a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Because Ruth inspires me to be on the lookout for celebrations, I paused long enough in my morning routine to notice that my dog, Roosevelt, had hidden his favorite toy in my slippers.  Roo's playfulness, even at the ripe old age of thirteen, charms me.  He will toss a ball and chase it all by himself for extended periods of time.  Last night, when he was done playing, and I had already stepped out of my slippers to get into bed, he must have tucked his ball away for safekeeping. 

I had woken up early this morning to take the dogs to the vet for their annual vaccines.  I was feeling tense because Roo has had reactions to the vaccine in the past that have required emergency vet visits.  In addition, Aurora has had two surgeries in the past year and today was the day I would find out if her kidney stone issue (the cause for one of the surgeries) was going to be persistent.  

That red rubber face smiling up at me from my slippers was Roo's way of reassuring me that everything would be okay.  And it was.

As I get older, I find it easier to let go and have faith that things will turn out fine, but there is still some small part of me that holds onto the belief that excessive worrying wards off awful outcomes.  Maybe in part because when I excessively worry, things turn out fine and the belief I cling to is reinforced.

Parent/teacher conferences are one example.  It is an annual tradition for me to over-stress about conferences.  This week, a colleague and I were talking and she asked me point-blank why I think it is that we get so stressed.  It is funny how powerful a self-reflection it can be to be forced to say something aloud.  I thought of this passage from my "366 Days of FLOW" calendar from FLOW magazine:

And I answered that I am afraid parent/teacher conferences are going to reveal that I am a fraud.  Prior to conferences, I run through all of the things I know I am getting wrong--things like not updating my class webpage often enough or with the most relevant information, and making stupid mistakes in my grade book like changing the weighting for one class and forgetting to make the change for another.  

Every year, as it turns out, the things I am getting wrong are never the MOST IMPORTANT things.  This year was no exception.  In fact, this year I walked away from parent/teacher conferences on a high because I suspect that one of the conferences I had this year changed the trajectory of a student's life for the better in a big way.  There is power in wrapping a child with support both in and outside of school.  When that support is in sync, the insurmountable odds against a child suddenly dwindle.  This, I celebrate.


  1. I like reading about the dog in the slipper, a good smile in the story, Christy! And I've heard about that "imposter" syndrome, makes some sense. But so does the teacher who cares so much that things will go well in the conferences because they know how it informs the next steps (whether at the beginning or for the rest of the year). Glad to hear about that student, good for you.

  2. Being on the lookout for celebrations is a fun outlook to have on life, like the red rubber smiley face.

    Isn't it funny how conferences can crank up our awareness of where we aren't meeting our own expectations? Glad you realized that you are doing what really matters. That is something to celebrate! (As well as conferences being over.)

  3. What a lot of happiness dogs bring. I'm glad your conferences went well.

  4. Ruth inspires, but then so do you. I read your words and marvel at the way you turn a phrase. "Charms me" at the end of the sentence spoke to me. You are never a fraud, you are one of the most genuine persons I am delighted to know. "Wrapping a child with support" is what you do best.

  5. So glad people like you are out there chipping away at the insurmountable odds! And those slippers make me smile too! Have a great week, my friend.

  6. "When that support is in sync, the insurmountable odds against a child suddenly dwindle." Great truth! Thanks for writing!

  7. This is beautiful, Christy. I always love when you write real and raw here in this space. Thank you.