Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Malaise: noun. A vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.

That's where I am right now in several aspects of my life. As I type this I am in my classroom. It's my prep period so I have no students and although I have plenty to do, I do none of it and instead sit in front of the computer and browse the internet aimlessly. I just can't get excited about anything here at school. While my students are in class we have a good time. I began the Greek play Antigone with them this week, which I enjoy. But as soon as they drain out of my room, my energy and motivation drain right out with them.

I should be printing up the names for school's secret santa (which I am the default organizer for this year. Not sure how that happened!), or correcting narrative summaries. But really? Meh. I could care, but I don't.

Work at job #2 is going the same as always, which is to say that I have a good time once I'm there, but I resent how much it takes me away from home. Especially after having so many days off with Bear last week. I hate being apart from him more than ever. Soon we will be having extended holiday hours, which I know will make my resentment worse. Bear was an absolute sweetheart and did the grocery shopping last night so that I don't have to go out again tonight. I'm so happy he did this! That man totally gets me. I great big puffy heart him!

I have not decorated for Christmas yet. I really need to get the house cleaned up before I do any decorating. Bur really? Meh. There's a mountain of laundry to do, the kitchen table is buried, and the livingroom floor is in desparate need of vacuuming. I find little motivation to do any of it. Maybe I'll force some of it today. Maybe.

The only part of my life that still excites me is the fibery part of it. Christmas knits are coming along, my fiber business is doing well, and I've been having success in spinning, too. That's all I want to do these days is spin, knit, and dye fiber. I've been wanting to start several projects for me, too, and finish some others that I can't until holiday knitting is done, including writing a few knitwear designs. I think next year I will be focusing on one Christmas knit a month so that I don't have a bunch to do at the end of the year like this year. It's a lot less pressure!

I'm hoping that I can snap out of this malaise. I'm hoping that the more I accomplish, the better I will feel, and that it will get a happy streak started. Anyone want to help me out?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A week ago, I had an appointment to have an IUD put in. I was a bit nervous about it, as the last time I tried to do this my body had an "acute rejection" of it - it was the most pain I've ever experienced in my life, and it wasn't something I was looking forward to trying again. This time, however, my doctors were going to give me lots of drugs and such to help my body accept it and alleviate my anxiety. I made Bear come with me to hold my hand, since I knew I was going to cry. He was a real trooper, going even though he didn't want to, even though it was way more info about my girly bits than he ever wanted to know.

As far as the procedure is concerned, I guess it was a success. I have not rejected this one like I did with the last one. I had no idea, however, that I would be in so much pain for so long. Everything I read about the procedure dealt with the long term side effects and what to expect over the next ten years. Nothing I read prepared me for the four days following insertion. I couldn't tell if I was dying or if the agony I was experiencing was "normal". Its taken me a week to feel well enough to stop taking pain meds. I am not someone who ever takes medicine. To take two ibuprofen means I'm in serious pain. I was taking three every four hours just to take the edge off.

In short, it sucked.

I am finally beginning to feel better; I am able to spend several hours at a time without any pain at all. I'm not sorry I had this done, but I wish I had known what I was getting myself into when I decided to do it. One other thing I didn't know about? I can't "resume normal activities" for THREE WEEKS. This, more than anything, would have made me think twice before getting an IUD.

Two more weeks to go. Le sigh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Daddy,

I've never made it much of a secret that you're my favorite. It was pretty clear, even with my first word ("da-da") that I was always going to be your little girl. Growing up I always wanted to be on your team at the family baseball games, wanted to ride with you in the big truck, wanted to cuddle with you during football games, wanted to learn to shoot and hunt in order to spend more time with you. You were, quite simply, my hero. It was many years before I began to learn what made you so heroic. Your endless patience, your love of simple things, your sense of duty, your soft heart - all of these things became part of you because of what you'd lived through, of the choices you made and the things that happened long before I was born.

When I was a freshman in high school, I went with the marching band on a trip to Washington D.C. While there we played on the steps of the Capital, toured the Washington Monument and visited the Vietnam War Memorial. Of all places, the last one touched me most. I knew vaguely that you'd been in Vietnam, and I knew it was a bad enough experience that you didn't talk about it, ever. When I returned home, Mom asked me if I'd gotten a rubbing of Georgie Bailey's name.
"Who's he?" I asked.
Mom was clearly pissed. "He was your father's cousin who died in the war. You should have gotten a rubbing!"
I felt terrible. I didn't even know you'd had a cousin Georgie, or that he had served in the Vietnam war. I didn't really know anything about your time over there, and since you hadn't chosen to share those details with me, I didn't want to ask. I've always been sorry that I didn't get that rubbing for you.

After that, though, I began to listen when you spoke with my brothers. They had all enlisted in different branches of the military, I think because they saw the quiet dignity of your character and wanted that for themselves. You raised us all to be grateful and to do what's right. As each brother came home from deployment, they spoke with you about the military. About war. And as I listened, I learned a bit about what you'd been through.

I learned that you were part of a team that recovered disabled tanks. I learned that you had some near-misses (the story about the bullet hole in the Maine flag that was flying a few feet from your head gave me nightmares). I learned that Georgie, your cousin and friend, was killed not far from where you were. I learned that you had to bring his body home. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to look at your grieving aunt and uncle knowing that you'd survived and their own son hadn't. I learned that the Government was going to send you back to Vietnam, even though you only had six months left of service. I learned that you threatened to call "Aunt Maggie" (Margaret Chase Smith) if they forced you to go back. I was floored to learn that it wasn't that you were scared to go back, but that you knew that getting on a plane to return to the war would destroy your own mother. But that's you, Daddy - always thinking of other people before yourself.

I learned other things, too. That you still have days where the horrors of that time overwhelm you. That you aren't bitter about what happened, even though an injury sustained there permanently affected your ability to hear. That you got through Vietnam the same way you get through life - one day at a time, making the best of things, being thankful for what you have and not dwelling on what you don't.

It's because of all of these things that on this Veteran's Day I think of you. It's because of all of these things I'm thankful that you did survive. That you did come home and become my Daddy. There are so many things about that time that I'd like to know. I'd like to record it all somehow so that when your grandchildren are older, they can learn what a great man you are.

That's something I already know.

Happy Veteran's Day, Daddy. I love you.

Your Daughter,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An amazing meal I INVENTED!!

I texted my husband this afternoon and asked him what he wanted for dinner. I was going to cook and wanted to know what he wanted before I stopped at the grocery store. "Just surprise me," the reply said.

Here's what I came up with.

Open-faced turkey & asiago paninis

breast of turkey, shredded
italian bread, sliced
wedge asiago cheese (you can get this shredded, but it's more expensive)
red, green, and yellow peppers
garlic butter/garlic spread
olive oil

Using a brush, spread olive oil in the slices of bread (both sides). Place on cookie sheet and bake @ 400 degrees for a few minutes until lightly browned. You may have to flip the pieces over half way through, depending on the quality of your cookie sheet.

While bread is cooking, pour a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add small diced pieces of all three peppers (use about 1/4 of each pepper). Once that's cooking, chop up the onion (about 1/4 of a medium onion) to pieces the same size and add those to the pan. Cook until soft.

Cube the asiago cheese wedge into small pieces. Set aside.

Take bread out of oven and cool for a few minutes. Spread garlic butter on bread, add shredded turkey. On top of that place a spoonful of the pepper/onion combo, and top with asiago cheese. Place back into the oven for about five minutes until everything is all warm and melty.


Please - if you try this, leave a comment telling me how it is! I'd love to hear your opinion.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Insurance companies suck

I blogged a few weeks ago about the accident my husband had, how he fell on a freshly-washed floor and momentarily dislocated his knee. This caused him a lot of pain, especially where he already has arthritis and other wearing-down problems in his knees. He actually went to the doctor, which for him is a big deal. The doctor ordered an x-ray but didn't think there was much wrong with him.

Yeah, right.

When the x-ray results were read, they discovered that there was some laxing in the tendons and signs of other issues (the nurse said "the knee cap is 'technically' in place"), and ordered an MRI. A complete MRI, with contrast, so the doc could see clearly what is fully wrong with Bear's knee.

The insurance company said no.

When I asked, "what do you mean, 'no'?" we were told that there wasn't enough info to warrant an MRI. The doc asked instead for a regular MRI, the kind without the contrast.

The insurance company said no again.

