Thursday.. and in 2.5 hours it will be Friday :)

Today was an exhausting day, but a good day.  I got to sleep slightly later and then had a good coffee and chocolate almond biscotti on the way to Burlington for my large team meeting with ESUCP.  This was our last time as a large group since the restructure begins on Monday, so I was grateful to get to see all my old friends, coworkers, teammates.  It was a productive day and I won several prizes and received a ‘goodie bag.’  I also got to get some things off my chest that I definitely needed to get off, and that went well.  Today was rainy, but still warm and the drive was pretty. The ponds are very full and the Haw River was racing over the rocks.  I would like to go for a hike down at the historic Glencoe Mill site sometime.  It is so beautiful in that area and it is right on the Haw River.

Alex left for Wilmington today, and the house is quiet tonight and still.  Had dinner with Jason, Jenn, and Cam tonight at their house– tortellini and salad.  Home now watching a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy and tomorrow is Friday and a date one at that.  I found joy today in:

hope, communication, water, sky, music, friends, work, anticipation..

Wednesday… God this week is going slowly

I woke up and got a shower on time.  I wore a nice shade of blue that I don’t usually wear.  Holly’s birthday and she liked her gifts.  Extend 1– two down, three to go.  Alex went to his appointment and we had a nice chat on the way.  I discovered something new about Bean– he has written poetry!  In college, a long time ago, but I find this intriguing and wonderful.

Tuesday [it’s only Tuesday?]

Joys of the day so far:

♣.  I slept well last night [but I did not want to get out of the bed this morning or leave my dream].

☀ A cinnamon crunch bagel this morning for breakfast.  I brought 2 of them to school and put them in the oven on broil, one for me and one for Sophie.  Then, I got sidetracked removing that awful nearly black fingernail polish until I saw smoke coming from the back right burner 😦  Anyhow, I ran home quickly and got two more bagels since I had purchased 6 last night at Panera, went back to school, and tried again.  I did not burn them the second time 🙂

❋ Funny, funny children… I love them.  At one point this morning I stopped teaching and told my students that I was not going to teach while I had students milling around the classroom like they were at a cocktail party [Coe, Melinda, and Tiger had been walking about while I was talking about the USDA Food Pyramid].

Later on this morning [a conversation between me and our resident redhead who is funnier than Lucy]:

Melinda:  Look at this, Mrs. Whitman, look at this, look at this [as she shoved her version of the USDA food pyramid into my face].

Me:  Why do you have to say everything three times, Melinda?

Melinda:  Because I’m at a cocktail party.

Gotta love her 🙂

♡ Thinking of Bean and sending him a text and getting one back that said he needed that… well, I guess that’s why he had been on my mind 😉

♤ I made it through kettebell class with energy to spare.  I did not have any moments of feeling like I might lose consciousness, my push ups were harder but I did them anyhow, and the routine as a whole was easier.

♡ Two more texts from Bean… he sent me hearts.  I needed them, and they made my day.

And now, I am about to go and meet Cam and Jason for supper.

Monday

I am tired tonight, so listing things that I found joy in today will be a challenge.  However, that is the challenge I set up for the week, so…

On this second Monday in March I am grateful for:

  • a warm sunny day and the promise of spring
  • watching a film of the CSI ‘bunny murder’ case featuring my funniest student
  • my students, as always, making me laugh and love what I do
  • Panera Bread french onion soup & chicken salad on semolina
  • the piano and sax jazz playing in Panera while I ate my dinner
  • books:  I am still reading and loving– A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and two new ones:  one memoir and one on relationships [since I am perpetually confounded]
  • the smell of books and coffee in Barnes & Noble
  • a clean house
  • a cooperative child [for one day;)]

..and I am off to bed to read.

Joy

It is Sunday, and the weekend is almost over, but I want to begin a blog on the positive.  Cameron always wants us to tell the best part of our day and the worst part of our day when we sit down to eat, but I just want to focus on gratitude and things that give me joy.  There is simply too much complaining and bitching and moaning in the world [in fact I am living with so much negative energy right now] that I often feel like I need to counter it by being more positive.  I could focus on all the problems I have… which would fill several pages at least and might even be book length, but that would bring me and everyone else down.  So this week, I plan to blog each day on the things in that day that bring me joy!  If I need to complain, at least it will be countered by gratitude.

