Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the Old

pack up and move on!

Sure, there are some things I wish I had done differently.  I wish I could have figured out how to put health and hearth before work.  I went into this school year knowing it would be difficult.  Graduate school, midlde schoolers, education reform, constantly jumping through hoops without a moment to create or even to be.  It has not been a healthy year.

Before I get to my list of things I must do, let me complete a list of do nots.

  • I must not be reactive, living each moment because I am worried about someone else's perception of what I do.  I am going in to do my best at the task.
  • I must not sell my time for simple money.  It is precious and finite.
  • I must not lose site of my goals, my self actualization.
  • I must not forget that each day has to be made of certain components that contribute to growth in each of my roles in life.  
  • I must not sacrifice health for ambition.  

The American Dream

I'm not hungry though I may not have food choices or be able to vary the diets of my children so that they are most nutritionally sound.  I am not cold, though I may not have paid the electric bill or yet know from whence that money will come.  I have clothing though it will not get the attention that puts me equal to those who look upon me.    

I have dreamed always of more.  I have worked since I was 14 years old.  I have wanted all that I don't have and worked to get it.  I've poured hours of energy into overtime working 60 and 70 hour weeks.  I have made other men rich.

I am a mother.  I look down into shining faces and all that I might give them is taxed.  The cost of being poor is ripping from me the hope that has gotten me to this day.  I cannot buy a home because my debt to income ratio is too high. Education was my only hope and so my student loans are high.  I cannot refinance my car loan because my debt to income ratio is too high.  I can however pay $1, 675/mo in rent and have no choice but to do so because the alternative is to live in an area that takes hope from my children too.  My USED car is financed at $445/mo for 7 years.  It is not a luxury car  I feel despair creeping in and I could cry... I could accept that this is where I live and just stay here or I could say ENOUGH!  It's enough.  I don't yet know what to do about it but I have to stop the bleeding.  

My son went to cash a payroll check at Bank of America the other day and don't you know they charge to cash checks when the check is drawn on their bank.  One should open a bank account at 10 banks and just keep $2 in each to save money but someone probably thought of that and now they charge you to hold your money and they check your credit and charge you to hold your money.  They drown you in fees.   Is it any wonder people get tired and give up.  If you live in poverty your insurance costs are higher.  You have a sort of credit rating for car insurance and it is NOT based on your driving history???!!

I am always astounded by the fact the people sit in rooms and come up with figures "data" that is so out of place in the real equation.  Human need, suffering, contribution ... these things aren't part of that data.  I think with regard to loans the question is in a totally non human sense how much profit could I stand to make from this person to make loaning them some money worthwhile?  It is not simply about avoiding loss or making some profit.  The cost of being poor is exorbitant.   And the poor man doesn't have options he often cannot simply "take his business elsewhere."  What then?   How do we keep his dream alive.  What then is his pathway to citizenship?

Work hard.  check  ... and?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Thoughtlet on Questions ...

I am curious, always have been.  The more I seek information the more I find to wonder about.  Aside from the time (which can probably be argued) I seldom get to the bottom of a problem and that is not for a lack of contemplation.  

In the dizzying cycle of education reform and thinking about thinking, the conversations stray further and further from the obvious and by the time the obvious comes round again it will seem strange and new and will be backed by volumns of research.  Some historian will remember or find that this is the way things were once done.

I have questions.  They provoke thought not always answers.  

Musings over Coffee

I discovered last night that I have grown accustomed to sleeping for 5 hours or fewer and now I just wake up - I'm tired but awake.  I used to love sleep.  I have learned why people get fat.  If all of your time is dedicated to someone else then that moment of edible ecstasy is yours.  Sadly, it is yours to have and to hold for years to come.  I don't binge eat but I had made McDonald's a habit.  I needed the coffee but then needed to survive the day and so I would buy some cookies, someday only cookies and coffee would get me through and some days I realized that I needed more and would buy a sandwich.  I am going to have to load up on healthy snacks.  I am a grazer.  I have never been one who sits down to three square meals but lately if I live on cookies and coffee all day then I over eat a big dinner.

