (except for you cause you are most likely in the way of all this beautiful synchrony).
And to make matters worse, you don’t know diddly squat! Strangers come up and ask where so and so’s office is, and you have no idea! You don’t even know where the damn coffee is located! Now that is really a feeling of knowing you are useless. But hell at least I knew where the bathroom was located! I guess I can figure out this stuff tomorrow, I will add it to my to do list, along with all the other little details that I will need to learn (like who NOT to greet in the morning and who to always smile at…).
Nothing better than feeling like a complete idiot on the first day of the job…

Ever have the feeling…

This morning I was yanked from my sleep by my phone ringing to indicate I had a text. It was 5am. I swiped and peered to read the words from the custodian at my “old” school saying he would not be able to let me in. I dumbly replied “Ok, hope all is well.” And then immediately after hitting the send icon, I whirled into uncensored panic. Now how was I going to make copies for the presentation I was delivering that day?? Go to Kinkos? How early were they open? Where was the nearest one? Was someone at school who could let me in? Who?
With my heart creeping into my throat I tossed the warm blankets aside and stumbled downstairs to try to think this through. My presentation started at 9, leaving me about 3 hours to find a way to make copies – CHEAP! I started making my breakfast, which tasted awful even though it was my favorite combination of peanut butter and honey on whole wheat toast. I munched like a zombie trying to think of how to get my hands on a copy machine…
I waited until 6 to text a work colleague and sound like an idiot as I asked if she had kept her keys over the summer. There was no reply – of course not, she was doing what all teachers do on summer vacation – sleeping! I went back upstairs and threw some clothes on so that I at least looked like I was in control of my wardrobe. I pulled my hair into a ponytail and saw a white hair sticking straight up! I swear I wanted to yank it, but resisted fearing it would lead to more white hairs. Ugh…what happened to my youth?
As I made my way back to the kitchen I heard the ping ping of my phone. I was in luck! She still had her keys and wanted to know what time I needed to meet her at the school, I replied 8:15. She agreed and I had a better tasting 2nd breakfast.
But the ride was not over yet. I was at the school at 8:10, my colleague did not show up until 8:22, by then I was in panic again. I raced into the building with my colleague behind and put the copier through a stress test like no other. 20 minutes later, I emerged a copy machine queen and began the very short drive to SJSU blasting the radio.
As I pulled into the parking garage I made the idiot mistake of trying to find parking on the first floor – NONE! As I begin my cursing, my phone rings with one of the assistants wanting to know where the hell I was. Apparently the participants had started showing up, but no presenter. It is now 8:48. I race to the second floor, park, and grab a bouquet of bags, each one gets tossed on a shoulder as I ask, “why the hell do I do this?”
I walk into the room and see ten participants sitting, I smile and start laying out the materials, laptop, pens, treats… Suddenly I realize that my co-presenter is MIA, oh no this is not like her, what happened? I grab my phone, see I a have a text, swipe and read, “feel bad, overslept, alarm did not go off, be there soon.” HA! This is just like her! I smile and calm myself by knowing that her part doesn’t start until a few slides in, I’m ok…
As I organize handouts, I see the assistant struggling to set up my powerpoint – perfect! Its just a blue screen with a menu of icons in the corner and my nectarine treats are way too soft to put out… I shove them back in the bag and dole out strawberries on a “pretty” plate.
It is now 9:02, the power point is still blue, no co-presenter and I am off…

I think I am not connected…

I am relishing this moment of sitting outside a coffee shop in the warm sun with my dearest mentor, Laura, whom I am bombarding with questions about her upcoming demo because I did nothing work related over the weekend. Oh it was marvelous, have you tried it? If not here is the recipe:
Start on Friday by telling yourself that your laptop is only for cheesecake browsing or googling up images of peanut butter pies. Perhaps you need to catch up on who is pregnant in Hollywood or who just got a DUI, but you cannot search out anything work related, this includes hunting for educational books on Amazon, teachers pay teachers, Pinterest (you know why you are REALLY there…), any article that is related to education (HA! That blows away about 95% of what is on the web since education is politics in striped pajamas!), and YouTube (Oh, yes. You and I know that we only go there for TED talks and to watch teachers teaching so we can tell ourselves, “I can teach that waaaaayyy better!”). After you have mixed all this up into a fine dough that smells like Honey Nut Cheerios, then you preheat the oven to Saturday.
Now you have a whole long day to avoid your work. Don’t talk about it, don’t bring up any funny work stories, and avoid your work colleagues as well – hang out with the finest person you know – YOU! This now allows you so many options of what you can do to personalize your treat: cook, clean, workout (I’m being serious), shop, get a haircut, do your own nails, organize your closet, drive your car around with your head out the window enjoying life, sit somewhere and use a pencil to write (don’t write about work…), do the laundry, throw a frisbee, take yourself out to lunch or coffee or dinner and order dessert, call your mother (ignore the question “how’s work?”), call your father (hmmmmm, was father’s day yesterday?), nap, play with the neighborhood cat, sit on the sofa and read (not about work), watch a brainless movie, take a walk, and there is so much more… Once you have combined all this, spray a 9×5 pan with nonstick spray (DUH!) and smooth out your concoction, then shove it in the oven and don’t set a timer, the smoke will let you know that it is Sunday.
You are almost done, but guess what? Your wrinkles are not as obvious, your hair does not look as gray and your heart is lighter. Just take the ingredients from Saturday and repeat, this time you can add these others if you wish: go to church, mosque, temple (don’t go to all three, just the one you affiliate with), do one of those bottomless mimosa brunches (you know exactly who to take – YOU!), start to google those images of peanut butter pies or lemon meringue bars, go bike riding, visit family if necessary (don’t talk about work), and so much more.
Now that the house is on fire since you didn’t set a timer, remove your burnt masterpiece from the oven, wave your arms to disperse the smoke and give yourself a hug. Now you have something IMPORTANT to blog about on Monday morning.

It’s already Wednesday

Weren’t we all just enjoying the weekend? You know, those two days when we are supposed to “sleep in” and have large pancake breakfasts as we read the newspaper, leisurely sipping coffee by the window… Well, what happened? I don’t remember doing any of that! Now it’s already Wednesday which means a weekend is right around the corner, so here we go…sleep in, pancakes, coffee, paper…
I am not sure how much of that I would do even if it were my choice. I can’t sleep in because I actually get “genius” ideas at the crack of dawn. That and I have too much darn energy to just lay around. As for pancakes, sure, you can do no harm with those, right? As a matter of fact, I wish I had been named Pancakes. Everyone in my elementary class would have salivated whenever the teacher took attendance… “Bertha?” “Present.” “Victor?” “Present.” “Pancakes?” “Yes, please, with lots of syrup and make sure they are buttery and fluffy…” Oh – yeah…
So now there is the coffee and paper reading by the window with warm rays of golden sunshine seeping in… I suppose I could do that. I would most likely read the comic section first (obviously the most intellectually challenging) and then dive into the food related articles. As for the coffee, it’s to the good of the people around me if I keep it to a minimum. Hmmm, I guess I already have my weekend planned out…and it’s already Wednesday!

The Second Post

Crema was fun today. How to describe it? Hot tea. Slow internet. Tags, categories, default, menu, menu, menu… Happiness engineer. More categories, more default menus, LSquared with two nuts who write randomly…And it all ended with Laura saying that there is no explanation for friendship. Yup, that was Crema today. But it felt as if we still got a lot done, even more so than our last gathering. As a matter of fact, it was such a whirlwind of chaos that Laura almost left without her water, purse, and sweater! That’s why she has me…