Saturday, April 25, 2015

Please Stay. Don't Go.

My friend Holli is moving to Wisconsin next month. She's lots of people's friend, and we're all so sad to have to say goodbye. Before we do, though, we're having a farewell party at Kathy's house. The plans have been in the works for a while, and it all comes together tonight. We're ready to send her off to the Midwest in style. In the words of Bryan Adams (Because you know I know them all!), there will never be another tonight. We're celebrating our friendship with Holli and all that she means to us. Don't go!

We know a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Farewell, Sweet Holli! What was that guy's name again? :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I learn a lot subbing. Here's what I learned today: Arizona kids get wacky when it rains.

They don't see it often but when they do, their heads explode. They forget how to behave and they collectively turn into wild animals. Thank goodness there are three hundred sunny days a year in Phoenix.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Soundtrack

I have a new running program that I've been following since some friends and I completed our unofficial 10K two weeks ago. Though I'm repeating that eight-week plan, I'm not just running the miles. I'm trying harder to run like I mean it. I include intervals in my Tuesday runs, and my Thursday runs are tempo runs. Saturday mornings I do my long run at the park, and the idea is that challenging myself like this will yield faster average paces with less effort. Time will tell.

I've tried intervals before, hated them, and stopped doing them, but this time I'm really trying to keep on with the plan. I warm up with an easy jog for 5 minutes, do about ten minutes in a combination of twenty second sprints and forty second recoveries, and then cool down with an easy jog for five minutes. It's not easy and sometimes I skip an interval or have to stop the clock and catch my breath for a bit, but I've already decided I'm not quitting this idea so I'm doing what I have to do. The tempo runs are tough because I'm trying to keep my pace about thirty seconds faster than my normal, average pace which is around 9:30. Though this run is the shortest run of the week, it's the hardest. I often remind myself that it's over in less than twenty minutes (so far), and I try to focus on that.

What hasn't been working in my favor, though, are some of the songs on my iPod. I have to go over my song selections again because most Coldplay songs don't encourage me to run fast; they mostly make me want to run in slow motion with tears streaming down my face. Pretty soon, every teardrop is a waterfall. Coldplay's not the only culprit. One of my favorite Beatles songs, "Here Comes the Sun" is lovely to run to as the sun rises but it doesn't really make me feel any lighter or faster. My playlist is Tom Petty heavy and, though I love his music, the energy isn't quite right for what I'm trying to do. Same with Jason Mraz and old Taylor Swift songs. The Doors aren't causing me to break on through, and CCR isn't helping me run through the jungle with anything resembling speed. Love them all, but they give me way too much to think about when all I should be thinking about is digging deep and running hard.

So I need a new soundtrack. I'm starting with my old faithful "Eye of the Tiger" and this inspiring song from today. Go hard or go home, Sara!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bad News

After flying high and having a blast teaching PE today, my day ended with some bad news. When you put in perspective all the horrible things that can happen in life, it's merely not-so-good news. No matter how you look at it, it was a major disappointment for Elizabeth and some of her friends.

Last year, she and her friend Iris competed in the Battle of the Books competition. They won at their school and represented well at the district semifinals at City Hall. In fact, they won in their group! They moved on to the finals and weren't one of the top three, but they had gotten further than any other team at their school. It was very exciting and a proud moment for them as fifth graders. This year, their team won again at their school, and they were really working hard and looking forward to competing again next Wednesday at City Hall.

Only the competition was today. And they missed it.

Her school's sponsor received a call halfway through the battle, and she realized immediately that she had misread the email. The poor lady took it pretty hard. She cried when she broke the news to the girls, apologized, and promised to try to make up for her mistake. She knew the girls worked hard, were ultra-prepared, and she told me that, in her seven years of sponsoring Battle of the Books, "This is our school's best team. That is the worst part of it. They were so ready."