Joy #1:  Today, the first moment of joy I experienced was at the altar rail.  I am on the other side of it because I am a lay eucharistic minister and at that moment I was bearing the chalice for those coming to receive communion.  Sometimes I get lost in thought and sometimes I am just transfixed by the motions and the words of the sacrament, but this morning I looked at the rail and there were six boys kneeling on the gospel side of the rail.  All had their heads bowed and all but one had their arms crossed [indicating they intended to receive a blessing as opposed to communion] except for one, the oldest and largest who is about 16 years, who was receiving the Eucharist.  After they left the rail, they followed Christy and her husband [the parents of two of the boys] back to the pews and each followed suit in kneeling and bowing or leaning their heads over the pew in front of them.  I guess it was seeing all these boys and young men in church with their family taking up nearly three whole rows and watching the visiting boys mimicking what the others were doing that made me smile.

Joy #2:  A quote in the bulletin:  Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. I had also heard in the lyrics to a song that morning…”praying to a God I don’t believe in..”  Sometimes I have so much doubt and wonder who I am praying to, so this quote offers an interesting prescription.  Oh, and here is the video of the song which includes the lyrics I refer to, not because it has much to do with this entry, but because it is a cool song.

Joy #3:  Later, my daughter-in-law, Jennifer and I went to the nail salon.  I was having a gel fill and she was having a pedicure.  Having my nails done is a very relaxing experience.  I get to experience a stillness that I don’t usually allow myself to very often since I am always running here and there or thinking of the next task I need to complete.  So, when I have my nails done, it is almost like church in that I am quiet and still and I stay put for about an hour.   My hands are in someone else’s hands and I have to allow them to go fairly limp so that she can turn and manipulate the nail as she fills, and files, and paints.  There is the steady hum of a small fan embedded in the table, the warmth from the extension lamp overhead, and the gentle, lilting, cadence of Vietnamese with its decidedly musical qualities.  I always feel like I could curl up and take a nap, I am so relaxed when I leave the nail salon.

I had my nails painted Midnight in Moscow.  Which, unless you have been in Moscow at Midnight, you probably will not be able to picture as a color.  Let me tell you that this color is most likely quite similar to midnight in a number of other locales.  It looked like a rich eggplant or velvety dark brown in the bottle, but on my nails it looks, well, kind of gothic.  I am not sure how many days I can live with it, but it is different and a departure for me.

Joy #4:  A beautiful sunny day at the park.  I went to meet Jason and his family at the park where they had organized a pick up game of kickball.  They had invited some people from their church, and then had picked up a few more folks who happened to be watching them.  When I arrived, I saw a couple of my students and invited them to join.  We had people from age 4 to well, I guess, I was the oldest out there at 46, and only a couple of the players were any good at all [with quite of few of us being not only ignorant of the rules but blatantly bad].  I have been working on getting up a kickball team, but after today I am rethinking this.  We had fun, but I am not a very good player.  I am not sure why, knowing I have never been an athlete, I am trying to be one now.  I pulled my leg right away sprinting to first base and had to push through with a slight limp the rest of the time.  Now, you might be thinking, this activity does not sound like a joy, but it is… because it was sunny, and 60 and I am able to run and play with my family.. so it’s all good.  But, like I said, I am rethinking this whole kickball league thing.  The jury might be out until this muscle in the front of my left thigh recovers.

Joy #5:  Tonight is the Academy Awards Show, so I am looking forward to that!!!  I love award shows… I love seeing what the women wear– who looks fabulous and who looks, well, less than fabulous. Shana and I often talk on the phone during award shows discussing these celebrities like we know them and making funny observations.  I love seeing which films were chosen in each category, because I simply love movies.  I see a lot of movies– in the theater and on DVD.  I have always wanted to have an Oscar night party and if I had a large room and a big screen TV, I certainly would, because I know lots of other people who love to watch award shows too and it would be a great reason to get together and enjoy some great food and drink.

Now, I feel I should make my predictions for the major categories, so here goes:

Best Actor in a leading role:  I am pulling for Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, which, strangely enough I haven’t even seen.  I have heard his performance is incredible, and I like him.  Also, I don’t think George Clooney deserves it for Up in the Air… I don’t even know how he got nominated for this one other than this is a tough category to come up with the goods.  I wish I had seen some of the other nominees in their respective movies, because I love Colin Firth and Morgan Freeman and I will frankly be happy if either wins.