I'm frustrated, Bear is frustrated, the doctor is pissed... and yet we are helpless to do anything about it. Bear's doc has been great about trying to find ways around this and his newest plan is to send Bear to a specialist - an orthopedist - for the knee.

I'm really hoping the specialist orders an MRI, and that the insurance company has to pay for the specialist AND the MRI that Bear should have had over a week ago.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Fragments

*I am surprised by how well my new fiber shop is doing. I've had four sales in three days! I'm waiting to hear how people like their purchases once they receive them. I'm already feeling the pressure to dye more fiber, to begin the next collection. I feel so fulfilled to be doing this! I don't know why I waited so long.

*I might have a t-shirt made up with the Highland Handmades logo on it, and then "Owner" underneath. Maybe one that says "staff" for Bear. That makes me giggle!

*I've giggled a lot this week. Especially once I started calling myself a "fiberista" and insisting Bear call me that, too. Is it too soon to call myself that?

*Friday Jeans Day is the best day of the week here at school. I love wearing jeans. They are the most comfortable pieces of my wardrobe, and that's saying something when the bulk of my clothing consists of sweaters, flannel, pajama pants and duck slippers. Seriously.

*I'm really ready to be done working my second job. Even though I know I can't afford to. Even though I know they need me there, at a minimum for several more months. Even though most days I enjoy the work. I am just so ready to be home during evenings and weekends. I've been there more than two years. When do I get to quit?

*It snowed last night - the thick, wet snow that sticks to every single branch and blade of grass and coats everything in a pristine layer of white. I know it won't last the day, but it was a beautiful drive in to work this morning.

*My grandmother made moose meat stew the other day at part of her physical therapy at the rehabilitation center she's at. There's something incredibly awesome about a place that encourages my gram to do what she loves as a way to heal her body. It may have been that they wanted to eat the stew, but so what? I'm thrilled they are healing my gram, body *and* soul.

*I have GOT to send my brother a package soon. I haven't mailed him, his wife or his son their Christmas presents from last year OR their birthday presents from this year. I'm a bad sister/sister-in-law/auntie. I will strive to do better.

*I'm having a long-term form of birth control procedure the week after next. It's not the permanent solution I want, but until I attempt to do this I can't get what I truly want. I don't know if I want this method to succeed or not. If it does (the last time I tried it, my body rejected it in a spectacularly painful fashion), then I don't have to worry for ten years or so. If it doesn't, then I can attempt to convince the insurance company to pay for the procedure I want (essure).

*The internet has introduced me to some of the most amazing, funny, intelligent, dedicated, moral, nurturing, and fantastic women in the world. I'd really love to get us all together at some point and have a huge party (complete with sleepover). I know it would be nearly impossible to get everyone there, but could you imagine the hilarity and fun that would ensue?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I've been pretty quiet on the blogosphere lately, which I'm sure some of you may have noticed. It's been a combination of being very busy and that old saying, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." At last I can both show you what I've been busy doing and describe my utter happiness.

What have I been doing? Going into business for myself, that's what. I have opened an online shop that sells handdyed fibers and yarns. I have spent the last two weeks creating inventory, getting the necessary licenses and forms filled out, and photographing things in order to list them. Last night I listed seven of the first ten items I have ready to sell. I call it the Proverbs Collection - ten items that have been inspired by common proverbs. I'm still teaching and still working at Rite Aid, which has slowed me down, but with the help and support of my husband, I am official. I'm working with a student here at the high school who is developing my business graphics and hope to have that part up and running soon. There are a few other things that still need to be done, but for now I'm on my way.

My utter happiness is because within five minutes, I had two sales. Two people liked my fiber enough to pay money for them. I'm officially a fiberista! (okay, a made up word, but I'm totally using it.) I will be heading to the post office shortly to mail the packages out. The two ladies who purchased from me are women I know through the magic of the internet, and are both lovely ladies with impeccable taste. One is a handdyer of yarn herself and has quite a following. I consider this very high praise! I know that I won't always be this lucky, but today I am so happy nothing and no one can touch me. It has been months since I smiled on my way to work. Months. I'm finally allowing myself to believe that someday I may be able to have the yarn and fiber shop I so desperately want.

Please, if you would, click on the hyperlink and visit my shop. You don't have to buy anything, or create a profile on Etsy or anything like that. Just come back here and tell me what you think. Please?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I am not a person who usually feels the effects of a stress-filled life. I do not have trouble sleeping, I don't get ulcers ... in fact, there's usually only one way I know that I am feeling stress:

My eyelids twitch.

I know this sounds like no big deal, but my eyelids don't twitch like ordinary people's do. I don't get one or two tiny flutters that are more entertaining than annoying. MY eyelids twitch at about 80 tpm (twitches per minute), each "twitch" lasting a couple of seconds. This happens several times a minute and has currently been going on for FOUR DAYS. I wear contact lenses, so three or four times a minute my vision in my right eye goes wonky, because the twitch is upsetting the delicate location of the lens on my cornea.

I hate, hate, hate it when my eyelids twitch.

This happens every time I am experiencing stress or am spreading myself too thin. Since I hate my jobs and am broke all the time and am dealing with stupid family drama as well as an ailing grammie, I am apparently feeling the effects. And for the forseeable future there is no change in sight.

And so I twitch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday Fragments a bit late

  • I know Friday Fragments are supposed to be posted on Friday, but I didn't blog then so I'm posting them today.
  • My grammie is out of the hospital and is now at a residential rehabilitation center. I have no idea when she will be able to come home, but her doctors seem to think she will be able to. I'm hoping by Thanksgiving, but if she needs to stay there, I want them to keep her - I don't want her to come home before she is healed and stronger. She is still in a lot of pain, but they are trying to manage it as best they can.
  • My husband had an accident yesterday. He washed a huge load of dishes and washed the floor, which I was thrilled about. As he was sliding lunch into the oven, some of the clean dishes started to fall to the floor. As he raced out to catch them, he slipped on the wet floor and fell. His knee popped out of joint and then back in, and his back locked up completely. He was in so much pain yesterday he could barely move. He's moving a tiny bit better today, but not much. I can't blame him if he decides never to clean again.
  • My fingers are sore from knitting. My index fingers, which I use to push the needles where I need them are covered in tiny red dots - some of which are broken skin. I'm moisturizing like crazy because I have ten and a half more Christmas projects to knit and only two months left before Christmas. I hope to finish at least two this week.
  • My commute is often the best part of my day (at least until snow flies). Just this morning I saw a wild turkey, a bull moose, and a spotted owl. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a gathering of six moose - that does not happen often. No one I've spoken to has ever seen that many together at once. It was beautiful. I love to see owls in the morning. I've only seen three or four in all of my commutes but they are so lovely. It's like a gift the road gives me once in a while. I will miss this drive when I change jobs.
  • Bear and I have decided that in order to reach our financial goals, we must combine checking accounts. I'm much better about paying bills on time, but he is much better about limiting miscellaneous spending than I am. So each week as we get paid I will pay the bills that need paying and he will be in charge of eating out, picking up whatever sundries we need, and all entertainment costs. I've already curtailed a lot of my spending, so for at least the first week, it's working. We will be setting up the monthly budget tonight. I love that we can communicate well about money, and that although the lack of funds is a stressor for us, it isn't a stressor between us. We are united in our financial plans. I read somewhere that money is the number one thing couples fight about. I'm glad that we aren't part of that statistic!

Monday, October 12, 2009


1. Friday morning, just before I left the high school to go to the elementary school, I checked my email and found this:
mother has fallen possible broken arm possible broken back debbie call gus

This is from my dad to Mom and I about my 94-year old grandmother. I was, of course, very upset. I hate hate hate how my parents email me shit like this instead of calling like normal human beings. I immediately called my mother to get more information. Gram is frail as it is, much of which stems from breaking her back ten years ago. She has very bad osteoporosis and so her bones don't heal. I was in tears, trying to hold myself together, and thinking rapidly about my work shedule for the weekend. Could I go home if I had to? How soon could I be there?

