Highlights of 2005: Part 4

July 30, 2005

Back to Work

I just got back from four days in the midwest doing four full-day, back-to-back seminars. I had some wonderful groups this week— warm, receptive and responsive. And after a brief break from presenting, this was a nice reminder of how much I really enjoy the work I do.

After writing about how some of the groups I’ve had toward the end of the school year included a number of, um, grumpy (and in some instances, downright hostile) individuals, I started thinking. I had a couple of people this past week say they were really grateful to have had the workshop during the summer, and that they probably wouldn’t have been quite as open to it at the end of this past school year.

As obvious as it seems right now, it had never occurred to me to try to schedule the bulk of my trainings to occur before, say, the end of March. I’ve been looking for a month or two to block out during the year to give myself a bit of a break, and that might not be a bad time.

I’m wondering if people are too tired or burned out to really experience much learning, or if this is actually a good time to be doing the work to help at least SOME people actually make it through the rest of the school year.

I’m already committed to a week across Canada at the end of April 2006. Other than all the flying, I really love that run, though I’ve done it at that time of year and had a similar problem connecting with a number of participants, much more so than when I do the same run at different times of the year.

Any suggestions? I’m all ears…

High School book feedback coming in

So far, so good. GREAT, in fact. I haven’t posted the comments on the site yet, but will eventually get some of the feedback posted. Jerry and I just finished up the remaining books that needed to be shipped and I can happily report that they are on their way to the last of the contributors.

New publisher, new contract

I’m a few steps closer to a solid commitment to a new publisher for revised editions of 21st Century Discipline and Being a Successful Teacher. I came back to a contract from Corwin Publishers and unless there’s something very unusual that I haven’t noticed yet, it’s looking like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as somebody once said.

I really like these guys and I’m very excited to be working with them.

Sept. 11, 2005

Contracts, countdowns, and chest xrays…

I haven’t had a chance to add much to this site, or this page. Even keeping up my Speaking Resume has been a challenge.

I’ve had some incredible experiences working with districts around the U.S. and Canada these past few weeks, many in cities and areas I’d never been before. I’ve been doing an awful lot of flying and driving, too— more than I’ve done in years!

And yes, working with teachers at the beginning of the school year certainly has a different energy than at the end of the year!! The participants have been great, absolutely awesome in some places.

I signed my contract with Corwin and have been working on the next edition of 21st Century Discipline. I actually think it’s more difficult trying to incorporate the original book into the work I’ve been doing these past several years (which is more like the format I plan to use in this revision) than it would be to simply start from scratch. Quite a challenging project, and not just because there’s been precious little time or space to sit, process, formulate ideas and actually write.

I’m a little worn out from all this moving around. When I went out at the end of August, I actually began a countdown to the end of the semester. Some significant numbers: Today is day 21 in the countdown. I have 68 days left until that badly-needed two-months-at-home I’ve promised myself (and my husband and my dog, my friends, my mom…). I also realized that I will only be home for 10 days between now and Oct. 27. THAT sort-of sucks, even though I’ll be gone for a lot of good things.

About a month ago, I picked up a nasty sinus infection and I’m having a really hard time getting over it. I seem to have relapsed, or maybe picked up some new stuff along the way. I went straight from the airport this afternoon to an emergency clinic where I learned that I have an upper respiratory infection. (A chest xray ruled out pneumonia which, evidently, was a concern at one point.)

The timing couldn’t be much worse. I have decided to postpone my trip to England for a few days if I need to, and am really hoping that the airlines cooperate. There really are few things worse than being sick on the road.

So I’m devoting these next few days to as much REST as I can and anything I can’t do from this bed with this laptop is gonna have to wait!

Oct. 1, 2005

The countdown continues

When I headed out to Chicago on August 22, I was facing a calendar that was pretty much jammed with travel and speaking engagements through November 18. That stretch amounted to 89 days.

As much a fan of “one day at a time” as I might be, the time until a significant break (and the promise of rest, routine and recuperation) was a little too far off to maintain my focus on just getting through the next “thing” facing me.

With the exception of a few small travel snags, several long drives and being sick for most of the past month, the various events and experiences have been lovely, exciting and fun.

Still, I’ve lost any sense of routine I may have had earlier this year, I’m way far behind in my writing and my stuff at home has piled up beyond my control, no matter how much time I devote to sorting, answering, filing or tossing when I actually get to spend a little time at home.

It is now day 41, nearly halfway through the semester, and although the next 4 weeks will be solidly on the road (with the exception of two stops at home for a day each), the toughest part of the schedule—travel and work-wise—is behind me.

Although I’m still a little jet-lagged from my FANTASTIC trip to London last week (a side trip to Edinburgh, which I loved!!), I have managed to work a bit this week, including a lovely radio interview yesterday and a book signing at Kmart this morning. Glad to be promoting High School’s Not Forever, finally, and the Web site as well, and getting a great response.

I met a young lady at the book signing, the first one who bought a copy of the book, who shared a book of her poems with me. She graciously copied one of them and gave it to me. It is now posted, the latest addition on the HSNF Web site. Good stuff. I hope to hear more from her.

I can’t believe I have to pack again. I leave for Tulsa (and Bradenton, FL later next week) on Monday. I’m excited about both of these jobs. Just not quite ready to leave town again.

This morning was the first day of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and it’s a spectacular day— perfect blue skies, unusually warm for this time of year. Sat on the deck this morning and watched hundreds of balloons drift across the sky. If I’m only home a few days this month, I’m sure glad this was one of them!

