Wednesday, September 9, 2009

time to go to school!!

this piece is for my bloggy chums who sometimes mention in their comments
a strange curiousity about this part of my life.....

this isn't all of it of course.
that's material for some other pieces!

6:18 a.m.
wha . . . whatimeisit? ohmannnnnnnit'stimetogetup!!!

oh hey!!
it's a school day.


the morning begins with coffee - always coffee!!
two mugs of joy juice are good for me.

which mug to choose? i have six.
each has been carried over a great distance.
mostly from the black dog pottery in kingston.
i'll bike great distances to have some of marc's handiwork!
because he's my favourite potter!!
this one usually wins!
toast, bagel, either way with butter and peanut butter or jam
or sometimes cream cheese.
some days i cook an egg in butter.

i take a slow walk through the land of blogs and try to answer as many comments as i can on my own
before scanning the bbc online, wired, lost at e minor, and dgm.

next up is to find my lunch in the fridge where i
tucked it away the night before
(i always make my own and i used to make all my kid's lunches but
now they prefer the autonomy of creating their own),
my macbook, my dayplans, and anything i might need for the day.

kisses and hugs and love to everyone.
it's really hard for me to leave my family.
really hard.
i've never grown out of that as people said i would
when my children were very little.


in the garage now.
which bike to ride?

this one gets me there in twenty minutes but carries nothing .
hmmmm gotta take thepanniers today.
i've got a lot of stuff!!!

better take this one instead.

down the street.
across and through the long shadows.

in fact, i'm just a shadow of myself at this time of day . . .

to the top of cherryhill.

i get a really nice view of the city from here
but today it's a bit hazy
with the early morning mist spreading from the river across the city.

travelling east down cherryhill.
wayyyyyyy down.
i can move at fourty to fifty km/h down this hill
but there's a sharp right at the bottom
and some days i can take it without braking.
other days i feel my mortality and slow down.
it's all intuitive.
i trust the moment.

a kilometre or so later.

to the top of lansdowne hill.
again, i can usually see across the city from here but it's a hazy early morning.
still travelling east. down lansdowne hill.
wayyy down lansdowne hill.
(remember reader,
what goes down must come back -
at the end of the day -
with a load of marking, a laptop,
maybe some beers from the shop tucked
away in my panniers!
these hills are true tests of character!)

through fastfood alley.
which despite its more nightmarish features
does have a really good eighteen hole mini golf course
that ranks high on my personal fave list.

i've played mini golf in scotland, wales, england, holland, germany,
several of the united states,
and of course at many lovely courses here in ontario.

a few kilometres later
i take the bridge
over the otonabee river.

turn right and go south down river road.
so named because just behind those houses at the right
is the otonabee river i just crossed.
these lucky people have gorgeous back property
that unfolds right to the river!!!

and finally,
here i am!!!
my school.
otonabee valley public school.

i've had the privilege and joy of teaching here since 1991.

i'll take you inside another time!!

thanks for coming along!


Dan Gurney said...

GREAT POST!! Thank you for this glipse into your life as a teacher. Love it. This reminds me of Delwyn's posts. I have to say, you don't live in Noosa, though!

Have a great year. I'll be thinking of you.

Delwyn said...

Hello Steven

I loved that - just loved to see you set off on your bike, your town, your svelte self...peddle peddle...and your school...It was great that you feel comfortable letting us into your world a little more...I loved seeing the start to your day...

Happy days

gleaner said...

Steve I really, really liked this post and the photos-

I especially loved the photo of your shadow - fantastic! - some people have to visit a psychologist to find their shadow :)

Liza said...

Thanks for sharing this post Steven. I love all of the shots (the bike tire one especially).
"other days i feel my mortality and slow down.
it's all intuitive.
i trust the moment."
Those words spoke to me.
Beautifully written.
I have some pottery mugs as well, and coffee always tastes best from them.
Wishing you the very best in this new school year, and safe travels!

Sid Smith said...

Great journey Steven - I feel worn out after all that pedalling! My wife Debra is a teacher as well and shares some of those morning rituals as well.

Rachel Fenton said...

