Am I crazy? Maybe.

Reasons why I think I may be going slightly nuts.

1) I lost my water bottle today. I just bought it two months ago to replace one that had previously broken. And I liked it. A lot. But now it’s gone. And I’m not worried. I’m too tired to care. Plus, Target has the same water bottle on sale this week.

2) I have a cold. It will probably stick around until April. Because this is an annual event, it doesn’t phase me anymore.

3). Just look at the way I wrote that. I think that says I’ve finally lost it.

4) My need to correct other people’s grammar is getting out of control.

5) I really wish I was in Pittsburgh right now. My heart is there. My body is here. We have a problem.

6) I don’t know where I’m student-teaching come January. I know what sections of what classes I’m supposed to be in at GVSU. But I don’t have my placement yet. Maybe that will come tomorrow.

7) I really want purple daisies.

8) I need a nap. I have class tonight. I’ll just eat some sugar before I leave. That’ll work, right?

9) There seems to be some sort of direct correlation between my lack of sleep and my logical fallacies.

10) Is it Christmas yet?


Love Languages

I am very much so convinced that of the five love languages, mine is probably a combination of words of affirmation, quality time, and gifts. Acts of service and physical touch are very nice things. But they are not my primary ways of giving or receiving love.

But when Katie sends me a text message telling me that she loves me or when Ben sends me an email saying “yeah, I got your prayer request; I’m on it. Trust God,” those messages speak love to my soul. When Kyle sits in my living room and listens to me ramble about literature for an hour, that shows me love. When Jenny talks to me on the phone, that shows me love. When Annie gives me flowers on my birthday, that shows me love. When Katie mailed me a purple umbrella…well, you get the idea.

And when Senora buys me a vanilla latte on her way to work in the morning, well, that keeps bringing tears of joy to my eyes.

Every morning this semester, I have carried a tired-looking gray travel mug with a blue lid with me as I walked around WCA. Senora noticed it and asked me what was in it about three days into school; I told her coffee-the only way I can really get off the ground in the morning. It’s been with me day in and day out.

Yesterday, I left it in her office when I left. I realized it about ten minutes after I left but I was in a hurry to get to a class so I couldn’t go back and get it. But no big deal…I have two other travel mugs at home. One leaks; one only holds 12 ounces in comparison with the 20ish my gray one holds. But this morning, I made my usual pot of coffee and poured it and some vanilla-caramel creamer into my 12 oz. mug. And then I left for WCA.

When I got there, Senora wasn’t in her office. But sitting on the desk that I use was a hot Starbucks cup, my mug that I’d forgotten, and a note saying “I saw that you forgot your mug yesterday so I picked you up a coffee on my way in this morning. -SZ”

She went and bought me a vanilla latte at Starbucks.I know…it’s just a latte. But when you’re tired and feeling crappy about yourself and you’re beginning to wonder if a human being can possibly evaporate from exhaustion and stress and confusion and frustration, a vanilla latte is like a kiss from God. Caffeine is powerful.

Now for a funny kid story…

Senora has been telling our students that she found out she is going to have a baby boy come spring. Naturally, all the boys want her to name the baby after themselves. One fifth-grader, M, told her that she should name the baby after him because “I’m legendary and if you’re legendary people should name their children after you so that the legend continues.”


Random Fridays

1) This has been a long and stressful week. But it’s over. Now I can do schoolwork, knit, watch movies, consume the fruit of the vine, and relax until Monday.

2) Monday, I’m teaching eighth grade while being observed by my content-area seminar professor. I’m a little nervous.

3) I taught eighth-grade by myself today. Senora wasn’t in the room at all; she was doing translation for someone else somewhere else in the building. It was scary. It was stressful. But I did it. (I wasn’t alone in the room; the eighth-grade English teacher was there for legal liability reasons.)

4) The assistant principal and the principal both came into the room while I was teaching. It was nervous-making. But neither of them criticized me.

5) I feel very spiritually empty this week. I’m not quite sure why but I do.

6) I really want Panera.

7) I got a free cookie yesterday after my COE seminar. It was random and delicious.

Friday, I’m in love

Today has been an interesting day for me. It’s been a bit rough emotionally. When I got home from teaching this afternoon, I felt like Frodo circa ten minutes after the Scouring of the Shire. Now part, no, most of that had nothing to do with today specifically. It’s just been a rough week. I had surgery and it’s been rough to bounce back from that physically and emotionally. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed at by stuff with the College of Education. C’est la vie. I suppose.

When I got home, I was just ready to give up. I was exhausted and I could have written several emo poems about life. So I did what any intelligent human being would do. I watched last night’s episodes of Bones, The Office, and 30 Rock on Hulu. And then I went to the store and bought the ingredients to make homemade pasta sauce-as well as some Italian sorbetto that was on sale and some coconut-milk-based ice cream that is dairy-free and soy-free and also on sale. (By the way, this coconut-milk based ice cream is a) sold at Meijer and b) so worth the hype and the price. It’s been on sale the past few weeks and I tried the Mocha-Almond-Fudge last week; it was amazing. This week, I’m trying the Cherry Amaretto. It sure as heck sounds good.) But I digress…

As I drove home from the store, I planned the rest of my day. I would do some work on a project for my Content Area Literacy class that is a waste of my time, energy, money, and life. Then I would make dinner, maybe do a bit more work on the project, and then watch a movie with sorbetto and beer. And I began to think back on the highlights and lowlights of my day.

