Leading

I keep stepping up a bit more trying on my big girl shoes, taking on more challenging tasks.  And wanting to grow to trust my judgment, rather than be so servile to my people pleasing nature.

Setbacks are sure to come, and a few arrived today. I was humbled back to my you-sure-blew-it child self by a new set of projection SmartBoard systems — and cowed into abjection by an iMovie project I left initializing on its own losing clips and creating some kind of loop for the replay.  Having the sound come on loud and clear after the session was over made frisse’ out of my nerves.

I looked at and rehearsed aloud the things that went well today — trying to stave off the sense that I was a flop…no worse, that I was in Deep Trouble, but the glitches and puzzlements seemed to outweigh the good stuff. I wanted everything to go perfectly because I felt like my colleague and I had been entrusted with our director’s “baby.”  Like when the parents come home and find that the babysitter hasn’t managed everything the way it was on the list.  Not good.  I felt like I wasn’t equal to what should have been a straightforward task – and to an orientation that has previously run rather smoothly.  Well, it wasn’t on purpose the things that happened but I’m responsible.  A person not on the final list showed up and insisted she had been accepted into the institute.  To err on the side of gracious we had to take her word but it was weird.  And another did not show and couldn’t be reached by phone and I worried.  And how I wish I’d had an hour or two to rehearse in that new high tech room and not run off to school the other morning letting iMovie initialize my project without supervision.

The detail of the day will be forgotten and the people things will get sorted out.  Communication and clarity.  Meanwhile, I am perturbed that I give myself such a hard time when things don’t go to my expectations.  Why does it take so long to have the disappointment wear off?  Am I waiting for absolution?

Maybe I should remember that when little girls put on mama’s heels sometimes they fall on their face.

What I Want

IMG_5597The winter before last I wrote myself out of a funk with the prompt, “What I really want…”

While I composed the letter to myself, my middle ached and I became weepy.  When ever did I even ask this question for myself?  My six decades had been about what others wanted.

Writing long and hard about what hurt gave me clarity:  I pursued the new job as an interventionist, planned a trip to France, spent more time with my grown daughters, tried again to date available men, and bought a convertible.  I shifted my erroneous question, “What do I have to look forward to?” over to the heart search, “What do I really want?”

Driving to work one morning I also realized that I had viewed my foreshortened future through a distorted lens.  I was striving for what I could accomplish that would be worthy to make up for the many shortcomings of my life.  When I looked at my thoughts, I had to ask, “Who’s keeping score?”

Now, again, I feel that settling of the brain, and the mind weariness of the end of a school term.  I’ve been placed as an interventionist again.  I’m grounded from travel to finish a major electrical/insulation project on my bungalow.  Tonight I just helped my daughter buy a low-miles Camry so she has wheels that work.

The purple sands at Pffiefer.  Those strands that show in the ebbing tide.  Those thoughts I think in between the humdrum and the full tilt teaching schedule…always feeling the pull of creative impulse, but no set discipline.  Wanting to write but lacking purpose.  The inevitable creative turnover that happens in my teaching life; wanting to capture the best and reinvent myself for next season.

What do I want?  I want my family and friends to know I love them.  I want my colleagues to respect me.  I want to make new friends.  I want a loving relationship with a man who is over his childhood issues.  I want to finish my bungalow so it is comfy especially when my mom wants to live here.  I want to know when I can afford to retire.  I want to go back to France.  I want to take risks…and follow my intuition.

Poem to Jessica

on champagne waves

the unspoken snap of knowing

an event is at hand

in the snowsoft they came

one then the other

tentative in the rose light

the deer whispered down the dune

blending in sundown lace pines

their unseen presence came into my laughter

effervescent waves and waning sun

were outshadowed by the miracle of tenderness

a deep silent surprise crackled in me

Jessica

 

ice light on the ocean

serenely unrelenting in constant motion

but more

she’s the perfect limb

the poised senses of the wary

she’s the ecstatic soundless step into the open

the mottled fawn brushing past

my gentle one

my sunset hush

I’m filled with splashing surf in loving you

go gently perfect peace

i love you

 

Laura Romaine 4/81

 

 

Ode to Mickey, mi gato

 

we met,IMG_0004

the cow kitty and I,

when my realtor

showed his house —

he checked me out

 

the hood is his

several blocks of it

the story of how

the cat came back

from Reno

to be mine is

part of his charm.

strong

street smart

with a squeaky falsetto meow.