Best Actress in a leading role:  So, you know this is between Meryl and Sandra.  Sandra outdid herself in The Blindside and had me believing she was a very southern Republican with a big heart, but Meryl became Julia and gave me a whole new appreciation for this zealous and enthusiastic chef.  In fact, Julia, became one of my new heros and her marriage in this movie is the vibrant marriage I aspire to if I ever get married again.  I will have a man who simply adores me, or I will have none at all.  So, I am going with:  Meryl Streep.  I won’t be disappointed, though, if they give the gold man to Sandra Bullock.  Gabourey Sidibe outdid herself in Precious, but she is too young and we don’t know what else she can do.  I did not see Helen Mirren in The Last Stallion, although, I do love her, and aspire to look like her in my next few decades. Also, The Last Stallion sounds like something I want to see.

Actress in a Supporting Role:  Monique.  She made us hate her so much we wanted to kick her ass and we felt sorry for her at the same time.  And, she’s a comedian– go figure.  She made such a big splash that all the other contenders were jettisoned out of the pool.

Actor in a Supporting Role:  I only saw one of these films, so I am going to have to go with Christoph Waltz from Inglorious Basterds since he clearly nailed it in his performance as a chilling Nazi narcissist.

The last one I will weigh in on is best picture.  There are 10, count ’em, 10 nominees in this category this year– which seems a bit much to me.  Avatar won at the Golden Globes, which is often a predicting factor… but honestly, I don’t think Avatar is best picture material.  Sorry, James Cameron, Titanic was, Avatar isn’t.  Not to say it won’t win, because it could… I will simply be disappointed if it does.  I only saw six of the 10 films nominated, so I am at a serious disadvantage in picking a winner, but The Blindside did thrill and inspire me and Inglorious Basterds was impressive.  I am not sure either of those should win, however.  IB has a better chance than The Blindside, as I am not sure America is ready for a best picture win where Tim McGraw is a principal ‘actor.’  Up was the finest of animated pictures I have seen in many years, but not an overall BP category winner.  Up and Away was not as weighty as you would expect a film in this category to be, so I am going with the stunning and emotion-wrenching Precious and I will be so happy to see Tyler Perry get some recognition for who he is and what he does given where he came from.

And so, I am off to make a pork roast, which with any luck might turn out to be joy #6 😉

Kettlebells

So, at school they are offering this free class twice a week:  kettlebells.  I had no idea what a kettlebell was, but then again, I didn’t know what curling was until a couple of weeks ago thanks to Winter Olympics.  A few teachers had said they had been and it is a good workout, and heck it’s free, so Holly and I decided to check it out today.  A kettlebell is a weight that looks like this:

The workout is supposed to be a good workout for your core and your upper body, and since I have been only working my lower body with walking/jogging, I thought this could add some balance.  Holly & I changed after school and showed up in the weight room under the gym at 3:30.  We grabbed a mat and a kettlebell while our leader started some music.

The workout consists of three sets of standing exercises and three sets of floor exercises with 12-20 reps each and 30 second breaks in between sets.  The exercises are things like dead lifts [where you bend over and lift the weight off the floor], overhead lifts, starting the lawnmower lunges [you can probably picture this one], push ups, up and out sit ups, and so on with every exercise utilizing this weight.

Good gosh, is this a killer workout.  Becky said she was really sore a few days after her first workout… I am sore now.  The first set of reps is not that tiring, but subsequent sets begin to wear on you quickly.  Push ups were not as hard as I thought, but sit ups and crunches were awful.  Apparently, I have no stomach muscles– not a one.  No wonder my stomach looks like it does.  On the over and under front lunges, I was completely off in my timing and felt like my arms were getting tangled up in my legs.  At times during this workout, I felt like I was performing physical comedy in a Judd Apatow movie.  Holly was like, “Isn’t this fun, Whitman?”  I was like, “Um, I wouldn’t exactly call it fun.”  It was invigorating though, and a great way to celebrate Holly’s surgiversary:)  Holly is ready to do it again on Tuesday.. I think I might do it again on Tuesday, but I really have to practice those crunches.

Since Christmas, anyhow..

