Tag Archives: vent

How Far is Too Far?

I’m a pretty game person. By that, I mean that I usually try to take what God gives each day and do the best I can with it. Some days I’m more successful than others, usually in direct relation to how closely I walk that particular day with God, honestly. Some days, though, are just hard. Whether I can count the day a success or not, whether it was fruitful or productive or a waste of space on the time continuum, some are just plain painful. That’s how life is, right? You overcome the obstacles you can, and embrace and be embraced through the ones you can’t.

That’s why I hate distance. Physical distance.

They say the world is getting smaller every day, but it’s an illusion. It may seem smaller, news near-instantaneous, a friend’s sonogram and joy shared around the world in the same virtual minute. But sometimes you can’t replace the up-close and personal. A parenthetical virtual hug doesn’t warm and lighten your heart in quite the way a real squeeze can. And sometimes I’m just too far away.

The power of human embrace.

The power of human embrace.

My husband has traveled a lot, more or less, with work. We’ve lived on both coasts at one point or another, while family, friends and other loved ones are pretty centralized. Our children had this special talent for saving illnesses for Dad’s work travel. Juggling the responsibilities of three or four young children is taxing enough alone, and then you find yourself caring for a baby with a high, unresponsive fever, or juggling two children fighting asthma in the night and taking turns on the nebulizer. Before the times of instant texting…heck, before we even carried cell phones!…that distance was concrete. There was a wall thousands of miles wide. I once tried to track down my husband in my crazy, sleep-deprived state, through friends I thought he might be having dinner with at some point on a business trip because I had no other contact point with him, including a hotel phone number, just so I could cry and yell at him for abandoning me with these sick children. The fact that they were entirely healthy when he left was lost on my delirious brain. I’m not proud of it, but there you are. He was too far away.

At one point while we were living in Georgia, my mother became sick with her third, most virulent cancer. It had invaded her brain, and I was desperate to get to her, to do anything I could to help. I had four young children and responsibilities to divest myself from. It took two weeks for me to make arrangements to leave and two days to drive to her with the kids. I felt desperately that I was too far away.

The virtual distance between me and my loved ones really has decreased over the years. We have cell phones and free long distance, skype and interactive xbox gaming. I can see my children, and play Risk with them, even though we have moved an ocean away. I don’t feel as distant as I really am most of the time, but occasionally it is just overwhelming. Now would be an example.  My precious husband went back to the States for work. A couple of days into his trip, his family called him to come, as his father was dying. Now, I am so glad my husband was only a few hours’ drive from his father, but I was an impossible ocean away from my husband. There was no way to get to him at all. I wanted so much to hug and comfort my husband, and it is impossible.

At times like this, I just wonder how I can have been ok with traveling so far. I’m ready for teleportation stations. That would so beat skype.


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Filed under family, personal

Lessons relearned

I already knew this, but today really, really reinforced it:

Art Done With Shoddy Materials and Tools Is Frustrating!

The contrast between the kinder project and the first/second grade project and the homeschool project was significant. The kinders had started their salamanders the week before, with oil pastel on 70# construction paper. Today we applied watercolor, finishing the same project the homeschoolers started and completed earlier that morning. They (with that handy supply fee) built salamanders on 98# mixed media paper. The homeschoolers also used my Prang watercolor. The results were gorgeous. Kinders’ paper turned almost transclucent as they applied water. Terrible. I was very concerned it wouldn’t hold up at all. But it was manageable. However, three of the students had a cheap no-name brand of watercolor, not even Crayola, that I swear held almost no pigment at all. They washed paint and washed paint over the paper, to barely even get a pastel! The students were getting frustrated, and I just pushed their paint away and put my own down for them. They tackled the project with fresh enthusiasm once they saw the BURST of color from the Prang! Next year, I am going to have to INSIST that teachers require the students to buy either Crayola or Prang. I stock the older students’ watercolor, as it is not on their supply lists, and I don’t buy washable for 4th-7th grades, but it is expected to be washable in the lowers and their teachers already require it on their general supply lists. Anyway, the kinders’ paper was sodden. My bad.

First graders used relatively narrow strips of 140# watercolor for their koi, with their own watercolor, excepting three who had none and used my Prang. I am pretty sure no one had those off-brand paints, and the very watered paintings held up beautifully! Too bad I can’t use 140# for EVERY watercolor project! So costly. The model for this is essentially my personal koi, outlined in Sharpie.

Quality tools and materials are WORTH EVERY PENNY!

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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Kindergarten, Teaching

What can go wrong…

You know how Mary Poppins floated into the story on a very breezy day? Well, I think Murphy blew into mine with the rain yesterday. My morning homeschool class went without unusual incident. I’m not saying there weren’t incidents, because after all, I work with children. I’m just saying none were beyond the normal hiccups. Then I went home to prepare for my school first and second graders, and the kinders following. I had lunch and watched the skies open with rain, calculating how long I had til I had to be at the school for my 1:55 class. I’m gathering up to leave, planning to stop and cut roadside cattail, when the school calls. Where am I? they want to know.

Why oh why did I think my class started at 1:55?! KINDERGARTEN does, but it is my second class! What a nut! My class time was half over when I ran in, no time to run through the Powerpoint, not much time for anything. And who would have guessed so many first and second graders would find scratch art frustrating, not fun? Well, obviously not me. It started with a few who had a legitimate problem: apparently they didn’t lay oil pastel down thick enough, and the black paint adhered to the paper more than not. A toothpick was not going to scratch that paint much! Those few tried scissors, but one couldn’t use a light hand, and pretty much tore up the paper. Really, though, that wasn’t too many in the class, but once they started grousing, it spread to those who didn’t like the tedium of little, repetitive scratches, and those who expected brilliant color to pop out clean from their black paint. I didn’t meet the expectations of either. Still, we got about 8 really, really pretty spider webs from project. I’m still glad I did it, but I need to rethink how for the future.

So I sailed straight from there to the kinders, stopping just long enough to cut paper for the project (I SWEAR I counted! I don’t know HOW I came up short one!). As I passed out their fairly complex little salamander templates, I realized the Post-It glue to secure these on their papers was on my kitchen counter. ARGH! This is a difficult template for little kinders to hold down while tracing, and the results are varied and unique as a result. But perhaps they learned more doing it this way; I don’t know. They’ll be cute regardless. The rest of the lesson went ok as we introduced complementary colors and they selected their pair. The watercolor wash and salt “spotting” for the salamanders will be next week. I hope they remember the story we read, The Salamander Room, as we paint. We’ll get to talk about salamanders as water-born animals as we watercolor. See?

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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Kindergarten, Teaching

Not again!! ARGHH!!

As I sit here writing, I am rolling my left foot over a frozen water bottle. My plantar fascitis is acting up again, whether from one leg being longer than the other as Coach suspects, or the foot never quite recovering from the fall a few weeks ago. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that something, anything, is YET AGAIN getting in the way of my 5K goal! I am SO frustrated. I adopted this goal more than 5 years ago, in my 30s, and with one injury, strain, (even overtrained heartvalve!) after another, I still haven’t even run in my first Fun Run. Now I’m in my 40s, and it made my 50 Before 50 list. I am bound and determined!

Coach says to take out the jogging from the program for one week. And I will; I follow her instructions to the T. But I’m mad about it. Mad at my body, I guess. I was having so much fun.


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Filed under fitness