Author Archives: swtspontaneous

About swtspontaneous

Drop me a line in the comments section... I would love to get to know you! I'm the author of the following blogs: https://foodtrek.wordpress.com/ https://fallingstarsdusktodawn.wordpress.com/

Journey of a Non-Conformist & Lover of Books

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belle

I’d like to give every young teacher some good news. Teaching is a very easy job. Administrators will tell you what to do. You’ll be given books and told chapters to assign the children. Veteran teachers will show you the correct way to fill out forms and have your classes line up.And here’s some more good news. If you do all of these things badly, they let you keep doing it. You can go home at three o’clock every day. You get about three months off a year. Teaching is a great gig.However, if you care about what you’re doing, it’s one of the toughest jobs around.

Rafe Esquith

Every so often, my principal has us do what are called “instructional rounds” where we are provided a sub for 30 minutes and we get to wander into other classrooms to see what others are doing in their classrooms. During my last instructional round, I decided to go to the classroom of a much respected colleague to ask him for advice. As a calm person who has worked in the field of education for 30 years in many roles including Director, this colleague of mine has been much sought after for his wisdom. What was bothering me was that I had been to so many schools and though I had the support of parents and colleagues, I could rarely move the administrators and I keep ending up switching schools. I caught him at a good time for questions. “I think I have a problem with administrators…and I am not sure what to do,” I said. “Give me an example,” he said. I gave him the first example that came to mind, an event that had only occurred the day before in which I deliberately disobeyed my principal because it was in the best interest of my students. After hearing my story, he told me that I think of myself too much as an advocate for my students and not enough as an employee. These words made so much sense, I have been letting them percolate in my head for weeks. All at once, I felt relief in knowing what I have been doing “wrong” but also grief because I don’t want to conform.

I have been reading such wonderful books as Adam Grant’s Originals- How Non-Conformists Move the World. This book actually made me cry! Who would have thought that a book filled with case studies would make me cry! It reminded me of when the author of Orange is the New Black writes about crying over Boston Red Sox winning the World Cup, a mundane moment that stirred something in her because she used to joke about being imprisoned if the Red Sox ever won. Sometimes it’s the most mundane moments that are the most cathartic….

I think all of one’s favorite books in the different phases of one’s life are a reflection of one’s inner most feelings. What have been your favorite books in the different phases of your life? Mine have been:

1980s?-Childhood- Anne of Green Gables anne of green gables.jpg

1990s?-Adolescence and various forms of love- And Their Eyes Were Watching God

and their eyes were

2002? Young Love and Coming of Age- All the Pretty Horses

all the pretty horses

2008? Divorce/ Forgiveness/ Redemption- The Kite Runner

kite runner.jpg

2012? Adulthood and transitions- The Ten Things to Do When Life Falls Apart

life falls apart

So it is that poverty becomes the mother of invention, accident and loss the matrix of spiritual depth, and frustration, exhaustion, and disgust the royal road to creativity. Instead of decrying the fact that life is requiring that you take some strange new steps, you might as well get with the program and simply bumble forward…You may not be able to see the final destination… A boat far at sea can end up at either North or South America just because somewhere in the middle of the ocean its captain turned the wheel just the teeniest bit in one direction… the hand of the universe telling you to change course.”- Daphne Rose Kingma

2014? Discovering travel and the world outside of school and work- The Geography of Bliss

geography

2017. Now- Originals- How Non-Conformists Move the World

originals

This book begins with the quote:

The reasonable man adapts to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself; therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

– George Bernard Shaw

I wonder what book will be my favorite next! Wherever life takes me next… Perhaps it will be a book of my own writing…

We have the capacity to design the lives that we want to live, and not the ones that were designed for us.                                                   -Ron Finley

sail

My Happy Mom

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optimistic

Only about a month ago, I sat silently as if in meditation in front of the humming, banging and chirping MRI machine waiting for my mother wondering how I could sit for such a long time and how she would be able to lay without moving. Only a week later, I sat for hours longer waiting for her while she had her lumpectomy and thought to myself, “This is like sitting and waiting to get my destination on an airplane- only this is better because at the end of these hours, I will get my mom back.” Now she has begun chemotherapy and this too shall pass. Soon after a few weeks, she will have radiation therapy followed by hormone therapy and those too will pass.  For me, waiting and sitting still has been so difficult but my mother makes it look easy and is always in a good mood. She is always trying to take care of everyone even though she is the one who has cancer. I appreciate her strength and positivity so much! She sees herself as very lucky because the county nurses, doctors and personnel take good care of her and it was caught very early. How am I so lucky to have such a positive, happy and strong mama? When she is given the wig at the hospital, she says she will look so much younger when her hair is gone and she has a wig on because the wig has no gray hairs!!!!

bobcarey

Blessed But Undecided

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Some of my earliest followers out there in the blogging community may recall when I was contemplating divorce and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. I didn’t want to make her life worse by leaving and bringing more stress to her life, but in the end I left and she survived and remains close to me to this day.