Two big highlights were found-both in Mrs. S’s fourth-grade class.

1) I went into the room by myself this morning and started class without Senora. This was Senora’s idea, not mine. But I’m getting more comfortable with it. (She also had me do it in sixth grade this morning, third grade yesterday, and in Mr. B’s fourth-grade on Wednesday.) The munchkins asked where Senora was and I told her that I had lost her. They said that they’d seen her earlier in the day. So I told them that I’d lost her since then. And then she walked into the room. Someone said something about Senorita making Senora reappear. And one adorable nine-year-old boy said, “That’s because she’s a fairy princess.”

Why yes, yes, I am a fairy princess. And I even have the wings, wand, and tiara to prove it-but they’re at my parents’ house.

2) I was teaching a lesson in that class about “Me gusta,” “No me gusta,” “Te gusta,” and “No te gusta.” (I like, I don’t like, You like, and you don’t like.) It was my fourth time teaching this lesson and I’m getting pretty comfortable with it-but it’s kind of dense and boring. It’s a little difficult for the fourth-graders. But they’re getting it. Some of them are getting it faster than others.

Enter Luke. Luke is adorable and the kind of kid that you cannot help but love. He’s pretty smart and very well-behaved and he’s the kind of boy that someday will be a heart-throb but without ever really understanding WHY all the girls giggle and whisper and blush whenever he walks by. But right now, he’s nine and wonderful. During the lesson today, I could tell he was struggling to understand but he wasn’t quite getting it. The kids were writing sentences on their mini-whiteboards (picture a slate with a whiteboard instead of a chalkboard) and then sharing examples. I could tell who was getting it (the boy who wrote like six or seven examples at least) and who was struggling (the girl who didn’t quite understand that “Me gusta” only means “I like,” not “I like to play”). And I could see Luke trying to work through it in his mind. And he asked me a question or two that showed me that he hadn’t gotten it QUITE yet but he was getting there. And then when I was about to tell Jack that his example would be the last example of the exercise, Luke raised his hand. And I could see in his eyes that he understood it. So after Jack shared, I let Luke give the final example. And he did get it. I felt so happy for him and proud.

See getting through to the kids like Casey who can write six or seven examples after a two-minute explanation is fairly easy. It is rewarding but getting through to the kids who struggle more or have to think their way through things to really get it, that’s where the real reward is found. That’s where the real teaching is done-in the trenches. And it isn’t easy. It probably isn’t as hard as carrying the Ring to Mount Doom or Scouring the Shire, but it might be as rewarding. So I’ll take the exhaustion with the jubilation because I believe in a free Narnia.

But now I’m just being silly and mixing my metaphors.

Amazing Friends

Sometimes you have to get punched in the face to realize how good you have it. And that’s true of my friends. I have some pretty amazing friends. And I’m including my really great brother in this.

1) My brother…He took me to the emergency room yesterday and stayed there with me while I had an emergency surgery. And he called our mom to tell her. And he called our friend Kyle to let him know about it so that he could pray for the situation-and be aware of it to help me if I needed help.

2) Ben…He may be about 430 miles away from me but he’s still a good friend. Yesterday after my surgery, I asked him to tell our mutual friend Katie (they live in the same city) so that she wouldn’t get freaked out by a text message from me saying “Hey, I just had surgery.” He did as asked…and then promised to pray for me.

3) Katie…her immediate reaction to me after hearing from Ben was “I’m praying for you. We need to talk. SOON. Are you okay?” Yeah, I love her.

4) Marie…also known as my roommate; she took me to get my prescriptions filled yesterday. That’s pretty great.

5) Kyle…after getting a bunch of people to pray for me, he came over this evening with a 2-liter of Sprite and a bottle of ibuprofen. And then he stayed and kept me company for an hour. I’d been alone most of the day. I’d been knitting and doing school work and watching movies. An hour of Kyle did for my spirits what the Sprite and ibuprofen do for my body.

6) Jesus…he gave me all of those people. And he’s given me more people who I know are praying for me and loving me who didn’t get mentioned. But without him, I wouldn’t have the five people I mentioned. And I’m very grateful to each of them for time, prayers, attention, love, and little things like bottles of Sprite.

A “Leavely” Post

That is a bad pun. I know.

But lately, my knitting has had a leaf-motif. Today, I finished the winter hat that I was making for little G. The pattern is called “Sweet Leaf Toddler Hat.” And when you look at the picture below, you’ll know. It has a pattern that looks like leaves climbing on it.

I think it’s pretty darling and I hope that she’ll think so too. Or at least, her mother will. And as long as they’re happy, I’m happy.

I’ve also been working on a sweater called “Starksy.” Yes, Starsky-as in “and Hutch,” that Starsky. I’m only working on the back piece so far and it probably won’t be done until November. But it’s coming along! And it has a pattern of knitting, purling, and cabling that creates what is called a “banana tree pattern” through the knitting. It’s gorgeous. See below:

I’m just getting going on this, but I have faith in it. I’m about 50% of the way through the back and I love how it’s going and how it looks and how it feels. I’m a huge fan of the color. The yarn is a lighter weight than the pattern recommends but that was intentional. I want to be able to wear this sweater over a blouse while teaching. I think it’s classy enough for that.

Now I’m off to make myself a cup of tea and get back to watching You’ve Got Mail, one of my all-time favorite movies.