This morning I was talking to Sophie and Paulette [coworkers] 
while I was making coffee and telling them that I saw some of the cast 
of the original Partridge Family on the Today Show.. and then I started 
singing..."I woke up in love this morning, I woke up in love this morning, 
went to sleep with you on my mind.." 
[which for all of you who, for whatever baffling reason, did not watch 
the Partridge family when you were little, is a song David Cassidy sang with 
his fictional family group on the show]. 
Paulette's response [with a French accent]: 
"Oh, we know, Kim..You wake up in love every morning."  True that.

Early March snow..

It is snowing!  I am surprised at my reaction [happy excitement], given my lack of focus or interest earlier today regarding the possible arrival of snow. My relationship with snow has certainly been altered this year. Normally, I am craving snow like people crave chocolate or sex, but this year we have had at least four snow events giving us upwards of 20 inches in total and so I have become slightly jaded.  We still have piles of snow from the December 17 snowstorm in the Wal-mart parking lot. Those piles were startling at first and now seem like a part of the normal landscape. It amazes me how quickly we can become sated with something [or someone] and begin to take it [them] for granted.  It is true that you want most what you cannot have.

In years past, especially those where snow visited everyone else but us, I longed for snow and was obsessed with the weather channel. I would watch it like some people watch the stock market, looking for any small indication of wintery precipitation in the forecast.  When snowflake graphics appeared on the five-day, the music they played during the local forecast would become hypnotic and enchanting. With prospect of anything wintery, I would be glued to the television and later the Internet watching as the forecast would morph day after day and hour after hour until sometimes tragically the possibility of snow would disappear from the forecast completely. Or worse yet, they would predict an overnight snow and I would dance from window to window unable to go to sleep with excitement– only to wake up the next morning and find the same dull, brown yard and naked stick trees.

When the boys were small, it seemed to snow pretty well here. When we moved to Roxboro, we were told by the folks at the chamber of commerce that the average yearly snowfall was 5 inches.  I was pleased as pop to hear that since the latter part of my childhood was spent in Wilmington NC where snow was a real rarity.  We had moved from Maryland where snow averages were much more than 5 inches a season, and my sister and I even owned a pair of ice skates when we arrived on Sweetbriar Lane.  That very year, 1973, Wilmington had a sort of snowpacalypse of its own when a foot of snow fell followed by freezing rain which left a thick sheet of ice over all that snow.  I have pictures of my sister and I in our mocha brown parkas with fur-lined hoods standing in the front yard with our white ice skates on.  We posed like figure skaters and entertained questions from curious neighborhood children who had never even seen ice skates.  We skated and shared our skates and quickly made lots of new friends in the neighborhood.  So… I thought, so much for that.  It does snow here.. maybe we brought the snow with us! From there on, I looked for snow each year in sunny Wilmington where we often wore shorts and flip flops and played outdoors on Thanksgiving day [I have always been an optimist].

Of course, we didn’t get much more than a flake of snow for another 7 years.  In March of 1980 we had another big snow- like 7 inches, I think.  I was 16 years old and could drive in snow- in a ’67 white VW bug no less!  Meantime, from ages 16-18, I was headed to Boone every chance I got to visit friends at App and go skiing.  Snow was elusive and unpredictable and I longed for it each year.  Perhaps due in large part to its scarcity, when it did arrive, it was magical.  Nothing could get me excited like the hint of snow in the air.  When it began to fall, I would delight in it with all of my senses.  I’m not sure if you can, but I can smell snow.  My favorite snows are fluffy wonderfully packing snows that mound up quickly on every surface like cotton candy and my second favorite are powdery sparkling snows twinkling with millions of iridescent points of light.  I love watching it fall, especially when it falls in big, fluffy puffs that drift down in multiple directions taking their time, in no hurry, to make their way to the ground.  Watching snow fall for me is like watching fish swim in an aquarium.. everything seems to slow down and get quieter.. suspended animation where silence has a sound.

So, even though I have had enough snow this season to tame my usual eagerness, I am still sitting here mesmerized.. gazing through the classroom window at softly blowing snow that melts as it hits the wet black pavement of the parking lot… happy because I get to see snow again.. loving the magic we have had the good fortune to experience this winter.. and grateful for what might be our last taste of magic this year ❄

I will not yell, I will not scream, I will not cry..

“I will not yell, I will not scream, I will not cry..”  I saw that on a t-shirt one time with a punchline at the bottom that read… “because I am the teacher, I am the teacher, I am the teacher.”  I think of this because right now I feel just like yelling, screaming, and crying… but not because I am a teacher.  I don’t seem to have the same emotional responses to any behaviors in the classroom that I do at home.  No, I am having these emotions because I am the mother, I am the mother, I am the mother.

