Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Drama belongs on the stage

I had an experience the past week to attend a school committee meeting in the school district that my kids attend to present a parent perspective on an extracurricular drama program that I have been active with for the past six years. Over several months, this activity involves more than 10-15% of the entire student body and about 40-50 parent volunteers who put in a ton of hours. This school committee tends to set it's sites on this activity just about every year because of what it costs. They only pay for less than 3% of the cost and all of that is staff time for "coaches" and this is less than any sports teams with the same number of student participants. The remaining 70% is raised by parents and students.

I have always had a certain amount of admiration and gratitude for people who are willing to step forward to do the volunteer work of town government. I consider it to be a thankless job that takes a big commitment. There are jerks that sometimes get involved but for the most part the people I know who are involved are committed and good.

But the level of respect I had for a few has been diminished by this experience.
After finishing a presentation directly addressing previously stated questions, identifying that some of the cost was to rent equipment that the school did not have or was in disrepair and me sharing the process and value to participants, the response was that they were taken aback by the "defensiveness" of the presentation.

Huh? You single this activity out from all of the others, you raise pointed questions and requested representatives to present and when they do it is "defensive"?

Then a few refused to acknowledge information right in front of them because it disagreed with what they had set their minds to and a few made statements and open questions looking directly into the camera and also made some insulting and dismissive comments to the group. So riled at one point I did interrupted to point directly to the information a member "couldn't see" I think it was more "wouldn't") and he just dismissed the point. It took all of my restraint not to say more, such as "fuck you" bozo. But sizing up the characters who were clearly playing to the camera , I didn't want to make trouble. So I sat there but I believe those on the panel who saw my body language, got the message. I have no problems with those who just raised questions about clarity and am happy to work with them to make it clearer. But those who made the wisecracks and questioned " transparency"'went beyond reasonable. They wanted to lob cheap shots.

Most know me as being pretty unflappable and very even tempered so my reaction was uncharacteristic. As one in my group said, "when they got you pissed, we knew it was bad".

In the end it was sent to a subgroup, where it should have gone to begin with, and there we will simplify the reports and hopefully put this behind for this year.

So what I took away from this was that perhaps we should find some performance options for some of these drama wannabees so that they can "perform" in a more appropriate venue.

And when I got home, even though it was 10PM, I got out of my "meeting clothes", thew on the sneakers, shorts and T and got out my flashers and headlamp and went out for a 3 mile run up some serious hills.

I am learning that running is good for me putting things in perspective and also burning off adrenalin generated from experiences such as this and I felt much better and could sleep peacefully to deal with this on another day.

Tomorrow I run the 10k Brocktrot a 10k benefit for lung cancer research. Knowing more about the 40-something, non-smoker marathoner who died of lung cancer and being part of this event put some of the other crap in perspective.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

At the high school my kids attend or did attend there is this wide hill facing the road overlooking the soccer field. Its a natural for seating and has been a natural for "painting" spirit messages or for events.

Ten year ago the students and teachers decided that one of the ways they would process and deal with the event of 9/11 was to paint a flag on the hill. Ten years ago it was more informal with people stopping by to pick up a brush. This year it was made a community event with a science teacher coordinating the project, the high school math classes doing the calculations for the grids, the middle school kids making the stencils for the stars and the entire community invited to be part of the painting. Scheduling the layout and painting around all the rain this past week has been a challenge and so that it would be done for a community ceremony this morning. It was done yesterday afternoon. 70 feet by 120 feet, it is quite something.

Here is a link to a time lapse of the flag project

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This is 40 pounds

This picture seems sort of an odd way to lead off a post having not posted for a few weeks now. It has been rainy, I had a vacation in there, kids returning to school, more than the usual work chaos in addition to a bunch of other things. In other words life has been happening.

The rain mixed with the late rising of the sun in the morning has made it difficult to squeeze running in. I have given up doing it a lunch because there are no facilities to clean up and cool down well and that was creating more issues.

I have come to realize how much I have integrated that one activity into my life and have come to depend on it as a stress outlet in addition to keeping the weight under control. Rather than reach for the food in times of stress I'd much rather grab the shorts and sneakers and head outside for a while even if it is just a couple miles out and back.

This past week, even though it was a short one, was one of the worst I can remember at work. Late hours and heavy issues, I got to the point where any meaningful thought was difficult. My brain seemed to hurt.

So Friday I threw my hands up, left a few minutes early, vented for a while when I got home then went out for a 3 mile run in the moderate dark into and around the downtown and back home. The town was bustling with alfresco diners and tourists walking around as I sweatily made my way through and around them. The fog was starting to lift from my mind. When I got back I was ready for dinner and to relax for the evening. Then this morning I went for another 5 mile run and was able to process a lot of the craziness that went on last week.

After eating breakfast then cleaning up and popping on the scale to see how things were going, I discovered that I had practically met the weight goal I set 2 years ago when I took on running, which was to drop at least 40 pound. I was at 39.6 pounds lost. Of course I realize that some of that was that I had run and probably hadn't fully replace the water lost, but when I hit these marks it usually means that my weight will hover up and down around it but eventually if I keep up the running and eating paces, will become the new normal.

As I think of this I realized that what I had been carrying around was the equivalent of this 40 pound bag of pellets. Totally gross and disgusting when I think of it and I keep that as a reminder and motivator to keep me getting out there and watching what I consume.

So, the new and probably final weigh t goal is 5-10 more pounds and the secondary goal of training for a 10k the end of the month and working toward a half marathon next spring. That will be difficult with the normal challenges of exercising in the winter but it is a goal.

So, this has been a post of total personal reflection/obsession. Pehaps I'll finish the more general and creative ones I'll started and have sitting out in "draft". But first, it is mowing the lawn that has grown long with all this rain and cleaning the stove to be able to burn this bag of pellets.