Mom didn't know much when I called, and told me to finish my work day and call her at 2pm when I got out of work. I helped my first graders learn about spiders and smiled, trying to ignore the silence of my phone. At 2:00 I rushed outside and called Mom again. Of all of the people in my family, my grandmother and father are the only two that are not allowed to get hurt or die. They must live forever, because their deaths would crush me. The same goes with injury - they must not ever be in pain. I cannot deal with the thought of them lying in a hospital bed, their care depending on strangers who do not know them like I do. Who do not understand how awesome they are. Grammie especially. Where most people see frail old lady, I see the strong, resourceful woman who taught me how to be a good person. Who taught me the meaning of hard work, determination, courage, and grace. She was my first and very best teacher. I love her endlessly, and the thought of her hurt - well, I wasn't taking it very well. As for Gram's state of mind? She was just worried about bothering people, and keeping my dad and uncle from the moose hunt they have scheduled for this week (both of them went).

It's been back and forth since then. Mom said they were waiting on an Ortho specialist to see if Gram needed to have surgery. She fractured her shoulder and a bone in her hip. I found out just this morning that she won't need surgery, but will be removed to a rehabilitation center to convalesce. I'm glad she doesn't need surgery, but I can't help but wonder if she'll be able to come back home. Grammie is not a woman who accepts her limitations (which is probably why she fell to begin with). Can she return to the home she's lived in for more than 40 years? How will her spirit continue on, untrammeled, if she cannot be where her heart is?

I'm being overly dramatic, but if you knew my Gram you'd know how important her health and happiness are. Please, if you're of a religious mind, pray for my Grammie to heal quickly and with a minimum of stress. Even if you aren't, please think good thoughts for her, as I am each moment.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


There's something about the crisp air, shortening days, and cooler weather that makes me want to bake. As soon as Bear and I bring back our bagful of apples (we only picked 23 pounds of apples this year! That's good for us - the first year, we picked 40), I get into the kitchen and start baking the "Flavors of Fall" as I like to call them. First is apple pie, followed by apple bread, apple crisp, and this year, applesauce. Pink cinnamon applesauce (I put red hots in it. It's delicious. I swear!). I also foray into the pumpkin arena. This is newish territory to me, as before Bear I had no use for pumpkin. His mother made him pumpkin chocolate chip cookies when he was a child, though, and he loves them. Since I'm in a baking mood I bake him some of those, too. I have his mother's recipe, and I've copied it here for all of you to share. It's quick and easy, and it makes a LOT of cookies. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 eggs, beaten
1 large can pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 bag chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Mix ingredients together. Drop by rounded teaspoon unto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake @ 375 degrees until done. Yield: approx. 6 dozen.

Happy baking!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Update (for Hallie)

I am sorry to have left that last post up, unupdated, for so long. You see, less than 24 hours after uploading my resume, they called me and wanted an interview.

They hadn't even received my letters of recommendation or transcripts yet.

I was excited, and was very hopeful about the interview. I had been offered a position there years ago, and turned them down to go to Lincoln (that was a mistake, it turns out).

Tuesday morning I put on my best interview outfit (including the pearl necklace and earrings I received as a wedding gift), and off I went.

I had a good interview - I made them laugh a couple of times, I answered articulately, and even re-connected with a fellow grad student I hadn't seen in a few years. The principal thanked me for coming and said she'd let me know either way within a couple of days.

That afternoon I received a phone call. The caller ID showed it to be the principal. Heart pounding with excitement, I answered the phone.

"Yes, Heather? I just wanted to call you and let you know that we offered the position to another candidate, and he accepted. Thank you for applying and have a nice day."

I mumbled some kind of platitude and hung up, sort of stunned. I really thought I'd be offered the position. To say I was bummed was putting it mildly. Working in Newport would have been the final piece in the puzzle of Bear and I moving to Bangor next summer. I knew I'd have to return to my current school for at least the remainder of the school year, and the thought depressed me.

I know now more than an ever how much I do not want to be here. I don't think I realized how much until I had the possibility of something more. Something better.

I am going to keep searching and keep trying, but this still stings a bit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seek and Sometimes, Ye Find

I've made no secret about the fact that I am unhappy at my current teaching placement. I've been wronged by administration here several times and now am having to adjust to being in the first grade half of each day. I am not ashamed to admit that I am struggling. Some days it's not so bad; others I'm near tears.

After the fabulous weekend I had with Bear recently, I did not want to go back to school. My body was almost physically resisting having to go back. Whenever I thought about the approaching Monday, my muscles would lock. Monday night Bear asked me how my day was. I just looked at him, replying, "It went. It's over now. That's all I can ask right now." I could tell he was unhappy with my answer, but I wasn't going to sugar coat and I'm not known for keeping things inside. As a consolation, I said, "Newport posted a HS English position this week. That's pretty unheard of, to post during the school year. I wonder what happened."
He raised an eyebrow. "You should apply," he advised.
"You think?" I asked. I hadn't considered that before. Changing a teaching job during the school year is almost unheard of. It simply isn't done, although legally it can be. I'm pretty sure that I'd have to give a 30 day notice before I could leave my current position, but would have to look through my contract (it isn't something I'm well-versed in).
Bear convinced me that I had nothing to lose: I was obviously unhappy where I was and the worst that could happen is that I wouldn't hear from Newport at all.

So I did. I filled out the electronic application and attached my resume, and yesterday mailed them my letters of recommendation and transcripts. I'm not really sure how I feel about this. I'm conflicted. Although I have heard very good things about Newport, it won't be easy starting over after the school year has begun, and there's such a risk in exchanging the devil I know for the one I don't. But I know I'm unhappy here. Ugh! It's difficult to see this situation at all clearly. So last night I crawled into bed and opened my current book for a little escapism before falling asleep.

And there it was, on the last page of the chapter I was reading:

"It's a hard thing to risk what you know and are sure of, just for the possibility of something better. Even when it's a pretty strong possibility and something that's a whole lot better."
I'm trying to take it as a sign.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bar Harbor Band & Trust 1/2 Marathon and 5K (Sept. 19, 2009)

You have to look for it, but you can see my name (Heather Kinne) and my time (after Brownville Junction) in the pics. The third one is me crossing the finish line. Yes, I am still running. I didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped (35:45), but considering I had to walk some of it (two weeks of resting my shins did nothing for my cardiovascular abilities), it wasn't terrible. All in all, I was glad I'd done it, happy I finished, and thrilled that Bear was there. I did find it ironic that of all people I should be the one to come in 69th place. Those of you who know me in real life are shaking your head in understanding right now. I know. I'd like to do this race again next year and see how I do. Maybe I can make it into the top 50?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fragments

  • This weekend, Bear and I are going to spend time in one of our favorite places in Maine - Bar Harbor. I'll be participating in a 5k race Saturday morning, but the rest of the time will be spent relaxing, reconnecting, and enjoying each other. On our way home Sunday we'll stop at our favorite orchard to go apple picking. I can't wait. We have so much fun together.
  • I've been cleared by my doctor to race, despite my shin splints. I developed shin splints when I bought new running sneakers. Apparently money can't buy you comfort.
  • $130 sneakers should NOT cause shin splints.
  • And they shouldn't be available only in Portland, which means I have to go back there to return them. Ugh.
  • Sometime soon I'll be taking the next step in the ongoing birth control dilemma (I'm saving details for another post). I'm excited about it.
  • I don't have to go to the first grade today. I'm very excited about it. Not that I don't enjoy the little ones, but I peg an 8 on my stress meter at least twice each day. I'm still adjusting.
  • I am the most forgetful person I know. I don't mean to, but most days I forget at least one important thing and usually I forget more than that. It does no good to make lists, because I often can't remember what I did with the list once I finished it! This is frustrating to people who know me. They have no idea how much it frustrates me.
Okay, that's all I have to frag about today. I hope you all have great weekends! I will post pics from this weekend once I get back. I owe you guys some pics I think. It's been a while!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

5 Minute Writing Exercise

Courtesy of Jenny from Roughly Speaking.

Writing prompt: What is not obvious about you?

Looking at my life from the outside, you'd never guess my deepest desire. Looking at me, you'd see that I'm an ordinary high school English teacher who works part time at a local pharmacy. I don't smoke or do drugs, I consume alcohol about once a month (and usually only one or two drinks in an evening), and I follow the rules. I wear my seatbelt. I use my blinker. I don't steal, cheat, or do anything I shouldn't.

But deep inside, I yearn to be different.

I want to be a kickass bitch who doesn't care about others, who does what feels good and fuck the consequences. I want danger to ooze from me, for people to pick up on it and make way for me on the sidewalk. I want to be dangerous.

I want to be badass.