Two weeks ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer on Valentine’s Day. Exactly a week later, I was told that my job contract would not be renewed… Quitting jobs and being told my contract won’t be renewed every few years seems to be a theme in my career so I obviously need to work on self promotion and management of the aides because my students do meet their learning goals each year and are happy… Before my mother’s diagnosis, I fantasized about taking a break from work, but now, I don’t want to worry her… I don’t want to give her life more stress; especially since my brother also recently left his job.

With the teacher shortage going on, finding work should be quick, so my plan this week was to find another job before telling my mom that I am leaving the current job, but I don’t know if I have the energy for that right now and would honestly enjoy spending my energy on my current students, staff and mom. The time I have with all of them is limited and I don’t really need much money as I always keep enough in my savings. I haven’t told my staff yet that I am leaving and dread telling them as I intend to tell them soon. My mom is still working a lot. I wish I could spend my days making her life easier by cleaning, cooking and thoughtful things… I am terrible at providing care to my parents though I do better at it than some by always choosing to live and work close to them so that I can see them often, which is something I work hard at since I love going off and exploring the world…

So I’m at a cross roads again…. Which way to go? Do I continue to live the life my mother wants me to live or do I take time off for myself and to spend time with her? Will she be disappointed if I do the latter? crossroads.jpg

 

Life

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no mud no lotus.jpg

It’s pouring right now. I am at home with my tea cup sitting on a coaster on the window sill next to me enjoying the sensory deprivation from all other sounds save the water dropping onto the floor and other surfaces.

It is 2017 and another life change is upon my family. That is what I am calling this now: a life change, not a tragedy. I am remarking to myself how different people react to life events differently. For instance, I have taught Special Education for a few years now and there are many mothers who are deeply depressed, hopeless and bitter by the fact that their child / children has/ have special needs. Then there are mothers who are so unbelievably loving, idealistic, generous and happy; you wouldn’t believe it! Life is truly what one makes of it. Maybe there aren’t any real tragedies in life: just mud (the messy yet nourishing events that one must suffer through) and lotus (the blossoms and growth that make us smile)…No real tragedies…just mud and lotus…transitions or life changes, albeit sometimes heart-wrenching, that come with the everyday lives of every being whether old, young, rich or poor.

Slowing Down

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I am looking forward to a long weekend of sipping hot teas, listening to the living room clocks tick and the pitter-patter of rain falling on the skylight. I have much to think about… And much to love about finally being able to sit in silence. Last Sunday, I finally got two hours alone with the piano. I’d like that again this weekend. I’d like to do my yoga and spend time visiting with my parents… All of the things I haven’t taken time to do yet this week…

February Progress Report on My Resolutions

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self-careIt’s February 5th. My thought yesterday was that I failed my January target habit. My seemingly ever-positive boyfriend pointed out, “You’ve gone to bed by 9 PM more times this month than you ever have in your life.” I realize he may be right. I have made progress this January. I have gone to bed by 9 PM on at least 4 days per week and been exercising almost every day.

The main changes I made to my life that helped with January’s target habit are:

-Sleeping with the cell phone in the kitchen instead of the bedroom.

-Wearing workout pants daily instead of jeans or slacks. One step less to get met to the gym!

-Placing clothes appropriate for both work and gym by my alarm clock to put on when I awaken.

-Replacing journaling as the habit to address anxiety over reading random items online on my phone.

