Kindergarten 2-5-14

I had a few different students on my list today. We are working on numbers. We are writing them, counting to 100, and just counting in general.

V and S were on my list, but not J. Then there was a new girl, D, and a new boy, M.

J asked me if he was on my list and I gently told him no. He sunk in his chair a little but didn’t get angry like he has in the past. That alone is a good thing. I worry about him and his anger. He gets so frustrated so easily. That leads to more problems that cause more frustration. The sooner he gets that life doesn’t go the way you want it to, the better he will be. Life goes the way it goes and you’d better adapt to it, rather than the other way around.

D wasn’t here today. I didn’t get to meet her. The teacher was sad about this. She’d done a lot of preparation for our time together and it didn’t happen.

S was playing when I found him. I asked him if he wanted to go work and he didn’t. No problem, that just means more time with the rest on my list. He looked tired too, so I didn’t think he’d work hard today.

I went to M. And asked him if he wanted to work on numbers with me today. I’m glad he agreed. I was concerned that since we hadn’t worked together it would seem strange to him to start now. Plus, I’ve noticed him before. He interests me. He seems a little more intense than most of the kids so I’m curious what is going on in his head.

My instructions said that he was having difficulty counting to 100. So after a warm up of counting other things, I asked him to count to 100 for me. He started out ok, and then when he got to 29, the next number was 60. He gave 60 as the number at least three other times, not including the correct time. I’m not sure what his fascination with 60 is.

When he would get to the end of a group of ten, he would pause and look upwards. I waited for a bit. When the answer didn’t come I’d give him a tip. If we were in the 40s, I’d hold out four fingers and ask what comes after four? He’d say five, and then translated it into fifty. I had to do this several times.

We worked on a few more projects and then I went to get V. Since she had skipped working with me last week I a bit to get her to work with me. Two weeks in a row to skip isn’t a great idea. I asked her to work with me. I didn’t make it a question. I didn’t say “do you want to work with me” She smiled and declined anyway. I pointed out that I didn’t get to work with her last week and I missed her. This helped. Perhaps she works with me to make me happy. She’d rather play. But for me, shell work. Sometimes.

It was a bit of teeth and hair pulling at the start, but by the end she did the assignment perfectly. At the first she was trying to distract me. I’m hip to that now. Then she wasn’t doing it correctly not just a little bit but a lot. I’d ask her to put seven beans in a cup and shed put three, one at a time, but then start grabbing handfuls to finish. She has small hands but it was way more than seven. I pulled them all out and had her count them back to me.
Smiling all the time with her impish smile, she counted it wrong again and differently. I kept trying to redirect her. No dice. So I switched to another task.

It was still numbers, but approaching them in a different way. If a crowbar won’t work, try a pair of pliers.

There was a sheet with hearts and stars and circles on it. There were several, and they weren’t quite in a row. The best way to count them was to mark through them one at a time to make sure something didn’t get missed or counted twice.

V wasn’t hot on that. She wanted to race ahead. I slowed her down and insisted that we do it slowly and told her about how sad the different images (stars, hearts, etc.) are if they don’t get to be invited to the party. They all want to go, and if they don’t get counted, they get left out. This seemed to work for a bit. Then she said something that didn’t make any sense. I asked her again, and essentially what she said was would I miss her if she died.

I said that of course I would miss her. I look forward to working with her every week.

I don’t think she meant died, so much as do I notice her, is she valuable. I get the impression that she’s an afterthought at home. I’ve said several times to her how much I look forward to working with her the next week. I want her to stay in school. School, and reading in particular, is the cure for where she is headed with the family she’s stuck with.

I care for her a lot. And then I can’t care. I can’t get wrapped up in this, because I can’t take her home. I can’t save her. If I get personally involved in the situations of the kids I’d get to tutor I’d need a much bigger house and I’d have to quit my job to care for them because I’d have to adopt them all. I do what I can. I give them the tools to help themselves. And then I have to walk away and try again with someone else. I have to hope that the next teacher gives them a few more tools. And then I have to hope that the students pick them up and use them.

So after that, she redoubled her efforts. She slowed down. She got it correct – all of it. No racing ahead, no being silly. She got it.

I celebrated with her, just as if she were my own child learning how to walk, or talk, or read. She can do all of this. She has it in her. I know it.