My husband laughs at my pathetic attempts to become badass while still following rules - I'll wear my Korn t-shirt, but only under a high-necked sweater. I listen to rock music in my car, but still follow all traffic regulations. He loves me dearly, but doen't think I'll ever earn the badass label.

And maybe he's right. Because no matter how badly I want to be Gemma from "Sons of Anarchy" (the new show I am absolutely addicted to), I can't stop following rules long enough to accomplish it. I had very strict parents who would punish mercilessly any infraction. I learned from a young age that following rules kept one from punishment. It sounds as though I blame my parents for my inability to flout the law and those that uphold it, but the truth is that I like rules. I like knowing what I am and am not supposed to do. It gives structure to my life that otherwise I'd be lacking. It comforts me when I know that I'm not at risk for punishment.

I wonder sometimes what it would take for me to change.

Your turn: What is not obvious about you? Take 5 minutes and write it on your blog (or in the comments) and I'll be sure to read it. Thanks jenny for making me think this morning!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Good and Bad

Good: Bear and I had a fabulous Labor Day weekend, which included a trip to Portland to get lots of things for us. Well really for me. I got a new pair of running sneakers, running pants, a pink running t-shirt, 5 new pairs of undies from Victoria's Secret, and some other stuff I can't remember right now. We bought birthday gifts for Mark and Tara (their birthdays were the 3rd and 8th, respectively), which was a lot of fun because we had the money to spend on them and they are fairly easy to shop for. My dad's birthday is the 15th, and I have no idea what to get him.

Bad: After running a hills course on Monday, I think I have shin splints. I tried running yesterday and only got a single mile before I had to stop and walk. I was in tears not only because it hurt, but because I'm worried that now I won't be able to run in the 5k race I've been training for. The race is the 19th.

Good: I received in the mail the $500 Visa gift card I won on the blog Suburban Turmoil a couple of weeks ago. We celebrated by going to Bangor last night and eating at Pizza Hut.

Bad: I'm lactose intolerant, and pizza has a *lot* of cheese on it.

I'm tired today, but am trying to find the energy I need to work with the little ones today and work at Rite Aid tonight.

How are you doing?

Friday, August 28, 2009

As the Dust Settles...

... things are falling into place.

I've been back at school since Tuesday. The first two days were inservice; all of the beginning-of-the-year stuff we need to know about, as well as getting my classroom ready for a new year's worth of kids. Wednesday I spent the morning at the elementary school, hoping that they had figured out what it was I was supposed to be doing there every afternoon. They hadn't yet, and told me to come back Thursday and maybe they'd have figured it out.

Thursday was the first day of school for kindergarten through ninth grade. My morning was spent doing paperwork and such (since I don't teach freshmen). I ate lunch, and at 11:00 I arrived at the elementary school.

Oh. My. God.

Let me begin by saying that I don't dislike children. I really don't. I just don't know how to deal with them. I've never been around little kids, so I never learned the appropriate ways to deal with them. It never was a problem, because when was I ever going to be around little kids? I'm only certified to teach grades 7-12, and since I won't be having children of my own, this was never a problem. Until yesterday.

Everything started out great. My assignment, which they gave me yesterday when I entered the building, is to help with first grade math and writer's workshop. Since it will be several days before they begin those routines, for now I'm just supposed to help out where I can. The kids trooped in from lunch and sat down on the carpet while I sat in the back of the room. They're cute little buggers (including one that is a tiny peanut with a mohawk!), but wow, they were full of energy. None could sit still, even when the teacher called for their attention.

The first part of the afternoon I didn't have to do much. They had share time, then went to music class. Terrific. I had a bit of a breather and spoke with both first grade teachers about what I will be doing, who I will be helping, and what that will be like. I am going to have to learn to be very, very flexible as things change in the elementary classroom way more than they do at the high school. High energy has never been something my high school students suffer from.

After music, Ms. P had the kids start an art project to bring home to their parents. Two red school houses that they had to cut out and glue together with glue sticks, and some other embellishments to add. Sounds simple, right?

"Mrs. Kinne, I can't cut this part. It's too tricky."
"Can you help me?"
"Did I cut this right?"
"How do I fold this?"
"What do I do next?"
"Uh-oh, I ripped it!"

Seventeen first graders were suddenly all clamoring for my attention. All at once, right on top of each other. My poor high school brain was almost immediately overwhelmed. I wanted to have a meltdown right there, but kept it together as best as I could. We got through that okay, and as the end of the day approached, Ms. P asked kids if they had to go to the bathroom. Several did. One little boy came back and looked at me with big eyes. "I can't get my zipper. Can you help me?"

Seriously. I had to zip up a boy's pants. I have NEVER done that before in my life. EVER. I felt like Arnold Schwartzenneger in Kindergarten Cop. Suddenly I knew what that kind of get-me-out-of-here desperation felt like. And yes, I zipped his zipper. My face was probably flaming with embarassment, but I did it.

After that was story time - kids could pick a book and read it on the rug while they waited to be dismissed. No less than four kids wanted to be read to, and others wanted "help." I tried to get them started and leave them, but they kept coming back, like waves, each one more insistent than the one before.

When they were dismissed at 2:05, I was exhausted and sweaty. I'd had two kids on my lap at different times (I don't even know the rules about that!) and left feeling more overwhelmed than ever. I have no idea what I am doing there. None.

And at 11:00 today ... I have to go back.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fragments (a la Alice and Hallie)

Alice and Hallie both do Friday Fragments, so I thought Id give it a whirl.

*I do not now, nor will I ever, forgive Michael Vick. People seem to think that because he went to jail, because he said he was sorry, he should be forgiven and we should forget about the dogs he tortured and killed and get back to watching him play football. In his interview with James Brown, Vick said he felt sick about the things he "allowed to happen." He didn't allow them to happen; he did them. I am disgusted that he got another NFL contract, even though I am unsurprised by it. I'm starting to wonder if there needs to be a change in the NFL. Maybe convicted felons should lose all contracts, monies, endorsement deals, and any chance at the Hall of Fame. There are thousands of talented athletes out there that don't break the law, that don't electrocute and kill harmless animals. That aren't assholes. Why don't we let them play and boot the criminals out of the league?

*My husband never ceases to inspire, humble, and impress me. Last weekend, we went to the Maine Highland Games. He has Scottish ancestry, and we went to see if we could figure out which major clan he belongs to. While taking a break from the heat and sun, we watched some of the actual athletic events. They are terrific, really, in their simplicity. Throw a rock as far as you can. Throw a weight as high as you can. Toss a sack over a bar. I thoroughly enjoyed them. I had the stray thought that my husband would be marvelous at these events. He must have had the same thought or read my mind, because he has registered as an amateur as a Highland Games Competitor. He will compete next year at the games, and has already begun training. I am awed by his drive and desire; by his courage in going after what he wants. He blogged about his decision on his blog. I hope you'll go over and give him some encouragement!

*I am running a 5k race in September, on the 19th. I wasn't going to race this year, since back in March I couldn't find any events. Bear came through for me and even paid my entrance fee. He is always encouraging me to run, and knew I needed a kick in the pants. Two more days and I'll be at 30 minutes of run time again, something I was nowhere near two weeks ago.

*The sun makes me itchy. No really! Anytime I spend time in the sun, my face reacts, gets all puffy and thick, and itches fit to drive me crazy. Can one be allergic to the sun? Or am I just a baby?

*I'm thinking of entering a yarn I made into the arts and crafts section of the local fair. Im not sure how much of a dork that makes me, but I'm in love with the yarn and really want to show it off. Is that wrong?

*I need to get off the computer and get cleaning/working/doing stuff. I spend *way* too much time here!

*I saw a dead racoon on the side of the road the other day and realized that my cat is as big as it was, and nearly the same color. My mind wandered for several minutes onto the paths of parallel evolution and survival of the fittest. Then I shifted tracks and thought about red hot dogs. My mind works in mysterious ways!

*Okay, I really really need to go do some chores. Later!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I got an email from my principal today, and it's official - I'll be spending three hours each afternoon working in the elementary school's resource room.


Let's do the math, shall we?

A three dollar an hour paycut x 3 hours a day x 10 days in a pay period = $90 less a paycheck. If I cut out both unions fees by dropping the unions (what good are they doing me anyway?) I'll save $25 a paycheck. So I'll still be losing $65 a paycheck at school.

At Rite Aid, I make $8 an hour. In order to make up the difference, I will have to work an extra 4 hours a week, x the 2 weeks in the pay period.

