Digging Out

When I start to get e-mails from my readers, I know it's been too long.  Thank you for caring, and yes, I'm all right!  Just busy.  Here's a rundown:

School: Still teaching my four classes plus an extra two, and optimistically foolish (or foolishly optimistic?) enough to plan mammoth events like the school's first Green Week, with daily contests and a petition that culminated in the EcOlympics -- and an Afghan meal for the students who are reading The Kite Runner.  Oh, and lots and LOTS of grading.

Church: Well, there was Holy Week, and I'm still recovering from that.  Glorious, mystical and moving.  But exhausting, too.

Studio: The summer rush of SAT Prep students is beginning, and my piano students are gearing up for their spring recital.

School, Grad: The semester culminated in a rush of projects, presentations and papers.  I learned a lot, and I loved the class, but again -- lots of work!

Writing: Did my first interview two weeks ago.  It went great.  At the precise moment when I was transferring the audio file from iPod to computer, the hard drive failed.  We brought it into the store, were told they didn't have the part, waited for it to come in, had the part replaced, and waited another few days after the repair people broke the monitor glass while putting the computer back together.  So basically, I went a week without a computer.  Which is frightening beyond belief to someone like me.  Between school and my parents' house, I managed to keep up with my e-mail, sort of, but fell behind here.

Family: went to San Francisco for three days for the AIA convention; left on the redeye to get back to Atlanta for my cousin's wedding; drove all night to get home in time for class Monday morning.  Lots of fun, but not lots of rest.

Garden: our weather is suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.  It's 95 and sunny one day, 55 and rainy the next.  We had a pile of mulch delivered several weeks ago that is slowly dwindling away, but we haven't had enough consecutive days of sun to finish all the projects we have in mind.  Three of the six berry bushes I ordered are in; the others are in the basement, where they are miraculously still living (and even starting to bloom inside their cramped cardboard quarters.  The miracle of life!)  The vegetable garden is planted, mostly; the pots on the front porch are full of annuals; the other beds are weeded, trimmed and already starting to burst into bloom.  I almost cried when we pulled into the driveway after our weekend away: white dogwood blooms, dozens of rich purple irises, bright pink azaleas and abundant green everywhere else -- it could have been an Impressionist painting.

So, yes, moments of joy amid the stress, but the stress overshadows all.  Even when I have time to sleep, my anxiety level is high enough to keep me awake most of the night, with the result that I am in a continual fog.  My students notice: "Mrs. Lowe, that circle doesn't really look like a circle."  The parents notice: "Are you okay?  You look tired."  My husband, that sweet man, notices enough to pick up my slack in the kitchen when I don't have the energy for dinner or dishes.

I love being a teacher.  Sometimes it's just hard to balance that with being, well, a human.  I think that's why God created summer.