Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The teachers' lounge

Ah yes, I remember it well.  In the old building, it was in the basement.  Three flights down a set of stairs that should have been condemned years prior.  Between classes, a dash for a cigarette (yes, 1 1/2 minutes is enough time to light, inhale, exhale, and head back upstairs!).  Lunch?  A time to try and blot out the aroma of the phys. ed. class taking place just around the corner (and of course, another cigarette or two!).  Planning period?  Ah, the entire reason for survival.  During this time we planned quickly and then communed with each other.  I remember the time spent trying to "humanize" a new teacher.  (He didn't smoke.  He didn't swear.  I mean, really!)  I remember the time spent discussing the best method of not committing acts of violence on students who were pushing our buttons.  But mostly, I remember the unshakable bonds that were formed during this 50 minute period.  It was here that we recognized the humanity in each other and established a life-long bond that exceeded normal friendships.  Of course, I should note, it was also during this time frame that on occasion I would simply join my female friends in the women's lounge on third floor--much to the chagrin of one female teacher who didn't yet realize the benefits of coeducational elucidation!  But that's another story for another blog!  On several occasions, the teachers' lounge saved a life--sometimes a student--most times, one of us!
Then we moved to the new building.  The teachers' lounge was just on the other side of the office.  With pass through mail boxes in between.  Not exactly sound proof.  But we managed on occasion to avoid too much criticism.  The bonding continued.  Cross-word puzzles.  Anecdotes.  And that one day we sang Stars and Stripes Forever, each of us taking a different instrumental part.  Let me tell you, it was awesome.  It was again time to be adults having fun.  Due to its location, however, the consensus of opinion on the other side of the mail boxes was perhaps we were not setting the best example for the students in the office.  The lounge became a work room.  It may have been more politically correct.  But it wasn't as humanistic!
We soon moved over to the big house, integrating into the existing confines, and rarely spent time together.  There was a women's lounge, but it was sacrosanct.  Even I didn't attempt to integrate.  I think there was a mens' lounge as well.  But, I know this will come as a surprise to you, I didn't have many hunting, trapping, or fishing stories to share.  My saving grace?  I shared my room with an amazing woman with amazing children, and another bond was formed.  Mostly, planning periods were spent in there!
Why, you might ask, do I think of that now?  It's been over 11 years since I've taught.  Since you asked, I can tell you.  I was out for lunch with my beautiful bride today.  On a whim, I ordered a glass of wine.  It was a generous pour.  It was delicious.  And I realized one more thing about the teachers' lounge.  How much better would it have been if it had lived up to its name?!  A little wine might have made the day move more smoothly.  And doc says, it's good for me!  Just a thought!!!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Cry to remember...

33000 feet.  Post Hawaii.  Pre home. Just finished watching "Mamma Mia" for the nth time.  Absolutely love ABBA.  Likewise Meryl Streep.  For some reason, I discovered that I had tears in my eyes.  Of course, it could just be the hours waiting for and riding the plane.  Tiredness coupled with restless rump could bring tears to anyone's eyes.  (It certainly seems to be having that effect on the youngster in the row ahead!).   It could be we just flew over Sioux Falls on our way to board another plane to take us to Sioux Falls!  It could be a result of the anti-climactic doldrums that affect me at the end of an adventure.  It might even be the knowledge that the Delta cookies won't be available after today (sad face!).  Whatever the cause, they precipitated a period of reflection.  When we get home, the house will be empty.  No four legs to meet us.  That pain remains.  When we get home, there will be no amazing tropical flowers to perfume the air and titillate the olfactory.  When we get home, there will not be a cadre of like-minded hikers commenting on the day's adventure.  And the eyes well up.  I turn to my left, and there, in quasi sleep mode is the woman I love.  She makes home, home.  She is the stability that guarantees even though I may not deserve it, she will recognize the best in me.  And I realize the tears are not sadness, but how lucky we are to have a home to go to; of how lucky we are to be able to have amazing adventures; of how lucky we are to have friends who recognize just who and what we are.  Deep sigh!  I am indeed blessed.  I am also a sentimental old fart!  And I can live with that.  Even at 33000 feet!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Postcard from the edge!