Oct. 20, 2005

Gilligan, meet Wilma

So I’m on this cruise, supposedly catching my breath, and learning some cool computer and Web design-related stuff, and there’s this hurricane brewing. Yesterday, on St. Thomas, we met a few people on another cruise ship who were there because all their Western Caribbean ports (Cozumel, Belize, Ocho Rios) were cancelled.

Meanwhile, our captain makes this announcement that our stop in Nassau tomorrow has been cancelled and that we may not be able to dock on Saturday. Things have been remarkably up in the air and, just like the weather, my options seem to be changing hourly.

As of this morning, we do expect to be able to dock and disembark on Saturday. But now it’s looking like the storm might not hit until Monday or Tuesday. Since I need to be in Massachusetts on Tuesday night, I’m not real comfortable hanging out in Florida waiting for the possibility of not being able to get out when I need to get out— God knows, that’s happened enough just in the past month.

As much as I’d love to do the book signing in Jensen Beach, and meet the kids who contributed to the High School Book and also see some friends and family along the way, I am considering just heading home for a day or two as soon as I can.

There are a lot of contingencies here and nothing I can determine until, pretty much, I get off this ship, whenever that happens. I’m telling people to just stay tuned.

In the meantime, am I indeed relaxing and catching my breath? Yeah, mostly. I think most of this week has been more than anything about me realizing just how tired I am. Every day I come down a bit more and being around sun and sand and sea and sky has always been good for my cells and soul.

We aren’t doing much running around, no excursions this time other than one day on the beach earlier this week, and I’ve even slept in on class days. Nice. Truth is, it’s day 60 and I still have 29 days until the end of the semester. So I am certain that being here, officially on vacation, has helped, and will help me get through the next 4 weeks.

The computer classes, dinners and interactions have been terrific. I get so much out of these classes and the people on this small conference have been wonderful. So despite being yet another week away from home, all in all, this has been a lovely week.

Nov. 1, 2005

A new rhythm…

I’m not done yet: I still have a conference in Clearwater later this week and a week out for BER on the 13th. BUT… I’ve been home for a couple of days and it’s starting to feel different. I actually am getting this sense of BEING at home (and yes, having to go out a couple more times) rather than the sense of simply DROPPING IN at home in between speaking engagements, something I’ve been feeling for close to a year.

My stuff is still a mess, piles from the cruise and England next to souvenirs and scraps of things from jobs that go all the way back to August. I haven’t seen the top of my dresser in weeks. And even though I’m going out again in a few days, I’m starting to take control of my life. A bit.

Escaping Florida

So I’m on this ship last Saturday and I finally get through to Delta at 7 a.m. We’re docked but haven’t cleared customs. I end up getting my ticket changed from a Tuesday departure from West Palm to a flight back to Albuquerque in less than 3 hours! (I also had to buy a ticket from Albuquerque to New England but figured I had a better chance of getting to my Wednesday job in Massachusetts from home than from anywhere in Florida!)

I did make the flight by the skin of my teeth, on the plane about 8 minutes before they took off, but I did get home. My immediate departure meant leaving an entire suitcase of all my display materials, computer cables, chimes, a clock, remote control, books, overheads, order forms, and some warm clothes for up north at my mom’s condo. She’s not in Florida right now and won’t be back for another few weeks. I have no idea when I’ll get to pick them up.

I’ve spent much of the past few days replacing all the stuff I had in there. The changes in my air travel and all the replacements have cost close to $1000, but I have to figure it was worth it. Had I stayed in FL for a book signing that never actually happened, it looks like I would’ve been stuck there, unable to make my MA job. So all in all, a good thing.

Nov. 18, 2005

The countdown ends

It’s day 89 of a countdown I started back in August, when I was looking ahead to three solid months with no more than 2 weeks at home at a time. I’m in the airport in Minneapolis, in from Appleton, WI after a great BER week that startes on Monday (Sunday night, really) in Peoria, IL.

I have a 3-hour flight home and, last I heard, nobody next to me, which is almost as good as first class (which, incidentally, I can’t get on Northwest despite my revered status on their Skyteam Partner, Delta. Damn.)

I am really excited, or at least as excited as I can get being as tired as I always seem to be after a week of back-to-back seminars, about having the next two months at home. There are so many things I haven’t had time for, even cooking and cleaning out files sounds really exciting. Really.

I’ll need a few days to catch my breath, but I’ll be back to blog about my break!

Nov. 18, 2005

Home (sweet home) for the Holidays

I’m sitting in this lounge chair we’ve got in the bedroom. This is where, in winter, I do my writing. (I get too distracted trying to write in my office on my desktop computer, and it’s too cold to work on the porch.)

I’ve been in a bit of a routine, awakening and working on the revision of 21st Century Discipline. Working at a relaxed and enjoyable pace— although untangling and restructuring this manuscript has driven me crazy at times. I’m about halfway through the new table of contents.

I have been loving my time at home. I sometimes walk though the house, extremely aware of how happy I am just to be here! I think I’m still a little exhausted from the past year and a half, especially these past few months. I’m taking it easier than I’ve done in years.

I’ve been sleeping better, working on craft projects, spending time with friends, and cleaning the hell out of stuff (especially in my office and studio) that I haven’t touched in years. I’m feeling more creatively energized lately, so it’s hard not to work sometimes. But this is OK. I’m getting my passion back.

And… I’m not counting days these days.

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