Nine hours. NINE.

This weekend I went on the student body retreat. So 48 hours up in Estes Park with 37 teenagers. While this might sound like the equivalent of a root canal without anesthesia, it was such fun. It really does serve as a reminder of why I do this. The impact that I can have on kids in such a short time sometimes amazes me. However, getting five hours of sleep on Saturday night and four hours of sleep on Sunday night has just about done me in. Another plus is the bonding time with one of the other teachers at my school…do you think it’s strange for grown women in their 30s to lay in bed and talk about poop and think it’s funny? Because I don’t.

Remember the days of staying up all night? Of going home at 6 am to shower just in time to board the bus for a track meet? Of closing down the bar to go home and occupy time with um…more adult activities? Remember that? Yeah…me too. Now when I’m up past 11, I have sleep hangover. My head pounds, my hands shake, my legs are weak. So adding high altitude and emotionally draining conversations to that creates such a void in me that I can barely type this entry.

So yeah, I’m a complete puss. But I’m a complete puss who is a kick ASS leadership coordinator. And I’m also a complete puss who has FIVE DAYS OFF to recover and recuperate.

*le sigh*

One of my favorite things to do is listen to cheesy love songs. I have a playlist on my ipod actually titled “cheesy love songs.” I’m not kidding.

I know a lot of the motivation for this comes from the many many many years I spent longing for the devotion and passion about which these songs croon, or maybe it’s just listening to Delilah as my bedtime music for three years straight? Either way, I love them all: Elton John, Phil Collins, John Denver, Air Supply…all of that crap. I LOVE IT.

Most of the time I listen to it when I’m already feeling blue – it’s a great way to get the tears flowing, and we all know the importance of a therapeutic cry. Tonight, though, I’m feeling good – I managed to get about 15 things done today, I met with my university supervisor and my principal about my internship and it was GOOD, I’m drinking wine and feeling toasty – and I’m listening to some of my favorite sap and it’s not bringing me down. All except that one…”You’ll Be In My Heart”….can’t do it. So hard.

I feel like a little background is necessary, since most people don’t spontaneously burst into tears at a song. I have always been that person who says, “just listen to the WORDS!” for a song. When I was married to my ex-controller, he actually expressed concern that I might think life should be like a song…to which I replied, “why shouldn’t it be?” (but that’s a whole other post). I’m not sure if it’s my English background, but I love lyrics. I am jealous of songwriters who can somehow capture the common emotions of humans in a way that makes sense. I wish I could do it. \ And who can really deny the power of music? How many mixed tapes have YOU made in your lifetime? 🙂 I love being able to teach songs as literature. I love taking that accessible medium and making it scholarly.

Jesse doesn’t get it. He’s a music guy. I have to force him to listen to the words. When I say, “this song reminds me of you/us,” he nods politely and listens. He tries, and heaven bless him for that. Those music people, though, sometimes just don’t understand that beautiful music can only be better with beautiful words…How can you argue that Phil Collins isn’t right when he says, “You know I love you, but I just can’t take this.” How? Or when Billy Joel describes the perfect woman: “She’s frequently kind, and she’s suddenly cruel. She can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool. She cant’ be convicted, she’s earned her degree.” Or the amazing Elton John, when he can’t recall if my eyes are “green or they’re blue” (they’re brown, by the way)…does it matter when he’s writing My Song? No.

So embrace your love of the love song. I know you’ve all caught yourselves listening to KOSI-FM and guiltily changed the station. Next time, own it. Those guys really know what they’re talking about – and the best part is, we can enjoy the release without doing any of the work.

Yay! Book Time!

I’m so glad I got tagged today for this one since I’m home sick and need something to eat up my time. Daytime TV just really isn’t all it used to be, ya know? Erin tagged me for this one, and this is going to be an exercise in reading AND figuring out how to tag people.

Go to your nearest bookshelf. On the top shelf (or highest shelf with books) what book is fifth from the right and why did you love it? Now go to the bottom shelf (or lowest shelf with books). Tell us about the fifth book from the left. Then tag five of your blog buddies – link please! – to do the same. Be sure to link to the person who tagged you too.

Top shelf – fifth from the right

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. This book holds a special place for me, since it was the first book I read as part of the FoCoHo book club. It’s weird. It’s about a boy with autism who is on a mission to solve the neighborhood mystery of a dog’s death. I remember liking it very much and recommending it to most people I know. It’s now covered with crayon scribbles. Apparently Ryan liked it, too.

Bottom shelf – fifth from the left

Knuffle Bunny Too. Please remember that I have a 4 year old. However, this book is AWESOME. It’s funny. It’s smart. Mo Willems’ mix of animation and photographs is stunning. It’s a sequel. It’s about Trixie and how she loses her Knuffle Bunny in a hijinxed mixup, but also manages to make her first real best friend. I love it, and not just because Ryan can read it to ME.