"Buns of iron" was my husband's comment! He is in awe of your bike! (He bicycled to work today, too!)I think your racer bike could inadvertently change your gender! Both bikes are very lurvely! Great to see the school run, it really has brought you to're not just that little thumbnail with pics and words, now you're a proper person with real surroundings...strange! (not you, obviously - I meant the revelation..if you could call it that...) Have a fab day!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Hey Steven it's lovely to have you peek out from behind your beautiful words. From reading your other comments, I'm not the only one to think so.

Have a wonderful week getting to know your new students. I look forward to the future tour inside the school.

Dave King said...

Superb post. I thought maybe you were going to end up as just a shadow of your old self, but no, you turned it into another stunning triumph of a blog - as the more reliable me, deep down, always knew you would.

Barry said...

I enjoyed the ride Steven, from the comfort of my chair, while wondering if I should go have a second cup of coffee already.

Enjoy the day and the kids!

steven said...

awww thanks dan. there's lots of detail i could have included but really how much does anyone want to know right?! it sure isn't noosa!!!!! there'll be more in the future. have a lovely day with the kindies dan. steven

steven said...

hi delwyn, it's fairly typical of the start of my days actually. i like routine in the morning's if it's a work day. it makes it easier to ensure that things don't get forgotten. it also gets me there early so i am prepared practically and personally!!!! there'll be more soon!! have a lovely evening by the river. steven

steven said...

hi gleaner, i'm glad you could come along for the ride and that like me - you're alright with my shadow!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hey liza thanks. it's something i've done for a very long time. my son gets it because he too says - the colour and the texture says what kind of day you're in right dad?! the answer is very much "yes". have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi sid, it's eight km each way. it's the way back that's a bit of a curse as it's very much a genuine uphill battle!! i remember deb's a teacher so you know her joy and her suffering well!!!!! have a super day by the bay sid!!! steven

steven said...

hey rachel - well you know the seats on both bikes are kind of skinny and not deeply cushioned but you get used to it. i have thought about the whole gender thing and ummmmm well i still feel fairly male!!!! thanks for the support by the way - ummm with the sharing stuff from my own life here. there'll be more. it's all about confidence!!! have a peaceful day. steven

willow said...

Steven, this was SO much fun!! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of your morning commute. My favorite pic was your shadow shot with your camera held up! Thanks for taking us along with you, my friend.

(I adore that gorgeous handmade mug, too)

ellen abbott said...

How cool that you bicycle to work. Even when it snows?

Golden West said...

Thanks for taking us along on your ride to work/school. You must get a visual treat as summer slips away into autumn and the colors change!

Reya Mellicker said...

What a fantastic morning routine. I love your mug, the pic of your bike tire and the road flowing beneath you, and of course the shadow pics.

Most of all, I love it that you still have a hard time leaving your family in the morning. Oh yeah!

Steven you are good, just plain old good. Hope the rest of the day is as lovely as your morning routine!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I loved taking that journey to school with you steven - and I loved leaving you at the entrance (as a reitred teacher I have no desire to go back in!). That was a lovely pottery mug which you bought in Kingston - is that the lovely little town of Kingston on the St Lawrence river, where they sell that delicious ice cream?

Dervish said...

this is a beautiful representation of something that can be pretty unpleasant. it made me look differently at my morning routine, and my ride to school. thanks!

hope said...

Wow, I feel like I just woke up to go to school again! Okay, so I didn't drink coffee [never have] but I was known to eat a peanut butter sandwich instead of Mom's daily bacon and egg routine.

Most of the time I walked to school, occasionally rode the bike but it was only a mile...which seems like a million to kids today who don't understand why I never rode a school bus, but it's nothing compared to your daily jaunt! I salute you for having the strength to climb those hills after a day of teaching!

Yes, more please. I was left outside the front door of your school thinking, "This is pretty. What's inside?"

Have a great evening!

Kay said...

