Of Tattoos and things…

You know how I talked about crossing things off your bucket list last post? Well, I crossed another thing off.

I got a new tattoo.

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Yep, it’s an origami stegosaur with a splash of water colour.

I now have three tattoos and this is the most visible one. I love it but it is also so new that I still haven’t really come to grips with the reality of it. (It’s on my left forearm in case you were wondering).

I’ve always loved tattoos but have always been apprehensive of getting them in overly visible places. However, I have been through a lot this year and I decided that I wanted to control the next visible change to my body. I have so many scars from various surgeries that I’ve had no choice in receiving (and I don’t regret them at all, let me state that up front right now) so I wanted the chance to control the next “scar” that I got. I mean, my scar from my gallbladder removal is shockingly huge… Not that I really need to justify why I got this… just wanted to explain some of my thought process…

So, I got a dinosaur. Those who know me, irl, know about my obsession with dinosaurs. Heck, I wanted to be a palaeontologist all the way through primary school and then most of high school. Unfortunately, money played a huge part in my decision to go to uni in New Zealand. No regrets though.

So, another thing crossed off the bucket list.

Also, I start a Post Grad Course next month. It’s all to do with Digital and Collaborative Learning.  It’s  done through Unitec and The Mind Lab. It also counts toward 1/3 of a Master’s Degree.

Not to mention that next month is NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month – where the aim is to write 50 000 words in the month of November. I’m managed to successfully achieve this for the past five years.

So, all in all, I’m setting myself up for a busy few months. I’m looking forward to the positive changes.

Oh – and I’m still going with the whole #31daysofhorror – and it’s getting a little tedious but I am still loving it.

Until next time…peace and pancakes.

Also, question: Do you have any tattoos?

What goals are you setting yourself for the last two months of the year?

Things I Learned Yesterday…

I have a bucket list. In fact, I have several bucket lists scattered around on bits of papers and in half written journals. Doesn’t everyone?

For the longest time my bucket list was pretty average. Go travelling, write a novel (I’m working on it) learn how to do a handstand (still working on that one as well) and fall in love (how freaking cliched…right? ahem … right? Still haven’t fallen in love so…). From all accounts it looked like my bucket list was just a random list of ideas…but, this weekend, I knocked something off my bucket list.

I did an adventure race.

I’m a relatively active person but not to the levels that I could or should be. There are always excuses. But, when one of my dearest friends invited me to join her family as part of their team my first instinct was…no I’m not ready. But, I thought it over and said yes…

So, yesterday, I sports bra-ed and suited up. (Two bras if you were wondering… and yes, it was painful but I didn’t want to give myself a black eye…) I gave it my best shot. My friend and her family were much fitter than I but they put up with me. Plus, I remembered why I slowed down on my running…my knees.

But, I had a lot of fun. It was mostly up hill and there were times when I was crawling up the hill as it was rather steep. I nearly lost my shoes in the mud run and the down hill made my knees swell but I’d do it again. (Not right now…I’m currently resting my knee…a little bit…) But it was a lot of fun. And, even though we weren’t the first, we weren’t the last. I would actually recommend this to any body who likes a challenge. It was a lot harder than I expected and my friend said it was harder than last year but I had a lot of fun doing it.

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Goodbye Dear Shoes

I learned a lot from this race and one is that I need to take more time for my own health and fitness if I want to get better. (Better at running and at being a healthier person.) I don’t often admit that I struggle with self esteem and my weight because I really love the body positivity movement and advocate it. Healthy at any size! But I also like being fit and running and dancing…so here’s to taking more time for my own health.

Also, my bucket list will always been changing but I can cross that one thing off. Next on the list – I need to finish my second novel and edit my first one more.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to be more creative with my bucket list. Or, maybe it’s time for me to do more…

What’s on your bucket list? What should I add to mine?

 

 

My gallbladder tried to kill me…

I have the best excuse for not updating…

Previously I wrote about my hospital stay here. This was back in April and I was popped on the waiting list for an elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy which was supposed to be done in May …

Fast forward to the end of May where I found myself back in hospital. The doctor who would have done my surgery was going to be away but said that the surgery would definitely be a go for the 9th of June. So, I was in hospital until the Saturday and then I was off until the surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery is the easier option and a lot less invasive where, at most, you’ll have to take a week off work and take it easy for a wee while. Four incisions are made and the gallbladder and stones are whipped out. There is a 1-10% chance that during this surgery they may have to go to an open cholecystectomy – meaning they have to cut you open.

Guess what happened…

So I wake from what was supposed to be routine surgery to find out that they had barely started the laparoscopic surgery when I started to bleed and they had to go straight into the open surgery…apparently my gallbladder had begun to go gangrenous and, according to my nurses and surgeon (who were brilliant btw) it was the most stones that they had removed from a gallbladder. One of the stones was also stuck in one of the ducts…according to people I’m bloody lucky to be alive. Of course, when I woke up, I began to apologise profusely to the nurse for causing any trouble. I apologised for the fact that my gallbladder had tried to kill me…

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I managed to lose a lot of blood but, luckily, didn’t need a transfusion though it was close. I’ve been off work for two weeks and start back on Monday but can only work half days. The doctor and nurses originally recommended taking three days off but I need to build up my strength because I’m still going to America in a couple of weeks. (I’ve been cleared to fly so there is no worry there. It will be four weeks after surgery that I fly so I’m good.)

