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Showing posts from September, 2007

Alone in a crowd~

Today while Bruce is busy, I take my camera and drive to Blue Hills Reservation. Twenty minutes away, this reserve with miles of hiking trails makes a nice Saturday afternoon jaunt.

The beautiful weather drew crowds-- families, couples holding hands, friends, and the occasional loner like myself. I don't mind being alone. I thrive on it.

I watch people, I listen, I speculate, sometimes correctly, and sometimes not. Sometimes I start up a conversation.

I decide to climb Great Blue, a hill not much more than 600 feet, but high enough to have a weather observatory on its summit, and offer a panoramic view of the Boston skykline. I choose the red trail, rockier, steeper and more of a challenge than the green dots. I weave through the hikers and move ahead at my own pace. I'm not a meanderer.

Around a curve is a woman taking pictures of three boys. She's patient as she gets them to look at the camera. I wonder where her husband is, and think he may be just ahead. Often the men …

Betwixt and between~

I got some good news a couple of days ago. The Chicken Soup series is going to include an essay I wrote in their "Chicken Soup For the Empty Nester."

They asked for a brief bio-- no more than fifty words. Me in a nutshell-- the traditional paragraph written in third person where I tell about myself as if I weren't me.

Actually, I have five versions of me in my "brief bio" folder, because some publications allow more words, and each publication warrants a different style.

None of my bios would do, though. They all began: Ruth is a teacher, or, Ruth has been teaching for more than . . .

The book will be published in June 2008. I will be retired then. I need a new bio for the future. In the publishing world the future is always ahead of reality. The future is now.

I revised my bio to say: Ruth is a retired teacher . . .

No big deal. I liked the sound of it, but my subconscious had something to reveal.
I dreamt I had given birth to a baby girl. I was thrilled, …

Sick day~

Sick day~

I'm home from school today-- sick. I stayed home yesterday too.

I'm never sick. Hardly ever, anyway. I say that confidently, without knocking on wood. Years of teaching have given me a cast iron immune system.

While others manifest full-blown symptoms of the germ of the month, I get-- at most-- a day of feeling sluggish. I figure that's from my antibodies fighting, and winning. But barely a week into the school year, I've been hit by the prevailing virus.

Taking a sick day doesn't come easily to most teachers. For one thing, it's far more work preparing for a substitute than it is just to go in feeling lousy.

Plans and schedule need to be spelled out in detail. Extra work must be planned because kids tend to whip through their assignments under a sub's less demanding eye. There are loose ends to pick up when you return: work to correct, lessons to reteach because the kids say, "the sub didn't explain things good enough."

Teachers by nat…

Thanks to him~

Welcome my son as my guest blogger. He wrote this for his freshman comp class recently. (He hates the picture.)
Thanks to Him
by David Douillette

Who does this guy think he is? I was six years old and my mom was taking me to my weekly soccer game one fall Saturday afternoon.I didn’t know anybody who lived on this side of Bridgewater, so when the man got out of the red Porsche parked on the side of the lot and started walking toward us, I had no idea who he was. Apparently my mom had told this man I had a game today and to stop by if he wanted to.

I came to see a lot of this guy I would eventually call Bruce over the next couple of weeks. I found out that my mother and he had met at the fitness center in Bridgewater and as you can probably guess, had become fond of one another. He started coming over every so often and my mother, sister, and I went over to his apartment sometimes too.

It was extremely hard on me every time I saw him and my mother do anything remotely affectionate tow…

I'm a teacher~

I'm a teacher.

This is how I answer the "What do you do?" question.

I chose this profession when I was in first grade-- in truth because I wanted to hold the soft, white chalk, and make those magical marks on the blackboard-- they really were black in those days.

I was fascinated with the tools of the trade: the elastics worn around the wrist, the pitch pipe that hit middle C before we sang My Country 'Tis of Thee, the playground whistle, the contraption that held five pieces of chalk and drew five parallel lines all at once. The stickers. The red pens. The bulky teacher manual teachers referred to while teaching.

Teachers had a vague sense of power. Never abused, but definitive. I wanted to please them, but I also wanted that strength of presence. I wanted to sit in their basement room and listen to what they said about us while we played at recess.

Except for a brief stage in fourth grade when I wanted to be a veterinarian, I never wavered from my goal. I commuted to…

Technologically challenged~ (Part 2)

My husband called from the town football field. He had to film two games today for the coach.

Problem: He'd miss the New England Patriot's game.

Solution: He'd have me record it for him.

Problem: Me.

We just got a new upgrade for the TV. Whatever we got was cheaper than whatever we had. We got added benefits, most of which I didn't pay attention to when Bruce showed me the new remote and its functions.

All I know-- because he said it so many times, interrupting my writing over and freakin' over again-- is that this new remote has an "all on" button. Push one button and the TV and the three other electronic devices under it turn on.

Bruce says to get the "quick start" card and follow the directions. He seems to have faith in me, although he does ask, "Is Joanna awake?" She's techno daughter. She's sleeping.

I follow the directions, which are so simple a six year-old could do them. At the push of the button all four things go on; red,…

School bells~

There is nothing like the first day of school to pump you up and exhaust you. I'm both excited about the 179 days remaining in the school year, and ready to go to bed as soon as I get home.

I got up today at 5:45, my rise-and-shine time on school days. Not shine in the traditional sense. More like rise and shower-- dully. I stood under the spray in a semi-comatose state.

I dressed, grabbed a banana, a tomato from the garden, some nonfat plain yogurt and a box of tea bags and stuffed them into my bag. I made sure I had my cell phone, and left the house, stepping over the morning paper.

The morning sky is worth getting up early for, although I never do unless I have to. Still, its beauty eased the shock of being awake hours before normal wake up time.

I turned on the car heater for my feet, which are in sandals. I opened the moon roof for the rest of me, which is in menopause. On the way home, I'll use the AC, I know. The seasons are fighting for supremacy.

The first day of school i…

It's over~

I had my annual school starts soon dream last night.

At the end of every summer, several days before school is to resume, I have vivid dreams. This is typical, and similar to the way a pregnant woman dreams she has lost her child, or has forgotten to feed the baby who is now a parched leaf on the kitchen floor that she is sweeping out the door, all the while knowing that something is terribly wrong.

In last night's dream, I was driving my truck somewhere. Out my window I saw the most beautiful view; everything that is beautiful in nature was in the scene that unfolded as I drove: mountains, a waterfall, mist, cumulous clouds, vivid colors and pastels. Sunrays slanted across the view.

I had my camera with me and wanted to get a picture. I stepped on the brake to slow and pull off the road, but the truck didn't respond. I pushed harder, and harder on the brake pedal, nearly standing in my seat, but the truck kept barreling along.

The view grew more and more beautiful as I raced past…