I haven’t been alone in a long time. I’m relearning how to do it.

When I moved to my house I planned on learning how to be alone. Then I met Scott and he moved in rather quickly. My planned life of spinsterhood was changed. I’ve not really been alone since, not for any real length of time.

Shortly after we got married he left for the weekend. Literally the weekend after we got back from or honeymoon he left. He drove all the way back to Grandfather Mountain. I cried myself to sleep. It was really hard and it seemed unfair. I’d just gotten him, and then he was going away.

He goes there for working weekends twice a year. It has taken me ten years to adapt to this, to not dread it. Now I’m starting to look forward to it because it means I have more time to work on my painting and writing. I have more time to work on me, instead of working on “us”. I find when we are together, we don’t do our own things. There are a lot of things I am learning I need to do on my own, and I can’t do them with him here. Writing is one. That isn’t a very social action.

Before, when I lived alone in my apartment, I’d be stoned. So I was alone, but not present. I didn’t like being by myself. These days I’m relearning how to be alone but not lonely.

He has to spend time at his parent’s house these days because they are feeble. They really need to go into assisted living. That is a decision for him and his brother. But in the meantime he isn’t around as much as usual. Recently he had to spend the night. I have a suspicion that this will become more and more frequent.

In the past that would have freaked me out. What would I eat? How would I sleep without him there? I’ve gotten very used to him, and I’m kind of using him like a crutch. The more I do that, the less I remember I can walk on my own.

The ability doesn’t leave, or get weaker. We just forget. Not knowing you can do something is more powerful than having a physical disability. If you think you can’t, you won’t even try.

Conversely, if you think you can, you can move mountains.

So I tried. Instead of getting fast food (which isn’t really food) I cooked some vegetables. I had a nice supper and I felt like I had invited myself to a party and the guest was me.

I like that feeling. I’m actually looking forward to him not being here again so I can treat myself again to my own cooking, and have time to craft or read whatever I want.

1000 – a picture is worth a thousand words.

I hadn’t planned on writing any fiction. I started my blog as a way to explain the symbolism behind my poetry. Then I couldn’t figure out how to upload pictures to it, so I started writing my observations and opinions instead. Then I started writing poetry because well, my Kindle almost does it for me. But I certainly didn’t plan on writing fiction.

There was that time when I was at the eye doctor’s office and I decided to write about who might have lived in the building that wasn’t there anymore. But that was a fluke. I didn’t mean to do that. I was bored at the office, waiting to be called back. It was entertaining me to invent these people and their lives.

But then it happened again.

I painted a painting, but not anything of reality. I put blobs of paint on a canvas and swirled them around until I liked them. I wasn’t planning anything. I just was playing, receiving. I was letting the Spirit guide me.

I was creating, not re-creating. I wasn’t drawing anything specific. In a true way, I was re-creating, in the sense of relaxing. I was letting go of my ideas of what had to be and just letting it be.

Then I looked at it and saw something. Kind of like a Rorschach test but without the creepy business of being in a doctor’s office. It looked like a scene with murky light. I could see a rock. I started to imagine where this was and who would be seeing it. A story was developing.

I decided to set a limit of a thousand words, because a picture is worth that, right? I started to ask more questions. Where is this? How did the viewer get there? Who is it? What is the character’s backstory?

Soon I had a thousand words. It is a very short story. I thought I was through.

Then a few days later I painted a different scene, unintentionally continuing the story. I’d painted other things in the meantime and they hadn’t triggered more of the story. This did. I wanted to know more so I wrote more.

Now I am interested in this character and I want to know what is going to happen next. I have no idea where this is going. I’m not sure how long it will last.

I’m trying to decide if I should stick with the idea of painting a picture first and then writing a thousand words about it. Or, just write, and don’t set a limit, and don’t worry about the illustration.

Most books are written first and illustrated later. This started off backwards, but it still started. I’m amused by it, but this is normal for me. Things never seem to happen the usual way for me.

I want to write more nonfiction too, but I have limited time. I’m wondering if this is a distraction, too. Is writing a work of fiction a way to avoid doing the hard stuff of thinking about heavy topics?

Or, is it just a different way to write about it? I’ve noticed that even when I create predictive text poems, the same ideas that I wrote about in my longer, thought out pieces seem to come through. And they seem to get more “likes.”

