Longest day ever

Mom’s gone.

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I haven’t gotten to the hospital yet this morning, but they’ll be sending Mom out today or tomorrow, I’m sure. Hopefully, it won’t be home–she’s not able to get herself out of bed independently, and there’s no way she can put on the back brace she has to wear on her own.

So now she’s moved to the next thing on her list–she doesn’t want to go back to the same facility as last time. Well, that is all about what’s available. One of my brother’s (the RN) is on the task. I really hope she can get in the facility she wants–and the one her neighbor works at. We’ll all be happier she gets in there, plus we know that the PT there will get her into better shape.

But the good news is that Mom appears to be improving. After the meeting yesterday, we’re putting her chemo (first time that procedure’s been referenced as that!) on hold, with the option to return to it, if her condition improves enough. Surgery’s right out, and fine with us. So for the moment, it’s wait and see, but nothing is imminent.

Well, except for the part where we all scurry about and get 24-hour care for her, which is how she wants to use her money.

It’s really hard watching someone lose control of their own life. Mom has fall-back positions–you want me in rehab? If I have to, but I won’t go to that one. I can’t say I blame her.

But I’m heading for my writing retreat later this afternoon. My youngest sister arrives tomorrow, my youngest brother on Friday, and I’ll be back on Saturday. And next week will be whatever it is.

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And the diagnosis is….

Mom broke her T12, which explains all her back pain. However, her white blood cell count is in the leukemia range.

We’ll be talking palliative care with the doctors tomorrow.

(I am so not impressed with this particular aspect of my stage of life. But I’m grateful to have five siblings to share the angst–most particularly the ones who live in town and bear the brunt of it.)

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And so it goes…

Mom is back in the hospital.

Out cold, currently, from lots of morphine and other stuff for pain management. We’re thinking it’s a bone fracture in her back. (Yeah, those estrogen-free lifestyles: no cancer, but hey, have a fracture instead.) I may be heading to Fresno instead of San Jose for the writing retreat. I’ll know more this afternoon.

Good thing I’m on vacation, huh?

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Is it vacation? How would I know?

I’m still heading into town every morning.

I’m sitting at a computer all morning and well into the afternoons.

I’m not writing fiction while I’m there. Go figure.

Last day of face-to-face support as I write this curriculum, but I’ve only gotten through twelve weeks and two units. I wrote another two weeks late yesterday afternoon. I’m getting paid per unit, and at this rate, I’m probably making minimum wage. :P

In other news, the daughter, to my horror, picked up a hitchhiker. To her credit, she was not killed, and he’d been on the trail for 2.5 months and 1000 miles, and it was where the Pacific Coast Trail crosses her road into Pinecrest.

However, I failed as a mother. I cannot ever remember a time when I insisted to that particular child never, ever pick up a hitchhiker. Even as she admitted she was stupid for doing so, (yes, because you can so tell the difference between someone who has been on the trail for 2.5 months and your everyday crazed homeless person) she was happy she had done it, so the guy would not have had to spend another night out.

In some ways, it’s a miracle children live to old age, you know? You get them through all the childhood dangers, all the teen and early twenties when they are apparently invincible, and you think they have half a brain. Ha.

(Yes, I am way more of a wimp than any of my children. I like to call it an excess of common sense.)

An only-in-Fillmore moment at the drive-up Starbucks window:

Bearded kid at the window: Good morning–Mrs. Sisolak?!
Me, O.O: What’s your name?!
Bearded kid: Johnny ______.
Me: OMG. I didn’t recognize you with a beard!

Yes, because 5YOs so frequently sport them.

It doesn’t beat the time at the United counter in SFO, when one of my ex-kindergartners recognized me as I was checking in. And it doesn’t match the time that the middle child pulled into some shop in town and paid by credit card, where the girl serving him promptly said brightly, “Oh, you must be Mrs. Sisolak’s son!” and thoroughly horrified him. (You can run, but you cannot hide in Fillmore. This is probably true of many small towns, including my dad’s home town of Exeter, where he and his brothers were referred to as ‘the Crist boys’ well into their own parenthood and beyond.)

And now, back to work. I have just remembered a bazillion things I have to accomplish this morning. This afternoon is all about a (paid!) meeting on transitional kindergarten, with two other long-time friends/teachers. I would be more excited about all the money I’d be making, if I weren’t hyper-aware that this district keeps retired kindergarten teachers/ex-administrators working long after retirement on other projects.

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Made it and moving on!

The classroom is clean. Not completely organized because the room doesn’t lend itself to storage. At all. They would have had to have built storage if they wanted me to actually hide things away.

Still better than what it was, and if they actually replace the tile floors that lifted this year, then it will be a disaster when I get back to school. (Probably won’t, though… I think the legal issues of that will take more time to resolve. Which means over Christmas vacation. Or, best case scenario, next summer.)

So, now I’m on to the next thing–an iPad, so I know what I want to do with the set of six iPads I’m getting for the kinder kids to use next year, and signing up for the Write-a-thon as I do every year.

If you want to keep me encouraged and accountable, click on this paragraph. Any amount is welcome, and you will have the satisfaction that you’ve whipped me into action and donated to a worthy cause.

I’m working on the second novel in my fantasy series (See how casually that drops from my fingers? I remember my initial horror.) and I’m getting a decent start on my goal of 15K+ when I get to my writing retreat (with the Freeway Dragons! Yay!) the week after next. I can’t wait to be back in the Bay area. (Yes, San Jose counts as the Bay area. I’ve lived too long in SoCal for it to not count. I should be able to see friends, too, while I’m there. Go me.)

