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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Temptation, Thy Name is Bear

I love my husband. He is very good to me. And usually, he is good *for* me - I believe he makes me a better person.

Except when he doesn't.

Except when he tempts me with something fun and fabulous, but will mean I have to break a rule. Lie. Do something I'm not supposed to.

This is what's happening right now.

You see, we are leaving Friday afternoon to go to my Aunt and Uncle's farm in Washington County, Maine. As soon as I am home from teaching, we will hop in the car and drive to the coast. My husband has decided that he is taking the whole day off ...

And he wants me to do it, too.

And he makes some really good arguments.

If I take Friday off, I will:
  • Get french toast, bacon, and coffee for breakfast - and he'll bring it to me in bed.
  • Have $20 to spend at Fiberphilia, Orono's yarn store.
  • Get extra time on the coast - towns like Machias, Eastport, and more.
  • Maybe go to Machias' yarn store, too.
  • Have to spend less time in a vehicle (I have tendinitis in my legs which makes sitting for long periods excruciatingly painful).
  • Make my husband very, very, happy.
It's that last one that gets me. I want to make him happy, and I know that we will have a fabulous time. But it's the Friday before April vacation and I know it will look suspicious if I am not here at school that day. I have the sick time (so will just have to call out sick), but it's tough to do. I also have to make sub plans for that day, and it is difficult to give kids something worthwhile to do that a sub can administer. Because subs really aren't good at thinking for themselves. Or at following directions.

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do. I may try to schedule a doctor's appointment for that morning so that I can get all the fun things, but also legitimately be out of school that day. And really, wouldn't that be the best of both worlds?

Friday, April 10, 2009

One week and counting!

One more week until I leave all the backstabbing, political bullshit and go where the world makes sense. Where the ebb and flow of the tides take my stress and return tranquility. I will be surrounded by growth, renewal, and the natural way of things. People I love and who love me will be there, and together with the land will heal all the damage that's been done to me.

I will be home.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Three Strikes and I'm Probably Out

Yesterday I had very little to post, and today I have so much to post I'm not sure that I will be able to clearly articulate it all. My world was turned upside down yesterday and I'm still trying to find my footing. Here's what happened.

Yesterday afternoon my principal came into my room and shut my door. That was unusual. He sat down and said, "Something was dropped on my desk yesterday and I feel that you should know about it. I'm not sure what anything means yet, but I and a few of the teachers feel that you should be made aware, as it may affect your job." I listened as he went on to explain several seemingly disjointed pieces of news that put together, pointed in the direction that I may be "laid off" at the end of this year:
  1. There is a teacher at the elementary school who's position will be eliminated due to budget cuts.
  2. This teacher has wanted to teach at the high school for a number of years.
  3. The superintendent asked this teacher to draft a curriculum for a creative writing class at the high school level.
  4. This teacher has more seniority than I do.
What the gist is (or what I could gather) is that this teacher wants my job, but because she's full time at the elementary, she was asked to make up a class in order to be full time up here (I'm only half-time now). What *really* makes me mad is the fact that there is a first year teacher at the elementary school at could and SHOULD be laid off before me. But because this woman wants MY job, she may get it. Which means the first year teacher stays at the elementary school and the third year teacher (me) gets laid off or "downstaffed" as they call it. AND the person replacing me gets the full time position I've been asking for for THREE YEARS.

I told my principal that I wasn't surprised, and really, I'm not. This may the third teaching job out of THREE that I've lost due to someone else wanting to be where I was. It's enough to drive me straight out of education. I am just so sick of the plotting and conspiring going on behind my back. I am so fed up with being in this situation. My husband and principal have both cautioned me against overreacting, since we don't "know" anything yet. I told them both the same thing: get ready for a fight. I will file a grievance, go to the board, go to the newspapers if I have to; I will not give up my job without fighting as hard as I can to protect what I've worked so hard for. I will keep you all posted when I learn something new. Until then - wish me some luck, won't you?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


No one cohesive thought for today, so I've organized the miscellany and posted it below:

  • The conference I went to Saturday was phenomenal. I wrote a lot, was re-inspired to write, enjoyed my time among my peers. I am working on making writing a more frequent practice.
  • I didn't realize how much I missed by brother and his wife until I saw them on Saturday - they are really my favorite people (excluding Bear, of course). It was awesome seeing them.
  • I am so incredibly fortunate to have the husband I do. The more I listen to people, the more I speak with friends and family, the more I realize that my husband and my marriage are truly awesome. I'm very, very lucky to be married to someone I respect, get along with, who is a good person and a hard worker. Someone who doesn't participate in illegal activities or immoral behaviors. In short, I lucked out big time. I hope he knows how I feel.
  • Many unlucky and terrible things have been happening to people I know - marriages failing, accidental deaths, mental illness, drunken psychos threatening to kill neighbors ... the world has become a sad scary place lately. Even in my small corner of the world. I just want to hug everyone until all the scariness and sadness go away.
  • My husband has taken the giant step to go back to school. He has his diploma, but is taking more rigorous classes in preparation for enrolling in college. I am so proud of him! I know he will make as exceptional a student as he does a man.
  • I am looking forward to this spring and summer as a time that I can renew my running. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I went for a walk on Monday. It was hard not to break out into a run right then. I miss the feeling of movement, of accomplishing something difficult, of each day making it further than I did before. I am walking this week, and next week will start back with my running program. It's the same program I used last time, although I hope to be able to start at week two instead of week one like last year.
That's all I've got - what are you up to?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Already April

It's April. Has been for three days now. I am in a state of shock over it, honestly, since I spend my days in a fog of work and exhaustion. I measure my time by how many days it is until my next day off, and plod through each day until I get there. I am fortunate in that I have only today to get through this time, because I have the entire weekend off (insert happy banana dance here). I won't get much rest tomorrow since I'm headed down state to a conference, but the conference is one I am looking forward to. It's called "Writing Ourselves" and it will be a chance for me to focus on myself for an entire day (and who doesn't want to do that?). I will get the added bonus of reuniting with some of my Maine Writing Project friends, whom I miss dearly. Once the conference is over, I am going to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law in Bangor for some fun times at the Sea Dog Restaurant and Pub. I have not seen either of them in months and miss them terribly. I can't WAIT to catch up with Tara!!

Sunday I have no plans. At all. I just want to hang out with my husband, to rest and relax and bond with the man who makes me happier than all others. I may even make him pancakes. Because Sunday is pancakes day and I haven't been able to enjoy pancakes day in a while because I've been working.

Speaking of working, my first official shift as "Shift Supervisor" is tonight. Eek! Wish me luck - I'm horribly nervous about it.