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Wednesday, January 2, 2013



I live in a techie world- not all of my own design; and with two high-speed high schoolers, and a husband who is physically here, but is truly Linked In to the ethernet, I am smart enough to know that I only know enough to get something started before I seek their expertise (and their ridicule!) So, in a world that's speeding up faster than I can do a Google image search for 'Magic Mike,' I find myself seeking out rituals and practices from my youth (real or imagined) that let me determine (also real- or imagined) how fast I am speeding towards my Firstborn's first launching from the nest.  

With the updating of the annual calendar, (from one Marilyn Monroe monthly to the latest) I typically get caught up in the possibilities and potentials of how I can invent myself... and then I take a nap. However, something in me is different (the 2nd whole day in to the New Year.) In an effort to somehow make up for any/all remiss parenting, I was inspired to make homemade bread to nourish my family (~and to see if I really could make something passable that my ancestors probably knew how to do in their sleep. And, quite frankly, it was that or take down the Christmas decorations. Easy decision.) 

My Mom- she taught me everything I know

With only a few texts and panic phone calls to my Mom, (It says OATS. Does it mean white flour? I don't have any oats. How much should it rise. It's not rising! How long should it take to rise?) I can say I successfully spent an entire day making 5 loaves of bread. And, it was... average, but really satisfying. The house smelled wonderful. I felt a connection to the amazing lineage of women in my family who nourished generations with their own daily bread, and (using a traditional method) I actually felt... empowered? (Don't hold your breath for the homemade butter, however!)  

This is how it went down...
Conception


Uprising


Awaiting their virgin voyage

HOT... and buttered

Monday, December 31, 2012

2013


Resolved


“You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

All or nothing... It's been my modus operandi as far back as my 'I'm going to be a nun' phase in second grade. Hot. Cold. On. Off. Manic. Lethargic.

A lot of time thinking about what to do with the time I have~ left.

When I was the age of my two teens, time was just something to fill. To pass. Now, tipping the scale toward the point where I have more of the wisdom, but less of the youth, time is a luxury~ and I'm spending it at an extravagant rate.

This awareness (alarm!) is most prominent when planning for my Firstborn to finish his senior year and to head off to college. And then there was one. And she will move forward with her life... And, then?

I want to write (to entertain and to relate). To create. To plan. To embrace. To gather. To educate myself. To travel~if only to leave my comfort zone. To quit opting out. To Facebook less, and to face-to-face more. Less Bouncing Balls and more... (never mind.) To nourish~ my family... and my soul. To stop making excuses... and to accept that there is only now.

So there is no Big Reveal or resolution here to measure on an unattainable scale. 2013 is simply the end... of waiting to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. I'm going to do it ALL... a whole bunch! It may not be pretty. It certainly won't be scripted. But it will be mine~ and you're invited in for a(n) (embellished) recounting.

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gold


Randy Jackson. Coach.

At Robinson Junior High School, from 1979- 1981, I got to know 'Coach.' It was during this time that my siblings and I re-entered the world of public schooling~ and I became like the proverbial child in a candy store. Everything was new and exciting... and tempting. My internal compass had been skewed, albeit briefly, but I was lucky enough to find North again with the wisdom and words from an educator I had just met. Coach.

A requirement in our junior high schooling was that each student had to participate in a physical education class~ I believe. (Had it not been, there's no way I would've taken it!) The boys and girls had gender designated teachers- Mrs. Moberly for the girls and Coach Jackson for the boys. Since we shared a gym, the boys and girls inevitably interacted, (like moths to the flame) and that meant we girls, too, had access to Coach.

As I was reflecting in the early hours of this morning while composing this post in virtual head space, my husband asked me why I remembered Coach so well. Since that asking, I've been struggling to answer the question of 'Why?' Why did this man~ Coach Jackson~ who I knew for a brief two years in my youth, and saw for maybe an hour a day~ why did I remember him and why do I deeply feel his loss almost 30 years later?

As many, I've been really fortunate to have had a handful of wonderful teachers on this journey. I know the impact an educator can have, and I aspire to that in my interactions with my own students. Coach always stood out though. He transcended routine classroom lessons (and those gawd awful up/downs!) and saw the vulnerable kid standing there before him. And in our little world, this man, this local hero, this survivor, saw us. He was simply 'gold.'