Anyway, I just thought I’d do a quick update. I’m doing really well though I’m too bloody stubborn for my own good. I have overdone it a couple of times and given myself a fright but I am feeling so much better than I have in a long time. The professionals believe that I’d been growing those stones for some time which could explain my general ill health and lethargic nature more readily than stress. It might also explain several other things, health wise, that had been getting me down for at least the last year or so.

I’m tender and have a 22cm scar from the middle of my chest to my lower side but I’m no longer attached to Bert the Bile Duct Drain (check my instagram for more images). I have trouble getting comfortable but, like everyone keeps reminding me, it’s barely been two weeks since surgery.

So that’s why it’s been a little quiet on the blogging front…

Peace and pancakes,

Jaime

P.S. This is surgery number 19 if anyone is keeping score…

 

The Small Pleasures – or an Incomplete List of Small Pleasures…

I still consider myself a new teacher even though I’m nearing the end of my fourth year. And, in ways, it has gotten easier but it is still a hard job. It can be unforgiving being a teacher – and it isn’t just the teaching part. I’m not going to complain about the amount of hours because we all know that. We know that teachers in all facets of school work really hard. I’m more focused on the small things that make everyday great – and yes, most of it revolves around teaching. I have used this prompt in class and it has worked well with students:

I’m sure I saw this on writingprompts but there is also the URL to the author’s blog down the bottom.

The junior students really loved it and we shared our ideas in class. My seniors, however, were confused. They didn’t understand what a small pleasure was and were reluctant to buy in. I ended up having to share my list – and I made them write nine of their own – because the number nine, to me, is an incomplete number.

So, here is my list:

  • the sound of gentle rain in the middle of the night
  • the smell of fresh cut grass
  • the first cup of coffee in the early morning
  • seeing the trees change in autumn
  • talking to my nieces
  • finishing a book in a day
  • a nice cup of tea
  • fresh strawberries in yoghurt
  • crawling into bed after changing the sheets

You may notice that there are no small pleasures from school but you must remember that this is an incomplete list of small pleasures. There are many things that I enjoy about being at school. The joy on students faces when they learn something new is a popular one but a new favourite of mine is the fact that students come to my classroom to say hi. Or lean in my windows and shout out my name. Or who sneak into my class and expect me not to notice that they are juniors in a senior class or vice versa.

So, the purpose of this post was to remind each of us to look at the small things that bring us joy. Especially when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Sometimes, the small things remind us that the big things will come when they come but there are always small pleasures to help us through our days.

Leave your incomplete list of small pleasures below…if you want to.

Peace and pancakes.

Edit: I wrote this post on the 15th of March but had to back date it in order for it to post. Sigh. I will figure out this glitch, I promise.

What are you passionate about?

Parent: “You seem so passionate about your subject. What else are you passionate about?”
Me: “Oh I love reading and gaming and using these ideas in the classroom. I really want students to understand that they have different options with regard to…” 
This is a typical interaction that I’ve had with various parents over the last few years of my teaching. The whole idea of discussing what I’m passionate about scares me at times. It means that I am giving voice to something that I keep hidden and, once it’s out there, it’s real…

When I find myself thinking about this question or being asked it I often pause and quickly deconstruct two things: the person asking and the question itself. Maybe deconstruct is not the right word but it is the right sentiment. What do I mean by this? Well, my answer will differ depending on the person who is asking. Not by much but by tone, gesture or even by exaggeration. I also have to think about what I am truly passionate about. And, does the person asking truly want to know or is it a filler question – the kind of question that, as a teacher, I have fallen back on when trying to get students to focus or when trying to identify the students who may be struggling. Filler is the wrong word, focus is the “F” word that I am looking for.

I need to know about the person asking and what their motivations are in asking such a question. And then I need to decide which of my pre-prepared answers will I spring on them. We all have these answers – I’m passionate about running or I’m passionate about saving the environment. Broad answers that sound correct but may not be entirely accurate because to truly reveal what you’re passionate about to people involves trust and knowledge. You have to trust them with the truth and hope they add to your knowledge rather than leach it away.

One other thing to consider – think about on what you were passionate about ten years ago, five years, one year? My passions have changed. And this reminds me that my students passions will change – subtly or in broad dynamic strokes as they begin to realise who they are as a person.

So, what am I passionate about? Depends on who’s asking but I will give you my filler lists and, maybe someday, I will give you my real list.

Learning. Classic teacher response but I love learning new pieces of information, filling up the filing cabinets in my mind with random knowledge that I can whip out at a whim. I have been toying with the idea of attempting my Masters degree but we’ll see. Sometimes fear gets in the way of the passion. But everyday I like to find out something new. Something interesting that might not mean much to others but means something to me. I’m definitely a magpie or a crow.

Travel. And my students know this since I remind them constantly that one of the best things that they can do is travel – nothing like eating crickets in Cambodia or tasting tea in Vietnam or downing a churro at Disneyland. I have a bucket list in my mind and I will continue to tick things off as I go. There is something about going into a new place and finding myself completely disoriented and then finding food. I quite enjoy food.

Sharing knowledge. Not just the knowledge needed to pass tests but the knowledge that there is more to the world than school or the town they have grown up in. I constantly share knowledge – even if it isn’t wanted. I guess that’s partially why I enjoy teaching because I have a (sometimes) captive audience who challenge me every day to extend them. I want students to share in this love of knowledge and learning.

My challenge to you is to think about what you are truly passionate about. Have you done anything to develop that passion or, like me, have you put your true passions on hold while you try to figure out if they are what you really want?

I also want you to think about your students and what they are truly passionate about and how we, as educators, guide them and also show them that it is okay to be passionate about maybe collecting toy dinosaurs…

Peace and pancakes…