Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back to Normal...but Better

Today Brian ran the Cowtown 5k in 36 minutes. 

That's a great time for anyone.  But Brian ran his first 5k today since his remission from Lymphoma.  He didn't make me get up to go watch, but I wish I had...and I knew I would feel that way. 

The week before Brian was diagnosed with stage 3 Lymphoma, he climbed Mt. Tallac at Lake Tahoe.  He did it all by himself.  He dreams of going back and climbing it again now that he is in remission.  Today was a big step in getting back to the top of the mountain. 

Running has become such an important element in our lives.  It symbolizes health to us.  If we can run so fast and so far, illness cannot catch us.  And in my opinion, the farther and faster we run, the better. 

Brian knew he would finish the race today, but he worried that he would not do better than 45 minutes.  Hah.  I pray to finish in 45 minutes.  I knew that he would come in faster than that.  And while I was slightly hurt he didn't ask me to run with him, I knew he would have to leave me behind.  I would have never made him run with me.  So as I ran without him in my races, he ran alone today.

And it is better this way.  Today was about Brian getting back to normal, but better.  He needed do this alone and he didn't have to tell me that.  Someday I hope to be able to keep up with him...hey, maybe even pass him.  But for now, I will go buy a frame for his bib and hang it where we can see it every day.

Every day we will be reminded that it is one year of remission now, and that will steadily grow into many years.

I love you, Brian for your courage and determination and I am so honored to be your wife.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tilting At Windmills....Again

It's that time again.  The last day of the grading period.  Once again, I have several students failing my classes or other classes.  And once again, the only reason they are is the failure to complete and turn in assignments.  Once again, it is contest time in Band and Choir and Track season.  Once again, the students failing are the ones needed most desperately by their teammates. 

I have started tutorials at 7:30 am and given up my conference period the last two days to tutor athletes, singers and band members.  And they owe so much work, it's not enough.  I can give up Monday as well; grades won't be pulled until Monday at midnight. 

I can do tutorials at 7:30 am and give up my conference period, but should I?  The parental instinct I have tells me, "No!"...quite sharply, too, I might add.  But the middle school kid in me who depended on these students to be eligible for contest and athletics is frantic to get the work in.  I remember the thrill of the winning and I want these students to have it. 

I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, if they could experience that winning feeling that would inspire them to try harder in the classroom next time.  Pretty in my world, isn't it? 

I liken this effort to spitting in a bucket with a hole in it, trying to fill it. 

And yet, I find myself here every Friday of the end of the grading period, trying harder and caring more than the students I am trying to help.  So, am I helping them?  I honestly don't know. 

I know that 99 % of these kids will go on to be productive citizens in society.  I have taught long enough to see the proof.  And that 1%, well, I have taught long enough to see what happens to them, too.  And as my husband goes to a middle school today to arrest a 12 year old for robbery, maybe I feel the need to try just a little harder to have more of the 99% and less of the 1%. 

I have to believe, as tired and frustrated that I am, that I will have more students like Kerry, a sophomore in college now on a track scholarship.  He had troubles in middle school, and he is becoming a great man.  I have to believe that I will more students like the Vaitai brothers who recently signed their football scholarships to college.  One to TCU. 

I have to believe that caring FOR them will eventually become the kids caring on their own.  I rationalize my actions by pointing out that they are ultimately not escaping the work, even if they have left it to the last minute.  We are teaching them responsibility by getting the work from them...even if it takes a little longer for some. 

So I will go to Happy Hour today with other frustrated teacher friends and tell myself that I am keeping the kdis in their extracurricular activites and out of trouble with the police.  I will tell myself that one day they will visit my class all grown up and lecturing my current students on the importance of doing work on time. 

And I will have at least one very large margarita.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

We Meet Again, Jillian Michaels

Running has gone pretty well recently.  I'm not anemic anymore.  Ulcer went bye bye.  And though I have run (and walked some) every day lately, I don't really look any different.  I feel better, but don't really look better. 

Something more has to be done. 

Re-enter Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred to my life.  When Julie and I tried it a year or so ago, it damn near killed me the first few times I did it.  We started running with Luke's about the same time and our trainers sagely advised we not try both at the same time. 

Julie and I worked at Level One and just as Jillian promised, I felt like I wanted to die.  I couldn't make it through the workouts without gasping, panting and cursing the lovely and fit Ms. Michaels. 

So when Julie and I decided to just concentrate on running, I was totally cool with that.  I put the DVD away and didn't think much more about it.  I fell in love with my treadmill.

Recently however, between frustation with my lack of progress in the dress size department and getting a little bored with the treadmill every single day, I began to reconsider.  A friend of mine posted every day in January as she worked through the Shreds.  Now Rene is incredibly fit anyway, but she had high praise for the workouts. 

Today I had an "early dismissal" from school after the district spelling bee, so I had plenty of time for the workout.  I dusted off the dvd, shut the bedroom door so my nosy dogs would leave me alone, and got down to business.  I've got 20 minutes to spare.

I decided to be brave and try out the Level 2 workout; after all, I have been running nearly every day.  Turns out I did pretty well.  Well enough to try it again tomorrow.  I had to stop less during this workout than my first few of Level 1 last year.  That must be progress.

Jillian informed me that she wanted me to feel like I was gonna die.  Mission accomplished.  But she doesn't scare me anymore.  Hah!

My arms will be killing me tomorrow; I can already feel it, but they need a lot of work.  I walked a mile and a quarter on the treadmill afterward.  Just a little extra calorie burn.  Pizza is on the menu tonight.  Whew!