Okay, that’s it. What an eclectic mess. This was only one bookshelf of many in this house. Soooo…now I’m tagging Katie Kerry andJill Everyone I know has already been tagged. That or I need add some more blogs to my google reader.

All about perspective, isn’t it?

I spend an inordinate amount of time complaining on here about things which I feel are pretty damn important.  I know we all do something similar…spend so much time focusing on the negative that we start to take the positive for granted.  I’d just like to share some things from my week.

A very good friend of mine found out she is not almost 8 weeks pregnant after nearly a year of trying to conceive.  Turns out she has a blighted ovum, which basically means a fertilized egg implanted, but for whatever reason, didn’t keep growing.  The placenta grew, and her hormones continued to shift, which provided the positive test and all the symptoms, but no baby.

An acquaintance/friend of mine finally became pregnant after years of trying and in vitro fertilization.  She is currently in the hospital, 30 weeks pregnant, taking steroids to hurry the development of her daughter’s lungs, so that when that precious, very wanted and already loved girl does come into the world – and she will, probably very soon – she has every fighting chance.

One of my students told me this afternoon that her father was rushed to the hospital this weekend with chest pain and assorted other symptoms, including some serious bleeding.  He has been diagnosed with colon cancer.  I don’t know how serious, or what the prognosis is, but I know that there are EIGHT children in this family, and mom’s only job is at home, taking care of the family.  I can’t even imagine what is going through their minds.

So if you wouldn’t mind saying a prayer, offering a moment of silence – whatever your gig is – or even just stopping to appreciate the things that are going right for you, I’d appreciate it.  I know that in light of all this, the email from the pissy parent and the fact that I’m so busy that I forgot today was my OWN wedding anniversary suddenly seem less important.

My love/hate relationship with a television show

I was late getting on the Grey’s Anatomy train.  One May night a few years back, I caught the season finale when Denny Duquette dies.  I cried so hard my eyes were swollen the next morning.  I spent the rest of the summer catching up.

Now, I record every episode so I can enjoy it without commercials.  Because of the Broncos, I’m watching it in real time tonight, and I would never dare dream of blogging during the show.  If I didn’t tonight, I would have swollen eyes again tomorrow.

This show has a way of finding the most vulnerable parts of my tough-guy armor and pushing a knife right through the chinks.  Sometimes people die and I don’t care.  Sometimes people live and I don’t care.  Sometimes just seeing Meredith open her mother’s journal brings me to tears.  When Izzy cried on the bathroom floor in a prom dress, something in me crumpled like the silk of her gown.  Watching this old man push on his wife’s chest because he could not let her go reminded me that all I want in the world is to grow old with my husband and made me literally sob.  Looking at all the blood, fake as it may be, helps me to realize I made the right choice when I opted out of pre-med.

And when Izzy tells Denny he can’t be there, I want to reach through the screen and shake and scream at her to not let him go.  We can’t let those people go.  We can’t forget them.  We can’t discount the effect of their love on us.  We can’t turn our backs on their memory.  We can’t deny their existence.  We can’t let go.

I miss my mom.  I hate this show.

I shouldn’t be surprised

Considering where I live and where I work, that people are genuinely upset at Obama’s victory.  I think most people would be surprised to know that for a while I was considering McCain.  Until he named Palin as his running mate, I was open to a McCain presidency.  She did it for me, but that’s another post.  I also can’t believe the amazing spread of propaganda.  If I hear one more person use a Fox News talking point as evidence in an argument, I’m going to turn the channel to 42, rip their head off and throw it into the television.  What has happened to THINKING and making your own DECISION?

What is KILLING me right now is the assumption that the world is going to end.  That, somehow, by electing this man we have doomed our nation.  That we have opened the gates for terrorists, that the rich will be robbed of their money, that the poor (hey! that’s me!) will suddenly find themselves rolling in the dough…it is so frustrating.  I just got a text from who I consider a fairly educated voter: “I bet Putin is celebrating! The US is so vulnerable now, Obama won I’ll admit. I expected it but it’s going to be terrible you wait.”

Um….terrible?  Isn’t it terrible now?  People who work their asses off can’t afford health insurance, or a mortgage, or even their groceries, and that’s bad?  Don’t even get me started on the idiocy about Muslims, socialism, and religion that have surrounded the Obama campaign…

I want to use this forum to state publicly: I care about people.  All people.  (I don’t know how any educator can feel differently.)  I want all people to have at the LEAST the opportunities I had – and believe me, they were limited.  I want people to feel safe.  I want people to not worry.  I want kids to have an education and a doctor.  I want people to love our country.  And honestly, if that makes me a socialist, so be it.  I care about people more than I care about my bank account.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to the check that Obama will be mailing me soon.  According to the Republicans, Obama will rob the rich and give to the poor, and that will be me, right?

Long live the democratic republic.