Prepubescent teens are a challenging age to work with, and even more challenging to get 'through to' because they are not only sorting out their place in the world, but are doing so with a lethal combination of hormones~ randomly firing and misfiring with no regard for timing or situation.
Coach seemed undaunted by our insecurities and he knew when to listen and when to talk. He didn't mince words. He embraced tough love, as I imagine he did with his own daughters, and he told you the truth~ whether you asked to hear it or not.
I don't recall how I, along with many others, found time to just hang out with Coach during classes, but I did. I took a junior high 'boy' concern to him (this was not the readjusting my compass needed. Grin.) and he let me know essentially what author Greg Behrendt has made millions off of... He's Just Not That Into You. And when he was right~ which he was~he didn't take any pleasure in it, but just gave me a subtle nod of the head. Empathetic. I learned he was an adult I could trust.

Fast forward 15 years. My sister Nancy and I would take a trip down memory lane (or at least 3rd Street) when I'd find my way home to Wichita, and often times Coach's name would come up. Being spontaneous and never one to miss a chance to connect, Nan suggested we go by Robinson and see just who was still there. We drove around the back , parked (in the teachers' lot!) and instantly recognized Coach out on the field with a class. As we walked up, he had this huge smile on his face and said, 'It's the Klein sisters.' He still knew us! He still knew us.

Thinking about that impromptu visit, and subsequent others, (although now I know they were too few) it's easy to see why Coach is remembered. He, with all of his thousands of students over the years, still remembered two awkward girls who briefly alit in his world.

And we weren't alone. I had the privilege of my schedule to be able to spend some time with Coach last week up at Wesley. They should've just put a revolving door on his room. Truly. Students, players, teammates, colleagues, and of course family, were all just seeking one more memory with this man we mutually love. His gift not only entailed the brief two years I knew him 30 years ago, but also encompassed others who sought to tell their Coach stories, and briefly, transported us back to those days when concerns were juvenile and hearts were freely open.
As I held Coach's hand to tell him I had to go back to KC~ avoiding telling him 'goodbye,' he saw my fears, looked me in the eyes and instead just said. 'Be good.' I'm trying, Coach. I'm trying.

Last night, I decided (upon hearing of Coach physically exiting this world) to finally watch the documentary on the WSU football team airplane crash of 1970, Black and Gold, and to learn more about the life of this man I admire. Through the retelling of that devastating event, I was afforded the opportunity to see Coach- the man. It occured to me as I was watching him, along with other surviving players recalling that day, that his pain, his loss, was our gain. He was strong in our youthful eyes. We didn't understand mortality. But he did. And he decided to not just survive, but to live. We experienced his vitality, his passion.... his compassion. We were the benefactors.
The first string football players flew on the 'gold' Lockheed that day heading toward Utah. It comes as no suprise that Coach Jackson was on that plane. First string...gold...husband, father, grandfather, teacher, teammate, friend, colleague...Coach.
'We still friends.' Always.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Movement




As I sit here staring at this blank screen, feeling compelled to write, but wanting to say something worthy of being recorded for posterity (or at least for the duration of this read time), I am not unawares of the movement surrounding me~ though I sit and pretend I can't be reached.

This cozy little space I've carved out for myself (like most dwellings I've adopted and relinquished), where I spend my energies enlightening my charges with numbers- partial, equivalent, negative, and Orders of Operations (no donor list registry required,) is rattling and resisting, and the winds are teasing the very foundation whose solidity I find I have taken for granted. I didn't predict these, but I knew they'd come. It's time. There are lessons to be learned. Their arrival is just more direct and more immediate than I would allow for...

Actually, I would've (past tense) sealed the cracks resisting the winds insistence, despite what we were taught in my Kansas youth; a time when Tornado Drill protocol was taught as it's own religion, sometimes even during catechism classes~ and it was this: that to minimize the damage of the gales, it is far better to open the windows and doors, inviting them in, deflating their significance and relieving the pressure, affording the anchoring of the foundation to remain.

Embrace them? But that would sure be hell on one's hair...

These winds aren't of that significance, and I've learned when to take cover and when to watch for the dance of polar cloud opposites. The heat. The lightning. The cooling. The subtleties now instinctual. Flee or ride out the storm? I've tired of hunkering down, trying to predict the precise strike of random blows... awaiting the damage revealed.

So, what of this lengthy, obscure analogy ('What the hell was she saying? Beats me. Probably some bad hair day story or recess duty again. I've 'eard she 'tips the bot'el' a lit'el...') Nah. Well, that last one is true... It's just that I'm learning not to fear adversarial forces (a HUGE lesson for this conflict averse chick) and I am able to stand and face those winds head on, embracing those lessons they carry through with them from places I choose not to travel. So, I've honored my inner siren (wink, wink), I've stood my ground, shetered my own, and safeguarded from directional blows this week.
(And...sardonic link here.)

It's time to go open the door...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wish I had thought of this...

I love this technique and am already trying it with my class! Genius!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA

Thursday, February 5, 2009

... as if it was MY fault...