Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Much better day today. Bob and I went with KK to her back to school night last night and it was fun to see her relaxed and knowing exactly where to go in the school that seemed like such a maze a week ago - so comfortable with all her teachers and beginning to recognize and be recognized by other students. Her teachers are a real mix of ages, personalities, styles, and it was good to get a feel, and just to be there with her and Bob. KK, in unguarded moments, has been known to say "All my teachers always love me." and this sure seems to be the case this year. I especially was pleased to hear her math teacher comment that she obviously was a person who likes and is good at math. Her math teacher is young and enthusiastic, ardent even, and he touched me by asking how KK was doing with making friends. Many of the school adults really seem to notice and be getting to know her. Her counselor even asked her what she was doing at the back to school night - "Shouldn't you be dancing?" (It is one of the two weeks a year that Ballet Austin is closed). I love that she's only been at school there two weeks and the adults already have a sense of her. If I were KK the scariest class would be keyboarding - taught by a dynamic and loud woman who emphasises keyboarding speed. Timed tests make me nervous, KK too, but she will manage. Like KK, I would probably like art best. The teacher is hilarious, devoted, warm, a hero kind of teacher who I'm sure evokes the best in all of his students.

Ruth and Joanna both went to sixth grade at the school KK is attending now. I couldn't help but remember that I had migraines boht of their back to school nights and really had to struggle to focus and want to be there. Not so tonight. I felt great and engaged and not even shy. Some say "aging isn't for sissies." So far aging is fine. Perimenopause isn't for sissies though, that's for sure. Margaret Mead once wrote about "postmenopausal zest" and I adore experiencing it. I feel more like I did during my thirties than during my forties and early fifties - except for less bounce in the knees. I love it!

Bob is working very hard to do all he believes is necessary for his students, and family needs have kept him from working some times when I know he could have used the time for himself. I fall even more in love with him as I watch him balance all the needs and demands in such a compassionate way. His classes are challenging, but yesterday seemed to be a good day. The next two days he will be working especially hard to get ready for his own back to school night on Thursday.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday is supposed to be my relaxing day, but today was insane - It felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack all day long. I think I have more trouble than I want to admit with my daughter's lives being unsettled. Joanna and family are on the very verge of getting into a rental house in San Antonio and RUth and Chris almost have a contract to sell their house. But things could still go wrong. People say "Don't worry." and it doesn't quite fit. I don't think I worry or catastropise, don't expect the worst. I just don't feel settled when my daughters lives are unsettled. I don't seem to be able to just bracket (This is theris and this is mine and I can care about them without feeling their aK. and their adjustments to school. I'll be more relaxed when I know both of them are fully in the flow. Love3 with boundaries is so tough for me. I don't have the emotional strength to feel everyone I love's burdens fully, or the power to lift them, and respecting people demands stepping back and trustiog them to deal with their own burdens unless they ask for help. Easier said than done. Today showed me how far I have to go on this.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's been a good weekend. I think Bob is less tired than he was on Friday, and more ready for the new school week than he thought he'd be. We spent parts of both weekend days at school, but not long times, and today arranged the desks for group work. We also went to the gym both days, which has been harder for us to manage since school started. KK has been good company. She has had interesting get to know you school assignments, including a shield assignment for American history in which she needed to include personal, historical, and cultural symbols that mean something to her as a citizen. She really did a beautiful job with the motto "Dance like Nobody's watching." It was a joy last night watching Ruth use her fancy drawing on the computer software to help KK block out her idea - really a great lesson as well as a neat product. Living in our house can't be easy for a kid, high standards all around, as well as lots of love and support.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today has been a good Saturday - lots of housework and some computer play, a little time in Bob's classroom and a little more tomorrow, a walk with K.K., home made enchilladas by Chris. Last night was mideastern. That man has me thoroughly spoiled. I like to cook fine, but living with him is like a gourmet world tour, and I'm even managing to lose weight while enjoying all this glorious food.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First week of school is over. Whew! Everybody is tired, but satisfied I think, quiet in the house tonight. K.K. is spending the night with her Dad. Liam fell asleep early. Ruth and Chris are tidying up and Bob is playing with music downloads and dozing in his chair. I think I will go to sleep early too

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day continued well -so cool to see K.K. putting down roots, seeming more relaxed about school.
This morning felt great, maybe the sense of being over "hump day" of the first week of school. K.K. seemed strong and prepared this morning, not with such a strong feeling of newness and nerves, just going to school. I'm looking forward to this evening, getting off at 5:30, having more time home with family, not rushing. I feel a little sad not seeing the boys as they start new schools, but life does bring changes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It feels so good to see K.K. relaxing into Lamar, excited about singing wiht the choir at the pep rally on Friday, making friends, really just seeming to be finding her legs. Bob's first week is tough, so much to do to feel he is doing right by his kids. I hope I can help enough with some of the physical work over the weekend that he starts next week feeling caught up. The intensity of the summer heat broke today - no more hundreds in the forecast! And the high Saturday will be in the eighties. Feeling coolness in the breeze today lifted my spirits. The rising moon tonight had the golden tones I associate with autumn moons - beautiful.
Things I'd like to do this year - an idea borrowed from Ruth's blog:

So here are some things I'd like to do this year:

