Friday, August 31, 2012

Septembers and Junes

"School teachers measure their lives in Septembers and Junes." I quote/paraphrase my friend and colleague JHay in this, but it will not surprise any educator to hear it. In an ecological setting, we school teachers were also reminded of how we measure our lives by the natural world, trees, and the changing appearance, and then disappearance, of leaves.

I just spent a wonderful week meeting and prepping for the new school year with my work family, and trying to summon up how much I love September (and always have), and how oddly that contrasts with the melancholy that surrounds the dwindling days of August. I understand that I should be enjoying August as it unfolds, but every day that passes is one closer to summer ending and the tyranny of the alarm clock's returning dominance.

Still, the life of a school teacher has many benefits, besides just the joys of teaching and, hopefully, inspiring kids to ongoing lives of curiosity and learning.

So, I had to add my own gauge by which school teachers measure their days, their years, their lives. And Gretchen Rubin is absolutely right - "The Days are Long, but the Years are Short." We measure them by the students, whether boys or girls, because the students (like the leaves on trees) change in appearance, they age, and move on. But we don't. Not us. Unless it's in the going. Honestly, 25-45 is pretty much the same age as far as our students are concerned. And when I look around at my colleagues, I don't see them any differently than I did 11 years ago. But those boys: boy oh boy, have they grown up! (from pre-kindergarten to high school and beyond).

I'm thinking about trees differently these days, as I try to stay rooted in my different realities. And about how trees are lovely at any stage or age.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weeding Through the Weeds - Dirt in the Mouth

My initial alarm at homecoming to the sight of weeds approaching my waist (and sadly this is not a first for me) has abated as I contemplate the parallels between my current editing efforts - and in every respect - I still have plenty of weeding to do. This is what happens when you are:
A) Away all summer &
B) Not a gardener.
These are before pictures of the 'garden'. I haven't the heart to add 'during' pics, as it's a work of considerable magnitude! Despite hiring an able-bodied young one from Rent-a-Son, diving in myself (getting a few clod-fulls of dirt in the mouth for my efforts), and my husband's many hours at it, the weeding of the garden is far from finished. Perhaps I'll put the during and after photos up when all's done.

It might be harder to photographically document my weeding work on the editing front, but I will endeavor to do that too. The current approach - going from a written copy down to more cue cards, will, I hope, help me to cut more content on a larger scale.

The original manuscript was 507 pages. It went down to 474, and is now in the 440's range. Still more weeding required. Hopefully all that pulling won't leave too much more dirt in the mouth.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Timely Reckoning

I have big plans of writing in detail about the 3 Incredible Writing Conferences/Workshops/Retreats I attended this summer, but right now, it seems appropriate to show you what I was just served...very fitting, considering I was editing p. 430 of 474, and I've been at this manuscript since Time Immemorial.

Thanks, Becks Beer for acknowledging the many hours this labour of love has taken and will continue to take! (Becks has a limited edition of 'artistic' labels - this one finding me just now was fortuitous happenstance!)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fifth Anniversary - Happy Memories

We waited until we had been together for 10 years to get married - but I think we knew pretty quickly. Two Canadians meet in an Irish pub in Tokyo (Paddy Foley's in Roppongi, in case you're wondering) - that's a 'meet cute' if ever there was one. First remembered conversation:

Him: "Will you marry me?"
Me: "What's your name again?"

Despite plenty of unconventional twists, it's all worked out remarkably well.
Newfoundland wedding was a week-long party. We still haven't been back to Tokyo...
Must get that trip in the works.