Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Now?

So, grad school. What is there to consider? How much money can I find? Where do I want to go? Should I go while I work, or take some time off? I want to start right away. And then there's this thing with Adam. He's deploying soon. Frankly, I want to consider him in this whole decision, too.

I feel like I live in this whole "well, if things change" world. I plan decisions two different ways in case something changes. What taught me to function like that? I guess I know. I only had one plan before Rob got sick. Things changed. Now I feel like I have to have a plan 'B'. Do I? If I plan both ways, I feel like I'm less likely to be disappointed.

Seriously, though. I would decide to stay in Colorado for Adam. For me, too. Staying in Colorado isn't bad. But what about something completely new? Washington state or Australia? It's only a year or two. But my priority isn't my career.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

He's Leaving

Our principal is leaving. We learned this just a few weeks ago. Three, maybe. I'm not sure I can articulate what this means to me or to our staff. If I talk about it honestly, you would only think I'm being dramatic.

Working at our school is not like having a corporate job. It's truly like going to be with a family. And he is the center of our school. So losing him is like losing the glue that holds our school together. It's like losing our father. I know that seems extreme. But Roy has always done what is best for our family. He's made our school what it is now - which is one of the best elementary schools in the state. Every one of us is proud to be a part of that school. It's hard to see the future from here. He has shaped my formative years as a teacher. He's provided an environment where I've had freedom to develop my philosophies, to push the limits of achievement with my kids, and to love being a teacher. He's a huge part of my professional accomplishments.

We all know that we will do fine. Everything will be okay. But it's not going to be the same. We want to hear his voice over the intercom each morning, greeting the kids with "Good morning Antelope Trails kids! I'm so glad you're here today! Please stand for the pledge." We want to know we have him to fall back on when things fall apart for us. We want to hear him sing "Blue Christmas" before we head out for Christmas break. No one knows us and cares about us like Roy does.

I think part of my security as a teacher was wrapped up in his leadership. Now, I don't know that I want to be back in my job next year. I'm sorting out opportunities now... International Baccalaureate, Kagan Cooperative Learning, a Master's in Administration. It's time. And it is exciting, but I don't want Roy to leave.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blabber Protocol

So. You're in a car. With four other people. One or two people are talking unceasingly. By this I mean that their chatter is plentiful as the waters of the ocean or as everlasting as a beam of light from a burning sphere of gases in a far away galaxy. It is not interesting or thought-provoking chatter. It is not entertaining, amusing, or otherwise brilliant. I feel like I am in a chamber filled with gaseous substance such as the substance that fills one's lower intestinal tract and everywhere I can turn offers neither fresh air nor respite from the pollution.

I am staring blankly ahead.

What is the proper protocol for saying, "Excuse me. You are talking too much. It would be really nice to allow others room for conversation. I am tired of hearing your voice. Although you may enjoy it very much, you are always around yourself, so please save it for later." It's social courtesy. Listen to yourself. Has your voice received rest in the last five minutes? If not, s-h-u-t u-p. Whose job is it to teach this? Parents? I don't know.

The problem is that this unending blabber didn't stop when we got out of the car. The continuous stream of fuppernuffence continued in the professional environment as we met with teachers from around the state.

I need air.

Interrupting is not considered polite. So I must wait for this jivnigglenubbant chatter to cease. What's polite about speaking in this way so that no one has a chance to contribute or to provide an interlude? You are giving the rest of the individuals in the group no choice but to be extremely rude and interrupt.

I need a solution.

I want to be blatant. Up-front. Right to the point. "You are talking too much. Shut yer yapper."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Conundrum Hot Springs

Adam and I spent this weekend in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. It was a gorgeous day in Aspen. The leaves had changed color and were still bright in the cooling fall air. It was so beautiful that people were out on motorcycles. This was a huge difference from the bitter icy weather in Colorado Springs. We barely made it out of the Springs. Roads were covered in sheets of invisible ice. So we stopped at the Donut Mill to grab breakfast and to let the roads warm up. We then made our way west and escaped the chill of the Front Range. We had planned this trip for a few weeks, so we were relieved to see the weather improve as we headed west.

As we got to the trailhead, we stripped off the thick fleece layers and winter jackets we had been wearing. The walk was gorgeous! Bright mountain sunshine and a rushing stream all along the way. We hiked 8.5 miles up Conundrum Creek to the very remote and beautiful Conundrum Hot Springs. We passed beaver ponds and huge mossy trees. The river had three main crossings with huge logs set six or eight feet above the water. I wore a terrible pair of boots, which Adam made sure I knew was a really bad idea. He was right. I ended up with a big nasty blister.

We walked through thick trees and through meadows. At one point, we made our way over gigantic trees that had been blown over in a recent storm. It was amazing to see these huge, strong trees brought down by wind. It was a little difficult to find the trail at some places because there were so many trees down.

We got up to the campsite around 5:30, just as the sun had set behind the gigantic peaks around us. From the Springs, you can see Conundrum Peak and Castle Peak, both 14ers. And there were another 7 or 8 13,000 foot peaks nearby. We hurried to set up our tent in the freezing air and went to meet other campers who were already in the steamy water of the hot springs. The water was perfect... two to three feet deep in places with pockets of hot water bubbling up from under the ground. Beautiful! The edge of the water touched the rock border and spilled over into the next pool. It was amazing to look out and see the brilliant stars coming out one by one as the light of the sun disappeared. There was a group of six from Denver/Boulder and then a guy from Aspen who had come up by himself. We stayed in as long as we could before we started to get hungry.

The exit was extremely frigid!!! We couldn't dry off fast enough. But we hopped back to the campsite to have a quick dinner and then back to the pool for one more hour before bedtime. All the campers were out. A mom and her grown son, a couple from Steamboat, and the seven we had met before.
There might have been two more, but it was pitch black. This place must be super crowded in the summer. I can't imagine the pool accomodating more than 15. Anyway, what a cool place. It's about a four and a half hour hike. Such a beautiful and authentically Colorado experience.

I think next time, we will be more prepared... It was suggested to us that we bring full-length towels - two, if they fit, a pair of Crocs to wear in the water, my down jacket, blister bandaids, a better pair of hiking boots, a box of delicious wine, and a hot water bottle to throw in the bottom of my sleeping bag.

Adam insisted on bringing only things that would contribute to our survival. I was a little more lenient, but still, the other campers had it made. They also had to carry heavier packs. But I think it's worth it. It was a completely wonderful trip!