In a way this bums me out. I’d like to think that the stuff I pour my heart and soul into would get more attention. But then, this is a fast paced world. People don’t make time to even chew their food. Why would they read something that is three pages long when they can get the same idea from a short poem?

The thought is what matters. The package doesn’t. And no matter how I package it, the thought shines through, even if I wasn’t planning it.

So I’ve decided to write anyway, whatever format it is. Paint anyway, or not. Just let it be. I just need to make time to do it, whatever it is.

The pool of God, and betrayal by the lifeguard.

Right now, in my relationship with God, I’m about at a seven. When I was at Cursillo, it was at a ten. I want ten again and yet I’m terrified of it.

I feel like I’m being set up for a fall sometimes when I go to my spiritual director. She wants me closer to God, so close that we are together. So close that my actions and thoughts are married with God. Like we are one. Like the whole “I and the Father are one” kind of thing.

I had that at Cursillo, and I got busted for it. I told my priest what was going on and she nodded and smiled, and with her actions told me everything was fine. When I came back from Cursillo and the experiences were still happening, she told me that everything was not fine. She told me that I’d fail the psych exam for the deacon process. She told me that she was putting the process on hold. She told me to stop talking about how God was talking to me, because “it was a conversation stopper.”

I felt betrayed then. I’m afraid of being betrayed again. I’m afraid I’m being set up.

I’m not sure who to trust sometimes. That was an authority figure telling me to not get close to God, that what I was experiencing was crazy.

I know the feeling of being so close to God that it is like we are dance partners. My moves were God’s moves. My thoughts were God’s thoughts. It was amazing. And terrifying. I wasn’t really oriented as to day or time. I wasn’t getting the bills paid. I wasn’t eating. It wasn’t a healthy relationship.

That was many years ago. I knew then that things weren’t well. I went to the hospital to get back to normal. Taking care of myself is important. I don’t want to be a burden to others.

All of this reminds me of when I was working in Waldenbooks. One of the sections I was assigned was illogically arranged. It was the New Age section and it was all by author. I came across stickers put out by the corporate office that had the subjects for that section. I wasn’t making it up. There was an official way to do it. I took the stickers to the assistant manager and asked her if I could do it that way. She said yes.

I spent the next hour taking apart the section and reorganizing it. I had a lot of piles. Then I heard a noise behind me. The assistant manager was standing there with the manager and the most surly and snotty employee. They all stared at what I was doing. The manager told me in no uncertain terms that I had to stop doing that and put it all back in alphabetical order.

I didn’t have the voice to say that I’d gotten permission to do this from the assistant manager. I didn’t have the voice to say that this way would make more sense for the customers. I didn’t have the voice to say that there were stickers from corporate, so I wasn’t making it up.

I was silenced.
I was squashed.

I felt set up for that embarrassment, set up by an authority figure.

I’ve carried that experience with me all this time, and I fear it is coloring my experiences now. At Cursillo I feel like I was set up for betrayal by the priest, who in her encouragement at Cursillo of the experiences that I was having, encouraged me to go deeper in that pool.

So now, when I go to my spiritual director and she wants me to go into that pool again, I’m afraid.

I want to say I’m not afraid of the pool. I want to say that I know I’m safe there. I can’t say this yet because I’ve not been in the deep end for long. Every time I get there I get afraid, or I get told I shouldn’t be there.

I’m starting to feel that the people who have told me that I shouldn’t be there don’t actually know how to swim. They aren’t afraid for me. They are projecting their own fears on me. So when I go to my spiritual director, I’m not sure what side she is on. I trust her so far. She’s not lead me wrong. But I trusted my priest too. I was even grateful that she was going to Cursillo. I thought she’d be a great guide and able to help me if I fell in too far.

I’m trying to trust now, not on the voices of the people that have influenced me for ill in the past or on the voices of any director or guide now, but on the Voice, on the Call that I hear. I’m trying to remember the times when I felt I was drowning in the pool, I knew it and I got help. I didn’t have to be rescued. I was aware, which is rare. I’m trying to remember that now I have learned a lot about how to stay balanced, and how to walk a tightrope in a windstorm. I think I can go into that pool, and go deep, and still be OK. I feel like I have to go deep in order to really hear, in order to know the truth as clearly as I can.

Giving voice to my fears has become my strength.