Still there?

It has been a couple of months since I have posted on this blog.  It’s not for lack of ideas — oh, no!  I have ideas coming out my ears! — but a lack of quality “butt in chair” time.  So as I sit here, with a welcome drizzle happening outside, please indulge me in a little catching up:

First of all, I was back in the classroom, substituting, at least once a week throughout the month of June, and — although I was quite concerned about the amount of COVID-19 in our area — was pleased to be there.

I have found one particular place that I would like to make my “main school” for the coming year, and I’m excited about that.  I’ve received my paperwork for 2022-2023, and will fill it out in the next week.  So hard to believe that my first year substitute-teaching was 1999-2000!

June went fast, but had a lot of joy.  A student I began tutoring as a 12-year-old in grade seven, when her anxiety was debilitating to the point that she could not walk into the school building, received her high school diploma on June 23.

I was so excited for her and her family, and so very proud.  She is the strongest kid I have ever worked with, and I have been tutoring since 1993.  I attended the graduation, took lots of pictures, and only cried a little bit. 😉

The day after M’s graduation, our household welcomed a gorgeous, three-year-old, German Shepherd / Alsatian named Gracie.  Gracie is originally from north-west Texas, and transported here through the cooperative efforts of three rescues.

We love her to bits (well, the cats are slowly coming around), and although we have a lot to learn about each other, it is going really well.  I intend to start a blog for (by?) Gracie soon.  She’s amazing.

Health-wise, the treatment regimen for my autoimmune disease was tweaked in June.  I will be receiving my IV every six weeks instead of eight, as I was finding the effects of the medication were wearing off early.  Hopefully that will do the trick!  I have plans to complete my 30th (and likely final) season of tour-guiding this summer and fall, and I need to keep the symptoms at bay.  I want to still be on top of my game when I hang up my mic for good.

July was just as wonderful, and jam-packed full.  The first twelve days need a post all on their own.  I will try to get that written up and posted in the next couple of days.

How have you been the last couple of months?



Dark o’Clock

I woke up an hour or so ago, at 3:54 AM, with my fingers, toes, and knees seized up and in pain. This is not an unusual circumstance, unfortunately. But it is also not unusual to feel the solid pressure of my dog, Piper, snuggled up beside me, or the weight of Archie, one of my big orange and white cats, lying across my lap.

I flex my toes, first the left foot, and then the right. Then I do the same with my fingers, then my wrists. Finally, pushing my heels down and stretching out my hamstrings, I can feel my knees shift. This may be enough. We shall see.

I lay my hand on Piper’s flank. She’s closing in on 15 years old, a smooth-coated border collie mix who is smarter than any dog I have ever known. Aside from her back legs, which are essentially lame now, she is in exceptionally good health and spirits. We get each other.

The rise and fall of her breath under my hand is accompanied by old girl snores. Dreaming of squirrels, or her puppuccino yesterday, I do not know.  She stirs slightly, as if suddenly aware of being touched, then I can almost hear her decision: “Just Karen. It’s okay.” And the steady rise and fall, and the snoring, resumes.

Archie, realizing I’m awake, has a reputation to protect. Not wanting to be seen as a mama’s boy, he slides off my lap and pads out of the room.

This is our routine, most nights.

I roll over, feel my bones shift, and try to get back to sleep.

Day 6 of the March SOLSC 2022

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ contributions via the comments here.