I need to keep reminding myself that I am the mother so that I do not get swirled into a vortex where I come out on the other end as the peer or the sibling of this oppositional and willful child/man who is living in my house.  So that I don’t say mean things to him just because he says mean things to me, so that my behaviors are not motivated by retribution but by loving and firm parenting and teaching.

I dreamed the other night about Alex.  I dreamed that he was 2 and I was putting him into time-out.  Even in my dream he was oppositional– getting up and running out of time out and mocking me with his facial expressions.  In the dream, I keep putting him back into time-out and telling him that I am adding another 5 minutes to his time for his refusal to stay in time-out.  The content of the dream is not the compelling factor, however, as much as the age he is in the dream that is telling.  Alex is not two and it has been nearly 16 years since he was two years old.  He will be 18 years old on May 12th of this very year.  In 72 days, he will be technically an adult [he will be able to vote, purchase cigarettes, sign documents as an adult, and will be entitled to all sorts of other adult privileges].  I will also be technically absolved of parental responsibility.  I will not be held liable if he makes poor choices, and I will not be required to support or even house him.

Of course, I this is all completely irrelevant since my child is completely dependent upon me.  He does not have a driver’s license because he never really was interested in getting one enough to pursue it.  He does not have a job, and has only held one summer job in his life [which he held for approximately 3 weeks].  He has not graduated from high school.  He quit school and began an online high school program in which he has already been put on probation twice for not completing the required 12 hours a week.  He is supposed to wash his own clothing, but he very rarely does.  It just piles up in noxious piles in his room.  He eats non-stop, but he does not wash his own dishes or even remove the dirty ones from his room unless reminded repeatedly or threatened.

This afternoon’s exchange went something like this:

Me:  Alex, my house smells like cigarette smoke.  You’ve been smoking in here again when I asked you to please not smoke inside this house.

Alex: No, I haven’t.

Me:  Yes, you have.  I can smell it.

Alex:  No, I told you I haven’t.

Me:  Why do you have a McDonald’s cup with ashes and butts floating in your coke from last night if you are not smoking in the computer room?

Alex:  I don’t know.

Me:  Do you think I am stupid?

Alex:  [no response]

Me:  Why do you tell me that you are not going to smoke in the house and then go ahead and do it anyway?

Alex:  I don’t know.

Me:  I need you to get that cup out of here and clean the ashes off the computer table and open the window and then spray in there.

Alex:  No.

His defense is that he is depressed.  He says he cares about very little and I need to give him time.  He says I am contributing to his predicament because I simply nag him constantly.. that I do not interact with him positively, but spend all of my time interacting with him telling him what he should be doing or scolding him about what he should have done but has not.  He is tired of me and I am tired of him.  We are at a stand-off or perhaps a crossroad.

Sometimes I write in order to make sense of my world, well, actually , often I do this.  So, I have no pithy way to sum up this entry.  I only have an overwhelming feeling of impotence in terms of how to help motivate him to move forward.  I am not sure whether to go tough love on him or whether to be understanding as I shape his behavior using some sort of innovative behavior management techniques.  I have no idea which way to proceed, and I am frankly tired.  I want to hire someone else to come in here and do it.  I want a miracle.  I want my prayers to be answered faster than they are being answered.

I love my job

I teach special education at the only high school in our county.  The children I teach have intellectual disabilities in the moderate range some with secondary disabilities like autism or visual impairment.  I starting teaching this class in the fall of 1997.  I had graduated with a teaching certificate in 9-12 English six years earlier, but had my second child one year to the day of graduating and wanted to be a stay at home mom to the greatest extent possible.  I taught some contract classes at a local community college, but for the most part, I was a stay at home mom to both of my boys until they started school.

So, in the fall of 1997, my youngest was starting school and so was his Mommy.  I was just as frightened as he was.  You see, they did not have any openings in the English Department, so they offered me a self-contained EC classroom for which I had absolutely no experience and no formal training.  To say I was out of my element would be a ridiculous understatement.  I had no clue what I was doing.  One of my favorite mottos was born out of this time:  “fake it ’til you make it.”  I have practiced this sentiment many times in my life to surprisingly great success.