One of the girls bawled. The other said to her mom, "That sucks. I worked really hard on this." Elizabeth was bummed out, thinks it sucks, and wishes her hard work could be put to the test, but she also understands no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. I think all the girls get that. I know she's disappointed, but she realizes it's not the end of the world. Sure she read twelve books, took copious notes on all of them, spent a lot of time studying those notes, and right now that feels like it was all for nothing. However, the fact that her teacher feels so awful about such an honest mistake is really sticking with her. It is for me, too.

If another teacher whom I didn't like as much made the mistake, I might be upset about it. But you can't get angry at this sweet teacher who works so hard. We all have so much going on, it's a wonder situations like this aren't more common. Though I'm thankful they're not. I make mistakes all the time, so I really feel for her. I would have hated to be the one who messed up the date and had to tell those girls (and their parents) that they missed their chance. It had to be a really horrible and difficult thing for her to have to do.

But, no one died. The world is still spinning. And you never know when all that information they know about those twelve books might come in handy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Peaceful Hobby

My friend Susan asked me today how the guitar playing was coming. Though I haven't learned anything new (Gosh, this working thing is really getting in the way of my progress!), I continue to play songs I know I can play and try new songs I want to know how to play. I don't do anything fancy or impressive, and I'm okay with being a beginner guitar player for, probably, forever. It would be nice to get really good, but there's no point because I still can't sing, I don't like playing in front of anyone over eight years old, and no one wants to hear me play. Well, maybe except for Susan. The point is that I'm still working at it and plan to have fun with it for as long as I can.

It was starting to stress me out when I had that teacher last year, but now I find playing to be soothing and relaxing and just what it should be--a pleasant and calm reward for getting work completed and taking care of all my responsibilities. Other times, as I look at a counter full of papers and an end table with a light film of dust, I guess it's more like a distraction. Oh well!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Junior High, 25 Years Later

Ew. I hated it then, and I'm still not a fan.

Late last night, I accepted an orchestra job for Elizabeth's teacher. I started at our school, headed to another, and then showed up for two periods at a junior high. I was understandably worried, but figured the orchestra kids would be good kids. And they were. It just took a long time to get to them.

The admin informed me the first period was on a field trip (the reason the orchestra teacher needed a sub), "So would you mind covering two seventh and eighth grade language arts classes?" Um yeah. I'd mind very much. I don't handle big kids well. Half are bigger than me, I have no edge, my skin is thin, and I didn't sign up for that. That's what I was thinking, but for some reason, "Sure. No problem," is what came out of my mouth.

The orchestra class was fun. The language arts classes were not. They weren't bad, but I was very uncomfortable. It's easier to pull off an appearance of confidence in front of nine year olds rather than fourteen year olds, and I was anything but confident. But it's over. I made it. I earned another merit badge; I have another notch in my belt. I also learned junior high is still not for me.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Some people are addicted to drugs. Some people can't stay away from the bottle. Some people hate cigarettes but still can't stop smoking them. Those are all horrible things to be addicted to, for sure. I, on the other hand, am addicted to notecards.

It's innocuous enough. As a substitute teacher, I always, always, always leave a note for the teacher to let her or him know how their students' day was in their absence. So I need lots of notecards, right? Right. And because it's truly my only expense as a sub, I may as well use nice ones. Then because of some strategically placed bargain bins, whenever I go to pick up one thing from Michael's I always walk out of there with a stash of cute and fun notecards to carry in my school bag.

I buy a variety because what's also fun is choosing the right card for the right teacher. I suppose I could have a trademark, custom card that everyone would come to know is from Sara, but I like to play to my audience. Older, grandma-ish teachers get a different style of card (floral or checked patterns) than younger, hip, straight-out-of-college teachers (mod designs). Guys usually get plain solids or simple geometric patterns in bold colors. Music teachers get ones with musical notes and symbols, while PE teachers get ones with bikes. The more I want to come back, the more thought I put into choosing the right card. It's like saying, "Look! We both have good taste. Call me back."

It probably doesn't matter as much as I think it does. The information inside the card is and should be more important to them, but in a lot of cases the teacher doesn't have any idea who I am so I like to set myself apart. Maybe what I'm really addicted to is making a good impression.