Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Tuesday Freewrite

Memorial Day with My Favorite People

Well, now I know why you should not put the picture first. I usually add the picture LAST, but I thought I would add it first, and I could not get back to his part of the blog post that had the text in it. People tell me WordPress is so much easier, but I have been using Blogger for 18 years now, and it is hard to change. I believe they are doing little to update this part of their business these days because Blogger has become quite clunky, but it is my blogger. I mourn the day when they quit updating it or even shut it down altogether.

So, yesterday was lovely. I had all these assignments to grade for my Fitness Walking class, and a part of me did not want to tear myself away, but I am so glad I did. Walking along the beach, driving in the car, and eating at Sorella's at Nye Beach with my favorite people was balm to my soul. I love them with all my heart, and I am so glad that I am simplifying my life by leaving OSU (and having left Timberhill last January). It is just going to make for a simpler and more streamlined life for me. My ministry of spirtual direction is busier than ever, but that is where I will put my time and energy these days. The relationships that I had with my recurring students is not there anymore. They have all graduated and gone, but I am glad I went back to campus this year and especially this term since I didn't have to wear a mask and could really smile and interact with them. It is a good thing.

The fitness walking class has taken me 20 hours of work (plus emails with students that are not recorded on Canvas), and I have been at it for 4 weeks now. I am trying to cut back on my hours because I am only paid for 9.5 hours of administrative work for this class. So I am double that and am trying to do less of the time I spend on campus and during the class (as they walk independently now). I am so glad to be unchained from my computer and able to spend more time out in the sunshine! It will be fun. I hope to have more of a summer of freedom and especially a fall of freedom. That is my motto for the days moving forward. I have freedom and flexibility for the future now that I am not tied to a set time of teaching these classes. I will make my Pilates Praise and Prayer Videos this summer. I have fun goals for the summer in preparation for the fall.

Today was supposed to be a free day, but I went to walk briskly for my Rockport Walk Test for the end of the term of the fitness class, and as I was walking briskly, my back went out! UGH. I had so much fun walking the beach with my boys, but I forgot my shoe lift at home. So, I am paying the price today and am sorry for it! 

I am going to have to rest and hope and pray that Dr. Myers has an opening because it was a pretty bad blow out. Not bad like it used to be, but bad by today's standards. 

Oh well. I am going to let go of something that happened today. Something I need to just forget about. Something that will take me too much time and energy to follow through on for the amount of benefit it will give me. So, I let it go. Just like I let my things go as I enter into  Centering Prayer. I am so excited to explore things more deeply with that. 

The end of the 2nd Half Collaborative was this last weekend, and I think it ended really well. I hope to be able to continue with the same heart I entered into it this last year. I am still amazed that I did it again. I really would prefer to be a spiritual director for it rather than a small group leader, but that is what God gave me, and I think I finished really well! 

Well, today might be a lie on your back and recover day, but I will embrace it as best I can.

I am looking forward to June with friends and family and fun! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Freewrite Fifteen: Type Two Insecurities

Timer is set for 15 minutes for a freewrite.

I have 
24 more work hours, 
10 days, 
8 classes, and 
4 days left on campus. 

Then I am FREE! It has been such a GOOD seven years. I really have loved it. I love these young people. I think I realized something about myself this morning. This one class (not the Pilates class because it is my 19th contact term [one term was making videos for Faculty Staff Fitness and one was a broken leg] with Pilates students, and I am able to navigate their excuses by saying, "I give a generous absence and extra credit plan for unforeseen circumstances" (they all have such "good" excuses" for missing class). But this Fitness Walking class has really hit me at my insecurities and reading this morning in the EnneaThought for the Type Two really made me realize I have a long way to grow. It reads:

"As a Two, you identify powerfully with feelings for and about others and feelings about others' responses to you, and you resist recognizing your own feelings about yourself and your needs. Notice this tendency in yourself today" (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 44). 

I identify TOO powerfully with the feelings of others (in this case, my students and their many challenges). I disengage from myself in the process. I have spent so much time...twice as much time...at the computer for this Fitness Walking class as I have actually walked in the class. 

That part has been great. Since I stopped doing the virtual walks, I have not walked as much (and gained a bit of weight). So, this class has been GREAT for that! 

However, I have spent entirely too much time working with my students to help them succeed when they need to just put their big boy/girl pants on and do the work that many others in the class find very easy. I agonize over the ones who are getting an F in the class because they have not done the work. I identify too much with their feelings, including the athlete who might lose their scholarship because they have not done the work in the class. It should be an easy A for these people, even the non-athletes. They don't have to walk the full number of miles each day, they just have to walk/move for 50 minutes regardless of their speed. They can stroll! 

I have let go a bunch, and the biggest, good thing I have done for myself is having a Centering Prayer time in my break from 11-12. I was missing my CP time at 12:30 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because this class is at the same time, but I realized last week that I can do it during that break. So, I have gone to a quiet place on campus and gone into Silent/Centering Prayer for 20 minutes, and that has been so good. 

