Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #95)

It kinda passed in a blur. I was busy and nervous and generally just focused on making it to Friday.


On Sunday, I finally sent the last of the San Diego post cards
I bought--in January--to my brother.

Some of the loveliest chocolate anywhere.

Gorgeous! Almost--but not quite--too pretty to eat.

Mom planted these and finally found a use for the old iron
trellises she bought a while back.

Millie loves her grandma.

Lunch and paperwork.

I had to go through and grade all these during piano lab.

Can you Handel it? 

It was an orange kind of day.

With just a couple weeks left 'til The Urban Cow, I found it
funny when I saw my odometer paused at this mileage in the
Target parking lot.

Don't mind if I do, Jamba Juice.

Found these at Target for our upcoming concert.

I will never get this song unstuck from my head.

That enormous cloud over the theater is the El Dorado County
wild fire. : (

Cali Swimmy came to work with me for my first observation.

I only got my picture taken so it would be in the yearbook, and
so I could get a new Staff ID for teacher discounts and whatnot.
I didn't need a gazillion copies.

Clouds. Is fall finally coming?!

What, you don't brush your teeth at work? I had a dental
cleaning and I don't like to go without brushing first.

I kept an eye on this all evening.

Red sun...a sign of all the smoke in the air.

It was a good day for a selfie.

It was a sunny day that looked grey. 

Starting cue cards for my show. It's going to be awesome!

Margarita, recliner, and the Outlander Wedding episode.
Happy Saturday!
This week will be busy, and next week will be insane. I'll keep clicking pics for Instagram, through it all!

Friday, September 19, 2014


I have so many thoughts, and there have been many moments this week I've thought, "I really ought to blog this wonderful thought," or "This is a great foundation for a blog post."

And then it's gone.

It's been a busy week, and a bit of a headache--literally. I came home Wednesday afternoon with a headache that encompassed my whole head. I don't get a lot of headaches--I'm lucky like that--but this one was a double whammy because I tend to get headaches when I have my period (check) and I also get a brutal headache if I go too long without caffeine, which I did on Wednesday. Ibuprofen wouldn't touch it, so I left school as soon as I could get out of the parking lot, drove straight home, and downed two cups of tea. Cured.

The next two weeks promise to be insane. My show is two weeks from last night, I've got two field trips, and, oh yes--a half marathon in two weeks, two days. My running was dismal this week. I had a great run on Sunday, but exhaustion from being out late on Monday for Sac Choral had me skip Tuesday, and on Thursday, I had a mandatory 8:45 meeting.

So yeah, I suppose I'm feeling a bit nervous and anxious. It will pass.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dream World

I am the type who rarely remembers any dreams I might have while sleeping, though I have had some doozies over the years. I can still all-too-vividly recall a few details of a nightmare I had in high school about finding murdered people all over my bedroom. Two years ago, before a job interview after a long spell of unemployment, I had a dream that all of my teeth started falling out.

I woke up from that one running my tongue over my teeth--which had been faithfully flossed before bed.

And this weekend, I had another bizarre dream, but this one has me laughing. Mostly.

It's evaluation season. I'm in my second year as a probationary teacher at the Large Suburban High School, and I've made no secret of the fact that I love it there and I want to stay. This year, I happen to have a new boss...and she happens to be the person who started the choir program at LSHS. There have been two other teachers between us, and she in no way views it as being hers anymore, but in our conversations, I've learned that she knows a lot about running a choir program, and going to her for advice is not only flattering to her, but beneficial to me.

I like her. She's fair, but she doesn't take any flak from anyone. She will evaluate me fairly and let me run my program in the Meg way, even while offering me occasional advice. I'm fine with that. A good admin helps her teachers continue on their path to excellence.

Anyway, it's evaluation season. And while I'm certainly convinced--in waking hours--that she'll be fair, my subconscious still worries and twists the memories of past experiences around in my brain. And so, on Sunday, I woke up about 15 minutes before my alarm clock (yes, I set an alarm on Sunday, so I can run before it's twelve hundred degrees outside), reeling from a dream in which Mrs. Principal came into my choir room...and chaos ensued.

For starters, there were tons of kids in there who weren't supposed to be in there...and they were awful. Not listening, no respect, just generally doing what they wanted to do. This is not the case in my choir. My kids are awesome, and it's pretty easy to get them from silly to serious when I need to. But in the dream, it was mayhem, and my confidence was plummeting.

So I handed out a song. And Mrs. Principal, in my dream, looked at this song and said, "You can't do this song! This isn't a good song for them!" Flustered, I tried to defend no avail. Then I woke up.

The real Mrs. Principal will not do that. She is not one to publicly humiliate a teacher in front of kids, but I have had one of those, a principal who stood in my doorway glaring at me like I was a dog turd she had to clean up. I know this current principal will treat me with professional courtesy, and I can't tell you how glad I am for that. My subconscious, however, deals with the memories of previous bosses, and has to somehow sort it all out.