Thanks for sharing your early morning with us...I am exhausted just thinking about your climb back up the hills after work!!!!....I love the shadow looks like a beautiful day with you...and take care on those non-braking bends eeekkk!!!

steven said...

hi willow - i'm so glad you came along!! i have six mugs - all handmade by marc. he's a bit of a bike ride away - 250 km each way, but really worth it. i take three days each way. i picked up four wine cups from him last year and biked back with those! it takes three days each way, hotels, restaurants. the good life!! have a sweet evening at the manor. steven

steven said...

hi ellen, i switched to skinny tires a coupe of years back and crashed an awful lot. a bike and a body lying on the ice and snow on a road - well that's a tough spot to put a driver in so i get a lift into work with a buddy who i buy carbon offsets for. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

golden west you're absolutely right!! i'll be sharing that treat with you as it unfolds!! have a lovely evening out there. steven

steven said...

hi reya, simple so simple!! i like the morning to be open, simple, nice little pieces that all add up to letting me leave and go on the road.
thanks for your "getting" the family goodbye thing. really reya, i hold my boy and my girl and it crushes me to see how much older they are and they love the hugs - heck they won't let me go without hugs.
i wish you could be in my class and see the day. there's no way i'll be able to capture it all in a blog. but i'm gonna try pretty soon!!!
thankyou so much for your very kind words reay. they go deep. steven

steven said...

hello weaver - yes it is the very same town!!! i didn't know about the ice cream. i know about the pottery, the amazing glass shop, wickedgood margaritas, a handful of really good restaurants, a place i would never sleep in again, and scenery like you wouldn't believe!!! it's so cool we've been in the same town!! have a lovely evening in the dale. steven

steven said...

hi dervish - the ride is a huge part of the transition to school for me. i love that it allows me to get my body working which usually means my mind's engaged. it is really important as a bridge both ways. thanks for dropping by. steven

steven said...

hi hope - i'm so glad you liked the trip!! the inside of the school has loveliness about it and i'm going to spend a little time assembling it and making it feel right. coffee became a feature of my morning routine in university. the habit - for that is what it is - left me during my ten years of factory work, then returned when i became a teacher. two mugs in the morning unless it's a really demanding stretch inwhich case i have a mug in the evening to "buy" more awake time. i know the price and ask my body to pay it. how thoughtless is that!!!! hey have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hi kay - it's a funny thing but this year i take it really easy going up the hills. i think it's because i'm getting my need for speed out on my racing bike!!! i'm usually careful with this body - it's my ticket to what i need to do while i'm here right!!! have a lovely evening. steven

Linda said...

The ride in the morning looks so peaceful and lovely but I've driven on Lansdowne and it can't be that pleasant after school, especially going back up hill.... but you are made of sturdy stuff Steven! Barry's step-father used to live at Stewart Hall. He and his first wife are both in the Little Lake Cemetery. The Otonabee River is so beautiful, thank you for sharing. I went to school yesterday morning and they sent me home (I ordered some math books). It was my last first day of school. I had to go.=D

Barb said...

Hi Steven,
I come to you via Delwyn because I think you always leave such thoughtful comments. From what others have said, I expect that this is not your typical post! However, being a biker and a former teacher (though WAYYYYYY older than you), I enjoyed your ride to school. Have a good year with the students, Steven.

steven said...

hi linda, well the lansdowne part can be a bit hairy on the ride home - it depends when i finally check out of otonabee valley - the mornings are usually quiet. the hills - yes they are a challenge but i tough them out just because - i've got a boy and a girl at the other end. truth!!! am i correct in offering you congratulations on retirement?!!! wow. what a way to close off that chapter of your life's work! steven

steven said...

hello barb and welcome of course!!!! today's post was a bit different yes although i hope to include more stories from my life as there have been several requests for something along those lines. my school has several cyclists who travel from all over but generally no more than 10 km each way. it sets a really good example for our students. thankyou for your kind wishes and i look forward to meeting you here again. have a peaceful day. steven

Bee and Rose said...

What a lovely way to begin the school day! Thanks for sharing the journey!

I always begin our school day outside to welcome the day:)

Margaret Pangert said...

Wow, now I know how you do it! You get up at 6 am! I think Delwyn has a similar schedule, and you are both so amazingly competent. I really admire your motivation and organization. I think that is what gives you time for art and poetry and nature. thanks for sharing, steven.

steven said...

hello bee and rose and welcome!!! i'm so glad you could come along for the ride!!! it's a really nice way for me to start the day. i try whenever possible to start my class off outdoors as well. it settles them in a way that racing inside just doesn't. then there's the weather - oh well!!! i'm glad you could drop by. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hi margaret, yes the school year schedule sees me up just after six and in bed by eleven o'clock to midnight depending ont he time of year. i used to be able to go on five hours sleep a night but age crept up!!! there's a lot to do and experience in a short time!!!! nice to see you. have a peaceful evening. steven

Linda said...

