Holiday Stress.

It’s December.  Which means we are in the middle of another jam-packed holiday season.

This sounds like a good thing.I Need a Vacation.  And Not to Disney.

It’s not.

I’m not saying the holidays are bad, just busy.  Way too busy.

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving and Christmas constituted the most exciting time of the year.

The anticipation.  The gifts (even the socks and underwear).  Snow.  Time off from school.

It was great.

It was a nice change of pace from the rest of the hectic year.

Today, holidays mean a lack of sleep and not enough room on my Google calendar (I don’t really have a Google calendar but I’m trying to make a point and promote technology use in schools all at the same time).

Each year, around the 20th of November I know my time is no longer my time.

It is merely a block of minutes in which I’m required to be somewhere doing something with some people.

These people come in all shapes and sizes.  Friends, co-workers, relatives, and acquaintances.

And other people you may want to rain blows down upon (everyone who emails me an explanation of this line wins… nothing).

Now before you email me about my Bah, Humbug spirit (with the word Scrooge in the subject line), hear me out.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is filled with the following:

Thanksgiving dinners (2)

Christmas Parties (1… I’m really not that popular)

Christmas Parade

Winter Concerts (2)

Christmas Program at church (2)

Christmas Gift Openings (3)

Christmas dinner

Girl Scouts (2)

Requests for Fundraising Donations (1 gazillion)

School board meeting

Basketball practice (2)

Basketball games (5 or more)

Wife’s workshops (5)

Vacation to Disneyland or world (thankfully only 1… I just don’t know which one we are visiting)

A 5k

Piano Lessons (7)

Dog walks (75… Buddy drinks way too much water)

Presentations (4)

Meetings (more than I can count)

Interviews (1 … again, not that popular)

Blogs (10 at least)

Naps (0… or 1 if I’m lucky)

Holiday lunches at school (2)

Emails (over 1,000… really)

Shopping (actually I don’t shop, so scratch this one)


These are just the things I could remember without looking at my non-Google calendar.  I didn’t even mention the getting fat from too much food and too little exercise.

If I get a free second and I sit down to watch TV, all I see are commercials where beautiful people are giving each other gifts that I know they can’t afford in real life.

My point is the holidays aren’t really holidays.

At least they aren’t as peaceful and restful as I think they should be.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but there has to be a better way.

**Note from “the wife”…  I DO have a Google calendar and promote technology use in the schools.  I am what you call the real deal… and according to that aforementioned calendar, I too am overbooked!

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My School Year Has Lasted Forever, and That is a Very Long Time.

We have just concluded our 19th day of school. It feels more like we should have 19 days left.

It has been a long year.

A very long year.I Feel Your Pain Garfield.  I Feel Your Pain.

It seems like the 2008-2009 school year has already lasted forever… and as I mentioned in the title… forever is a very long time (don’t quote me on this because I am not that good with measurements… I am not a science, math, or a shop teacher).

I can’t remember a time when the beginning of a year has given me this type of a feeling.

Usually, once we get started, the just time flies. If anything, I am usually hoping things will slow down a little bit.

I generally look up from my desk and it is already Thanksgiving. Not this year.

It is September 12th and we have such a long way to go. Did I mention the whole “forever” thing? Again, it is a veeeery long time.

Every one of the 19 days has felt like a Monday morning. A Monday morning with a full-moon. A Monday morning with a full moon and some bus troubles.

Maybe by now you are starting to understand the feelings I have been experiencing.

I wish I could put my finger on what has made this year feel differently than years of the past, but I can’t.

Things just seem to be a little out of sorts.

I haven’t been this out of kilter since I was the only father at the Girl Scouts Orientation Meeting. Or at my Senior Prom when I was fast dancing only to realize 25 seconds into my flailing the DJ was actually playing a slow song.

I just can’t get in a routine. And I thrive on the routine of school. On most days I couldn’t even tell you what time it is. Or even worse, I can’t remember what day it is.

The good news is I do know it’s September (it is September right?).

Nothing has gone terribly wrong at school (please do me a favor and knock on the closest piece of wood), but there has been enough bumps in the road to throw me off my game.

And by game, of course I am referencing my ability (or complete lack thereof) to just hold on for dear life.

I guess the good news is things are likely to improve as the year moves forward.

Suddenly, I am filled with hope and good feelings.

But I guess there is always a chance that things will continue to spiral down into the bottomless pit of hopelessness and despair that is the life of an administrator.

Wow. I just got really depressed.

I feel like grabbing a pillow and smothering myself.

I am glad it is the weekend. It is the weekend isn’t it?

It sort of feels like a Monday.

Next week, I really need 5 straight days of Thursday afternoons. Nothing ever goes wrong on a Thursday afternoon.

Why do I have the feeling that I should be knocking on wood?

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My Childhood Dream Came True. Almost.

It's a Baseball.When I was a kid my dream was to play professional baseball (yes it’s true, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a school administrator… I like to share these things before you hear them on the street).

