It Takes Kids


If we are lucky, we end up getting more than we expect from something we undertake. So has been the case with the job I started back in December. Just a very part-time and simple one as a lunch room monitor in a very small Charter school, something I honestly felt might not fulfill me as much as my career as a paramedic, but took because of logistical reasons. As it turns out, this non-career position may end up being one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve ever had in some important ways.

I was asked a month or so ago by a co-worker if I would be interested in participating in a 5K race that a bunch of kids and staff members were doing. This race was a two-part thing: one a regular 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts, but the other was called Girls On The Run to get local girls to get psyched and get out there and see what they could do. My co-worker knew I worked out, so approached me and I said: of course! Not really knowing what I was supposed to do though, I registered for the Girl Scout part, which was timed.

Meanwhile, the girls at my school trained, and in the lunch room, we all talked about the upcoming day which happened to be today.

It was held in a lovely park right as the sun was coming up. I haven’t raced in years and planned to just speed walk. The girls were excited and it was great to see some of the teachers out of work.

When the race started, I held to my plan for a bit, but since I had been having a pretty good work out regimen lately (and I’m way too competitive), I thought I’d try jogging just a bit. The paved trail in the park was surrounded by grass, so I was able to jog on it for much of the time. Since the Girls On The Run race started 5 minutes later, a few of the kids passed me and we cheered each other on. One teacher (who had planned to walk too, but was running), passed me also as did a friend’s son. I ended up jogging slowly almost the whole way. It was a miracle.

At the finish line, we all had fun cheering the school in (and collecting thin mints). And it was really crazy when we found out some of us actually placed in our age groups; including me! I was second in mine! Pays to be old. Of course I was 10 minutes behind the first woman, but hey: as a famous woman runner once said, “A win is a win!”

But the really best part was having the girls calling out my name along the way and saying hi, having one teacher telling me how much she loved me (I actually thought she never noticed me), having the kindergarten teacher introduce me to her Mom telling her about how I’m in her class and just hearing from folks how the kids love me (I was asked to be one of the coaches next year).

I worked for 20 years as a medic and rarely got warm fuzzies. Maybe it just takes children and their natural ability for giving joy and love to finally make someone like me feel good in my place of employment!

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Just A Wee One


 

Finally I have landed a wee job that fits in perfectly with the criteria I had listed in my head (I hope). It’s been a long and interesting year experimenting with various things while waiting to find something, but hopefully this will work.

It’s nothing much really, but that’s part of my plan. Just a little PT position in a very small Charter school working as a lunch monitor.

So here’s how it fit the bill and my way of thinking:

  • It’s Part time: It’s in the middle of the day so allows me my workout in the am and the ability to get home for the pets in the afternoon or any chores/appointments.
  • It’s a no-brainer: After 20 years of the stress of being a paramedic, I didn’t want to do anything too difficult. Yes, I know, maybe I’m being lazy, but for now, this is the case.
  • It’s NOT in healthcare: I had made a distinct decision that I was pulling out of working in healthcare altogether. This is why I’ve had such a hard time finding something I reckon. With my resume reflecting 20 years in the business, not many folks were interested in taking a chance on me for something new.
  • It’s something new!: This is the very reason it seemed cool. While it’s not some deep, difficult task, at least it’s different.
  • It’s fun: The kids are great (albeit VERY noisy) and it will be a great new challenge to work closely with this population for a change. I’ve had my own of course, but now I have 300!
  • It has potential for more: I’ve been assured it has growth potential should I want it at some point. But for now I am quite content with the hours.
  • It’s close to home: After commuting 40 minutes each way (in ice storms) for so many years, having a job very close is a blessing.
  • I’m in ‘the system’: Once I’m within the public school system (yes, Charter schools are publicly funded), there can be potential for movement.
  • I can handle just about anything for a few hours: Even if there are difficulties, it’s only a few hours a day and plenty of vacations!

So all in all, I hope this works out. My fellow employees in the lunch room seem nice too. I have no idea how I will begin to memorize the names of all these children, but hey, I’ll figure it out.

And I’ve already ordered special ear plugs that will hopefully block out some of the major noise, but allow me to still hear them when they talk to me. (I mean it is REALLY loud in this tiny room!)

But I have to say, we never lose parts of ourselves… Because as I look around at all these kids eating and talking, and eating and laughing, and eating and being silly— the paramedic in me can’t help but think:

Just keep chewing, swallowing and breathing… NO CHOKING allowed!!

