I just took out the recycling after figuring out that my town does, in fact, not count Martin Luther King Day as an official holiday. If they did, I wouldn’t have to take out the recycling, they would come tomorrow instead. I was a bit surprised by that. Mary Kay is home today, there is no school; during my school career it was an official holiday; oh well, but isn’t that discriminatory? It makes me think of the famous “Pulaski Day” we used to celebrate in Illinois with the day off, never being truly apprised as to why he was so important we would have a day off; Dr. Martin Luther King day, that I can understand.
As I moved the recycling from the front to the back I slipped on some invisible ice on my driveway and almost pulled out my back. That was a bit of a surprise. As I walked in the house, my crocs filled up with just enough snow to be annoying as I passed by several big black bricks of dirty snow from the car that I kicked aside. The falling snow shall soon hide the ugliness of a winter thaw and traffic on the temporarily pristine surfaces.
Ali did get the paper and once again is snoozing in the same location she has been choosing the past few days near my feet.
I am not feeling overly great, having yesterday figured out why I was cleaning and straightening up like the mad man I am, I was getting Samantha’s cold. It wasn’t the stress or worry coming out, it was a simple cold! As the day progressed that feeling of weird pain in my sinuses progressed as it felt like they were twisting tightly and tightening. The result was an intense unpleasantness of swallowing, growing stronger by the moment. I almost feared going to bed thinking that I might have a bad night, but luckily that didn’t come true.
We shall be having Samantha over for a bit today as we jockey time so that everyone can have some free time. Yesterday at Ribfest she was a bit better mood wise than she had in previous days while her nose was running; yesterday the cold was bit “stuffier” but still evident. I must say that I have rarely seen a child do as well with a cold, even my own didn’t. Her illness showed itself by a little less politeness, she almost always uses her “pleases and thankyous” in both French and English but was more inclined to be curt. She was also more inclined to hang on to mommy and to a lesser extent daddy when the mood struck.
Ribfest went extremely well and seemed to help melt the tension we have been feeling in a sometimes heavy duty way since the day that Michael told us he was a drug user. Breaking bread together may just be symbolic but it is far deeper than that in meaning. It must be almost primeval the actual sitting down with people and eating. It seems to break down barriers and allows us to move on. Since it is such a Koerner tradition anyway with European aspects added in, it is even more important that we actually take the time to spend with each other.
Talking about breaking bread, I remember that when I was an adviser at New Trier that I made a great effort to bring doughnuts and such even when I didn’t feel so inclined. I was seemingly so often gifted with dysfunctional groups that had problems and eating together definitely didn’t ever hurt.
I pulled out the apéro (apéritif) when everyone arrived. Everyone had their drink of choice (with Mikey teetotaling) as we snacked on peanuts, spiced pretzels, and cheese puffs. Even Samantha enjoyed the experience as we sat together and talked about the week’s experiences and then had the birthday boy open up his gifts. We are hoping that the family stress we have experienced continues to lessen as we all recover and heal. There was talk of working out together, playing hockey, cross country skiing, and movies. I just exchanged my cross country boots so I am hoping to get out in the stuff. Might as well enjoy the snow we are gifted with.
The oldest and the youngest tended to the final step of cooking yesterday to get the ribs in order on the grill. I had intended to take pictures of them but they were snarfed up before I could do anything about it. I did get some pics of Michael in all his “barbecue” glory. He was so funny because when we all sat down and had a toast, I followed it up with a question to the group asking if anyone needed anything. I had noticed that there wasn’t any extra sauce around, but frankly after jumping up quite a few times (honestly, I really don’t need to work out!), I decided to sit down and “make do.” Mikey asked the question as he apparently likes extra sauce as well. I am not even sure how I responded, but the whole family went into its usual uproar saying that my “martyr” ways wouldn’t be accepted. What they meant by that is something I learned from my mom growing up, when she would cook, for example, she would always take the slightly overcooked meat, the smaller piece, etc., gifting us with the better portion. I have been known to follow this path and when it is noted, it is more often than not corrected. Do I need professional help for this?
The other aspects of the day, as I collected more Facebook friends from the past, were more than wonderful. I have received messages from so many former students with little bits and pieces of kind words of things they remember from my classroom. Yesterday, one of them who has self-admittedly sadly put aside her French as she majored in elementary education talked about how she mentioned my practices in education classes. Another one spoke of using some of my practices while teaching English in France. Then there was the young man who spoke of reading this blog and saying that he was so happy to have had a teacher who cared as much about his students and that it made him feel so good about his education. Teaching well is one heck of a hard career at times and drains the last bit of energy from you as if you were losing blood at times. Moments like this are like transfusions and more than make up for the blood lost!
So, kind of a holiday here although unfortunately we won’t be thinking of Dr. Martin Luther King as much as we should. The snow is starting to collect on the exterior surfaces and I am sure that I am going to have to do something about that. Meanwhile, I need to gather my forces and face another day and week. This week shall be probably the last of my heavy tutoring for a while; it has been a great experience as the students have been so appreciative and receptive.
Ali is stirring, is Mikey up? Gourmet breakfast perhaps?