No, I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth of even a zipline. It's been a wild ride the last couple of weeks closing up two libraries and having a yoga teacher training weekend.
Today, however, is noteworthy. A year ago today I was having a cancer riddled thyroid removed from my body after several months of medical testing and arguing with incompetent doctors before finding some excellent ones. All this began shortly after I started my then new job as a Library Paraprofessional. It was a job in which I was unclear about what latitude I did or didn't have. I was afraid to overstep my boundaries. I was also trying to keep my head above water. I spent the two weeks before surgery on medical leave from my job so I didn't have to sit in a moldy basement at one school while I was trying to prepare mentally and physically for surgery. Those two weeks were spent at home in the embrace of my family and attending as many yoga classes as I could handle, roughly ten classes in two weeks, in order to keep myself calm.
It worked. I went into surgery physically strong and mentally calm. I didn't panic until about five or ten minutes before they came for me to give me the pre-surgical sedative. The sedative took care of the panic. As soon as I was awake in recovery I began doing deep yogic breathing to begin helping my body get rid of the anesthesia since I knew the respiratory therapists would be telling me to do that anyway. Apparently, what I considered mindful breathing in a still groggy state, looked labored to the recovery nurses. They asked if I was having trouble. When I told them what I was doing they commended me. Later when I used my foot to pull the bedside table nearer so I could help myself to ice chips they scolded me with the warning that too much too quickly would make me vomit.
The last two weeks of this school year were spent exercising the full latitude of my authority in the library. In one I was well caught up with the mundane aspects of shelving and repairs and record keeping. I rewarded myself by reading to the classes with the best library usage of the year in between processing new books. It's something I enjoy doing a great deal but it's not part of the scope of my job description or even something I ever have time for anyway. It was a lot of fun to hold the kids' attention and even that of the teachers who opted to take some time away from pressing duties. Even their faces expressed rapt attention and each of them expressed surprise at how I engrossed their students. Yes, I can do more than just shelve books.
In my other school it was a flurry of activity trying to catch up with things left undone all year. I had new books to finish processing and repairs of old books. I also did a major weeding (nearly 500) of the picture books, deleting them from the catalog and removing identifying tags and marks. Then I shifted all those which remained to make room for new subsections for holiday books and books for beginning readers so it's easier for those kids to find something they are able to read independently. That also meant updating the catalog as to a new subsection and the books located therein. Oh, yeah, and I inventoried nearly 11,000 books. Nothing like setting the bar ridiculously high but I really wanted to properly whip this library into shape because it's been so neglected for so long, like years before I arrived kind of neglect. Thanks to Calypso who came into work for one day and my dear friend and fellow Para, Big Mama, I was able to accomplish almost everything. I left the repairs for next year and I have to make new shelf labels after having shifted roughly 5000 books. Otherwise, I finished it all and accounted for all but about 30 books in inventory. I could not have done so without Calypso and Big Mama, who even dragged a substitute teacher in to help one day as well. Big Mama is a compelling person.
In looking back over the last year, there's been a lot of change. A cancer has been excised from me literally. I think in some ways one has been removed figuratively, though treatment for that is ongoing. Although one could argue I am a risk taker as evidenced by incidents involving ziplines, I never was in the work world. This year I have grown in confidence about what I have to offer and I have struck out in an unusual new direction of signing up for teacher training in yoga. I've also decided to actively look for new employment elsewhere this summer, which is part of why I worked so hard at one library. I want to turn it over in the best possible shape. A year or two ago I doubted my professional skills and I NEVER would have considered I could possibly teach anything that could be remotely considered athletic. I've asked for references from people I respect and they have responded with great encouragement. I have had two trainings in the yoga program and I have received wonderful feedback for my participation there as well. Oh, and I even was bold enough to actually SELL some of my tie dye creations instead of giving them away.
It's been quite a year, one with lots of growth...the kind indicative of life rather than the kind leading to death.