I realized that when I did it EVERY DAY during the Afghan crisis, it kept me so centered and peaceful. The difference between that and this class is that the Afghans were elective, and anything that I could do for them was what I could do; I could do as little or as much as I chose to do. But this class is not an elective, I am responsible for the class. And so much of this class is out of my hands because it was set up for me (and, in the long run, made more complicated by people that took it over in the interim between the instructor who set it up and me) by three other people, and it is so not how I would set it up, but it was entirely TOO MUCH to try to sort out in the week that I had between getting off the plane from Northern Cyprus and when I started the class. The week included trying to recover from jet lag and allergies from the Birch trees blooming in Amsterdam. I also had directees stacked up and previously scheduled for the interim week. I am constantly finding inconsistencies throughout the Canvas page and the syllabus. And those inconsistencies breed loopholes for students. I like to have everything SPELLED out for my students about late policies, excusable absences, attendance expectations, and extra credit. Then there are the athletes (two out of five of them) who have told me how not passing the class will ruin their athletic standing. (Is that really my problem?) But as a Type Two (who is still growing), I struggle with not wanting to make it my problem and saying "tough" (Type Eight), having compassion for their predicament, and overeating carbs to deal with the anxiety and shame (Type Two), and crawling into my cave and watching TV to escape from the overwhelming people contact of it all (Type Five). 

So, all that to say is that who would have thought that a simple fitness walking class would expose so many of my insecurities? It amazes me!

And good to learn more about growing in giving it all over to God. :) 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Freewrite on a Saturday in May

Walking this Route with Students Was So Fun!

I have 15 minutes to just write freely about what is on my heart. I love that we are being intentional about making our Saturdays free. I may meet with working people one Saturday a month but only if we totally clear Sunday. I had one woman who wanted to meet on a Saturday, but I suggested that we meet before our group/church gathering on Sunday afternoon. And this was great. So, the last two Saturdays have been totally free!

This Saturday, we are going to the new Downton Abbey movie. We were going to go for the matinee yesterday, but my meeting with someone went long, and I looked down at my watch, and it was 10 minutes past the movie start, but it was a busy Friday. So, it was good to just rest for the late afternoon and evening.

Yesterday, the map for the class I took over was for the Dog Park in Corvallis. I just didn't feel comfortable having my students walk by themselves through that part of town. So, I waited outside and encouraged everyone to walk in groups of two or more, and so I was part of a group of about six of us. It was very fun to find out about the different students in the class and what they were all about. It was also only our second semi-sunny day! This spring has been so overcast and raining. I just have been amazed. So, this next week (including today) is supposed to finally be sunny and good thing since we only have five more classes.

That's right ladies and gentlemen (is that even politically correct to say anymore?). I am five school days (13 total days) from being done with my OSU teaching career. I have 10 more classes to teach or walk! I am over the moon. I finally let go of the anxiety I had about this fitness walking class by making 12% extra credit. You have freedom as an instructor to do this or not, and I just felt like he had no cushion days (I give two for my Pilates regular 20-session class and one for my 15-session class) for his students or extra credit make up in his syllabus. But one of his previous students said he did that unofficially later on in the term. Why this guy did not have it in his syllabus I will never know. So much in his syllabus was really non-specific (no late policy, clearly defined absence policy, or attendance policy) that it was hard to take over. Also, he had so much to upload that first week, and students (and myself) had such a high learning curve! I finally just sat down all morning on Thursday and pounded out a Mindfulness Extra Credit Walk. I also gave them the option to do that combined with one make-up walk they might have missed or two make-up walks. I felt so relieved afterward to give them that option since, by golly, people get sick! He had no allowance for that in his syllabus. Note to self, look at the class and the syllabus before you commit to a class you thought would be really straightforward and simple. 

(I am putting WAY more hours into this class than I was contracted for, btw. I am only contracted for 7.5 hours of administrative, and I have already spent 13 hours just on the Canvas site, and that has not included all the back and forth with students on email. I have probably put in about 20 hours administrative, and it is only the third week of class.)  

So, I think I am finally over the stress of this class (let it go and have not fretted anymore) and LOVED walking with these students on Friday. That is where I shine and where I most enjoy the time teaching. I wish it was more of that than the administrative headaches and sitting at a computer answering emails and grading assignments. It is WAY more of that now than it is teaching, especially for this class I took on. So, I will miss the students but not the administrative headaches (especially with all the COVID stuff from last term - it was when I decided enough!). I will also miss my colleagues, but I think I am probably the oldest instructor they have now (or maybe second to oldest). Anyway, I am still hoping to develop Prayer and Praise Pilates (because my life is about alliterations from God :)).

So, today, I will walk this morning. Get TOGOS sandwiches with Goerge and enjoy Jackson Frazier wetland. Then I will go to see Downton Abbey: A New Era! 