1. Learn to sew again and make skirts and dresses.
2. Get my beading under control (sell off many beads I've made and start some more complex beaded projects, mostly semi-precious.
3. Finish and compile my book of Jewish holiday poems.
4. Take a road trip with Bob out into the wilderness somewhere.
5. Get out in the full moon more, especially at McKinney Falls.
6. Take at least one Butler Community School dance class with K.K.
7. Continue to make sense of old family pictures and letters.
8. Learn to knit.
9. Make one craft project with Liam each season,and with Andrea too if at all possible.
10. Get my feet into a river and the Gulf of Mexico.
11. Write more emails and letters, birthday cards and such.
12. Plant something and keep it alive, at best a whole garden.
13. Go to a play with Bob.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Second days are tough, the getting up and moving through change without the adrenaline of first days. Our crew made it, all of them, Ruth, K.K. and Bob. Everybody's tired I think. but resilliant enough that Ruth, Liam, K.K. and I started dancing spontaneously during dinner preparations (to Might Be Giants science songs Ruth shared with Bob for use in his classroom. he didn't dance but was thrilled with the resource.) K.K. is finding the feel of Lamar, though nerves made her cry again this morning. Once again she was met by kindness and perked up and got through the day without mishap. I am such a freak. I ADORE the homework helper role, which having K.K. in the house allows me to reenter. I like her assignments for language arts and history, They are working on the meaning and importance of history before they start memorizing facts - an approach I approve of. She had to come up with a quote about the importance of history after reading a number of famous ones. Hers is "Yesterday is the seed of tomorrow.", She also was asked to pick four character trait words from a long list and apply them to herself in short paragraphs, which I think was a neat assignment which I might reframe a little the next time I assign prompts for my writers' group. K.K. picked "cheerful", "friendly", "talented", and ""nervous", all of which definitely apply. I'm loving having Bob home, just the quiet presence of him in the night, and being able to go to his classroom with him, even if I just keep him company and don't help much. He has a diverse group of kids, including refugees from the Congo and Burma, and he believes they have a lot to learn this year, especially in math. He is tired, but persevering. Ruth has large classes - always full because she is much desired as a professor at ACC, and is struggling with all the minutia of computer problems and parking permit hassles and such.
I think the whole household will appreciate the weekend.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First day survived! It was touching to walk into lamar with K.K. this morning. Her tears started as soon as her feet took her into the strange school, and the principal and teachers were all very kind and helpful - amazingly so, and within a few minutes she was smiling through her tears. I love that kid. She takes her vulnerability in a very matter-of-fact way, knows she cries when she's scared in new situations and doesn't freak out that she's crying. She ended up having a really good day and making two new friends. Bob's day went fine, not as amazingly as he had hoped, but fine. he's drilling himself tonight on his student's names in connection with pictures he took of them. They, as a group, are pretty frustrated about being back at elementary school instead of going to middle school as they expected (due to the poor performance of the middle school to which they were headed). BOb was hoping discussion of their feelings about staying at elementary school would help shift these feelings more than it seemed to. Tomorrow should be a tougher day for the students but easier on Bob. He's planning to give them some benchmark tests.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am having a terrible time blogging, and that's not like me. I've been down, stressed,struggling with the pace of work and family life - and yet also delighted with both. K.K., Bob and Ruth all start new semesters in the morning, Bob with a beautifully decorated calssroom and meticulous lesson plans, K.K. with a great back to school outfit and school supplies thoroughly organized. It touched me that Chris and Ruth and I were all three in the kitchen tonight lovingly working on lunches for both of them. Ruth is such a conschiencious professor, i really think her students are fortunate. Every sememster she makes her class a little better, a little deeper, and she cares so much. i hate it that the first day of school is supposed to be 105 degrees - just seems wrong. I think eventual cooler weather will lift my spirits as well as those of many others here in hot Austin. I commit tonight to writing something here every day for the next two weeeks, just to build a habit and share information about our new beginnings, even if
i'm not paritcularly inspired or coherent.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

We visited Bob's school today, moved in boxes, so sweet to be making a new beginning. I learned today that there is a large international refugee community at his school, from many nations. He will have at least one student from the Congo, one of three brothers known to a friend of mine who works with resettlement for refugees. Apparently there is a very high quality nonprofit apartment complex across the street from the school which houses refugees from all over the world, many of whom have large families which attend the school. We met the young assistant principal, very likable young man and former first grade teacher who was dressed as informally for moving boxes as Bob and I were.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Bob has the key to his new classroom - plenty big with windows. I'm exhausted with all the change, trying to incorporate all his belongings into our room. He's actually doing great at getting his accumualtions down, really reduced and organized wardrobe yesterday. I'm just at the overwhelm point though, need a bath and sleep.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Wow! Bob is all moved out of his Corpus apartment, everything boxed up and b rought home. I remember when we found apartment and how excited we were when he got the job at Menger - good job - good seven years. It is time for a change now and will be exciting to get him established in his new job at Andrews. We hope to see his classroom tomorrow. The move was hard work, but much assisted by Ruth, Chris, James, and Jean, and even by little Liam, who is amazingly helpful and cooperative at his young age. He was thrilled to find and claim soccor balls and other delights in his Grandpa's apartment. Bob hates to move and is just glad this is done. I'm glad to have him home, don't really hate moving, haven't done it so many times. I do like the way it mencourages purging belongings and making new starts. I feel a little nostalgic for the Menger and Corpus years - especially the bus trips down to stay with Bob and ouor veach walks. There will be more beach walks though, even without an apartment and job down there.