Tag Archives: preparation

“Prepare Ye! Prepare Ye!”

Busy as a bee

Busy as a bee

May 21, 2014

“School’s Out for Summer!” (Alice Cooper)

And that is the song that has been going through my head today as I packed my classroom up. 180 days with 24 students equals an accumulation of a lot of stuff. All that stuff has to packed up, put away or purged. I did all of those things today. I also reorganized some of my materials in order to have my stuff ready for when I return the last week of July.

I just finished school and I’m already preparing for the coming year. I reflect upon what projects worked and which ones didn’t. I scribble in potential dates to hold parent nights. I jot down ideas about teacher trainings, report card and assessment revisions. I do this every year on the last day of school while the ideas are fresh.
The ending is a new beginning.

I have 7 days to pull my stuff together for the Camino. My pack lays empty at the end of my bed. Items bought specifically for the pilgrimage are stored in the brown paper sacks lined up in my hallway. Amazon boxes containing Camino items are stacked awaiting unpacking only to be re-packed and organized into the empty backpacks. But not before they are weighed, itemized, sorted into categories and scrutinized for multiple usages.

I have read several books describing the Camino. Have poured over the routes. Tagged my Spanish language book written with specific phrases for pilgrims. I have religiously followed the threads being posted in the American Pilgrims on the Camino forum. I have trained ( until I caught a chest cold and hurt my knee a couple of weeks ago) and have been toughening up my feet. Breaking in my sandals and trail runners.
And yet, I’m not really fully prepared.

I can have all the right materials in place. I can have the knowledge stored in my noggin to draw upon, but just like teaching, every year is a new year. You don’t really know what is in store for you until you just jump in and do it.

I’m jumping in with both feet on this pilgrimage, unsure what will occur even though I have read the advice. But just like teaching, reading all about teaching is very different from being in the thick of it. I’m following the same advice that I offer brand new teachers,”plan and then have a backup plan and then be willing to accommodate and adjust when things don’t go as planned!”

And this brings me to a line in John Lennon’s song, “Beautiful Boy” ” Life is just what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” Can I really plan for every little thing for the pilgrimage? Should you really plan? Isn’t it a little too controlling and anal to have a detailed map outlining the entire 500 miles? I believe that this goes counter to what a pilgrimage is all about. In other words, just let go and GO!

Follow along as this adventure unfolds. It is going to be epic. And if you enjoy reading the blog, looking at the pictures and watching the videos (oh…there will be videos!) please feel free to donate to my journey. Visit my http://www.gofundme.com/8hte10 site

Buena Camino




I am a Slug aka The Little Engine That Could

More than one way to wear a banana slug

More than one way to wear a banana slug

May 7, 2014

It is Teacher Appreciation Week. I am finishing up my 17th year in this profession. Currently, I am piloting a new CA State program called Transitional Kindergarten. I have 24 students who start out the year at age 4 and end up turning 5 a few months into school. It is a full-day program ( 8:20-2:20) and I am the only adult in the classroom. It makes for a wild and crazy time when we do hands on projects, which is everyday. You adapt and just go with it.

There are 10 teaching days left for the school year. The pressure has been on these past two weeks. EVERYTHING comes due at once. EVERYTHING has to be done at once. Assessments, projects, end of the year family night (my students are performing an Opera…yes…an Opera…well…a whole lot of singing to a story), report cards entry, packing up the classroom… And then there are the other things that occur outside of school that impacts my life.

Did I mention training and buying and preparing and cost/ rating comparison of items being purchased for the Camino?

Which brings me to some observations that I have made over the course of wrapping up the school year and prepping for my pilgrimage.

First off, the opera my students are performing is based on the book “The Little Engine That Could.” It is one of my favorite childhood books and the whole story is about not giving up even when the odds are against you. Perseverance even when others believe you cannot do it. Have faith in yourself and keep chugging along.

That describes me in a nutshell.

I have been told by a couple of concerned, well- meaning individuals that I shouldn’t do the Camino as they fear for my health. In fact one person suggested that I might be too large to do this. Basically, she said I was fat and that I might want to lose weight before attempting this 500 mile pilgrimage.


Why yes I am overweight. I also am still walking around daily, chasing 5 yr old students, dancing, singing and running around with them. Granted I’m not carrying a 12 lb pack everyday doing this, but believe you me, my knees get a workout daily.

And I am working out 3 times a week doing Cross- Fit and walking about 5 miles with my 10 lb pack a couple of times a week. And if I can fit it in, I head down to Disneyland and walk the park. All part of getting my body conditioned to walking on pavement. Getting my tendons and joints in well oiled condition.
I know this will be a physical challenge, but I’m in no race. I will plug along slow and steady.

Being overweight doesn’t mean that you are chained to your couch watching TV, stuffing your face with ice cream and waiting for the weight to magically fall off.
Contrary to the majority of the clothing manufactures geared towards hikers, fat people do hike and climb and swim and kayak and camp and fly fish and hunt and ride a bike and surf and yes, we can and do yoga along with working out.

But, good luck with finding clothes that fit, are cute, are inexpensive and do not come from the men’s department when you are an overweight outdoor type of woman.

It’s like we don’t exist. So we adapt. Persevere and keep an eye out for items of clothing that will work for the type of outdoor activity we choose to do.

And that brings me back to the Opera my students are performing. The Little Engine sings the words, “I think I can! I think I can! I’ll try, try, try, ‘ cause I think I can! ( The Little Engine That Could Sing- by Carol Kaplan- Lass & Janet Hill) And yes, it was difficult pulling all those cars filled with toys and good food for the little boys and girls who live on the other side of the mountain, but in the end, the Little Train was successful in spite of the odds.

Yup…that describes my attitude in a nutshell. Stay tuned as I may be singing a different song when I climb over the Great Pyrenees Mountains, but either way, I’m a going and giving it a try!