I love October. I love the freshly harvested pears and apples. I love the colors on the trees and the smell of the first rains. I love watching kids climb off school buses with their band instruments bumping off their knees. I like talking to kids about what they are learning and what their teacher is like.
My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Chapman, was an amazing person. My first grade teacher, who shall remain nameless, not so much.
In typical early elementary school fashion, Mrs. Chapman had a thing for apples. She told us that she was a distant relative of Johnny Appleseed and taught us the song. She decorated with apples and we had apples as snacks. One very impressive day in October, she taught us how to make shrunken apples into little faces you could decorate as various Halloween characters. Looking back, this is a little creepy, but at the time we thought she was perfect.
My first grade teacher didn’t like me. Really. This might have something to do with the fact that I was a slob. She’d routinely dump my entire desk out on the floor and I’d have to stay in at recess to clean it back up. This didn’t actually cure me as my desk today probably could use a little dumping out. She also had little faces representing each of her students up along the top of the blackboard. If you were good, they smiled. If you were bad, they frowned. Mine frowned the whole year.
Now this whole story makes me grin. I’d like to go back to that little frustrated first grader and tell her its okay if not everyone smiles at you all the time and that a clean desk is not the indicator of a successful life. I’d tell her to try harder to keep it clean so as not to aggravate her teacher but not to take it too personally either. I’d like to tell her that someday she’ll watch first graders and she’ll really understand how it feels to be six.
A friend of mine made a perfect fall dinner the other day. Ginger Curry soup, Pepper Salmon, Fresh Green Beans and for dessert – poached pears. The pears made me feel six. Ah – October. Gotta love it.
Like a lot of people, I have a love hate relationship with excercise. Wait. Maybe that’s just a hate relationship.
I think this started from the usual terror stories of elementary school days spending PE trying to avoid playing Dodge Ball and spending recess trying to avoid getting hit in the head with the tether ball. My PE teacher was a rather large woman who may have at one time in her life been healthy but it was clearly before any of us had been born. She also had a very creative approach to physical education. One day, she lined us all up and started to roll a hulahoop down a line and told us to all hop through the moving hoop as it passed by. I thought she was crazy. Not a single kid could do it. I think she had visions of turning us into a circus act. The class bully shouted out that we’d try again when she showed us how. She put away the hula hoop.
We moved in the middle of my 8th grade year. First day at the new school I walked into PE and they were doing the final tests for the unit on gymnastics. They had been spending the previous eight weeks learning about the various equipment and putting together routines. The PE teacher made me take the test. This was not a good introduction to other middle school students. Really, if you had missed the instruction weeks and had to do a floor routine (no way was I getting on the balance beam or parallel bars) in front of people you just met what would you do? Somersaults really don’t cut it.
When I turned thirty, I signed up to do the Portland Marathon. This shocked everyone I know. It shocked me. I actually trained and I did in fact finish the 26.2 miles. I walked, I ran, I shuffled but I finished. I promptly quit running again.
So now, I’m turning 35 in two weeks and its about time to pull myself together again. I’m very clearly a project person. I have discovered the only time I get anything done is when I’m facing a deadline of some sort. So I’m signed up for the Portland to Coast in August and the Warrior Dash in September. That should do it. What I learned last time I trained was really the only thing you have to do to finish a race is just not quit. This is probably true in all areas of life. Even if it’s a love hate relationship. Just don’t quit.
I brought home a souvenier from Rwanda. Well. Maybe. Maybe its a souvenier I’ve been carrying around for who knows how long. At any rate, its official. I had two positive skin tests for tuberuclosis. I would like to state the next sentance in very large letters. I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN CONTAGIOUS. I thought about getting a T-shirt that had the same thing but decided a blog post might have the same effect. I have dormant TB and am on nine months of medications. At the end of the nine months I will gratefully be finished and will never again have to think about TB. I’ll also never have to have another TB skin test.
The last several days I’ve had an internal battle with myself. The whiney half of me wants to tell everyone that I think it stinks that I can’t have a whole pile of foods I love for the nine months I’m on the meds. I have learned all about Tyramine and Histamine and liver swelling and high blood pressure. I’ve read and reread the drug information sheet several times. The pitiful half of myself is staring at my coffee pot and wondering if really one cup of coffee will really interact all that much and isn’t cheddar cheese worth a little severe high blood pressure?
I had another reminder this morning that gratitude really is the way to go. I had a conversation with someone who had tuberculosis as a child. Not the dormant kind. Okay fine. Keep the chocolate and the coffee. I’m grateful.
A couple of days ago someone who has already traveled this particular path emailed and said something that just made me smile. He said “welcome to the positive side”. Another TB survivor told me its great I’ve converted and welcome aboard. The fact is that once I’m done with the treatment, bring it on baby. This particular body is set to go. I have immunity now to Yellow Fever, Hepatitits A and B, Typhoid, Polio, Tetnus, and a whole pile of other prevoiusly deadly diseases. Doesn’t this make you grateful to live in this century? As a personal protest and committement to myself to try and not whine, I signed up for next year’s Warrier Dash. 3 miles. Lots of mud. This is fabulous. This whole adventure makes me want to get on a plane and go somewhere to help push back on the darkness. Wanna come?