100 Days of Writing – Day Fifty-Five

Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs comes into play….

One of the things I remember from my education courses in college is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I’ve become acutely aware of its truths over the past week or so. I do see that if one’s physiological needs are not met, all else in life can be thrown to the wayside.

A little over a week ago, I was diagnosed with an abscessed tooth and prescribed penicillin to take care of the infection. My appointment with an oral surgeon to see about getting the tooth extracted isn’t until October 5th. In the meanwhile, I’ve developed what I think is a sinus infection on top of all the rest.

I have an appointment this afternoon to see my family doctor about whether or not it’s actually a sinus infection. My pharmacist has said the penicillin I’m taking wouldn’t be the first choice of antibiotic for a sinus infection. He also said that the discomfort in the sinuses could actually be due to the abscessed tooth and not another infection source.

The bottom line of it all, going back to Maslow, is that when we’re experiencing physiological discomfort, it’s hard to focus on much else but that discomfort. I went on a three-mile walk yesterday and probably should have cut that short. I went to Barnes and Noble to read and write and found it hard to focus. This morning, I’ve found it hard to think about much else but finding a solution to the mouth and facial discomfort. Luckily, I’m taking a required day off work today, so it’ll allow me to see the doctor to get his diagnosis. I’ve even taken a home covid test to make sure that’s not it and it was negative.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some relief from the discomfort from both my sinuses and the abscessed tooth. Nothing fun at all about not feeling well and it’s at least made me grateful that I’ve not had to deal with a lot of this type of discomfort in my life. I’ve been pro-active in seeking a solution and am hopeful that between my doctor and dentist’s treatment, I’ll be feeling better soon.

100 Days of Writing – Day Fifty-Four

One step at a time,,,,one day at a time.

I am reminded in one of my daily readings this morning to take life one step at a time, one day at a time.

I can look at the days ahead and be overwhelmed by all that I perceive I have to get done. The mind’s wanderings can lead me into a lot of “what-ifs” that lead to nowhere but more obsessive thoughts.

I will, just for today, make the attempt to take each of the day’s events as they come and do what needs to be done for that next step. I’ll try to stay in the here-and-now, the present moment, knowing that I’ll have the strength to do what needs to be done.

The Bible verse I was led to this morning: “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) This is also a kindly reminder to quiet the myriad thoughts that might run through my mind and know that the God of my understanding is watching over the all of it and will give me the necessary strength to face and conquer whatever might lie ahead of me this day and in the days to come.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Fifty-Three

Random thoughts on this day….

It’s been over a week since I’ve last written in this series and I’m not focused on any one train one thought. Instead, a myriad of thoughts come across and through my mind this day.

  • Dental problems continue to plague me on this day. I’ve gotten an appointment with an oral surgeon for a consult, but that’s not until October 5. So I continue to deal with moderate pain and am still taking an antibiotic and ibuprofen and Tylenol for pain. I think it’s not as bad as it could be and am continuing to stay the course.
  • I have two days off from my interim teaching position this next week. I can only work sixteen days per month and so these are what I call required days off. It can be a difficult chore to make lesson plans for when you’re not going to be there. There are so many little details one has to include and so many things to consider.
  • Just when we thought we had seen the last of the really hot weather, I see the forecast is calling for high temperatures near 90 on Wednesday of this next week. I guess these are what we call the dog days of summer. We’re ready for fall, but it’s not quite ready for us yet and summer wants to hold on just a little bit longer.
  • Trying to keep good habits on point is not always easy. I started walking for exercise this summer and have let that fall by the wayside since school started. I consider my writing to be a beneficial habit and it’s slacked off as well. Perhaps that’s one of the things I need to use the two days off this next work week to work on.
  • Smoking cessation stats – 62 days, five hours without a cigarette – 1244 cigarettes avoided – $361 saved – 5 days “won back” – I still can get those urges to smoke from time to time. I’m still using nicotine lozenges to help squash those urges and know I eventually need to wean my way off those. I remember all that I’ve learned in these two months and two days….how it’s a physical addiction that’s also rooted in my emotional and mental well-being….that I’m past the actual physical addiction and more looking at my efforts to quit through my emotional and mental well-being….when I get those urges to pick up a cigarette, I’ve played the tape forward and know that picking up even one cigarette will lead to undesired outcomes….I focus on the REAL reason I want a cigarette, to calm my anxious feelings, and know that it’s at best just a temporary fix and doesn’t work long term. And then I move forward…still just one day at a time.

100 Days of Writing – Day Fifty-Two

Jersey swap,,,a college jersey and neat story.

I recently purchased a Lenoir-Rhyne University baseball jersey, one that was actually worn by a Bear baseball player. When attending the opening game of the football season with my wife, I decided to wear the jersey to support the home team.

