Dear Evan Hansen Haiku- Day 24- #SOL18

media unleashed

saves the soul of the lonely

harness the true you

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Richardson-Next 5 Exits- Day 23-#SOL18

Friday night and I was determined to get some of my chores for the weekend started.  As I went through the junk mail and unrequested magazines, I found an article written by someone who described how the exits to our city had taken her to places that helped build her life here.  I thought that was a cool idea, and as I hadn’t yet written my slice, decided to try a one with this model.

Exit 23: Spring Valley Road                                                                                                                  * Liberty Junior High-This exit sends my car to the only school I can call home.  I started there when I was fresh-faced, new-out-of-the-box novice and only left for a bit to begin my family.  Twenty-four years later, my car drives itself there.  Though our student population has changed drastically, the familial atmosphere hasn’t.                                         * AMC Movie Theater- An avid movie fan, I relish my time escaping into the dark rooms to be transported to different times and locations.  What was once the state-of-the-art cinema is now the dollar theater, but I still enjoy my visits.

Exit 24:  Belt Line Road/Main Street                                                                                                     * Our first home- as newlyweds and new parents.  This house will always be my favorite.  Even though it was only 1200 square feet, it was “my Christmas house.”  When I I picture that snow-tinted house on Christmas cards, this is the quaint cottage that I see.  With a tiny, cracked pool and secret cabana, my sweet family began here.  I can still picture the house-high sunflowers Sammy planted as a toddler and the washer and dryer in the middle of the kitchen.                                                                                                                *Amigos- the first happy hour choice for many Richardson teachers.  It’s always funny to see the variety of school t-shirts visible on a late Friday afternoon.

Exit 25:  Arapaho Road                                                                                                                        *Richardson Gymnastics- Many hours of my daughter’s days were spent spiraling through the uneven bars and over the balance beam.  And, of course, that meant much time spent waiting there for the rest of us.  To kill the time, I joined a Tai Kwon Do class there.  While I really enjoyed learning the patterns and the workout, when it came to sparring 11-year-old boys, I was out.  It’s OK, dude.  You win!                                                     * All Saints Catholic Church- Since one of my sons needed a special needs CCD, this church became our home 20 years ago.  Wow!  I can’t believe it was that long ago!  I have been catechism instructor and lector, as well as volunteer.  Since the kids have left, I’ll admit that I don’t do as much volunteering as I used to.  But it’s still an important part of my life.

Exit 26:  Campbell Road/Galatyn Parkway                                                                                      * Our current home- We have lived here for 15 years, and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.  This house keeps memories of my children’s youth and teenage years, filled with joyous celebrations and hard realities.  When my kids think of their childhood home, it will probably be this one.                                                                                                    *  The Eisemann Performing Arts Center- Oh how many Nutcrackers and ballet company performances have we seen there.  Nuff said.

Exit 27:  Renner Road                                                                                                                            * Sweet Firefly- While this ice-cream store isn’t exactly one of our most frequently-visited places, it is my favorite spot for sumptuous, creamy deliciousness.  Chocolate Orange is my ice-cream of choice.                                                                                                                      *  Starbucks- Yes, this had to be on the list somewhere.  I am not a Starbucks addict, but I do like a little treat now and then.

 

What Happens When You Feel You’ve Failed as a Coach?- Day 22- #SOL18

It’s been a long day.  As an instructional coach, my job comes with its share of encouraging moments.  But sometimes, I feel like I am terrible at my job.  Today is one of those days.  A new teacher I have been trying to help all year still struggles with classroom management.  I know that is not unusual for beginning teachers, but by this time of year, I want her to feel more successful in this area.  And it’s one of those things that requires daily committed decisions on her part.  I can model, suggest, attend trainings with her, but until she decides to take control, nothing will change.  I struggle with how to help her at this point of the year.  Do I continue to offer suggestions or let her get through these last weeks and start over next year?  I guess I’ll figure it out as the weeks progress.

Same Activity, Different Feel- But Not a Bad Thing-Day 20- #SOL18

Activity: Watching the underdog team play in Round 1 of March Madness

Setting: Local college pub- first-timers

Characters: Son- underdog alum                                                                                                                               Husband- would rather be home watching anything else                                                              Friendly fans of the opposing team- strangers turned acquaintances                                         Bar regulars- enjoying the game or just there for the fun

When my son was a college junior, his basketball team made it into the Big Dance for the first time in decades.  Because the tournament fell during spring break, we, his parents and sister, got to share this exciting event with him.  We crossed the street to a neighborhood restaurant and rooted his team on with margaritas and nachos.  What a  sacrifice!   While they didn’t win that year, hey, at least they got to put on their dancing shoes.

Flash forward to the next year: same scenario, same formula for success.  But this time, they were victorious in Round One.  Convinced that our specific support led to this success, we repeated our charm for Round 2.  Again- a win!  The team soon became the Cinderella story of the tournament.  Our outdoor picnic bench might not have been as fancy as the coliseum seats, but the four of us coached the team through the next two winning rounds.  The team lost one game away from the elusive Final Four, but we KNEW the results were thanks to our routine.

The next year, the team, under the management of a new coach, didn’t make it into the bracket.

But this year…They’re baaaaaack.  And last night, we figured it was time to start a new viewing ritual.  That’s where the college pub comes in.  It was one of those spontaneous evenings that can’t be planned.  Sharing a table with the other team’s fans and coming out with new neighborhood friends.  Savoring new culinary offerings and even better, a variety of new brews.  Lamenting the chaos that is our government. Sharing time with my now-graduate, listening to his dreams for his future. Yelling aloud as the tight game went off the rails in the last 5 minutes.

We didn’t win the game, but I certainly got a win for memories made.

The Creepy Disney Characters in Time Square- Day 19- #SOL18

Walking through Time Square this brisk afternoon, Frozen snowman catapults his dingy felt costume at me.  In a squeaky, taunting voice, he/she/it demands a picture.  This attack was followed closely by a crazy red fur giant that was supposed to resemble Elmo.  Waving both his matted, fur-covered arms at me and bobbing his head back and forth, I felt like I was in a nightmare from some comedy sit-com.  Even more disturbing were the reluctant characters- maybe in training?  Head half on and half off, the illusion of fantasy totally shattered.  Behind them were the gilded and greened Statue of Liberty’s vying for my money and attention…mostly money.  Every one of these costumed workers seemed to be covered with a thin veil of grime.  I hope they are able to earn what they need.  Characters that should make me smile just made me sad.