The feeling of destressing through exercise has helped me to get out of bed early and to get to bed early. Monday evenings have been Pilates. Tuesday and Thursdays have been grueling workouts at 5 AM or 4 PM at the gym. I’ve been doing an hour or more of yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I want to start running more on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings. I recently found out one of my coworkers has the same running schedule but she has been working out a lot less than I have due to having to take care of a sick husband and kids. We intend to meet up to run three mornings per week, which should help with my motivation: motivating another. Hiking has been less frequent lately. I’ve been trying to reserve Sundays for hiking with my mom but our sleep schedules just haven’t matched up and weather hasn’t been great. I think I need to be more gung-ho about going outside on Sundays because it is motivation for me to go to and get out of bed. My recent car problems have not helped. I suppose that, for now, I will stay in on Sundays and try to be self motivated until I make the effort to purchase a new car in about a month. Or I could just do local trails on good weather days and yoga indoors on non-good weather days. I am not feeling ready to start my February target goal as of yet until I increase the percentage of days I meet my January goal by just a tad.

I have been feeling a ton of stress at work and at home due to the health of my aging parents, the ever increasing demands of very needy parents, the ever increasing number of aides under my supervision… They are preparing me to take on only the kids with the severest disabilities next school year and each student will have his or her own aide! And then I learned some new secrets yesterday that made me realize how many people must be struggling with much more difficult problems than I have ever had inside. It’s time that I see how wonderful my life is: from the school garden I finally had planted to the many doors open to me now. And to warm dinners at my dad’s to at least having a chance at Sundays with a healthy mom. That’s more than some people will ever have because life is short. I thought his life was perfect but I guess no one’s life is perfect no matter how it may appear. To those of you out there struggling through life’s daily difficulties, I have this message:

lonely universe.jpg

 

Do you ever feel like your work life is more rewarding and engaging than your personal life?

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Do you ever feel like your work life is more rewarding and engaging than your personal life? My brother says he finds both boring! Yikes! I guess I have at least one part of my life engaging for me! Aside from my morning yoga practice, I don’t look forward to much outside of work. Time to spice it up and make some changes! 😀 Suggestions?

 

By the way, I know this is a short post, but I just posted three blogs to catch up for my lack of blogging on my foodtrek website. Hope all is well out there with you and yours! Happy Lunar New Year!

2017 Resolutions

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Dear Friends and Families,
Please help me with my New Year’s Resolutions by asking how I am doing on my Goal/ Habit of the Month whenever you can and providing strong words of encouragement or punishment, depending on how I am doing! Thanks! I appreciate you and your help!
2017 Habit Goals in Order of Adoption

January- Go to bed by 9PM daily.

February- Practice yoga for at least 5 minutes daily.

March- Meditate daily.

April- Spend at least 5 minutes cleaning/ organizing the classroom daily.

May- Spend at least 5 minutes cleaning/ organizing the house daily.

June- Practice piano for at least 20 minutes daily.

July- Read or write for at least 5 minutes daily.

August- Prep for next day before going to bed daily.

September-Cook/ Prep food for next day before going to bed daily.

October- Exercise 5-7 days per week.

November-Study Spanish for at least 5 minutes per day daily.

December- Study Chinese for at least 5 minutes per day daily.

Music

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door

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell

As the sun sets tonight, I find myself feeling sadness.

I’ve been wanting to write for some time now. I have so many thoughts and questions in my head…

It was my yoga teacher’s last day today. I don’t understand why I feel so sad about this! He’s moving…Not dying! I guess emotions aren’t always rational…

There’s a quiet…a stillness in the house save the shadows of the windblown trees silhouetted in the swiftly fading golden light of the setting sun outside and my mind drifts to other events that help wrap the blanket of sadness around me tighter….

The odd one-word text message from my best friend who isn’t picking up her phone today, “patentductusarteriosas.” It scares me. Does it mean this is the condition of her youngest child?

About a week ago, I heard from a ghost… Text messages for two days from someone I haven’t heard from in the seven years since our divorce. This last week, his mother and sister traveled the long distance to go see him. I think something is wrong and have to accept that there is still nothing I can do even after all of these years. I am not sure why he reached out to me as if there was something I could do about his troubles. I could never fix him before and don’t have the power to do so now. I didn’t tell his family he had contacted me in case of any assumptions his wife might harbor.

And so this thought of relief washes over me…I can’t control it. I have no control over any of this… No control over if people I like move away, if children may struggle with heart conditions and over whether my ex is resilient enough to pick himself back up…And I am okay with that because if I could foresee those events, I wouldn’t have been pleasantly  surprised by all of the moments that brought wonderment and happiness to my life this week: taking my mom to her first bowling game, playing with my nephews, meeting several new workout partners and making a few new friends, reconnecting with old friends … So many things… I like life as it is: unpredictable….capricious…melodious at times and cacophonous at other times…

Update: My friend’s text was accidental and for work, not regarding her kids at all. Phew!