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Ruth Ayres invites us to share our celebrations from the week each Saturday.  Thank you, Ruth, for reminding me to celebrate. Share your celebrations at Ruth Ayres Writes.

It’s been a week since All Write, and my mind is still buzzing with ideas for next year.  After returning I haven’t stopped going- I hosted a baby shower and had busy week preparing for China.  (I leave on Tuesday!)

There’s been so much to celebrate:

1. I loved seeing and connecting with old friends at All Write.  It was wonderful being back in Warsaw, and it was nice knowing more of what to expect.  It really is like summer camp like Ruth says.

2. I met new friends in person there that I connected with online (Leigh Anne).

3. I got the most beautiful, thoughtful bracelet from Elsie.  I’m still touched at the sentiment behind my OLW bracelet and love being reminded that I wanted to thrive this year.  Thank you again, Leigh Anne.

4. It was funny having a laugh with Christy as I realized we both were hoping our session with Kelly Gallagher wouldn’t end.  I yelled “NO” and she was checking her watch as we realized our time with him was almost finished.

5. I got some great new professional books suggestions from Christy, Mary Helen, Tammy, Elsie, and Linda.  I’m so excited to participate with Linda and others in a book study with Read Write Teach.  

I’ve been crossing my fingers that my last minute orders will arrive before I leave.  I’m wishing I could bring a book suitcase :).

6. I was reminded at All Write that I don’t always see myself accurately.  I am always so self critical, so it was neat to see myself from Leigh Anne Eck’s perspective. She pointed out how brave some of my travels were.  I had never thought of myself as brave, so it was interesting to consider this.  I couldn’t help but realize we don’t always see ourselves the way others see us.

When Ruth shared her personal story and acknowledged her past struggles, I couldn’t help but notice that she does this too.  I was in awe of her parenting and patience, and I wished she could see what we see when she doubts herself.   I guess we can all benefit from seeing ourselves from someone else’s perspective from time to time.

7. I feel grateful I have the most wonderful mom who always is looking for ways to help me and make my life easier.  She has gathered countless items to help me with my trip.  I don’t even have to ask and she’s ready to give.  I’ve left her house with everything from suitcases, Easter eggs for a lesson I’m doing, every toiletry imaginable, and much more.

8. I took some time this week to read even when I had a long to do list.  I read The Fault in Our Stars in one sitting this week.  I loved getting sucked into this book and sobbing out loud.

9. I went garage saleing with my grandma.  Her dry sense of humor makes me laugh, and it’s always fun spending time with her.

10.  I shared some ideas with a teaching friend who wasn’t able to make it to All Write.  We’ve come up with a list of important things we want to work on this year (a vision with sub categories), and we are swapping notes tomorrow.  I love having someone who shares my passion for teaching and pushes me.

11. I played in a golf tournament (first time playing in 5 years) and was not completely horrible.  My goal in a 4 man scramble being the only girl was to use one of my drives on a Par 4/5 hole.  I hit one right down the middle, and we ended up using my shot.  I also had the women’s longest drive for the first half of the tournament.

I was really nervous because my dad put me by myself with a group of his friends to play because he was already playing with another group.  He apparently told them I played in high school and was talking me up.  I almost died when I heard this.  First of all, I was horrible in high school and that would maybe matter if I wasn’t in my 30’s.  My high school days were a while ago.

I could go on and on, but I have to pack!

I Entrusted My Life to a $20 Piece of Metal


It seems pretty stupid now in hindsight, but I had a Carrie Bradshaw moment last week.  Who knew you needed to backup your backup (apparently everyone but me)!  Ugh- hard lesson learned.

Last Wednesday was my last day of school.  I was finishing cleaning out my room and preparing to check out with the Vice Principal. There was a laundry list of to dos mostly required by the school that I was hacking away at.  On my personal list was cleaning up my computer and making sure to copy all of my files to a jump drive before I had to turn it in.

That morning I couldn’t find my new jump drive I had just gotten, so I gathered some of my old drives: the one that has all my most important documents and an older one from when I was student teaching.  I assumed between the two of them they could hold what was on my laptop before I had to turn it in.

One thing I did this year was create several videos to flip my classroom.  This definition of flipping classrooms is being used differently everywhere, but in schools with behavior issues- it basically means taping yourself so there’s another teacher in the room (you).  This way you can walk around and make sure the kids are doing what you are asking them to do in the video.  Some days this was my only saving grace.

Anyway, these videos take up a lot of storage, so I kept getting an error that said that my jump drive was too full.  I remembered last year when I copied files onto my jump drive when I left my last school for some reason files copied twice.  So, I thought if I went through and deleted the duplicates of everything it might clear more space for what I wanted to save now.

It was a nice trip down memory lane as I went through these files and deleted what was there twice. I reminisced over past lessons and even commented, “Wow, there’s some really great stuff on here.”

Due to my organization (I can never remember what I title anything) I can’t always easily access my files, but they were there.  Four years of work and all my most important teaching documents and letters of recommendation.

After deleting the duplicate of many files, I tried to drop a file from my computer into my jump drive again.  Ugh- it was still too full.  I quickly clicked ok to something that popped up and pulled, let’s be honest- ripped, my jump drive out.  (This was my first mistake- no, I don’t ever press the eject safely button.)

