Monday, March 13, 2023

What R U Reading? Mollusk Monday!


I’ve become obsessed with octopuses lately. We read Soul of an Ocotpus by Sy Montgomery in book Club. It’s a fantastic view into the world of the octopus. It tells the story of Athena, an octopus, in the Boston Aquarium, while weaving in the facts about the species. It’s led me to watching octopus reels and following the reef doctor on Instagram. I’ve learned about their lifespan, their intelligence and the power of their chromatophores. I once chanced upon one in the wild when I was scalloping in the Gulf. It scuttled away when I disturbed the sea grass that it was camouflaged in. It’s part of the mollusk family and  related to snails which is brings me to another book that we read for book Club, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey. It’s more about a woman’s journey dealing with a chronic disease, but I like how it microscopes into the world of a snail.I can’t say that I became enamored with snails the way I have with the octopus. But if you are looking for something outside your reading comfort zone or are now curious, I would say start with the octopus.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Sunday Seven

 Celebrating the good of the week!

7. My mom..she’s celebrating her 76th birthday this week. We had the joy of a small family lunch at one of our favorite restaurants that’s in the middle. She’s generous and fun. I’m lucky to still have her around. 

6. Our SGA sponsor… she has been tirelessly shifting the culture at our school. She embraces risk. She’s relentless. She’s dedicated and makes positivity happen. She’s an amazing navigator of getting funding with Donor’s Choose. She’s been central to deinstitutionalizing the look of our school with several projects for the past few years, a heady task, since our campus is 95 acres. There are student murals, student handprints, and signs of life all over campus. Our PLC have been able to paint bricks this past week, but the blackout neon pep rally was the most fun this week. I celebrate her work and hope she has a restorative spring break. 

5. My daughter, I appreciate that she takes time for her family, especially her grandmothers, during her spring break. 

4. Florida spring weather, you never know what you will get. After a week of the 80’s, we head into our break week with the low 40’s looming ahead, the coldest days when I will be camping. At least I will sleep well. 

3. The women in my life…it’s I’ve been lucky to have role models, mentors, mentees, friends, colleagues who grace my life, inspire and help me stay strong. 

2. My husband…for being flexible and a good sport.

1. My colleagues…we just closed the 3rd nine weeks. It’s been a year of immense change for us with new standards, new textbook, new state tests, new laws, new superintendent, new principal, new apps and deans and I could go on and on about the new. I embrace change and love the challenges of new, but acknowledge that it can be cognitively overwhelming and physically draining when there is too much new. What you had footing upon seems fleeting and when you feel you are getting your footing, the bottom falls out. It’s my 30th year in this district and perhaps my 18th at this school so what is not new for me is our school, the landscape and most of the staff. Our school is that is not new to us and to the educators who’ve joined us, even knowing where to find a bathroom or how to make copies is a cognitive task. Regardless of all the new, I’m grateful to work with them supporting our students. I loved seeing educators step into spaces and leading the change. I’m certain everyone is doing the best they can and the demands of a high school with 3500 students is harder than ever. I hope all my colleagues have a restorative break.  

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Spring into Saturday: Silver Glen

I didn’t blog Friday. I took the day off to go to Silver Glen Springs with my daughter. There’s no phone service or Wi-Fi there. I’ll be doing the same later this week when I go camping at Manatee Springs.  My brain really requires tech-free resets. I spend a week in the woods in the summer camping at Elkmont in the Smokey Mountains. It’s both tech and shower free. It’s indulgent time wise to move at the speed of slow. It feels luxurious tome. The pace of my work can seem relentless a to me because there’s an urgency and so many to work with. That’s why a spring day is so restorative. 

Florida has the highest density of freshwater springs in the world with over 500.  Silver Glen Springs, a first magnitude spring, is one of a few in the Ocala National forest. It’s my daughter’s favorite. She saw her first mermaid swimming there. She’s had many a February birthday there. It’s where she brought her friends when she could finally drive. It’s where I knew would go when she asked me to take the day off.

Its spring-print is its wide pool that gradually increases in depth. In the summer or on the weekends mom’s will lounge in chairs in the 2 feet edge area while kids lazily float or snorkel around the pool.  It feeds out into the which leads to Lake George. Houseboats often anchor there and it’s the site of day parties. Their pool is ringed by palms and live oaks and the sides are limestone. At the deepest part of the pool is a crevasse from which the 65 million gallons of water a day push out. The water is a constant 72 degrees year round.