While I was waiting in line for some pre-game concessions, a man comes up to me and remarked about how nice my jersey is. He then proposes that he would swap a jersey he had of the same design, but a different number. At first I thought he was kidding, but then it became apparent he truly wanted the jersey I had. He shared that when he played football for the university, #37 was the number that he wore. And 37 was the number on the jersey I had.

We arranged to meet during the coming week and he and I swapped jerseys. He now has the #37 jersey that means so much to him and I have #35, which I’m sure has a story to tell as well.

I like it when we have chance meetings with others. I have no doubt that I was supposed to buy that #37 Bears baseball jersey. I have no doubts that I was supposed to be wearing it that particular day and ran into Isaiah Whitaker. We’re now FB friends and have a jersey swap story to share for years to come.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Fifty-One

In a get-together of like-minded friends, we discussed resentment and the power it can have in all of our lives. And perhaps most importantly, how to rid ourselves of it.

Resentment is a feeling most all of us have had at some point-in-time,,,,or perhaps at many points in time. Someone has done something “to us,” or at least that’s our take on all of it. We then will continue to mull over the situation, asking ourselves why someone would do that to us and perhaps even plot on some type of revenge. But we can soon find out that all those ways of thinking can be a big waste of time.

When we are resentful against someone, we perceive that they should have done what they did. We calculate that we’ve been irreparably harmed in some way. We often times begin to feel sorry for ourselves.

In my way of thinking, people do their best at any point in their lives. Many times they don’t realize the effects that their choices and behaviors can have on others. As a result, sometimes other people can get hurt. The other person may not realize that they’ve hurt someone else, but the fact remains that something they’ve done or said has caused harm to someone.

I have learned through multiple experiences that holding resentment against someone is a huge waste of time. Resentments deal with something that has occurred in the past and of course, the past cannot be changed. To hold a grudge means that we’re living in the past, a past that is only lingering on because we’ve chosen not to give it up. It keeps us from living in the present moment and enjoying the lives we do have.

In the Bible, it tells us in Luke 23:34 that Jesus forgave those who were crucifying him with the words “Father, please forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I try to remember this when my mind wants to continue to be resentful against someone. I also remind myself that if I was in that same situation they found themselves, I might have done much the same, or worse.

Just for today, let me let go of those resentments that I have and lead a more fully-present life.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Fifty

Forty-eight days in and can still have that urge….

It’s been forty-eight days since I decided that I was going to quit smoking. It’s actually longer for that intention, but actually not smoking has been nearly seven weeks. And even now, after not having smoked 965 cigarettes, I can still get that urge. Twice I’ve nearly bought a pack, but am standing firm and “just saying no.”

I’ve identified the three reasons I smoked cigarettes,,,those were easy to identify. It’s a physical addiction to the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes. It’s a behavioral addiction, just something I did at certain times of day due it being a habit. And then there’s the emotional side; using smoking as a way to deal with difficult emotions.

On this forty-eighth day, I was dealing with some strong emotions and somewhere in my head, it had convinced me a cigarette would help relieve the stress. I knew where the purchase of a pack would likely lead, but those “voices in my head” kept telling me it would offer me some relief. But in between here and there, I didn’t follow through with those thoughts and was able to stop the overthinking before it led to a slip.

We all deal with the emotional ups and downs in life in different ways. We cope with uncomfortable feelings by seeking something out that offers relief. At one point in my life, I turned to alcohol to calm my thinking. But that got out of hand and I’m proud to say I haven’t had a drink in over twenty years. Smoking, however, has been much more difficult to stop. I had quit for four years at one time, but had started back up and despite multiple tries, hadn’t been able to quit.

This time, however, I am convinced that I’ll be able to stay quit for good. As my therapist told me, “That chapter of your life is over.” I know where smoking leads….I know where that inerrant thought of “I’ll just have two or three cigarettes and quit again.” will lead me. I’ve been there and tried to do that.

So for today, when emotional upsets occur, I will realize they are a part of living life and that I need to use the tools that I have to deal with them and not resort to thinking a cigarette would help matters in a manner, shape, or form. I’m thankful that I was able to play the tape forward today and use that as a way of staying free from nicotine for that moment in time.

Perhaps it’s appropriate that this is the entry for my fiftieth day of writing,,,the half-way point of one hundred days of writing. One of things I’ve found helpful with lots of what happens in life is to write about it and share with others. And while I don’t know if it is of help to anyone else who’s struggling with things in their lives, I at least know for this day, it’s helped return me to some level of sanity. And that’s a good feeling.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Forty-Nine

The first day of school for students is officially in the books,,,,year forty-two for me. Things went smoothly today. There were a few glitches, but nothing unexpected. With so many students to serve, there were a few schedule quirks we had to deal with, but nothing major.