My very first class had, I think, eight children.  I had an assistant who was paid much less than me and who knew lots more than I did about this job, these children, and how I should approach this position.  I befriended her immediately, and although, she left the classroom about four years ago, we are still friends.  If nothing else, I am a survivor and I know how to survive in all sorts of situations.  Things were quite different in our school 13 years ago.  The EC department was small and as teachers we were isolated.  We did not command a great deal of respect about the school and I felt that other high school teachers often looked at us like we were doing some sort of Romper Room babysitting service.  Things are so much different today, much in part to the work of Cathy Richmond, who came in and overhauled the Occupational Course of Study Program and spearheaded school-based enterprises which gave our students credibility and visibility and a presence at our school.  Today we are a large and cohesive department proud of who we serve and what we do and highly visible and dynamic participants in the larger professional learning community. I had to get the PLC reference in, because since 2008, we are required to say or use the words or acronym PLC at least one time per week as professional educators ;).

My class today is right now at 14 students.  I am officially over capacity for one assistant, but so far no one has thrown us any life jackets or sent out any search parties for additional help.  We are okay, though, and though we face challenges each year due to changing paperwork and legislation, classroom mix, behaviors, and snowballing bureaucracy, we evolve gracefully and learn to adapt.  The title of this entry is ‘I love my job’ because, quite simply, I do.  I will tell  you why.

First of all, I was born to teach.  I am an oldest child who is bossy by nature and birth order.  I have been teaching since I was a very small child.  My earliest memory of teaching was in the basement of our Dowlais Drive house in Rockville, Maryland.  I had a small chalkboard and a couple of desks.  Robin, of course, was a pupil.  Shana was only a baby in that house, so the remainder of the class consisted of stuffed animals or neighborhood children– Kim and Stephanie White, Jody Riley, Margaret Rigopolis [?]….  I was relentless and Robin would beg to stop playing school.  I loved school, and while I looked forward to and enjoyed my summers, I always was excited for fall to come.  Autumn meant shopping and new school clothes, fall leaves crunching under feet as we walked to school, and school supplies.  I could write an entire essay on my love of school supplies.  I was in love with my supply box full of treasures-  pencils sharpened to lethal points, the aroma of crayons and erasers, the ever changing colors and names of colors in the Crayola box, tiny sharpeners, clear colored rulers, and don’t even get me started about my lunch box and thermos.  My mother packed the most fabulous lunches where the piece de resistance was always a Hostess treat.  My personal favorite was the Ho Ho, followed by a close second and third chocolate cupcake with white curly piped icing, and the Twinkie.  None of these treats taste today anything like they used to.  I am not sure what they have done to them, but I cannot come close to recapturing the joy they induced.

So, I was destined to stay in school for my entire life.  I liked college.  I did get very weary during grad school, but six years out, I could go back and do it all again.  I long for summer, but each August, when it is time to go and shop for classroom supplies, I am hit with the same giddy excitement.  I look forward to meeting my new students and I can’t wait to see my old ones [well, most of them].

The children that I teach are truly the centerpiece of what I love about teaching.  Each morning, I arrive to smiling faces and greetings and stories and news.  I must laugh dozens of times a day at the things that they say and their antics.  One child I teach now, we’ll call him Carl, entertains me so greatly, I am not going to allow him to graduate.  He coins words and flings them about liberally during the day as he tells everyone else what to do inside and outside of our classroom.  Today he told our resident redhead that she was deceasing us.  I think he meant ‘disgusting’ us as she was chewing with her mouth open and food was all over her lips.  The other morning he was suffering from a malady he called ‘naturtism.’  He never properly defined this for me, so I cannot share the meaning with you.  Visitors to my classroom do not want to leave.  They fall in love with these vibrant young people just as quickly as I did.

What I love about school in general centers around learning.  I have a natural curiosity about the world and people in particular, and teaching requires that I keep learning.  In fact, my students teach me life lessons every single day.  Some of the things I have learned from my children include:

  • Rainy, cold days are just as much fun as sunny and warm days.
  • Take each day as it arrives and devour it like a juicy tangerine.
  • Being kind and helpful to others makes you happy.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes and we learn things from each mistake.
  • People, with or without disabilities, want about the same things:  to be acknowledged and appreciated.

I go to a square classroom of about 900 square feet each morning.  I spend at least 7.5 hours there each day– the majority of the time in that very room.  You would think this would be tiresome and get boring.  It is not.  Every day is an adventure filled with colorful people doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.