One area is currently closed off because they are trying to capture a rare species of crayfish, unique to that spring. They have also restored part of the basin by increasing the fencing around the rim of the spring by bringing it about 10 feet back. There’s still plenty of room to lounge in the sun, throw a frisbee and picnic. We did all three. If you’re inclined, you can rent a canoe and paddle the run, Juniper Creek, which flows into Lake George. I’m content to swim and read and recharge. 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Hanging with Hope

My favorite kid is home for spring break. It’s easy to have a favorite when you only have one. No one else has spring break right now. I made sure I left work earlier than my usual stay late. I skipped my workouts so we could hang out. We started watching Daisy and the Six. We read by the pool. And tomorrow we are going to go to here favorite spring Silver Glen. No matter the weather, hot or cold, it will be swimmable. It won’t really matter it will be a family day together. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

10 Things

10 things about today not necessarily in order….nor all the things of import from today!

10. Bought supplies before work to make salad and meatballs for my reading peeps. 

9. Had a brilliant planning day with the ELA grade 9 team. We outlined our first two weeks of instruction after spring break.

8.  Celebrated March birthdays with the reading team.

8. Ran into a teacher and fed her since she had no lunch. 

7. Helped a teacher find some titles for her class to read.

6. Wore my Stevie Nicks shirt to work since it’s 70’s day for spirit week and International Women’s Day.

5. Ate dinner as a family at my kiddos favorite restaurant. 

4. Tried banana pudding ice cream, but ended up with my current favorite a scoop of coffee and baileys ice cream. 

3. Cleaned out the work fridge in prep for spring break and left dinner for two friends who work night school.

2. Hung up every single item of work clothing that had been waiting for the past week or so.

1. Remembered that I had to write and post something after I already laid down to sleep and actually did so. Found a mentor blog that led to this post. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Spring Break

Spring Break Past 

It’s my daughter’s first spring break as a college student. She’s made the best of it because all her friends have different breaks. I worked in my family’s tax business every college break so I think she has it good. She said she was going to spend it like a retiree. She went to hang out with her grandma at the beach for a few days where she learned how to play pickle ball and got schooled in our family’s notorious card game, hi-lo-jack. Today she went to her other grandmother’s place to clean her house. I love that she does family by choice and not obligation and genuinely has a good time. Although it’s the first time in over 12 years that we don’t have a spring break together, I told her I would take a day off to spend with her. We will spend a restorative day together as a family at a spring. I am looking 

Lately I’ve been getting plenty of rest, but little restorative opportunities. Too many hurricane created makeup long Wednesdays and holidays transformed back into work days.  Hurricane days aren’t vacation days. I’m looking forward to my spring break next week, driving my kid back to college, camping, and yoga things that will restore me. I’m also looking forward to some days with no obligations. Those days too will restore me. I’m hoping my fellow educators will have that opportunity soon too. What are you most looking forward about spring break? What do you do to restore your mind?

Monday, March 6, 2023

What R U Reading? Book Club Bests

 I’ve been in a book club that has met for once a month since my daughter was born. She is now nineteen. It’s mostly educators and mostly English teachers. It grew out of a way to stay in touch when we followed new paths, different schools or retirement. Currently we have a retired science and retired English teacher, a retired tax preparer, a computer science teacher, a school counselor, an athletic trainer and two English teachers. Book Club pushes us to read against ourselves and read books we normally wouldn’t pick up. Currently I indulge in urban fantasy mystery series, but I apparently have the distinction of choosing the long books, my science friend, nonfiction etc. Three books that we read this year are hits and I recommend them if you are getting ready for spring break reads.

My pick this fall was Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. You will have to stick with it initially because it’s a little confusing at first due to the multiplicity of stories that weave together. It’s historical fiction, Greek mythology, science fiction and contemporary fiction and well worth your time. It’s a story of libraries and makes you think hard about civilization. 

My next suggestion is When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. It’s another genre bender as it’s written as part scientific journal and historical fiction with an element of magical realism.  I can’t say much, but it’s a good companion novel with my final recommendation, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, a book that I resisted for awhile. 

Book Club forced me to read Lessons in Chemistry. I assumed it was some kind of love story and it is, but it’s much bigger than that. It’s a love story and a reminder of what life was like for women in the past. It lead to a much larger discussion about our mothers and grandmothers and although I’ve been reading and taking books with this group of women for a long time, I learn so much more every time we meet.

What reading do you recommend?