Coming soon to a trail near you

will be me, on my longest long run before the marathon.  I’m going to take the advice of my long-run partner and instead of running 20 miles am going to run 3 hours and 20 minutes.  He thinks (and he’s right) that it’s more important for me to get used to the time than the miles.  Considering my 19 miler took exactly 3 hours, that makes sense.  I’d hate to get to that 3 hour mark and still have an HOUR to go without being used to that. So off we’ll go…out for 1:40, back for 1:40.  Holy shit.  That’s a long-ass time. Not as long as the marathon will be, but because it’s a race, it will be different?  (hear that? that’s the sound of me fervently hoping it will somehow just fly by)  I’m guessing that time will get me between 22 and 23, and you know what?  I can do *anything* for 3 more miles.

All I know is that I’m SO tired of running.  I still enjoy the runs – in fact, Saturday’s “long” run of “only” 12 miles was super solid. Today was a 5-miler that was just…nice.  It’s getting so difficult to just get out the door.  Every day is scheduled around my run.  Every weekend is scheduled around my run.  Almost every day I hurt.  I ice.  I roll.  I stretch.  I massage.  I don’t know how people with full time jobs and kids and husbands do this all year long.  I don’t know how their bodies hold up!  As excited as I am about this race, I’m fairly certain I won’t become a “marathoner” beyond the slim possibility of maybe doing one a year.  I’m really looking forward to a summer of running what I want when I want. I’m really looking forward to some rest.  I’m really looking forward to a half. 

Wow.  I just wrote that.  I’m looking forward to a HALF.  A year ago, I was a week out from my first half ever, freaking out because I hadn’t run more than 10 miles since college.  Now I’m officially faster than I was in college and I’m a month out from a 26.2. Excuse me while I go eat some more candy to ward off the mini-freak out I feel coming on. 




Mostly, I hate parents who 1) think they know what the hell even goes on my classroom; 2) think they know better than I do what class policies are; 3) think their children can do no wrong; and 4) try to bully me into changing their kid’s grade. 

Fuck you, mom.  Fuck you and your “we” in reference to your KID’S work.  Fuck you and your insinuation that I am not doing my job.  Fuck you and your fucking demand to give your kid points for something he didn’t even do.  How about you come spend five fucking minutes in my classroom before you start dropping “we”?  How about you come see and hear for yourself that indeed, the expectations are laid out clearly every single fucking day before you tell me I didn’t lay them out?

No?  Can’t do any of that?  Bummer.  Fuck you for that, too. 

That whole control thing

Sometimes I wish I was a person content to float along through life. I suspect it would save me a significant number of hours of worry and stress and sleeplessness.

But thanks to having a mother who died when I was 8 and a father who basically for the next 9 years shuffled me and my sister to various relatives and an ex-husband who tried to both physically and mentally own me, I have control issues. 

The most difficult thing I face in my profession, in my marriage, in my parenting, is first recognizing that I cannot always control a situation and then relinquishing the desire to control it.  I take things too personally much too often.  I carry around guilt that doesn’t belong to me (or anyone, for that matter).  I find comfort in the familiar and expected.  Change frightens the bejeezus out of me.  I obsessively plan travel.  I obsessively plan my days.  I crave a schedule.  I twitch when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to go. 

There are wonderful things about this, however.  I tend to follow through on tasks. I am loyal to a fault. I fight fiercely for the things I am passionate about.  I work hard to achieve my goals. 

What stinks about being this person is that when I come to a point in my life – like now, like today, like this very minute – where I feel like I have no control, I have no point of reference for coping.  I don’t have the complete faith in a higher power to trust that my life is being guided.  I don’t have pithy quotes to recite and I don’t have the breezy attitude that I see in the people who never seem upset. 

This post, for those of you wondering, is strictly about my career. I want to try something new.  I want to do something different.  But I’m afraid of change.  I’m afraid that people will think I’m a fraud.  I have such little control over this right now that I…I can’t even write it. I truly believe there is a balance of free will and fate for all of us. I know in my  head that there is only so much I can do about any given thing and I have to have faith that my best is enough.

I know I need to let go.  I need to listen to my “people” – the ones who tell me, “why not?” and “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” – and just let go.