Update: Barbie and Tim might come down, and we might go out for dinner after we go on our date. Things are looking up! (Also walked the labyrinth with George and RELEASED my fear of not finishing well at OSU. I am finishing well!) 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Friday-Saturday Freewrite

Technically, it is early Saturday morning, but I started writing this in my mind on Friday just before midnight.

I have not written a freewrite since April 27th. I had something for attendance in one of my classes. I had a student say that I marked her absent when she wasn't, and I avoided checking all evening, turned out the light, and then I couldn't sleep until I checked it, and I HAD checked her absent in the grade book accidentally. I deducted points from her when it should have been for the person below her in the alphabet. An innocent mistake that, believe it or not, I had never done in 20 terms of teaching! So, I got that out of the way and decided to listen to Pray as You Go (John 14 meditation) because I didn't listen this morning. I was supposed to meet with F at 6 am, and she moved it to 7 am. So I went to the Friday prayer and meditation time with the Jesuits in Glasgow, and it was lovely and caused me to journal a LOT this morning rather than listen to Pray as You Go. I went to meet with F at 7 am, and she was stuck in traffic in her home country. So, we were going to meet once she got home, but I decided that it would be better to just meet next week. This way, I will be in a better every-other-week schedule since I cannot meet with her two weeks from today because of the final retreat for the 2nd Half Collaborative. 

I am going to do it in the second year. When I asked whether they needed me, they had D call me immediately to tell me that there was no question that they would need me. Since both my discernment times with two different groups were inconclusive about whether I should continue, I prayed more into it and decided that it would be good to do it a second year since I learned a lot about leading that group. They have an excellent curriculum, and I highly recommend it!

What I realized is that I will probably not lead an OMS Cohort next year. This one is pretty special, and I like the international flavor of it. I don't think I know anyone who is going to be doing it from my realm next year. So it was more a matter of cutting back on the groups that I lead. So, I decided that would be the one.

I think I will be amazed at how much more time I have now that I will not be leading classes at OSU. I took on this other class at OSU because the instructor had emergency surgery, but it is SO MUCH MORE WORK than my Pilates classes! My Pilates classes are pretty much teaching classes I had taught HUNDREDS of times before. So, other than Pilates with weights, roller, and Bender Balls (all of which I do more infrequently depending on the ability of the class), I don't have any preparation time for them. I have the attendance down to about 15 minutes after each class and about 2 1/2 hours of correcting assignments that are due in the middle of the term and about another hour of grading extra credit. 

This other class is HORRENDOUS in terms of how much time I have to spend at the computer grading assignments. It is not based on attendance in class. The students can do the walks any time they want, and then they enter a LOG and a screenshot of their MAP for three walks every week. So for 30 students, that is going through 180 submissions every week! And the first week, they had an extra submission of a VO2MAX calculation. So it was 210 submissions! It is a nightmare! It is so inefficient, but I am powerless to change it because it was set up for me before I agreed to take over the class. The syllabus was an old one written during COVID with no policy for late assignments and the absence policy was very nebulous. So I did change that, but the assignments were all set up in Canvas. I would have made it ONE weekly submission of all three maps and logs! That would mean I would go through 30 a week as opposed to 180-210. So, needless to say, this has caused me a lot of fretting because so many of them did not do the assignment. I haven't heard BOO from some of them. I did hear from one of them who said he had a problem because he got a job in Portland and it was going to affect his GPA for his sport if he didn't pass the class, and what can I do about it?

I don't think that is my problem, sir.

So, it has been frustrating for me to have to deal with all these emails from students. I did have one who missed the whole first week of class but showed me a doctor's note. So I extended his deadline, and he got everything in with 18 minutes to spare! That really was the highlight of my week. Truly. I will say that the students who are faithful to the class have been delightful! So, once again, I do love teaching, but it is time for me to go. I need to be done at OSU. I think I love teaching, but I don't love all the computer work. It is almost as though they found out all the cool things that you can do through CANVAS during COVID. So there is more based on the computer and even academic stuff rather than just doing physical activity with the students. I think we are losing something in the process. I would have preferred to have everyone meet at the front of the building and all walk in a group together (spread out as we walked). I could have gotten to know the students. I think next week, I will walk with a couple of the faithful students instead of doing the backward route. Most are doing them at different times, but the Southeast Asian students tend to do it together, and they would be fun to walk with.

One fun thing about today was that on the route of the walk, the Native American Cultural Center was having a Salmon Bake (see picture above)! So, I stopped on my walk and talked to people there. How fun. This is what I will miss: the buzz of the campus! I will also miss my students and working out with them. 

I MUST work out on my own now. So I need to really commit myself to doing Pilates as hard as I do it with my classes.

I think I am ready to go back to bed now. This was about a 30-minute free write but fun! (Update: went and cleaned up papers in my study and did not fall asleep until 2:50 am!)

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...