That moves me from 20 to 24 hours a week. That's 65 hours away from the house a week.

If I work both Sunday and Saturday (8 hours each), I'll have to work 2 nights a week. If I have one of those days off, I'll have to work 4 nights that week. I can't work on Tuesday because I have staff meetings.

This is rapidly approaching ridiculous.

To save money, I can take the car to work instead of the truck. Even though I love my truck. Even though the truck is safer if I hit a moose.

I can work on selling handdyed fiber and handspun yarn. If I work diligently at this, I could potentially work one less shift a week. But when would I do it?

I can say goodbye to learning to make blueberry wine, giving fabulous gifts at Christmas, getting new running sneakers, and buying anything on my Amazon wishlist.

I can join my bank account and Bear's and only spend money on bills; he will be in charge of any and all money left over, since I would just spend it anyway.

I can apply for another forbearance on my school loans. If I have any left, that would give us a six month window of fewer bills to worry about.

This is all so much to think about. I'm not sure how we'll make it this year, honestly. But at least the loan is paid off. That will hopefully make a difference.

How do you all do it? Is money this tight for anyone else?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer's End

It's begun. As summer nears its end and the start of a new school year begins its slow approach, the ceaseless round of questions begin.
"When do you go back to school?"
"Will you be teaching at the same place?"
"Are you ready to go back?"
"You looking forward to a new year?"

The answers are August 25th, sort of, I guess so, and not at all.
*I return to school with two days of inservice on August 25th, a Tuesday. The first freshman day will be Thursday of that week, and upper classmen on the Friday. It is asinine to have students start a school year on a Friday. Why even come?
*The teaching half of my job is secure. I was un-laid off, if that makes sense, so my teaching position will be there. However, no one seems to know about the ed tech half of my job. The last three years I was a Title 1 Literacy Ed Tech Three, teaching two freshman classes and making about $18 an hour for three hours a day. At the end of the school year I was told that due to budget cuts and seniority issues I may have to give that position up to anther woman and take an Ed Tech Two position at the elementary school, in theresource room. Making $11 an hour. This is absolutely unacceptable to me. I LOATHE little kids - especially those that bite and pee on you. I have never taught at the elementary level, let alone at the special ed level. I am absolutely unqualified for that job. It frankly terrifies me. I asked my principal last week if he knew what was going on with that, and he doesn't. I probably won't be told what I'll be doing until I get there on the 25th. Ugh.
*As for being ready to go back... I guess so. I know who most of my students will be, I know what I'll be teaching, I know what specific bullshit I'll be asked to do and deal with... so in that respect I'm ready.
*Am I looking forward to it? Not at all. Usually I am excited to start a new year; I love the possibilities that come with starting fresh. This year I am more aware than ever that it doesn't matter what I teach them, because the way grades are reported suck and hurt kids. That no one cares what life lessons my students learn; they only care about what can be measured. It's disheartening to say the least.

I applied for a new job over the summer, but there weren't many available and the ones that were exist too far away to make working there feasible. When I got the call that I was un-laid off, I told my husband that I would return to my school for one more year. But I also told him that this will be my last year. I am too unhappy where I'm at to stay any longer. I'm tired of being bullshitted, dicked around, and lied to. I'm tired of the sneakiness, the underhandedness, and the drama that goes on. It isn't good for me. He agreed, and we have a tentative plan to stay where we are for one more year and next summer to get new jobs, move away, and start a new and better life. We are going to sell the house and move completely out of Brownville Junction. He will quit his job at the mill and attend college classes for the first time.

I can't wait.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer time

It's been almost a month since I've blogged. I'm sorry, especially as my last blog showed me being in a very negative frame of mind. I'm over that, thankfully. The end of the school year brings a lot of mixed emotions. Most of what I was feeling was stemming from the fact that I don't know if I'll be back there to teach next year. I know that I don't really want to go back, but there aren't a lot of high school English teacher positions open near where I live. I've applied for three in an eighty mile radius from home. I'm waiting to hear back.

Bear and I took our annual trip to Bar Harbor the first weekend I was free from school. We take our tent and camp, as it is much cheaper than a hotel room and we can use the money we saved to do things in the Harbor. This time it poured every single day. We were soaked, frustrated, and bored. It wasn't nearly as much fun as it was last year. We'll try again next year, I guess. We did have some good times laying in the tent and reading. Each of us read through an entire novel (and I got halfway through another one).

Shortly after we returned home, Bear and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe that it's been two years since we got married. Other times it feels like I've always loved him. As time passes, I am more and more convinced that I hit the husband jackpot with him. I've never met anyone as kind, caring, honest, hardworking, and funny as this man. I am more and more thankful to have him as time passes. With Bear I feel that I have a true partner in life; someone who wants the same things I want and will work with me to get them. He blogged on the day of our anniversary, saying:
Two years ago today, we met together on the shores of Pleasant Pond surrounded by our friends and family and vowed our love for each other. 730 days later we stand together still, better, stronger and if possible even more in love. We've taken on this rollercoaster and walked off the other end, sometimes a little woozy and stumbling from time to time but we have always come out the end. I love you Heather Naomi Monroe Kinne, more and more with every day. You have taught me that is alright to dream, to believe in things, and to take care of myself as well as others. You have stood by me when others would have run. You have showed me unhindered devotion and caring. I truly believe that you are the thing that makes me complete and I feel so lucky to have you. I love you, babe. Happy Anniversary

Other than that I've been working at Rite Aid and hanging out with Bear. He's been laid off this month so it's been nice to have him home each day. He's sweet enough to bring me to work and pick me up most days, as well as do housekeeping chores and get the mail. I am really spoiled. This is the first week since April that has had more than two sunny days in a row - Maine has had rain almost every single day this spring/summer. It's been really hard to accomplish anything outside. At least the rain means my flowers are growing, I guess.

So much has been going on in the bloggy world - Alice had her baby (Hi Austin!), Hallie is almost to her goal of 5,000 dollars raised for Organ Donation Awareness, and Fox is in the Southwest with a marvelous man (who totally needs to guest blog so that we can all "meet" him), and Cheryl is trying her best to make lemonade out of lemons. I wish you all the best in your summer adventures!

I'll try to be back to semi-regluar blogging (I think I needed a mental break from it all). Thanks to all of you for sticking with me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm trying, I really am.

I just don't know how much more of this I can take.

For those of you that don't know me in real life or follow me on Plurk, you may not know that I got pink slipped from school on Friday. It's the teacher half of my job, not the ed tech half, although where that's concerned I've been told I *might* not be a high school literacy ed tech III next year; I may be an ed tech II in the Elementary school Special Ed room. While the superintendent is "confident I'll be able to return in the spring," I am not. I don't believe that the town will care enough about my half of a position to save it, when it means less money out of their pockets. I didn't get either of the two jobs I applied for a few weeks ago (I got my application in too late), so I'm becoming increasingly desperate and frustrated and hopeless and anxious.
School is technically "out," as the last official day was last Thursday. I am here Monday through Thursday from 8-1 working on my curriculum. Because they pay me extra. Because that extra money is going towards buying me a spinning wheel. Every morning I wake up and wish I could stay in bed. The drive in to work I can actually feel my body resisting the trip North. I am antisocial while I am here. I shut my door, attempt to work, and spend large quantities of time staring in a stupor around me, wondering what the hell I am going to do if I have to move my entire classroom. Wondering what the hell I am going to do next year if I'm not here. Because teaching jobs are few and far between right now, and honestly? The drama I've dealt with all year is making me question myself. Question my choice of career. Question whether I was meant to be a teacher.
While all of this is going on, I am trying to keep a game face on. Trying to appear as though I'm shrugging it all off, as though it's all just rolling off of my back. But on the inside, I am roiling. While sitting here at my laptop I scrawled these lines down:

This feeling is building -
rising inside me.
The panic, the pressure,
that makes me want to throw up.
It wants to scratch, claw its way out,
Loose a long low cry
Rip itself from my center
so I can feel relief.

My outsides are still
But my insides are boiling.
A roiling sea of anxiety, of nausea,
of pain.

I wrap it, strap it, swallow it down.
Tighten my muscled
against its insistent urging,
its pushing to be free.
To rip, claw, hack, tear its way out,
And leave me,
behind it.