I can’t be the only mom who thinks this

We have been together for over 8 years now.  In that time, we’ve been able to establish two pretty solid traditions as a family…we clean on Friday afternoons when we get home from school and we go out to dinner on Friday nights as much as we can.  We sometimes just get something to go, but it’s rare that we ever eat food that has been made in our kitchen.

So tonight we headed to Rock Bottom Brewery.  I had been looking forward to eating pretzels and drinking beer carb loading for tomorrow’s 15-miler all day today.  Literally, my mouth was watering when we walked in the door to find a 30 minute wait.  Boo.  But, we’re used to it, our kids are well behaved, and we love the beer, so hey, we’ll hang. 

Jesse took the girls outside to run around while I checked in on Facebook.  Next thing I know, Ryan’s saying, “Dad needs you!”  I go outside to find a baby SCREAMING holy hell and a daddy covered in puke.  NOT the kind of puke that comes from sickness.  The kind of puke that comes from the fit thrown by our ridiculously single-minded daughter who was told no when she tried to run into the street. 

You read that right.  My nearly 17-month-old child threw a fit so hard after being told no, she threw up.

Okay…well, it’s already been 30 minutes, I’m thinking.  Let’s clean up. We’ll get a table.  She’ll calm down now.  But no.  No table.  And she kept on.  For ten more minutes.  Couldn’t calm down.  So we peace the fuck out.  The people at the front say, “We’re sorry” as we leave, but they weren’t sorry at all.

(on a side note…why the FUCK were there no less than SEVEN empty tables in the restaurant? why the FUCK were people who had shown up after us being seated before us with the same size party? did I just get the kid-discrimination at Rock Bottom? we waited for 40 minutes, by the way…10 minutes longer than we were told.  had we been seated, NONE of this would have happened.)

And I was pissed at my kid.  My baby.  I was pissed at her.  Maybe that makes me shallow.  Maybe that makes me a terrible mother.  Maybe I shouldn’t have talked to her about how she was letting down all of us by acting like such a brat.  But I did it anyway.  We don’t get to go out much and she ruined for us.  Not because she was sick (that’s a different post, people), but because she was willfully throwing a huge fucking fit about being saved from oncoming traffic.  So fuck that “poor baby” noise.  Poor mommy.  Poor daddy.  Poor Ryan, who missed out on her special treat. 

And you know how this story ends, right?  Within five minutes of being in the car, she was her happy self.  She’s been cute as shit all night long. 

And I find myself thinking what I know every mom thinks at some point: Damn kid. 

This sounds very attention-whoreish

but it’s not.

Every week during our staff meeting, there are “celebrations.”  It’s usually pretty routine stuff…students winning awards, teachers doing programs…and right now, the weekly announcements of who is leading this wellness challenge we’re having.  Yes, I signed up for it.  Yes, I win every week because I’m training for a marathon.  I signed up to keep myself accountable.  My name gets said, I get a KIND bar, everyone is happy. Except last week, when I wasn’t there…

the teacher running the challenge publicly announced that I’m training for a marathon.And you’d think it had been announced that not only am I climbing Mount Everest, I’m going to do it naked.

The public announcement doesn’t bother me.  Multiple people asking me about it EVERY DAY SINCE does.  Yes, I’m running a marathon.  Because I want to.  Yes, it’s hard.  Yep, it takes time.  No, I’m not crazy. 

I like being recognized for the work I do when it makes a difference – like the state student council adviser of the year award I got (which got completely ignored by the powers that be, but whatevs).  But this work?  This is solely for me. My running is very personal.  It is the only time of day that is all mine – no students, no kids, no phone.  I view Sunday runs like my church…being in the world, showing my gratitude to God for this ability He has given me.  It’s mine.  I race because I like the challenge, not because I like attention. 

The 40-something pounds I’ve kept off for the last 7 months?  It’s my achievement.  No, I’m not sick.  No, I’m not anorexic.  Yes, I eat.  Yes, I eat junk food.  Yes, I drink wine.  There’s not a secret; all I do is work out regularly and eat well most of the time. So when a parent asked our athletic director at a game last week if “the teacher who does the scoring for the game is okay? she looks sooo skinny”, I want to throat punch people.  When multiple colleagues tell me, “you need to stop losing weight” even though I haven’t lost a pound since July, I want to scream.  When did criticizing people of *any* weight become okay?  I can’t imagine if I had gained another 40 pounds that people would be expressing so much concern about my well-being.