To roll a pair of dice

The day arrived quite splendid for meeting our new group
In circular gazebo, in ones and groups they troop

The East coast? Represented!  New Jersey and New York.
The south?  It's Carolina, and Georgia pops the cork.

The farthest west?  Dakota!  We represent with four.
The leaders and miss Maurine complete our common corps.

But regions?  Far too easy!  It's names we have to learn.
By number?  Two and twenty.  Oh see those brain cells burn!

We've Tina and the Kriegmans, Elizabeth and Andy
Rebecca, brother Sam, the same last name quite handy.

But then there's James and Katie, a daughter--son-in-law
The last name game is over, on other memes must draw!

We've Jane and Lisa Tilney, we've Hersh and his bride Fern
There's Deborah and her Donald, but prefer he Pat we learn!

There's Karen and her husband who goes by name of Mark
And Andrea does join us she's her for such a lark.

That brings us to Dakota, it's Sarah, husband Jeff
And we?  We're Bz/Cz...decidedly not high def!

We are but NeNe gaggle without our leaders strong
Nathalie, Mo, and Katie...they're in it for haul long!

The introductions over, to vans we all head out
For hike our first--exciting.  This place ain't bad no doubt!

The sugar cane provides us with tantalizing juice
We're off on our excursion...for some?  The map no use!

Unsure of what direction, we manage to get lost
But found us just as cost.

Then supper it does call us, and bed for every one!
Good night!  Sleep tight!  And dream well. For now day one is done!

Day two

We ride to Haleakala and pray it won't erupt
Dear Maui, mighty demi god Imprisons sun--corrupt!

For some the hike is four miles that's enough
But others take the long route.  They're mighty and they're tough!

Tonight it's after supper that we head home for to pack
Tomorrow we will ferry..Lanai's next on track!

It's really quite amazing how quickly friendships form
There must be something to it....Aloha! Is the norm.

Day 3
The bags are packed, we're ready to ascend the mighty trail
The asphalt it is's not for weak or frail

But once the road o'ertaken by trees and roots galore
The visuals?  Impressive!  It leaves us wanting more!

Then off to sweet Lahaina, we lunch where ere we wish
Then Lanai by ferry, some whales we spot...delish!

The hotel is quite frugal...amenities?  A few
But sports like us do comment...we think this might just do!

Day 4
It starts with auto rodeo, let's get the sow o'er hill
Go back go up and back again, the early morning thrill!

Then down to lunch exciting, we end up on the beach
Then off to yellow taxi, and chance to see a breach!

The scenery was amazing, it's hard to rate the scale
But obviously greater was chance to see the whale. 

Then supper was a challenge, we do it on our own?
We're up to task as given, then head we back to home!

Day 5

It's inland that we're headed...the ridge provides the trail
The gulches are amazing, but lunch our holy grail!

The salads were stupendous...the chicken we could take
But glorious in content, the very chocolate cake!

Then back to Seasons Quattro, the afternoon was ours
Some snorkeling, some resting, some time to find the bars.

And now it's off to supper...together our last meal
A time for some tell you how we feel.

In five short days they've miled us...they've fed us once or twice
They've housed us very plushly,, the sand and ocean, nice!

But as the waves are breaking, it's memories we've made
It's old friends and the new ones, the joys I'd never trade.

Aloha is a spirit...embrace it as you will
It's changed my life simply fits the bill.

Again I am reminded, it's not about the trip
It's not about the hiking or the cocktails that you sip,

It's all about the people with whom to choose to spend
The time we have together... you now can call them friend.

So life?  It's just a crap shoot.  It's how you roll the dice.
To you I say aloha!  You made it paradise!