I still have until June to go but I don't know how Barry's illness will play out yet. I could still have some time to work this year, but yesterday was my last ... day after labour day...... first day back at school. I'm glad I went in for part of it.

Thanks for posting. =D

Verily I go. said...

This was wonderful and so much fun, thank you Steven, but I'm no help at all now. I am whining and bemoaning my fate home...alllll uphillll...OH NO! Steven you are an amazing beautiful being, I love this blog and I hope there is a smigen of time available for you to keep us posted a little bit. ??? Happy School.

Penny said...

Loved the ride to school with you, I used to ride to school many many years ago but not sure if I could get on a bike at my age any more. The mug is lovely, thank you for a glimpse into your "other" world.

Sid Smith said...

Steven I wonder if you shouldn't play host to another meme - the journey to work.

OK for me that wouldn't involve much in the way from the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and office.

But I guess whatever the geography or distance involved that journey is about focus, preparation, assessing what has happened and what needs to be done.

Of course now I think about it, my journey to work often involves the Street Life series on my blog where I do all of the above.

Just like the transformative moment meme, it might be fun and illuminating as well.

Once again another stimulating post from Steven!

steven said...

hello verily!!! it's so great to see you back!!! i'm very grateful for your sweet comment!!! i have planned to make time to post every day regardless. the challenging part is to honour my belief that i should respond to every comment!!! i'm a bit slow about it but i am getting around to it eventually!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello penny, i've wondered when the point will be reached that biking's no longer an option for me. i have visions (and others have told me they see people who they think look like i will look on a bike in my seventies) of riding well on into my twilight years. let's hope!!! steven

steven said...

hey sid - you're sitting on agem there - the idea of the meme i mean!!! i've noticed that a number of readers and bloggers are retired and so i expect there would be a number of iterations of the meander from bed to bathroom to kitchen to living room!!!! however, there might be some interesting elements of that as your very own early morning routine has brought astonishment and beauty to many reader's eyes!!!! hmmmm. thanks for that sid. steven

Rachel Fox said...

Enjoyed seeing the morning through your eyes.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Oh Steven, it was so much fun to go along on the ride to work with you today. It's nice to see where you live & work especially since you share so much of your inner self with us. Thanks & have a good school year!

steven said...

hello rachel - thanks for coming along!!! riding to school pretty much giarantees that my eyes have to be open - to avoid the potholes, stay on the road, avoid the trucks, buses and cars, and make the right turns!!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi lizzy - it was fun for me to take you along!! soon i'll have a little more about the school i teach in. i'm gathering images over th next few days to put together something nice!!! have a lovely evening. steven

Bee said...

I got such a kick out of hearing about your morning routine . . . do you bike to school even when there is snow on the ground?

As for mini golf, I hope you can visit Cape Cod sometime. It's mini gold mecca there.

steven said...

hello bee - well i used to!!! yes i've biked when it's been twenty eight below zero celsius, when there's been freezing rain falling and it has stuck to me like a sheet of glasss, fracturing when i move, i have ridden through snowstorms. but i don't anymore because when i fall it hurts and also because my kids are really attached to me and want me to come home in one piece. at my school there are three teachers and the principal and one caretaker who bike in!!!! hve a lovely day bee and thanks for the heads up about cape cod. i have a memory of playing once in provincetown. steven

herhimnbryn said...

G'day from Australia!
This is what I love about blogging. I get to see how others spend their day. Thankyou for this.

I do like your breakfast cup- very tactile.

steven said...

hello herhimnbryn! lovely to see you again!! you nailed the whole thing with cups!! it has to have good "lip" - when my lips touch a drinking vessel, i don't want a skinny little hard lip, nope i want soft, round lip. the handle and sides have to have a mix of rough and smooth and of course interesting glazing!!! hard to tell what i was describing 'till we got to the bit about colour!! have a lovely evening. steven

Jenn Jilks said...

My big question in reading back over the month, did you sleep the night before?! I always had nightmares and never slept. I still have nightmares about not being able to find my classroom (despite spending 2 weeks there most years in August). Then there are parent-teacher interviews! I taught in a tough community, and we needed interpreters. I remember a lawyer/parent trying to tell me how to teach gr. 8 algebra. I changed school boards that year. What a relief!