All I want, all I need, is to make it through Thursday. Once Thursday is over, Bear and I are on our way to Bar Harbor for my birthday/our anniversary weekend. It's the first trip we take each summer and the one we look forward to most each year. Nothing is allowed to intrude on our weekend - no stress, no work, nothing but the ocean and each other. If I can make it to Friday, I will be okay. I will be able to deal with this situation, with this clusterf**k that is my life.

I'm trying. I really am.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Free for a limited time!

To the left of my blog is a new widget. Do you see it? It's for the National Bone Marrow Donor List. Please consider joining. It takes just a few minutes to register and it may save a life. For a limited time, registration is free! The promo runs until my birthday, the 22nd, or until they get 46,000 donors. I imagine they will reach that number quickly, so do what I did and sign up today! The site is easy to navigate and answers many questions people may have about becoming a donor. Feel free also to add this widget to your own blog - it's super easy to do and will help get the word out that much faster. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A weather eye*

Last night while my husband was mowing the lawn (for the third time in a row, even though we are *supposed* to take turns), I wandered around the house looking for something productive to do. I'd just returned from hanging out the laundry, and it is painfully obvious to me that it's time for a new clothespin bag. My current one is hanging on by one rusty grommet and is all ripped to shreds:

An idea struck me: I will SEW a new one! I came up with a simple pattern in a pretty purple fabric and set about making it. As I was cutting the fabric, the thought occurred to me that it's as easy to make two as it is to make one. And if I made two, I could give one away! Sweet!

So keep a weather eye on the bloggy horizon, for in the next week or two I should be posting pics of the clothespin bag and details on how you can win one for your very own!

*This exact entry was re-posted to my other blog, as well, so if you read both, you're not seeing double. I promise.

Monday, June 01, 2009

At least it wasn't all bad...

Friday morning I had to go to the doctor's office, as I thought maybe my nose was broken. Bear and I were roughhousing (whatever. There are no parents around to warn us about such things) and I took an accidental headbutt to the nose. Bear and I both heard the crunch of my nose and backed up in preparation for the gush of blood we both thought was coming. It never did, and my nose didn't swell and I didn't get a black eye. But I had a headache for DAYS right over my nose and it wouldn't go away.

I shouldn't have wasted my time. The doctor took my blood pressure and pulse, asked me a few questions, felt my nose for a second, ("does this hurt? How about this?") and said that it might be broken and it might not, but unless I lose my sense of smell or neurological function, that there was nothing to be done and I should take ibuprofen for the pain.

Couldn't she have told me that over the phone??

I had to go to school after that because I was scheduled to meet with the superintendent of our district at 2pm. 2pm meetings on Fridays are NEVER a good sign. My principal said he would go in with me, which made me feel marginally better as my principal rocks. Bear, who only works half the day on Friday came too but hung out in my room during the meeting.

Remember a while back when I posted about possibly losing the teacher half of my job? Well that never happened. But just as I was breathing a sigh of relief, news of this meeting came down. Here's what happened:

Our school is losing a 1/2 time library aid position. The person in that position is an ed tech III. She is taking my ed tech III position because she has more seniority than me. I am being busted down to an ed tech II and will have to spend half of each day in the elementary school special ed room. I am losing about six dollars an hour, times three hours a day for a daily loss of about eighteen dollars. Multiply that by ten times in the two week pay period and I lose $180 a paycheck. It's ridiculous, and what's worse is there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. This is exactly the way the contract says it is supposed to be done. The real kicker is that the lady taking my ed tech III position is not qualified to teach English - she has a math degree. I'm three classes away from obtaining my master's degree in literacy education.

I put my principal on notice that I am looking for a new job. I don't know for sure if I'll get one, so I'm not resigning from the job I currently have, but my teaching career has to last me the next thirty years. I cannot take a step BACK like this. I must keep moving forward. Please wish me luck as I apply for the two jobs I blogged about last week. I will be applying for any other positions in a fifty mile radius of my home that are full time H.S. English positions.

Because Friday was such a sucky day, Bear decided I needed a little bit of retail therapy. I've been in the market for a new cell phone since February. Friday night, I came home with this baby:

It's an LG Banter, a cell phone with a complete QWERTY keyboard. And the best part? It's kelly green. I LOVE it. It's made of awesome, and it helped take the edge off of Friday. I love the phone, and I love love love Bear for buying it for me. He's really what keeps me together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I know what it means when you find one of these:

But what does it mean when you find one of these:
That's a five leaf clover. FIVE. I found it and two four leaf clovers Sunday morning while taking down the tent at my parents. Here are all three in Bear's shirt pocket:

It was a great weekend. A perfect weekend. Bear's good at making those possible. it's one of the reasons I'm so lucky to have him. As in, five leaf clover lucky.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Fragmented Friday - with Pictures!

It's Friday, and I'm pissed at my students right now (NOT ONE OF THEM did their homework from last class. not ONE. Damnit!) so I'm blogging instead. Since I didn't plan on blogging today and don't have a post in mind, I thought I'd share some recent pics off of my camera with you.

First, I don't know if you know this about me, but I love, love, love being a contradiction. A straight A student with a tattoo and tongue ring. A teacher who listens to rock and drives fast. A woman who owns a pickup truck. You know... contradictory stuff. That's why when I went running on Wednesday, I wore this shirt:Last year I participated in Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge. It's a simple challenge, really - dry as much of your laundry outside as you can. I have an enormous clothes line - it comfortably holds about eight loads of laundry. It's empty this morning after bringing in the three loads that were on it, but you can see that it's heavy duty:
You can park a pickup underneath that thing. There are eight lines strung with room for three more if I need them. It's made of awesome. Click to embiggen the picture.

Unfortunately, all that clothes hanging has done a number on my clothespin bag. Look at how sad it is:I really ought to make a new one. I will have to look at my fabric stash and see what I can come up with. This one is ripped, is hanging on by just one side, has a rusty hook... it's hurt.

This time of year is one of the best times to ride the road I do to work each day, as the moose are out in full force. I saw eight in one morning! I see at least a couple of moose each day. I try to take pictures of them if no one's behind me (and there rarely is), but moose are notoriously camera shy:I love seeing the moose each spring, seeing how many of them came through the winter okay, who has new babies and who has gotten bigger. This morning, I saw my first dead moose on the roadside. She made it through the winter, only to be hit and killed by a truck this spring. It's awful. I am consoled a bit by the knowledge that the moose's carcass will feed the pack of coyotes that crossed the road just North of her. I try to remind myself that although humans definitely interfere with nature even on my road, at least nature is making the best of it.

Finally, I spent some time on Tuesday working in my three raised bed gardens. So far I've planted tomato, green pepper, lettuce, and strawberries (I only took a pic of the lettuce):
The chives come up each year on their own, but this is the first year I'll have chive flowers: Last fall I transplanted some tulips I found forgotten in a back corner of the house to my front flower bed with my crocus bulbs, and they made it through the winter and bloomed nicely:

Have a great weekend, everyone. I know I will!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bear-y Loved

That's a terrible pun (for which I apologize), but I just wanted to share with you the wonderful thing Bear has planned for us Saturday.

Let me back up. Bear and I have been married almost two years and been together three and a half years, and in that time I have come to realize just how lucky I am to have Bear in my life. You see, we don't have a lot of the issues other couples do. We genuinely like each other, for one. We never belittle each other to friends or call each other names. We rarely fight, and if we do it is focused on a behavior, not a personality trait. We have similar views on many things including the importance of working each day and of paying off our debt. Often we think the same thing at the same time (at least every other day one of us says, "I was just thinking that!"). There is a solid foundation of support for each other - he supports my love of fiber, and I encourage him to continue his education. We don't fight about the things other couples fight about, because we don't upset each other. We both understand and value alone time, and there is no jealousy or clingy-ness to our love.

In short, we're great together.

When I first met Bear, I didn't think I wanted to date him. He wasn't my type, for one, and I'd just gotten out of a relationship, for two. But Bear was so sure he wanted me - he never pushed or pressured, but he made me understand that he wanted to be with me and he would do whatever it took to make me feel the same way. He convinced me to fall in love with him, and I've never regretted it.

I think it's that need to convince me that makes him continue to work so hard at making me happy. If I've had a bad day at work, he cuddles me on the couch, and if I'm feeling fat he encourages me to go for a run (even when I whine about it).

Saturday, he's taking me on a picnic.