I know most people are impressed by my running and by my weight loss.  I know that it comes from a place of compliment.  I just wish they’d quit trying to make a big fucking deal out of it.  It’s not theirs, it’s mine.  Generally, I kind of like being the center of attention.  Need to talk to 2000 kids? I’m your guy.  Need someone to run the meeting?  Sign me up.  But these things belong to me.  I wish people would let me have them.

Today I (pretty much) got called a racist

And I was shaking angry about it.

I teach in a school that is very…vanilla.  In fact, for my final paper in my principal program, I renamed it Vanilla Valley High School.  It’s also smack dab in the middle of engineer-land, so it’s full of students who are very affluent.  This is a blessing, but can also be a burden (see: overindulged children of entitled parents), which was the case today.

We had interviews for incoming freshman student council students last night.  It is a SUPER competitive process and my executive board kids take it very seriously.  They spent three hours interviewing and almost two more hours discussing and choosing who they thought would be the best fit for council.  They made what I feel are outstanding choices. 

Today, I got a call from a mom of one of the students who did not make it.  She left a voice mail in which she said, among other things, “my daughter is fine about the decision, but I have questions about the diversity of your group.”  Uh…first of all, why are you calling if your KID IS FINE???  (see above, re: entitled parents)

I hesitantly called her back, shaking inside and out at where I knew she was headed.  Turns out, she was headed there.  She informed me that she “heard” that all the kids who got chosen are rich and white.  That the only kids who got chosen were “related to people on council or the brother of someone’s boyfriend.”  That the kids at my school are “snotty white girls” and she has serious concerns about our process – a process that has served us well for eight years.

I decided quickly that I needed to practice my diplomatic administrator skillzzz (you know, in case I ever get a job).  So I took a deep breath and informed her that yes, our school demographic is very white and very affluent, but our council actually has a multitude of diverse ethnic students.  I explained to her that we never have and never will consider race as a factor when selecting students.  I calmly informed her that I was present during the discussion after the interviews and that as a professional, I was very proud of my kids’ decision.  I apologized for her getting the impression that we operate that way. 

She backed down pretty quickly and admitted that she didn’t really believe we would do that, but…you know…as the white mother of an adopted Chinese child, she’s pretty sensitive about those things.  Yes, I imagine she is.  And I understand the mama bear response, I really do. 

But I don’t appreciate this incident and the insinuation (once again) that somehow teachers just aren’t professional enough to make sure blatant or subtle racism doesn’t happen.  That somehow I encourage the lack of diversity in our school.  That I can’t possibly understand being the minority in a situation.  I wanted soooo badly to tell her about my Hispanic daughter.  About my 10 years as the minority in New Mexico.  About how I teach my students entire UNITS about encouraging diversity and the acceptance of people for people’s sake.   And I wanted more than anything to scream at her, “WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME?  AND WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME A RACIST?!?!?” 

But I didn’t.  Because really, she just wanted to be heard.  She just wanted to complain.  And I just wanted to hang up.  So I smiled and played nice.  And you know what?  I’m proud of that.  I’m proud of the work I do.  I’m proud of my students.  I’m proud to do my part to help create a world where people can be loved and appreciated simply for who they are.

I got to be that girl today

When I looked at my “book” to see what I had coming up this week, I knew today would be a bitch.  I had a 7-miler on tap, my annual exam, taking Megan to the airport for a 3:45 flight, parent/teacher conferences for Meg, just a day with a bunch of STUFF.  So instead of packing it all into a day with school, I took the day off.  I was free!  And I got to do things that women all over get to do: I got to drop Ryan off at school.  I got to drop Ainsley off at daycare.  I got to run at 9:30 in the morning.  I got to leisurely drink lots and lots of coffee.  I got to do a *bit* of cleaning. I got to watch Smash and *two* episodes of Glee.  I got to pick Megan up from school.  I got to take a 30 MINUTE hot shower and because it was quiet the whole time, I don’t care about the wasted hot water.

A lot of this is not very different from my Sunday mornings. But today was Wednesday.  And even though I have to go back to reality tomorrow (and be at school tomorrow until  7 and on Friday until 7 and then go on an overnight retreat on Saturday), today I got to feel like me again.