I have to laugh. I certainly don't expect that every single moment of my lesson on Thursday will be perfect--teaching just isn't. But I know it will be fairly evaluated. Maybe I can finally lay some of the bad memories truly to rest. I've got a program to grow.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dog Tags

It's no secret that I had a hard time when I was teaching high school choir in Antioch. My phone calls to Mom and Dad were routinely full of angst, as I dealt with the ups and downs I experienced there. I know it was hard for them, knowing I was having such a hard time but not being able to really do anything about it.

One afternoon, after another dismal day, I came home from work and stopped by the mailboxes to get my bills and junk mail. But that day, there was also an envelope from home, addressed to me in Dad's familiar scrawl. There was something jangling around in it. Curious, I opened it up to find one of Dad's old military dog tags and a military-issue can opener on a key ring, attached to an index card, on which Dad had written something about how he never got shot down while wearing the tag in the skies over Southeast Asia. "Hopefully, they'll protect you from the slings and barbs."

Of course, I started crying then and there, in front of an open mailbox. Sentimental gestures are not common for my dad (though he shows me, in actions, how much he loves me all the time), so when he makes one, I know it's truly meant. I walked back to my apartment with a smile on my face, clutching the tag in my hand and sniffling. Once home, I attached it to the lanyard ID I wore at school every day. More than once over the next year, I would softly clutch that tag (and the can opener) in my hand at rough moments. 

When I left Antioch, the DV lanyard was discarded, traded in for a Stockton school lanyard. The tag was attached to a new set of school keys, and clutched in my hand every awful time I had to go into my principal's office in 2009-2010. 

The tag was transferred for a few years to my regular lanyard, on which I keep house keys, mailbox keys, etc. But when I was issued my keys at the Large Suburban High School, the tag found itself on a green lanyard, once again snuggling up to classroom keys. 

I haven't needed a lot of protection from the slings and barbs at LSHS, but it's comforting, nonetheless, to feel that old dog tag in my hand as I carry my keys around. It helps me identify my keys if they're next to someone else's identical lanyard. 

Imagine my distress, then, when I gathered my keys in the teacher's lounge on Friday, to find the dog tag and can opener missing. 

At that point, I had no idea where the loss had occurred. In the office? Somewhere on campus? In my car? Once back at my office, I looked in my purse, but found nothing. I sent an email out to my colleagues, asking them to keep an eye out for this sentimental item...and I opened myself to the possibility that the tag might be gone for good.

But then, yesterday, I sat in Summer's car, cruising around Napa Valley and enjoying a day of relaxation and catch-up with my dear friend. As we drove down a vine-lined highway, I reached into a pocket inside my purse in search of my lip balm. My hand closed around a familiar piece of metal. Interrupting Summer with a small gasp and a, "Oh, wow!!" I pulled the old dog tag out. I can't tell you how happy I was to find it. 

The next thing to do is to find a stronger key ring to keep it on; the current one pulls apart too easily, and I just don't want to risk losing my tags. I can't imagine not having them on my school keys. While I feel very safe in my current gig, I love having that piece of family history with me. A small talisman, perhaps. A reminder that I have two people who love me and support me, who are proud of me. 

Slings and barbs cannot hurt me.

My Week in Instagram (Week #94)

This week was brought to you by the letter P...for pee and potatoes.


Sunday Runday

That's Dad's car, coming to my rescue to get me home
so I wouldn't wet my pants post-run.

Pretty baby.

Touchdown, Niners!

In love with these earrings. 

Sarcasm is so effective sometimes. 

Back to Sac Choral! It was good to be among my people again.

I left for my run while it was still dark out.

Full moon over the Sacramento Valley.

Sun's up!

It was a Take Your Duck To Work kind of day.

Our school has an excellent team of kids who take care of
all computer stuff. 

Having those tables next to each other...? 

The guitar class is learning this. The name made me giggle.

School-issue iPad Mini! It's awesome.


Lunch on Thursday. Ha.

An after school fire alarm (prank pull) found me out
in the stadium.

Heh. I know a lot of musicians become doctors...

Thursday Night Torbie Time.

Feline Yoga

Got to school super-early to get my potatoes cooking.

Turns out that two hours on high is enough.

Washed potatoes, ready for the microwave.

Another teacher brought chili, so I had a chili potato. Yum.

Successful Staff Potluck, and the potato bar idea was all mine!

Summer and I visited Wine Country.

Downtown Sonoma

Morton Warm Springs

Olives, cheese, grapes. chocolate. Wine country picnic! 

The tiny town of Glen Ellen. 

In the hilly part around the valley.

Stopping at the olive oil store in St. Helena.

We drove through Downton Napa to see some of the
damage from the recent earthquake.

The next few weeks promise to be madcap. I've got evaluations, a concert, and a half to prepare for. Bring it on.