I have been wishing lately that I could take him up my road to work as the moose are out and I know he loves seeing them as much as I do. When I learned I didn't have to work on Saturday, I considered asking him to take a drive with me in the morning. I should have known better, because I didn't even have to ask. on Monday, Bear asked me if I'd like to leave early Saturday morning and go for a drive in the North Maine Woods to look for moose. "We'll pack a picinic," he said, "with turkey sandwiches and brownies for dessert. We'll drive up the Golden Road and look at all the moose. We'll stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a hot breakfast and coffee. It'll be just you and me, all day, with no hurrying. What do you think?"

What do I think?

I think that sounds perfect.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Inservice Day

Today is a half-day teacher inservice day. I am supposed to be working on my curriculum development. However, since my curriculum is in pretty good shape, I'll be cleaning up the mess that I call my classroom. Normally I wouldn't care about the mess factor of my room until that last week of school, the week when the students refuse to do work and I'm too exhausted to make them, but this week has brought some changes that are causing me re-evaluate my previously apathetic stance.

I'm applying for a new job. Two, actually.

It's not that I'm resigning from this teaching job, because I'm not. But remember this post? I've come to realize that no one here (at least in the administration capacity) is going to bat for me if someone decides that she wants my job. For now it appears that I will be here next year, but I just can't trust that. There are two good teaching positions open in other districts and I have decided that it's a good idea to apply for them. Just in case the ground falls out from under me as it has done twice now already. So I'm going to apply for these two jobs and hope that I get an interview. If I get an interview, I might get an offer. If I get an offer, I can decide if the devil I know is better or worse than the devil I don't.

Here's a comparison of the teaching jobs:

Current Job
1/2 time teacher, 1/2 ed tech
pay decreases during vacation/summer
Sneaky superintendent of Doom
Drive my road each day
Stay in Brownville JCT
Bear close to adult office
Less money/year
Keep second job
Lots of teaching freedom
Tenure (for what it's worth)

New Job(s)
Full time teacher
Pay is same year-round
Superintendent of undetermined Doominess
Different commute (one of them would be longer)
Move this fall (to shorten commute)
Bear close to future Alma Mater
More money/year
Quit second job
Undetermined teaching freedom
Two more years until tenure

Feel free to weigh in on what you think I should do. I've got collect a few more materials before I can send off my applications, including getting a letter of recommendation from the senior English teacher here. The woman is intimidating like nobody's business and scares the crap out of me. I've been trying to screw up the courage to ask her all week. I have to do it today so I can get things mailed out next week some time. These two positions will get a lot of applicants, so I need to have my application in the pile before they start scheduling interviews.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The List

My list is finished. I hope to have it posted on the sidebar to my blog (I may have to fiddle with things to get it there) as well as a countdown. If I begin today, my ending date is February 8, 2012. Feel free to comment on what you think of it. I broke the list into several categories: Relationships, Bear and I, Craft Related, Personal and Professional/Educational. That should help me keep things separate. Also, a few of my items have a 0/# at the end of them - that is how many times out of the total I've completed. I'd like to figure out how to put a strike through over the text of a number as I complete it, but I haven't yet learned how to make that happen. I will. I know this list is incredibly long (you don't have to read it all - I won't be offended), but for those of you who are making lists of your own (like Cheryl) I hope you find some inspiration.

1. Create tradition of weekly correspondence w/ Caitlin, Amy Jean, Alicia, Tara, Daddy and Leigh Anne 0/6
2. Have a summer gathering/cookout
3. Send ten people unexpected gifts 0/10
4. Take friends’ children to water park/animal park/museum/shopping 0/6
5. Improve Zedd’s skin and coat 0/2
6. Snuggle Zedd for fifteen minutes at least once a week 0/143
7. Send Christmas cards to everyone
8. Call friends/family on their birthdays
9. Host a Christmas party
Bear and I
10. Streamline camping gear
11. Help Bear enroll in college
12. Turn wedding vows into art and hang in house
13. Get new copy of marriage certificate and hang in house
14. Buy Bear woodworking tools
15. Move out of Brownville Junction
16. Buy land
17. Build home
18. Take an overnight train ride
19. Write our wills, living wills, and burial wishes
20. Shoot .308 until I’m comfortable with it
21. Hike Gulf Hagas, Pleasant River Walk, a new Bar Harbor trail
22. Teach Bear to ride a bike
23. Get a new digital camera
24. Pay off Capital One loan
25. Watch the stars with Bear
26. Go on a picnic
27. Get married on a tropical sandy beach (the way we wanted to do it originally)
28. Take a ballroom or Latin dancing class
29. Get insurance on house
30. Put up a real Christmas tree
31. Pay off Orchard Bank Mastercard
32. Donate toys for Toys for Tots
33. Get Bear a tattoo
34. Run 5 miles at one time
35. Run three times a week each of summer vacation 0/30
36. Take voice/piano/violin/flute lessons
37. Purge wardrobe of old clothes and donate them
38. Make homemade ice cream
39. Research and have electrolysis on stomach
40. Double regular dinner menu
41. Learn to make five vegetarian meals 0/5
42. Learn to make blueberry wine
43. Get passport
44. Visit a foreign country
45. Get a new tattoo
46. Get rings sized
47. Go SCUBA diving
48. Pay off University debt
49. Hold a contest on both blogs
50. Send a secret to PostSecret
51. Find and use farmer’s market each summer for produce
52. Figure out spleen pain issue
53. Go back to chiropractor each summer 0/3
54. Do ten pushups every day for a month
55. Take an eight week (or longer)yoga class
56. update and complete my address book
57. Get camera repaired/cleaned
58. Locate & organize all big ticket receipts/manuals in file cabinet
59. Locate & organize all pet medical records
60. Adopt a dog
61. Act on a good idea before I can talk myself out of it
62. Compete in five 5k races
63. Grow catnip and sunflowers 0/2
64. Read ten classical literature texts 0/10
65. Grow sufficient produce to impact our grocery bill
66. Overcome fear of basement
67. Put out birdseed in winter and hummingbird food in summer
68. Make and send Plurk friendship packages
Craft Related
69. Knit/sew family cats catnip toys 0/9
70. Make a circular needle storage case
71. Buy knitting needles to create complete sets of dpn & circulars (0-11)
72. Learn to use a sewing pattern correctly
73. Make cat beds for Humane Society
74. Make and use reusable grocery bags 0/6
75. Design and knit a pair of socks
76. Publish sock pattern to Ravelry
77. Knit Icarus shawl for Grammie
78. Knit five things for charity 0/5
79. Finished Cabled Pullover with Hood
80. Learn to dye fiber
81. Organize knit-along for Knit Group
82. Sell hand-dyed/handspun
83. Buy spinning wheel
84. Finish spinning/plying WIP fibers 0/6
85. Knit Caitlin an Elephante
86. Knit Thomas a giraffe
87. Pay it forward
88. Complete all sewing repair projects (including pants buttons)
89. Finish first draft of novel
90. Find a full-time teaching job
91. Do required things for Incomplete grad class
92. Quit second job
93. Attend another Maine Writing Project conference
94. Find and teach an excellent piece of world literature
95. Get a short story/personal essay published
96. Obtain Master’s Degree in Literacy Education
97. Get a new copy of degree; throw water-stained one away
98. Create a display of diploma, degree, and tassels
99. Write and publish a professional article
100. Finish aligning curriculum
101. Post a poem a day during poetry unit next year

Friday, May 08, 2009

101 Update

At the urgings of all of my bloggy friends, I have decided to create a list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days. I'm currently in the process of creating the list now. At the current time I have twenty-four items on my list. It may take me quite some time to come up with the complete list, and I'm not going to post it until I have the entire thing.
What I would like are some suggestions. What should I be doing for the next three years? Big, small - all ideas are welcome. Some of the things I'm thinking about are personal, others professional, still others financial. I've decided to put in things that are for both Bear and I to accomplish; we're a team, so if I do part of it, he'll help with the other part. He's good like that.

So let's here it - what should I be doing?

Friday, May 01, 2009

101 in 1001

This morning I was reading blogs, which I do while I wait for my school day to begin, when I saw something in a sidebar caught my attention. I'd seen it before (it's been on this blog since I started reading it), but for some reason today it called out to me to be examined further. The blogger is a knitter/podcaster/artist/fantastico named Miss Violet and the something was a list called "101 in 1,001." I clicked on it and discovered that it was a list of 101 things Miss Violet hopes to accomplish in 1,001 days. Many of the things had already been completed and crossed off the list, some are partially done, and others have yet to be touched. You can see her list here.

