Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Last week-
This is my last week of long term subbing and it feels like two weeks long. This end is bitter sweet. I think I'll miss seeing the kids every day. I think I'll enjoy some days at home to work on my art and clean my house.
Am I the only person who wonders how people seem to do it all? I have a suspicion that they, in fact, do NOT do it all. The most unsuspecting people hire maids to do all the dirty work they don't have time for. So, I'm cutting myself some slack about the dust and the corners and feeling ok that the main spaces are clear and mostly clean.
I think we could all use a moment of two to contemplate our over scheduled lives. I wrote about over scheduled kids on the QA once and got the most aggressive "you don't know what the hell you are talking about, so shut up" response I've ever had on the list. (and I've had my share of mis understood posts) Wow! If the scientists are correct and we really cannot concentrate on more than one thing at a time (seriously) then we all need to think about how fragmented our lives have become.
Let me consider our ancestors who didn't have nearly the machines of convenience we have, yet still seemed to have time for life. The more we have, the more we do. I have more leisure time from the basics of living, but I fill it in ways our ancestors never attempted. I can make quilts all year round and at all hours of the day and night. For me, quilts are no longer a useful item to keep warm, but purely an artistic expression. I would say it's my "hobby" except that making art is more of a vocation that just doesn't pay well.
I spent some time this year reading "walden's pond" because I never did read it before, yet heard references to it all my life. It's a story about dropping out. Even then, the author complained about how much time was spent doing things other than what's needed to survive and an experiment in living a purposeful life. So many times we get caught up in what everyone else has- we start feeling like freaks because we don't have an Ipod or a cell phone. We seldom stop and ask ourselves if we really need those things. We just feel deprived because everyone else seems to have them. I feel like I need to stop soon and re evaluate what I really need and feel like I am living authentically again.
There was something nice (although repetitive) about Walden's Pond . The way he calculated just how much labor he would need to do to survive (which was much less than most people did)
and then how he spent the time left over, just enjoying spending the day in a spot of sunshine on the banks of a pond. The pride he felt in building his own home, including a fireplace, and cooking the simple home grown food for simple dinners.
I don't have plans of dropping out. But I do want to live mindfully. But, I get sucked in, just like everyone else.
Consider music for a moment. Music has always been a part of the human experience. For the most part, music was something you made yourself at home after working the fields. Occasionally, you would get together with neighbors and have a party of it. Then, a proper home had a piano and someone (typically mom) to play it, teaching the children and passing that down. If you had no talent, you sent your kids to take lessons, because a piano was a symbol of a real home. The recording devices slowly put an end to that. If you couldn't make music yourself, that was ok, because you could buy this machine that would make it for you. Famous people to sing and play it. Then, radio came along. Now, you could hear a variety of music and as the price of radios went down, access to it became more wide spread. step by step bit by bit and now we are in the present. We can have any sort of music playing at any time and anywhere in our lives. There is not a place we go that we can't have a musical soundtrack along and we don't even have to share it with the others around us (unlike the 80's boomboxes). But, are we really listening to it any more? I mean, with the concentration of those who gathered after working in the fields and sang to entertain ourselves? Is it part of a purposeful life?
On the other hand, it has given people like me with no musical talent the ability to enjoy music. Or has it kept me from acquiring a musical talent (of sorts)?
Just about every part of our lives could be examined in such a way. Cooking advances. Clothing we wear. The homes we live in.
I just think it's interesting to ponder from time to time.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Saturday and a DI day-
So, even when I'm not working, I have to get up early to pick up two others and drive to Carl Junction (2.5 hours) to a "training day". We arrived on time and I find out the challenge I'll be judging. It is a challenge none of the kids at my school are doing, so I won't have a conflict of interest when I'm judging. I also learned the ins and out of the challenge and what part I'll be judging. With only 8 teams competing, it seems amazing that I'll have to get up at 5 am to get there in time.
So, just because I am subbing for a teacher who is in charge of DI at our school, I've gotten roped into all sorts of activities surrounding this DI event, including Judging for 2 events and today's training day. Here's some things I'm wondering about...
There are 5 teams of kids participating at our school. Each team has about 7 kids on them. Out of roughly 35 kids, I couldn't scare up 5 parents willing to be a judge for their kid. Out of our 5 judges, one is a teacher from the school and I had to be one. Me. A substitute. One Mom only stepped up when it was made clear that the team would have to pay a LOT more to participate since they didn't have a judge. Each team also has a volunteer. Two of our volunteers are HS students. Only three parents stepped up. Out of all teams, only one is really close to ready to go. That means I'll need to schedule weekend practice, which is time from my life I don't get paid for.
The question I get often is why is Carl Junction always the place we have to go to to compete and why is the state competitions held in Joplin. So, my answer has been that carl Junction really supports DI and it shows when they win so often and go on to globals on such a regular basis that they have a golf tournament every year as a fund raiser.
Today, while the judge and manager meetings were going on, the school was FULL of kids working on projects. There were groups meeting everywhere and backdrops being painted in several hallways. There's a community of support there that goes way beyond what we are struggling with at our school. I can't get 5 parents to step up to support their own kids.
It's shameful.