So lots of positive thinking and planning at this moment, and school is far, far away. (Yes, it will come back to roost on Monday morning at 7:45. Dang.)

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It’s over!

And yet, it’s not. I’m back to school all this week for aligning our curriculum map, which is giving me the horrors. My principal dropped the fact that the alignment will extend to writing, which means the entire school will complete each strand of writing standards (opinion, informative/explanatory, and narrative) during the same trimester.

Kinder’s order has been: narrative, opinion, informative/explanatory. I’m not sure we’re going to be allowed to keep that order–which makes complete sense for new little writers. You keep it all about them the first trimester, all about them using their powers to convince you of something the second trimester, and by the third trimester, you’re letting them see they can write about anything.

I’m more than a bit concerned. The district’s whole move this past year has been toward lock-step. We’ve moved that direction in ELD, and now, here we go again. Language arts.

So much for the so-called ‘creativity’ that Common Core will provide us.

We unlocked one more level this week as a family–my daughter-in-law graduated from UCLA with her master’s in clinical nursing. Yippee!

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Now the next level: find a job and pay back six years of student loans. Eesh.

Yesterday, I ran back to the valley (third time in two days, and I remembered why I never go 101 almost immediately. The trip was a river of cars with huge blocks of sitting time for no reason.) to go to D. Lynn Smith’s kickstarter for Gates of Midnight. She’s starting a comic press with an all-female comic book team, and searching for backers. The first two comics are gorgeous, with fantastic art, two more are in process, and they’re looking for support for the next four issues.

And, oh by the way, I got to meet Barbara Hambly (and some other great people, too.)

Debbie is one of my online crit group members, another grad from Clarion West, and she wrote screenplays for Touched by an Angel and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. If you’re interested in reading more, click here.

And now, off to the Common Core mines.

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What I should be doing:

-report cards
-wrapping two presents/purchasing a birthday card for Mom’s 85th
-refreshing my memory for where exactly we’re staying, because ‘a hotel’ isn’t going to suffice
-repacking the suitcase I just emptied

What I’m doing:

-thinking about chucking it all and going to bed, because hey, it’ll all look better at 5A after a vat or two of coffee, and report cards are always better on a Sunday night. :P

It’s supposed to be 106 in Fresno this weekend, but all of my siblings will be there. That hasn’t happened for a while.

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It’s another crazy day…

This morning, only one mass. And then a race home to throw things in my suitcase and a second race to the airport. I’m off to Las Vegas–a place I’ve always managed to avoid except for one transfer in the airport–until Wednesday. Our principal’s taking five of us to the PLC (Professional Learning Communities) for that time.

So the good thing: away and out of the classroom, mitigated by all the hoops I had to jump through to prepare to leave. One of my little nemesii, is that the plural form?, is destined for another K teacher. I want the sub to at least survive, if not walk away with a smile on his/her face.

The other good thing is that I think a few people will see a show with me–either Rock of Ages or O, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also going to see one of my online crit group members: Deb lives in town. So that will be high on my list of exciting things to do. (See how there is no mention of gambling? So not a gambler. Not all that much of a drinker, either.) I’m bringing my laptop. Either I’ll do report cards or I’ll actually, gasp!, write.

Why not? Enforced relaxation.

I found an appetizer to bring to the choir party yesterday which was a big hit. I’m saving the recipe, because I liked it to, but it was a bit fussy. Brushing the wonton skins and getting them into mini muffin cups without collapsing on themselves was annoying. And there were forty-eight of them to get right.

I’m saddened by the fact that Jay Lake is gone. I’ve been remembering him this week in my few interactions with him–at a Strange Horizons tea party, his tie-dye shirts and socks which always amused me, and the stories he sent me when I was an editor for Ideo. The first one he sent me, I read four times before rejecting him–sure I’d missed some nuance in the tale. It was one of my first rejections, period, right after my Clarion summer, and one of Jay’s clown stories.

Rest in peace, Jay. And may your tales live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew you.

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I don’t know where

the time goes any more. I’m spinning most of the time, trying to keep my head above report cards and trimester assessments and end of the year stuff.

I haven’t even thought about the classroom cleaning yet.

My time’s cut even shorter by the fact that I am attending 3-day workshop in Las Vegas starting next weekend. I’m not sure I’ll have time to even breathe after Tuesday–there’s just too much to prepare and too many decisions to make. (Not the least of which is how to protect the sub from my little quorum of Children Destined to Set the Room On Fire. The jury is still out on how we’re going to handle the CDSROF. I wish the principal in charge the best of luck. Seriously.)

So yeah, school, house, school, house, and music in between.

And oh, yes, I took on the district job of rewriting the curriculum map I wrote with two other teachers this year. They don’t want me. I don’t want to, but no one else is stepping forward. At least I know my way around the document and recognize some of the flaws. So that’s half-days for the last two weeks of June.

And then, it’ll be San Jose with the Freeway Dragons for 5 days or more, where we’ll have a writing retreat. I am SO looking forward to that get-away.

Any other get-away is still in the thinking stage. Might be Seattle to see the kids for a short trip, which would be nice. Might be up to Pinecrest to see the daughter there. A trip to see Mom, at some point, again. We’ll be there the first weekend in June for her 85th birthday. Her health issues are ongoing, and we’re all hyper-aware just how fragile she is.

At least I have this weekend off. And there will be writing-related stuff going on, because the Freeway Dragons are getting together for a crit session/BBQ on Monday. I can pretend I’m a writer, even though there’s so little active writing going on in my life.

And now, back to my original agenda for today: cleaning. D’oh.

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