Ms. V's list has some really important things on it. Things like writing her will. And spinning all of her fiber stash. And writing thank you notes instead of thank you emails.
About her list she says:
"... after 101 things, my life will be better, my health will be better, and my relationships should be better."
Who doesn't want all of those things? I certainly do. And I know there are things that I should be doing that I don't, because they aren't easy or because I forget or because I'd rather be plurking with my friends or reading a good book. So I'm thinking more and more about creating my own 101 in 1,001 list. I wonder, though, if I should do one for just me, or if Bear and I should create one together? There are things I want us to accomplish together (moving, writing our wills), and there are things I want to do on my own (run 5 miles, write my grandmother a letter, learn to play the violin). I don't know if we can create a list of 101 things that are for the both of us, but I don't want to list communal tasks as "mine," because I will feel responsible for them. And I can't be the only one responsible for moving or writing a will or fixing the ball bearing in the truck.

Of course I haven't discussed this with Bear yet. I don't even know if it is something he would want to do. The list is a public thing (at least, mine will be); seeing it every day is the only way I will get the items on it accomplished. I'm asking you, dear reader, to weigh in. Go to Miss Violet's website, and look at her list. Look at the home page for 101 in 1,001. Tell me what you think. Is a list that big even doable? What sorts of things should I put on it? Should I add "our" things to "my" things? Is this a bad idea in general? A good idea? Sometimes when I get an idea, I can't look at it from other angles. I just fixate on a single thought (right now that thought is "this looks like a great idea and I want to be a better person, a healthier person, a more complete person. This list might be my ticket there").

So? What about it?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ahh, the week's end

I like Thursdays. It's late enough in the week that I can start looking forward to the weekend but far enough away that I don't have to worry about working at job #2. I do have to work Friday night, but that shift will be better than usual because we are having a baby shower for my friend Amanda. Her pregnancy is almost over - she's got about three and a half weeks to go officially, although she has been having contractions for months so the doctors don't think she'll go that long. I made her baby bootees (pics here) and bought her a thermometer and some infant tylenol. She's a practical woman and will appreciate practical gifts, I think. I hope. Otherwise, it's a pretty lame gift. I don't know what else to get her, honestly. I can't wait to meet this baby. It seems that we've been keeping our fingers crossed for so long that it will be a relief when we hear that little Abigail is born and is a healthy baby. Although I've blogged before about how I don't want children of my own, I love my friends' children and want all the best for them. Amanda has wanted this baby so for many years. She deserves this happiness.

I have Saturday off completely, which is a rare gift. Bear will be attending a Logging Expo with his brother-in-law, so I'll have some alone time - another rare gift. Most often I do chores when I am home alone. I seem to get much more accomplished when Bear is not nearby. The boy distracts me to no end! So the usual chores - dishes, laundry, picking up, vacuuming, etc. will be done, but I think it's time for something more. Something outdoors. The chore that most needs to be done is raking.

I hate raking.

There isn't a single chore I loathe more than raking. When I was growing up, that was one of the chores my parents insisted I do. We had seven acres of land - that's a LOT of raking. and I didn't just have to rake; I had to haul the leaves away and dump them, too. Every day when I got home from school I had to change my clothes and go outside to rake. For a minimum of two hours each day. Fall, spring, it didn't matter - there was always raking to be done. I wasn't allowed to wait until all of the leaves fell from a tree, either. Oh, no. That would be too easy. I had to rake the same place several times until the snow cover was too deep to continue. I raked until my hands blistered and my nose dripped. It was torture.

So how can I? How can I willingly do that which I swore I would never do again?

The answer? Because it's different. Somehow, these leaves, this grass, these pine needles that blanket the ground aren't like the ones at my parents' house. Well, literally they are the same leaves - the trees on our property are the same kind that my parents have, but the idea of raking them doesn't chafe as badly as it used to. Although I know that my muscles and hands will protest the abuse they will be subjected to, my mind (which previously was the loudest protester of all of my parts) isn't voicing a single complaint. Because this is our house. Our first home as a married couple, and Bear's ancestral home. I want it to look its best for him. I want the house to know that we cared for it. Especially since I don't know how many more seasons we will be living here. Our trip has shown us that we do not want to stay in Central Maine. We want to move on, to start fresh in a place where our past and our history don't live, too. A place that we will make a home together, at the same time.

Until then, it looks like I'll be spending Saturday taking care of the home we have now.

What are you doing this weekend?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


That's my sigh of relief and relaxation. Bear and I are back from our weekend away (we got back Sunday afternoon). We had a fabulous time. The land did not fail to work its magic on me; I was relaxed the moment we arrived.

Tide Mill Farms is an interesting place, and one that always has something (usually several somethings) going on. No one was home at my aunt's house except the cholocate lab Annabelle, so after saying hello to her we headed down to the barn. My cousin Aaron was there moving hay bales with his tractor before starting the afternoon milking. His wife and children pulled up in their van on their way to the public pool in town and stopped to say hi. I said hello and hugged the little ones, then headed into the barn to play with the calves before watching the milking process.

Baby cows are the most adorable little things in the world. Aaron is trying to increase his herd size, so every spring there are dozens of calves to admire:

Those ones are cute, aren't they? But there was one calf named Bitsey who totally and utterly stole my heart:

Bitsey has an underbite so her teeth poke out and give her the most comical expression. Isn't she adorable? I wanted to take her home, but was reminded that she wouldn't stay small and cute forever. Sigh. Oh well. I know where she lives and can come visit her any time.

After watching the milking, Bear and I wandered around the coastline for a while. Tide Mill Farms has 1,700 acres and over a mile of shoreline. Their land has fields, forests, mountains, rivers, a dam, ocean frontage... they've got everything. Some pics of the afternoon:

That night at dinner (steak, hamsteak, fresh salad greens, peas, potatoes and raw milk) Bear and I caught up on farm happenings. We learned that the eagles were nesting in the front field (as they have been for over a dozen years now), that the children have been doing tons of fun things as part of their homeschooling (including learning to play violins!), and that life, in general, keeps going. Dinner was filling, the company was terrific, and we got a great chance to catch up. In the morning after milking, Bear and I headed to Aaron and his wife Carly's house to wrangle some pigs and then watch the children while Carly ran an errand in town. The pig wrangling wasn't as exciting as it sounds - we were trying to get three male pigs into a trailer to be slaughtered and leave the girl pigs in their pen. The male pigs weren't having it, though, and totally ignored all of our attempts to move/herd them. Carly did get them in the trailer later that day when they were hungry. So we watched three of the ninth generation while Aaron and Carly did their things. The three kids - Hailey, 8, Paige, 6, and Henry, 3 - were utterly exhausting. They have tons of energy and were all over the place. It was terrific, though. The girls played their violins for us, I made them lunch, we all hung out in the living room, and generally had a good time. The kids are so SMART they amaze me.

Of course, after watching the kids I needed a nap so I went back to my aunt's house and did that while Bear helped out with the afternoon milking. Another fantastic dinner of spaghetti, bread, and more salad greens, and I was ready for bed. Jane, Bob, Bear, and I did all hang out at the kitchen table and talk for a while, though. It is so nice to be in their house - the kitchen is where you want to be, sipping coffee, admiring the view, petting Annabelle, and visiting. I dream about that kitchen when I'm not there. Nowhere else feels quite so homey.

On Sunday we had flying pancakes for breakfast. A favorite of mine since I was very small, flying pancakes are blueberry pancakes that are flung from the stove to the table - a distance of about twelve feet. My uncle Bob is an amazing pancake flyer - he can get them to the table from over his shoulder, under his leg... I was trying to be grown up and not ask for them this time, but they must have known I wanted them because I got them. They were delicious! I caught one pic of Bob mid-fling:

We took a quick trip to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, the Easternmost tip of the United States. The lighthouse is fantastic and we had the place to ourselves. We took lots of pictures of that, too:

We got back to the farm around noon, loaded up the car with our stuff and some organic meat and milk and took our leave. It was sad to say goodbye to the farm and to my family, especially since it was three years between the last trip and this one. I hope it isn't that long between trips again. This place is just such a part of me. I hate being away from it. Hopefully soon we will get a chance to get back there. Until then, I have my memories, and my pictures, and some pork sausage in my freezer. Life is good.