606: Independence and helping

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I prefer to do things myself.

Partly this is my nature, and more than that, this is my experience. I have been taught through many harsh life lessons that things do not happen unless I can make them happen all by my little old self. I have had many people who were supposed to be very important people to me, who were supposed to have my best interests at heart, who were supposed to be there for me when I was down and out – who weren’t. I learned that I can only count on what I can get done myself, with my own admittedly meager muscle, brain, wit, courage, and brawn.

I fight hard not to ask for help, and give in only when I cannot do it by myself. Even then, I usually have tried everything I know to do to get it done first, before I submit and give in, acknowledge my weakness, and ask for help. I do it only when I can’t, and I’ve tried.

So, when I ask you for help, hat in hand and humble, you need to understand what it costs me to ask you.

When you give me an exasperated glance, that long-suffering sigh, with that “how dare you importune me for this ridiculous, unnecessary, paltry, pittance of a request, you annoying woman” look you have perfected on your face?

Guess how I feel.

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543: Tomorrow

If you get tomorrow, you can try again.

You can eat healthy, you can exercise.

You can organize and file those papers.

You can wash the windows and baseboards.

You can write thank-you notes, and mail them.

You can put those photos into the albums you bought for them.

You can finish that project you started.

I can do those things.

If I get tomorrow.

490: Broken and Still Valuable

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Things have intrinsic value. Even when they are broken, some value remains.

Some people have the skill, knowledge, and time to repair broken things. And, some broken things are worth repairing, more so if they are old things not easily replaced with a new thing.

People are not really things, but they can be broken, too. Sometimes people break themselves. Sometimes it is done to them.

People can, sometimes, fix themselves when they are broken. Sometimes.

Broken or not, a person always has intrinsic value. They are not replaceable. Ever. Life will go on without them, but they are not replaced. Others are added, perhaps.

Adding someone new before the repairs are complete is not advised. That is a recipe for new, further and more extensive brokenness.

Repair what is broken first. Then add someone.

Be patient.

Fixing something takes time.

Especially when it isn’t a thing.

378: 10 Things I Have Learned While Teaching School

Number 10. There really is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance we are all born with; it is cured by education and experiences. Stupidity is a choice FAR too  many people willingly make.

Number 9: Having money and the advantages of youth and good looks do not often combine to make a quality person worth knowing (unfortunately). It seems that those less blessed, who have had some real struggles, are the ones who are worth getting to know.

Number 8: More trouble has been caused by “I was just playing!” than anything done deliberately.

Number 7: Learning (your education) is struggling through opportunities to do it yourself, and failing until you learn to succeed. There are no shortcuts to this process.

Number 6: Taking the work of others as your own is not only plagiarism, it is a character flaw. That includes downloading the work of artists without paying them for their creativity, skill, time and work – it is still cheating, no matter how many people do it everyday.

Number 5. People can and will surprise you. Most of those surprises will be bad ones. It isn’t that people can’t surprise you in good ways, but those are rare, and to be treasured.

Number 4. Not everything you make will be A-quality, perfect, outstanding work. It does not mean you can’t be proud of it because you made it, but recognize when it isn’t perfect: and that includes your offspring as well. Your kids are human, and young humans who are learning. They make mistakes, sometimes big ones. It is part of the learning process. You, on the other hand, are not a youngster. Act your age.

Number 3. The hardest people to love are the ones who need it the most. Always. No exceptions. Dammit.

Number 2. Hope springs eternal. Hope powers the world. Without it, no one can help you, and you cannot help anyone else. HOPE.

Number 1. Human beings are amazing, wonderful, annoying, delightful creatures. Teaching is guiding them to be better creatures tomorrow than they were today. Every day.

 

26: Favorite things

Our school’s students have been attending music class, which is right down the hall from my classroom. Music class, like band and Physical Education classes, is not designed to be a silent class, so I can hear what the students are practicing from my room. Lately, they have been singing one selection from the musical “The Sound of Music.” This particular song I have heard several times a day for about a week now. It got me thinking about my favorite things, since the lyrics of the song list the composer’s favorite things. What are my favorite things?

I like dragonflies. Dragonflies are mosquito hawks – they are voracious mosquito predators. For that reason alone, I would like them, but they also are beautiful, delicate, elegant, colorful and acrobatic.

I also like praying mantis insects. The female praying mantis generally eats her mate after they do their business, which I think is a very tidy way to finish off your mate, without the hassle and expense of divorce. Besides, their praying pose gives them at least the appearance of piety, which is endearing in a creature that “offs” her husband as soon as he has finished his usefulness. And, they have lovely wings which most people don’t see, since they tuck away out of sight when the mantis is praying/preying for insects (or husbands).

I like books. Books are endless sources of entertainment, learning, and fillers of spare time. The variety is literally endless, and there is always a number of them that are on my “must read” list, of all sorts and kinds, from all sorts and kinds of authors.

I like chocolate. Actually, love might be a better word choice. Scientists have finally found that chocolate produces endorphins, which are those “feel good” chemicals in the brain that explain why for centuries men have arrived at the doorstep of their lady friends hopefully bearing gifts of the sinfully decadent, luscious treat. They know it puts the ladies into a very good mood, from which the male is hoping to benefit. Good thing she is not usually praying when he arrives.

I like fabrics. I like them in rugs, in sweaters, in clothing, in draperies, in fabric still on the bolt, just waiting for me to create something with it. Silk, mohair, wool, cotton, chiffon, crepe, blends, denim, rayon challis, satin, corduroy, there are almost as many different kinds of fabric as there are different kinds of books! What an orgy of delight!

Speaking of orgy – I like my husband, previous comments about the male species notwithstanding. I found one of those true rarities: a masculine man who has few gender issues. He cooks, cleans, does laundry, shops, communicates, and generally is a human person. Unlike most other specimens of his species.

I like seeing the results of other people’s creativity. Paintings, sculpture, jewelry, fabric, stained glass, creamics, things in museums, things offered for sale. Endlessly fascinating what ideas people come up with!

I like traveling to new places to see new things, new people, new cultures, new food, new whatever there is to see! It is best when my husband is there to enjoy all the new things with me.

And I like the warm, sleepy smell of a napping kitty. Might explain why I have four of them. Actually, now that I think about it, my warm, sleepy husband smells really good, too! And baking bread smells divine, and so does coffee percolating in the coffemaker, and bacon sizzling in the pan, especially if there are sweet buttermilk pancakes and honey syrup to go along with the bacon.

AAAHHHHHHhhhhhh. Life is GOOD!

13: Jobs

If you are negative about every aspect of a particular career, perhaps you should re-consider your vocational choices and options! EVERY job has negative things about it, but if you can find nothing positive to say about a job, perhaps that one is not for you. Life is far too short to go to work every day at a job that you absolutely hate. There are too many career options out there in this great big, beautiful world to tough it out in a bad place. Make some choices and make some changes!

Sometimes that means getting some more education, to qualify for a better position in a new place. Sometimes it just means that you meed to apply for a different job in a new location, even if it is in the same career field. Sometimes just switching out some bad co-workers makes all the difference, even if the job remains the same. Hopefully, it is not YOU who is one of the bad co-workers, because that would mean having to do some serious soul searching and attitude adjusting, which is never an easy process.

I dislike poor co-workers – the grumpy ones who are always fussing and complaining about this or that. NO job is perfect, and EVERY job has parts that just plain stink. Suck it up and deal with it. Enjoy all the OTHER parts that you do like. And if there are not any parts that you do like – GET ANOTHER JOB!!