 

Heartbeats


It struck me today as I was busting a gut on the workout equipment at the gym, that I heard somewhere that we only have so many heartbeats in our life time. So here I am, with my heart racing away and I think: is it good or bad that I’m working out so hard like this and all the years I did it? If we only have so many heartbeats allotted to us, then if we raise our heart rate working out so much, won’t we use those heart beats up sooner? Or is the converse true and we create a stronger heart like the American Heart Association would like us to believe? Or doesn’t it really matter??

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Are the number of heart beats given to us figured out ahead of time? I’m sure some would say yes, along with the exact moment we are going to die, so who cares if we do this or anything else, because it’s all planned no matter what anyway?

And yet some of us work really hard to extend our lives by eating right, exercising, keeping our stress down, wearing our seat belts and doing all the right things. But we know, somewhere keep down in our subconscious, that when it’s our time, we can’t beat the facts. We maybe aren’t extending anything really because it will happy anyway–just the way it’s supposed to, when the beats are up.

Humans like to feel they are in control. So we keep on those treadmills, hoping that it’s helping rather than beating us closer to our allotted usage. Some like to test fate and do crazy things, but I’m not a gambler. I’ll be here far shorter than I’ll be gone. I plan to cherish it and play it safe as I can.

But if all the right things I have done don’t take me to all the heartbeats I hope to get to, well then, it hasn’t been a waste anyway. Because the choices I made were for other reasons too, so I’m perfectly satisfied I made them!

Ghost


I saw a ghost on my way into work this morning.  It was a pretty good day–it was ‘stay at home and work out’ morning. This involves doing my yoga and walking dogs and whatever else I decide to do now that it’s getting colder. Usually I leave really early and swim my mile after walking dogs. But I’ve decided four days a week of swimming is plenty and I wanted a change in routine. So now I break up my week with Wednesday being my home workout day.

So I was feeling all yoga’d out–mellow and serene. It was cool, but bright and crisp. I was listening to a quiet CD when I looked up at a car coming towards me when I saw a ghost driving a car! Let me explain.

Last year I lost a very dear friend to breast cancer. I’ve written about her here numerous times. She was one of my first EMT mentors, a mother of 11 children, humble, lovely, kind, quiet and competent. When she received her diagnosis she had just started nursing school. She didn’t tell people in her ambulance service until she began her treatments and it became obvious. And she courageously fought and finished her degree, but never practiced.

Needless to say she would have been an amazing nurse. The kind we rarely see these days. Partly because she was a natural caregiver, but also because she had life experience and she truly wanted to help. It was in her soul to be kind.

And I’m driving down the road and there’s my friend, behind the wheel: smiling the same unassuming smile she always had, hair parted and behind her ears like we had in the 70’s, with the sun beaming down on her face! My heart just jumped!

To top it off, today I was planning to teach CPR to the nurse from our local factory. She also is a lovely and gentle woman. Soft spoken and helpful, always there on the calls for service when we come to help. I called her house to set up the time for her CPR recert, but her husband told me she wasn’t home because she was getting radiation. I was stunned! He told me they had discovered breast cancer.

When I spoke to her, she informed me that in March she went for a routine mammo and they found two lumps. They were both removed and she was lucky. She only needed radiation and no chemo. But still…is that really lucky? Compared to what? But thank goodness she went for her routine one!

Was my friend trying to tell me something? Was she just telling me not to forget? Her? Exams? To enjoy life? I just walked a race in her honor. I never will forget her. In the Jewish religion they say every time you speak a dead person’s name then they are still alive. Well if you see them, then I guess they still are too!

Pitbull: Scam Or Smart?


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So I was swimming today with my underwater MP3 player on…yes, that’s right, I listen to music while I do my laps. And on came Pitbull and I was struck by his music–well, actually, that’s what I was struck by…his ‘singing’ shall I say. Did you ever notice the guy doesn’t really sing? He really talks all his songs. I wouldn’t even call him a rapper per say, not in the sense that I think of rappers like say Eminem. Or even Niki Minaj.   No, Pitbull, just sorta talks his songs and invites other famous singers to do the singing. The lyrics are usually very sexy and catchy for sure. Probably to make up for the fact that, well, he’s not even very good-looking. I mean, when you get right down to it and really look at his features…yep, not so much. Am I dissing  him as an entertainer? Well, I already told you he’s on my headphones blasting away as my workout song. And who am I to say what works…the guy is surely rich and famous. He puts it all together somehow and when I watch him, hear him…well, I wouldn’t throw him out of bed for eating crackers. Just sayin’!