Ah, that lovely divide between dreams and reality. What I posted as my hopes and goals for this fall:
What I hope:
- That I’ll establish a nice schedule that balances work, exercise, cleaning, errands, cooking, volunteering and child activities
- That I’ll be able to trail run once a week (or snowshoe, depending on the conditions)
- That I’ll start sleeping at least 6 hours every night (dare I hope for 6-1/2? Maybe?)
- That I’ll finally catch up on much of the little stuff
- That I’ll be able to carve out some time to at least finish and submit the two articles that have been in progress for at least three years to a journal. (No, I haven’t given up all hope on my academic career–and thanks to the Chronicle’s Vitae for helping me reshape my life in the alt-ac realm. It’s good to know that I have a lot of company on this journey.)
It will take time and I suspect it will be a bit of a process to establish a routine that is still plenty flexible (see: early release days, sick days, snow days, holidays. Also, the school board recall and upcoming election for the two other school board seats). But I think it can finally happen.
And what actually happened:
- Schedule? Yes and no. Suffice it to say that little in my life is “routine” on a given week. On the other hand, I manage to take the dog for a run walk or run most days, have established Thursday as my usual grocery shopping day, and continue to have a very regular volunteering schedule at school.
- Trail running: it happened a few times. I thought it would be weekly was the election was done. Ha! I’m planning to block out a day each week when January starts.
- Sleeping (more): excuse me while I laugh myself silly. See, there was this recall election and it ended up being the number one election in the nation to watch…. There were a number of days (more than 5, less than 10) when I might have managed a longer or trail run and opted to go back to sleep once the kids were off to school–usually when I realized that I wasn’t able to shake off lingering headaches or when I realized that Crabby Mama was taking over.
- Catching up: some, though not as much as I want. I’ll make a renewed effort on that now, while also remembering that there’s a ton of little stuff.
- Articles: ha! See: election. And ha! again after the election because of work and all the assorted volunteering that reaches a peak the first week of December, followed by the oldest child’s birthday.
It’s been a wild ride!
The Jeffco School Board recall effort took up gobs of hours and gobs more of mental energy. I don’t have the time or space to recount the many, many issues that prompted the recall effort, but suffice to say that I was present for 95 percent of the meetings and watched the others virtually, and that I’m not any of the following: brainwashed, a pawn, a riled-up mommy, a so-called parent, ignorant, naive, misinformed, misguided, a union thug, recall scum, a bully, a liar, or too busy to understand the issues. That’s not a full list of the things that have been said, but you get the general idea. On good days it made me laugh–like the time when a board majority supporter sputtered that “those people who say they have kindergartners, they’re not poor hapless parents!” That’s right. I do have a kindergartner, and I’ve never claimed to be hapless. I am, nevertheless, a parent–one who hold a PhD and has just as much right as anyone else to sign up for public comment and express my disapproval for the directions the board majority wanted to take the district.
I’m so relieved to be on the other side of election day, and so thankful that we’re able to move forward with a clean slate. We were all flabbergasted by election night results. We thought it would be close, and it wasn’t. I also thought it would be a mixed bag of results and it wasn’t. For that I am grateful. The issues are far from over, and the side that lost has only intensified the name-calling and fiction, but I’m relieved to have a group of five board members who will all work together and with the Jeffco community to tackle the tough issues that remain.
Education is a charged topic under the best of circumstances. We all loved/hated teachers/classes/grades/schools, and we all have an idea of what we would have loved/hated about other educational options or teachers. Ditto that for our children. It’s hard to see past our own experiences, and understandably so, but it makes most conversations about education that much more difficult because we rely on sample sizes of 1 and have such a hard time acknowledging or even understanding that the teacher I can’t stand is the one you love — or vice versa. Add in the constant drumbeat about “bad teachers” and some of the very real issues that crop up with larger class sizes, and it’s easy to find fault all over the place.
On the other hand, (and now being on the other side of the first week of December), I also very strongly believe that you need to be the change you want to see in the world. It’s really easy to complain, but if you don’t pair it with action, it’s also utterly pointless. I’m a huge supporter of music, especially in schools, and twice a week I’m at the elementary school volunteering for choir or orchestra. During the first week in December that ramps up even more with extra rehearsals, the concerts, and another round at the local food bank fundraiser where our orchestra is one of several school groups that entertain the crowd. (And I made soup for it too, both because it’s a great cause and because I really needed to set up Holiday Shop in the Art Room on Friday afternoon when our art teacher is trying to move all the ceramic bowls the sixth graders make for the event to the high school. I stay out of her way but sweeten the deal by offering to make soup to help fill our school’s soup quota.) And yes, then I run the Holiday Shop on Saturday, partly as a fundraiser for PTA (who in turn donates the money back to the school) and partly because it’s a fun event for the kids.
No, I don’t have time for these things. But they need to be done, and I can. Not everyone can and I respect that. Some people have new babies or find life in general too overwhelming. Nevertheless, we need more people out there making a positive difference, and I hope 2016 brings more of them out into the world to improve it.
Life continues at a breakneck pace here. My older daughter turned 11 today. 11! And she had a snow day to celebrate, no less. My younger daughter is eagerly looking forward to her birthday (in March), and meanwhile, the miniature poodle puppy turned 1 last month. Hopefully I’ll write more about all of them later, but I need to take care of various last-minute details before we head out on a road trip to visit relatives during winter break, and all the paid work that’s begging to be finished before that.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe 2016.