 

whines about hot weather

loves tuna water tea

Mickey gives me

dead rats

occasional birds

in my closet

 

he gives me

routines

reasons to open cans

warmth on the blankets

in the chilly dawn

 

he emerges from

under the honeysuckle

and meows

when my car drives up

Mickey rolls in the dirt

 

blinks

in cat love

at me.

 

he drinks

from the kitchen sink

sleeps

in the catnip

he loves

water and chases

the stream

from the hose

 

when dancers

come over

he walks among us

and parks in the kitchen

when the party starts

 

when I sit on the front porch

for cool air

he takes the other rail

when I work in the garden

he sleeps there

 

when I take a road trip

he comes back over the fence

meowing

scolding

telling me not

to go away again.

 

lovely

black and white

cow kitty

with attitude.

 

I Wish I Knew What Is on My Mind

No images

Not a line.  I’d rather look at the flowers in the yard

Or prop my feet on the couch in the sun going down

Than write.

My brain was all abuzz with details of the day

That have numbed me.

My muscles are tired from a long walk

And my cat disconcerted that we are out of tuna water tea.

Maybe this is normal.

What folks mean when they say they’re tired.

 

 

 

 

 

End of week wind down…

IMG_0029Like the pacing tiger

walking off screen

I have sought, talked

waited

taught

and retaught…

I gave to my mother, my sisters and remembered my brother

 

I wrote with strangers this week

and I communed with the stars and my garden.

Tonight I danced, and made two 7-letter words in Scrabble

tossed down a champagne

 

Now I’m ready for the final day of the work week.

And sleep.

Blessed sleep.

 

A day off on the Elkhorn Slough

otterMonths ago my 84 year old mom asked me if I’d go on a tour of the estuary at Moss Landing with her and I agreed instantly.  I put it on the calendar without any idea how busy I’d be the week of April 15th and I’m glad I did.

First, I’ve made spending time with my mom a personal priority.  And it is good for me to admit that a personal necessity day away from the layers and layers of my job as interventionist is time well spent.

So, like some of the otters we saw from our little tour skiff, I wrapped myself in eel weed, metaphorically, to not drift off with the tide and let myself float in the wonderful present.

I mused and sometimes I enjoyed the gift of forgetting for awhile that I am a teacher.  Truly these times to let one’s mind unravel and drift are super critical to creativity.

I had a wonderful time with my mom.  We saw much wildlife:  great pelicans, egret, terns, harbor seals with their pups, rafts of otter.

Tomorrow I go back to continue to do my best with my students in focus groups, staff leadership team and coordinating the writing grant.  But I will be more tuned in to what I really think, and how I want to be with my students.  The mad press from on top and the insane pressure of testing cannot be what my world is about.  My students need a genteel, humane place to learn.  They need a person who has sorted out what really matters, not another program thrown at them.

So, I continue to press myself to write.  To take creative breaks.  And to realize that taking care of me is worthwhile.

Back to the Future

Tonight some parents, grandparents and kids from grades 3-5 met in the school cafeteria for a writing workshop titled, “Back to the Future.”  We had several Vietnamese families and Hispanic, including a family from El Salvador.  And the PTA president whom I think is Portuguese.  We started with getting the parents on one side of the room to talk with each other about school memories and the kids did the same, for warm ups.

Then the gist was that kids and parents would interview each other about school, freetime and personality, talking awhile. We had a three column menu style interview form, from which to choose questions. The interviewers main job was to listen not to take notes. Then, after Fran shared her super-cool model ode, titled “Dad,” we wrote odes to each other on poster size paper forms.

We even had a bit of time to gallery walk or share, while having cookies.  Everyone got a little journal, a gel pen of their color choice, and several blank ode forms to take home to retry or make parents’ day gifts out of their writing.

What I lovesLaura April 2013 was the conversations.  The way folks talked with each other.  My teaching partner Fran and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  It’s a lot of work to promote and plan an event, but worth it.

Laura & Lorena: Inspiring Teachers to Write