Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santas Come in All Forms -- and Genders

Today is the day teachers everywhere pray for -- a snow day (well, actually, more an ice day, but still . . . ). Schools in the entire metro area were called off by 10 p.m. last night -- and then, of course, the weather did not get as bad as expected, but we were already snuggled in for along winter's nap.

I went to bed last night at 9 p.m. and finally woke up completely (at my age we get up a couple of times a night) at 9:30 a.m. I had really been tired. The laundry had been done over the weekend and yes, the presents to travel to Houston still haven't been sorted, but the day just called for a snuggle down with a good book.

Grad school whipped my ass this semester. I simply couldn't manage to get right what the prof wanted -- and she wanted a lot, mostly paper after paper. Sometimes I'd come close, but others I'd lose points for not using the comma correctly. Any interjection of humor brought out her red pen slashes and plenty of point deductions. By the time the final paper was due, I only had 94% of the points available -- and I knew that my final paper was all helter-skelter. Aware that my 4.0 grade average was more than in jeopardy, I stressed out big time. Stress and overwork sometimes shut down my ability to concentrate on my biggest reliever other than music -- mystery novel reading. I have read a lot of news magazines and every People that's delivered, but I haven't been able to chunk out chapters in novels. Three books sit open, read about a third of the way in, before I'd give up.

Yesterday when I got home from school a medium sized box from California awaited me. It was from my good friend Joyce. Joyce was my boss from 1993 until 2002. We both worked for the #3 Telecom Company during that time. But all good things must eventually end - and this had certainly been a very good gig for me. I had the opportunity to work with a brilliant and caring boss who oversaw a staff of really bright, achieving women in an environment that was nurturing and creative. It was the best job I've ever had -- not the job I'm best at -- but certainly the best in terms of professional growth and personal happiness. In 2001 I was eased, with lots of love, out of my contractor gig for the company, and within two years Joyce left to follow her husband into new ventures.

But we stay in touch, e-mails here and there, her visits to town to see friends and relatives. She wrote me a wonderful recommendation when I decided to return to teaching. I know she's always there, just a note or phone call away. And yesterday she was my own personal Santa, for in the box was a bevy of new novels -- for both Hubby and me. He couldn't grab the new Parker quickly enough, wrapped himself in the comforter -- and didn't emerge until lights out. On my part I read the new selection from a silly little series set in the 1930's -- and found myself mellowing and relaxing -- and once again able to take release from my favorite pastime.

I'm not nearly the good friend to Joyce as she is to me. But I thank her with all my heart -- for the eight years we worked together -- and for remaining my dear friend after. She truly brought Christmas into our home. Many, many thanks.

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