I held on to this dream up until about a year ago.

Reality finally set in around my 40th birthday. I came to the conclusion that the phone wasn’t going to ring. I am not going to lie; it was painful, but I believe it allowed me to move forward with my life. I felt it was a real sign of maturity (but, the mourning process did take awhile).

Sure, when this realization set in… there was some cursing and a few tears, but eventually I got over it (if you call crying myself to sleep in a fetal position after rocking back and forth for 14 hours, getting over it).

It was true; I would never take the field for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Their loss (if you sense a hint of anger, you would be correct).

I had all of the tools to be successful in the majors.

Actually, I didn’t…have any tools.

The one thing that held me back? Talent.

Good genetics is a cruel, cruel mistress. I was only 7 inches too short, 60 pounds too light, and threw like a girl (my apologies to all girls, especially the ones that can throw).

Anyway, I have moved on. Put all of this ugliness behind me.

Then it happened.

The phone rang.

I got a call to take the field at Busch Stadium with the St. Louis Cardinals.

I just knew they would come to their senses. I almost felt badly for the poor language directed at them during my 40th birthday party (sorry Cardinals, sorry neighbor kids who overheard, sorry Pastor).

My first career choice was finally becoming a reality.

I would be at the game and I would be ready.

I arrived early and got loosened up. Mentally I was prepared to help the team win the game.

Music was playing throughout the stadium as I got ready to jog in from behind the outfield wall in right field.

I had spent my whole life getting ready for this moment. Nothing could stop me.

The gate opened. I could feel the butterflies churning in my stomach.

I ran two steps and then heard an 80 year old usher yell, “slow down buddy, you are going to run over one of the Girl Scouts.”

Yes, I was at the game with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop.

They had been invited to walk around the field before the game. And bring their parent(s).

I could have sworn during the phone call that the team said they needed me to pitch, not chaperone.

Once again, my dream was dead.

Yet another example of God having a sense of humor.

I am more and more sure of it each day.

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Sometimes it Takes 3 Girls to Hit a Home Run.

Sportsmanship.In continuing with our new found theme of recognizing young people who go above and beyond… I want to share example #952 with you.

This was sent to me by a loyal reader of the Blog (Thanks Angie… please visit her blog Human Voices Wake Us).

While these are college-aged students, I still think it is appropriate to share their story of good sportswomanship (by the way that is Angie’s line… I have now officially been out-funnied on my own blog… it was just a matter of time).

Is it me, or as I get older (and older) students in college now begin to look like they are 13?

When student teachers show up at my school, I often mistake them for Girls Scouts (at least half of the time).

I never know if they are going to ask me where the office is, or try to sell me cookies (by the way, I do love the Thin Mints).

But my love of the cookies and the fact that I am aging faster than a President is not the point.

Please enjoy the following article and video.

I hope my daughter grows up to be just like these players. Not the young lady who hits the home run, but the two who provide more than a helping hand.

Oh who am I kidding? I wouldn’t disown her if she hit the home run.

Foes carry softball player around bases after her first homer.
By the Associated Press
In print: Thursday, May 1, 2008

Portland, Ore.

With two runners on base and a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University uncorked her best swing and did something she had never done, in high school or college. Her first home run cleared the centerfield fence.

But it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed first base, started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.

She crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said she would be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the umpire said, a pinch runner could be called in, and the homer would count as a single.

Then, members of the Central Washington University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count — an act that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs.

Central Washington first baseman Mallory Holtman, the career home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked the umpire if she and her teammates could help Tucholsky.

The umpire said there was no rule against it.

So Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky’s legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. The three headed around the basepaths, stopping to let Tucholsky touch each base with her uninjured leg.

“The only thing I remember is that Mallory asked me which leg was the one that hurt,” Tucholsky said. “I told her it was my right leg and she said, ‘Okay, we’re going to drop you down gently and you need to touch it with your left leg,’ and I said, ‘Okay, thank you very much.’ ”

“We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said. “I said, ‘I wonder what this must look like to other people.’ ”

“We didn’t know that she was a senior or that this was her first home run,” Wallace said Wednesday. “That makes the story more touching than it was. We just wanted to help her.”

Tucholsky’s injury is a possible torn ligament that will sideline her for the rest of the season, and she plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in business. Her homer sent Western Oregon to a 4-2 victory, ending Central Washington’s chances of winning the conference and advancing to the playoffs.

As for Tucholsky, the 5-foot-2 rightfielder was focused on her pain. “I really didn’t say too much. I was trying to breathe,” she told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“I hope I would do the same for her in the same situation,” Tucholsky said.

As the trio reached home plate, Tucholsky said, the entire Western Oregon team was in tears.

For coach Pam Knox, the gesture resolved the dilemma the injury presented. “She was going to kill me if we sub and take (the homer) away. But at the same time I was concerned for her.”

“In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much,” Holtman said. “It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”

Please take a moment to watch this Amazing Softball Story.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.