Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Back to Life....back to reality

Hello fearless readers.

So, I've found out something about myself. When stress and bad things hit, my desire to cocoon and not talk to anyone apparently extends to blogging. However, in the interests of making sure my Secret Pal is in the loop, and in response to those readers who've sent me "Are you OK" mails, I thought I'd best overcome that desire to be mute.

Two weeks ago, we put the second (and last) of our two cats down. Tora was a wonderful companion, soft and gentle and full of purring mischief. She was a beautiful cat, with Siamese colouring and turquoise eyes. (In fact, she was a Tonkinese ) She was from the same litter as Mya, who we put down just after Christmas. We had hoped that Mya's problems were medical and Tora's were just, pardon the pun, copy cat peeings. But when Tora was clearly following the same patterns, with the same beginning signs of pain, we decided that we couldn't put ourselves or another cat through the stress that we'd been through with Mya. The decision was made much more difficult by the fact that Tora seemed far healthier than Mya had. Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do. We are now catless, or catfree, depending on how nostalgic I feel for cat-pee soaked clothing, furniture, or flooring. My asthma is better than it has been in the five years we've had cats. The house cleans more easily. The knitting doesn't tangle. I miss her.

On June 2nd, my uncle Chuck passed away. Tumours in his spinal cord were an ongoing problem in the last few years. Last year he went from an active go-getter to a wheelchair bound go-getter in just seven weeks. Through the whole ordeal, through pain meds that sent him into microsleeps and pain meds that didn't work at all, through building a wheelchair ramp with his whole community to building lasting memories with his family, Chuck remained positive, joyful, and full of life. When the same tumours showed up in his brain, he chose not to endure any more surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. His example of courage breaks my heart and makes me so so very proud.

Finally, my wife's recent visit to a hemotologist has lead us to worry. There is a chance she may have von Willebrand's disease, or haemophilia. This puts our plans for children into a bit of a bind. Luckily, I have a womb too, and adoption is an option if all else fails, but the idea of a disease, especially a genetic one, is scary.

While trying to NOT say any of these things, I omitted writing about smaller joys.

I walked in the Relay for Life in Ottawa - an overnight 12 hour relay to raise money for cancer research. This year I halved my lap time compared to last year. Next year I hope to halve it again.

The yearbooks were delivered, and the students at my high school were overwhelmingly positive about them. Next year, I'm doing it again, this time with experience!

Our contract is about to be settled, meaning I don't have to worry about strikes for the next few years. I have opinions about teachers striking, but rumour has it that bloggin such things can set the union on you, so that shall have to suffice.

I haven't finished a single project in knitting, but I HAVE acquired a cheerful friendly Secret Pal, who emailed me Sunday to say a package was en route. Today the littel Canada Post notice arrived sayign that the package was in town, but also that it would not be available for pickup til tomorrow after 1. Secret Pal, this blog entry's for you.

Furthermore, the secret pal I'm sending stuff to is a lovely lady, and both I and my DW are having fun trying to assemble neat stuff for her.

I have THREE entries into my blog contest on weirdest teen trends. Prizes will be sent out the 16th, but it's not too late to join in.

DW's job has realized that she's simply brilliant. They've made a suggestion that she write her own job description in a way that will make her most happy and most useful to the largest number of uber-managers. That was smart of them.

Please note: this is not an "I-love-her" exaggeration. My wife is almost freakishly bright, but very quiet and modest. It therefore takes most folks by surprise that she can look at a problem, tilt her head, and develop a solution before you've blinked twice. The last computer consultant at her company that she interacted with said only "But...but...you can't DO that with Excel!" for a period of several hours. HE was supposed to be the expert. SHE was just the person recently promoted from the warehouse. The lady is SMART and competent and a very hard worker, and works for a company that recognizes and rewards all three.

My final exams are written and in the vault at school. My Drama class is proving themselves more talented than they thought they ever could be, and acquitted themselves brilliantly in front of an audience. My other class is taking responsibility for their decisions, even the ones that cause about a quarter of them to fail.

This is a positive sign. A student who says "My work habits need work, but I really enjoyed the course. I learned a lot." is a success in my heart, if not on paper. One who passes, but says "I got a low mark because the teacher hates me" is not a success in my heart. My job is teaching, but the curriculum, while very important, isn't the only thing teachers teach. If I send a kid out into the summer with no credit because he was working the 4 pm-2 am shift and simply never managed to hand in essays or assignments (even after months of extensions), but that kid goes from my class to the library to take out a book on something that intrigued him, then he's becoming a learner and a thinker. Any kid, with enough push from parents and sufficient money for leisure, can learn to "play school". Kids who learn to learn impress me.

So there you have it. The bitter and the sweet. Sorry that it took me so very long.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hun, I totally understand the coccoon when life throws you a storm.. it's been 1 1/2 months since my kitty cat darling was euthanised, and I still have yet to find the energy to get back into the swing of things so far as keeping in touch with people and such and have emails that should have been dealt with ages ago just sitting and being ignored...

but i'm glad to see that amidst the loss you've had some joy as well :D Having worked on a yearbook before, I can especially appreciate the joy of having it arrive and be well recieved!

-your secret pal

7:35 p.m.  
Blogger Diane said...

I'm sorry to hear about your losses. I still miss my cats even though it's been over five years. I hope that the doctors are wrong and your wife is ok.

Glad to hear there are some very positive things in your life too. Do you get the summer off? If so, enjoy the extended knitting time!

8:06 a.m.  

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