The first day of school always brings up a few butterflies. The “great unknown” of what the new school year will bring and what each of your classes will be like. But it’s all a part of anything new in life and I’m convinced it’s going to be smooth sailing for the remainder of my interim position.

My schedule is a good one. After homeroom, I have three science classes, each an hour in length. The students then spend ninety minutes in their rotation classes, which is a planning period for me. After their rotation classes are done, we then take them to lunch. That is followed up by the last of my four science classes before we dismiss for the day.

Perhaps the highlight of the day for me occurred when I had a chance to see some of my students from last year. They are seventh graders this year and acclimating themselves to a new school setting. I’m hoping that seeing a familiar face helped make their day a bit brighter.

Day one of the school year down, quite a few more to be had. I’m glad I took this interim position and just like most of the rest, will find it difficult to leave when my time is up. But such is the life of the interim teacher.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Forty-Eight

So many things we can become addicted to,,,,but why?

I was talking with a friend last night about my continuing quest to be a non-smoker, lamenting how difficult some parts of the journey had been. She was tackling a similar issue with certain types of food she had been avoiding, for about the same length of time. Upon reflection, I was reminded we all can become addicted to a wide variety of things and the basic question is why?

A big part of addiction, at least it seems to me, is based in the fact we deal with uncomfortable feelings on a daily basis. Sometimes the feelings are more numerous than others. But the bottom line becomes, “I don’t want to feel this way. I want some relief.” Somewhere along that path, we find some substance that helps turn down the volume on those not-so-good feelings and that seems to be a good thing. If those same bad feelings return, we tend to go back to what it was that brought us relief before. And, at least for the time, it seems to work again.

As time continues, we can find that we’ve developed a tolerance to whatever it is we’re using to ease our anxious thoughts. The simple solution seems to be to take more of what was helping us cope. This spiraling behavior can leave us wanting more and more of whatever that substance might be, and our body develops a tolerance that leaves us back at square one each time.

Chemical substances, such as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and the like seem to be the most common vices people use to deal with unwanted feelings. But from last evening’s conversation, I’ve been reminded there are other ways people deal with their emotions, including eating, shopping, gambling, and the like. It would seem that we all can become addicted to things in the outside world as a result of trying to cope with life on life’s terms.

Just for today, I’ll look at my behaviors and ask myself if there are any bad habits/addictions I need to deal with on a daily basis. I’ll also ask myself what good habits I can use to combat these negative behaviors. It’s definitely an inside job.


100 Days of Writing – Day Forty-Seven

The first week of the 2022-23 school year is over and done for the forty-two year teaching veteran. I’ve had four workdays and am looking forward to the first day with students this upcoming Monday.

Some people have the idea that teachers don’t have a whole lot to do with teacher workdays, but such is certainly not the case. There are so many of the nuts and bolts that need to be put together and adjusted during the short period of time before the school year starts.

Some of the basics for the teacher workdays before school starts:

  • Daily schedule for each day
  • List of class rosters for each period
  • Coordination with your team of teachers to make sure all areas are covered
  • Classroom decor, including bulletin boards and the like
  • Class seating chart for each of your classes, including a card for each desk that tells who is supposed to sit where
  • Open house for parents and students
  • Opening faculty meeting, which lasts all one workday
  • Checking out all classroom technology to make sure it’s going to be working properly from day one
  • Meetings with other teachers in the school for students in their programs you’ll be serving

I know I’ve probably left quite a few things off the list, but this gives a basic idea of some of the things we have to have done before the first day of school. There are lots of little details that I’ve not included, like lunch times and the like, that are also very necessary to have a good start to the year.

I’m very much looking forward to the first day of school on Monday. I’m sure there will be a few blips on the screen as the first day transpires, but good preparation insures that those will hopefully be few and far between.

It’s going to be a good year to have a good school year.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Forty-Six

Random writing for today….

Three teacher workdays down, one to go. I’ve gotten a lot accomplished over the past several days. There are still a few loose ends to tie together, but no big deal. We do have an open house for parents and students tomorrow evening, so there’s that. I’m fairly certain it’ll be a good start to the new school year.

I was talking with friends last night and posed the question “What famous person have you met?” One of the group said when he was eleven years old he attended Harry Truman’s inaugural ball. Pretty hard to top that one.

I walked a little over a mile this morning during a break at school. It’s once again gotten a lot warmer and humid. But walking is something I know I want to continue once school is officially back in session.

37 days, 12 hours without a cigarette according to the QuitNow app on my phone. During that time, I’ve avoided 750 cigarettes, saved $218, and added 3 days to my expected life span. I’m still using nicotine lozenges, but have plans to start weaning myself off those starting on Monday of next week.

I’m covering another high school football game this Friday night. I’ll be at Newton Conover, as they take on West Caldwell.

David Lee