I quickly grabbed my other older jump drive and was ready to try to make the files fit on there.  When I couldn’t remember what I had saved on my first drive, I put it back into my computer to check and NOTHING.  My heart starting pounding a little faster, and looking back I knew something was wrong.  A pop up said- your file has been corrupted and is unreadable.  What?!  My friend assured me it was fine and to try to bring up my documents on her computer.

So, I tried to stay calm and gently (now I decide to be gentle) inserted the jump drive into the left side of her laptop.  I released my hand and just stared at this little piece that stored all of my hard work I had seen just moments ago.  The drive flashed very faintly like it was giving its last breath, but nothing appeared.

It was gone.

Frantic, I called my mom’s friend who is very tech savvy and hoped she’d have some solution/trick to make my work come back.  She helped me stay calm and walked me through some scenarios of things to try.  When none of those worked, she gently told me it might be the end of my jump drive.  She even told me some crazy stat on how many jump drives are made in seconds in some foreign country.

At that moment I realized how stupid it was that I hadn’t saved this all somewhere else.  It was all on this dinky jump drive that she just told me was a piece of crap.

“You don’t have it backed up?” She asked.

“NO, I don’t do stuff like that.  I didn’t even know I needed to do that.” I could barely hold tears in, and she kindly suggested I take it to a computer geek to see if they could help retrieve anything.

My principal sensed my frustration/urgency when she saw my face a few moments later.  I think I looked like I had seen a ghost.  She immediately put me through to an IT person in the district.  He proceeded to say it sounded like I might need some lessons on using computers and jump drives.

It took everything in me not to snap at this poor man who was trying to help.  Yes, he was right.  But it was too soon for me to hear a lecture.  “Sir, you are right, but I can’t think about that right now.”  I told him and tried to remain professional.

He asked me to take my computer to one of his technicians with my jump drive to see if there was anything they could do.  He reminded me that it wasn’t likely that there was anything left.

I was still hopeful, desperate really, so I drove right to the IT department and begged the computer guy to see if there was anything he could do.

He didn’t seem optimistic, but he said he’d try.  He didn’t call me for over a day, so I kept telling myself that no news was good news.  He finally called and said it was in fact all GONE.  There was no longer anything on the jump drive.

At that point, I already knew.  I had slowly been preparing myself for the worst.

I keep trying not to think of what I’ve lost.  A few times a document comes to mind and my heart sort of slows, and I feel a tightening in my chest. Some things I might be able to retrieve from emails or my actual desktop, but  whatever else is on there, I pray I don’t remember.

I’m shopping for an external hard drive to avoid this nightmare again.  Take a lesson from me and backup your files or get a more foolproof method than my $20 jump drive I somehow thought would stand the test of time.

I Can’t Believe It’s Been Over a Month

Wow, I just logged on after a very dry spell.  I can’t sleep this morning, so I’ve been perusing the web and checking out my blogger friends’ recent posts.  I didn’t realize how much I have missed them and am sad I feel like I’ve missed out on sharing in their celebrations and weekly updates.

I’m not sure why I haven’t written.  I think I’ve actually started a few posts, but then I got distracted.  Life has been crazy this last month.  I got my back checked out after having persisting pain several weeks after my accident.  It turns out I have some damage from the impact of being hit, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the chiropractor.

I had no idea backs/necks were this complex.  On Mother’s Day weekend I could barely sit without crying, so I knew I had to do something.  I assumed I would just go and get popped back into place and that would be that.  Ha- I’ve spent pretty much the past month there.  I’m finally feeling back to normal on most days.  I love the doctor and his staff.  They are very welcoming, but I didn’t pick the most convenient location to my house (again because I thought I’d only go once).  My commute and visit take about an extra 2 hours each time I go.

At first it was 4 times a week.  Thank goodness it was the end of the school year.  Now I’m down to 3 visits a week (yay- making progress).  At first it wasn’t so bad, they adjust me (weird machine tapping on my back), and then I lay on a bed that rolls down my spine.  It’s pretty relaxing, and I sometimes even fall asleep.  But after the first few visits they made me start doing neck and back exercises too- ugh!  I don’t like that part, but I think it’s making me better.

School just got out the middle of last week, so it feels like summer hasn’t started and I haven’t stopped.  I’ve been busy getting ready for China and trying to get my paperwork and everything in order for my new job.

I enjoyed reading the celebrations on other blogs, and it was nice being reminded to slow down and reflect on all the things I have to celebrate:

  • All Write is this week!  I’m beyond excited to connect and learn.
  • I’m stopping off at an old friend’s house on the way to All Write.  It will be great to catch up.
  • I finally got my car back after a month and a half with a rental. (I will post pictures of my rental later.  It was the smallest car I’ve ever seen, and it made me laugh every time I saw it.)
  • China is so close, and I’m almost ready.
  • I’ve set up skype and viber accounts, so I can communicate with my family while I’m away.
  • I had a wonderful father’s day with my dad and family.
  • My former students and sister came over to help me organize my classroom library and put my books into an online checkout system.  We did 800 books in one day, but there are still more to go.  We made great progress, and my sister spent the night to finish the rest of the library today.
  • I’ve never been this on top of things and productive.  I’m a little overwhelmed, but I’ve been breaking tasks down into smaller parts and getting things done.