The result of too much work for the machine and not enough sleep has been a terrible temper.  I get so angry so quickly.  I have to get control of it before it kills me.  I have to get off the proverbial treadmill and then I have to get on a real one.  I have been paying for a gym membership and haven't gone in over a year.  I've gained so much weight.  I knew that I had gotten thicker but yesterday I was going out to walk, committed as I am to getting fit and as I walked by a store window I felt like I was looking in a fun house mirror.  Who was that woman.  She had a great a** but her center of gravity was lower than I ever remember it being. She was looking back at me, short and thick.  I looked at an old driver's license on which the weight was 125lbs and dedicated myself to losing 20 lbs.  I started already.  Ah, but I digress... this post is about letting go of the past and daring to make change happen.... RIGHT!... right?

Okay, so I have some questions and want to find people who share them and then get them to dedicate some portion of their time, energy or money to answering those questions in a way that suits them and I haven't done it.   On day one of Christmas break I felt like I suddenly remembered what I was working toward.  I didn't have a paper to write or papers that needed to be graded at that moment and I heaved a sigh of relief and began to hope again.  It felt so good.  I felt possible.

I crocheted two half scarves (lost the crochet hook half way through the first one and started another with a different size yarn.

I've started trying to do a little writing.  It helps me process.  Now to go figure out Obamacare and see if it can help me keep my children covered.

It feels so good not to be tied to anything and yet thoughts of my students return and new ideas pop up.  I mean to make this year great for them.  I needed to heal though... so much of teaching is not about them or about my ability to teach them.  Little time is left to create in the classroom once one has fulfilled so many obligations, even thinking about them is taxing because they battle for time and attention and then on an interpersonal level it is absolutely exhausting.  I stopped creating.  When so many mandates come down one just wants to fulfill obligations but that is like selling your soul.  I have been so afraid of failure with so many mouths relying on me.  My three year plan is almost completed.  Now for the next three.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Mosaic ornament made from broken pieces of CDs. Maybe this could be inspiration for a garden gazing ball.                                              

It was a nice day.  Day 5 of healing time and I am seeing that this year is really taking a toll on who I am and therefore on who my chilren will be.  It is time for change.  I've been angry.  I've had no patience.  All day every day I expect little and get less.  I raise my expectations and experience acute disappointment.  It is the throwing away of my energy.   My gifts have no place there.  Ah, but I digress... I'm still healing.

Christmas was nice.  I cooked all day.  We made cookies.  I enjoyed the time but in an instant something would be broken and whether it was a rule or a trinket I was immediately livid.  My 4 year old reached in and took a handfull of cornbread  from the middle and later told me that he was not happy at me (for the way I reacted).  When I told him that I was "happy at" him, he told me that I was not.  I chased him up the stairs insisting until he laughed.  Later he brought me something and told me that he was going to keep giving me things until I could not be angry any more.

I have reached my limit and am no longer willing to teach where I teach.  I belong to my chilren too and cannot serve these two masters.

Christmas was nice but it was not a day of my making.  My mom and sister sent gifts.  I wouldn't have cared either way except that I could see that the kids were hoping.  We made cookies and they decorated them.  They broke out the toys and put on the clothes immediately.

I'm still frustrated at the task that lies ahead but when I quietly observe I'm thankful.  We've already accomplished a lot.

I just looked at the terms of the loan on the car I bought a year ago and almost cried.  I emailed the salesman to ask that he keep my story in mind when selling cars.  They were horrible.  I walked through and was handed papers to sign.  I needed a car.  I bought it.  A 2011 Nissan Quest.  Financed at $445/mo for 6 years.  I could just cry.  I am going to cut money from somewhere else (don't know where) and start to pay on the principal.  I thought it would be good to open a checking account with Ally Bank simply because it would be easy to make my car payment but they would not open a checking acount to me.  ... I mean, why buy the cow, right?  Except that it was win win.

I'm just reminded about the price of poverty and thinking about how to change it, and thinking and thinking....

... still thinking.

Merry Christmas  ... it really was a nice day.