Happy Birthday, Dear Grandma

Yesterday would have been my Grandma’s birthday, my dad’s mom. She probably thought she didn’t really do anything all that great, but so many of my memories are with her, because I spent so much time with her. I used to go there every day after school. On Tuesdays we went to get groceries, and because I was spoiled, I got to have whatever I wanted. We used to make microwave popcorn and take the next 3 days to slowly eat it out of the bag. We watched tv together, she complained about my nasty watermelon gum (which she never stopped buying for me, even though it smelled gross), and couldn’t understand how I could drink pickle juice. She always had gum in her cabinet, right in front of the glasses. She stored her bags of chips in the oven, and her store-bought eclairs and cupcakes in the fridge. At her house, where I went to visit my dad every Sunday, there were 5 “toys” – a straight ladder that I loved to lay on the grass and run through like an obstacle course, old wooden stilts, an old rusty pogo stick, a doll that is now probably 50 years old, and a puzzle. And I had the best time at her house with those things! Oh, there were also 2 trees that I would climb, and she would say, “don’t fall and break yourself.” And I’d ride my bike down the hill her house is on, no hands, and she’d say, “be careful, don’t break yourself.” She bought me a new sprinkler every summer, and a sled for her tiny (as in 5 feet long) hill by her house. She came to all my birthdays, Christmasses, you name it, she was there. When she fell and hurt her hip, I went to visit her in the hospital, and she was so surprised, since I was the only person who had done so. It was no big deal to me, I just walked over to the hospital one day after school. We used to laugh and laugh at the silliest stuff, while she sat in “her chair.” That’s where she always was. She was always in a chair, either her “inside chair,” or her “outside chair.” We loved to sit out on the porch watching just about nothing happen on her quiet street. On Sundays, the preacher for the church at the top of her street would walk up and down a couple times and she would yell, “Hi, Preach!” And he would say back, “Hi, god bless.” Sometimes, he would stop and talk, if it wasn’t a Sunday. And, I don’t feel bad for not getting this posted yesterday – I was out having a GREAT time, and she wouldn’t have wanted it any differently. “Don’t sit here talking to dear Gram, go and have fun with your friends!” So, happy birthday to my Grandma, you are missed very much, but I am SO glad to have these memories.


Thank you

Just over a year ago, you made a decision that would change my life forever. Despite our plans for the future and the promises you made, you walked out of my life.You walked away from my children. You decided you’d rather live the single life than have to answer to someone for your actions (some of them horrible), so you just walked away.

To say I was devastated is putting it mildly. I didn’t eat or sleep, hid from my friends for fear your name would be mentioned, stayed in my house away from everyone for months. I spent many nights just laying in my bed, afraid that if I left the safety of my room I would walk right to the knives and hurt myself with them. I knew I couldn’t, so I just hid.

I didn’t cry; I sobbed. Sometimes I couldn’t even breathe. As much as I tried to hide it from my children, sometimes I just couldn’t take it. Those were the times S shooed A away and re-assured him that Mommy was okay. Having taken care of her little brother, she then came to sit with me until I cried myself to sleep. My 12-year-old daughter got stuck taking care of me because of you. She never asked what happened; she already knew. I suppose that is because you had done it before. She knew how happy I was with you, how much I loved you, and how much it hurt that the life I thought I had was gone.

You left my little boy crying. He loved you. You let him get close, then when it wasn’t convenient for you anymore, just threw him away with me. S couldn’t believe you had walked out on us. I tried to cushion the blow by saying you decided you needed to focus on your own kids. She responded with, “but we’re like his kids. He takes care of us like we are his kids.” But it didn’t matter. Because you were only thinking of yourself. You could hurt me all you wanted, but when my children cry over you, that is unforgivable.

Looking back, I went through a horribly dark and scary time. I found myself in relationships where I actually wanted to be hit. Now I see it as the equivalent of cutting. I claimed I was trying a “domestic discipline” lifestyle and that I liked it. And, at the time, I did. Looking back I see how damaging that was and I am glad it didn’t work out with that man anyway. I had to find a way to release my pain, to let someone else take over my life for awhile. I needed to escape…

All Because of You

Well, here I am one year later, and I would like to tell you thank you. Now that my head is clear and I can see all that life has to offer, I realize my life is exponentially better without you in it. It took me a full year to get to this place, but I’m here. When I think too hard about it, I still cry, but those moments are becoming less and less. You don’t have control over me anymore.

I’ve become so much stronger than I ever was. I’ve broken free from making excuses for behavior from men that doesn’t build me up, but only causes me stress. I’ve learned to listen to my gut and to act on it. I’ve walked away from multiple possible relationships for legitimate reasons. I no longer sweep issues under the carpet or just hope it will go away. If something about a man does not work for me, my goals, my wants, my needs, I say so and gracefully move on.

At this time I am single. I do date, but I am far more picky about who I choose to spend my time with. I’m more careful about who I let into my heart, but the ones that I do are worth it. I am sure of myself, which attracts the kind of men I deserve to have in my life. I may be single for the rest of my life; it’s really not something I can predict. What, I do know, however, is that with you still in my life, my creativity would be stifled, I would be experiencing a crazy amount of stress, and my life would be on hold while you straightened out yours. Now that you are gone, and that I have finally recovered from the damage you caused, my life is back in my hands. Again, thank you for walking out. Although your motivation was purely selfish, it turned out to be the best thing you ever could have done for me.

And you know what they say…

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Unlocking the Mind – A Stream of Steady Consciousness

So many things running through my mind today. The end of school is in sight, only 4 more days. Kids are excited to be done. I can feel the excitement in the air. Teachers are excited, as well. We’re anxiously cleaning out our rooms, handing in our textbooks, and settling our desks. Some of us have started the process of filling out our checklists. Others, like me, will wait til the last minute for that step, as the process of walking all over the school multiple times is not appealing right now. On my to do list is shredding confidential papers and finding a place to store my desk materials. Our campus is used for summer school, meaning if it’s not locked down, it won’t be here when I return.

I have a sunburn. It’s not awful, but not comfortable. I took my kids to the water park yesterday with my ex-husband. Yes, my ex and I get along well enough to take our kids for a fun day. This is important to us because, married or not, we are a family. We are committed to providing the most intact family possible. Our children deserve it. I understand many people are not in a situation to do this, particularly abusive situations, but if you can, it is so good for the kids.

The water slides were the kids’ favorite part. My son loved those body slides where you feel like you are losing your stomach at the first drop. I tried it to be a good sport, knowing I absolutely despise those things. I was right. My daughter preferred the slides where you go down on a mat on your belly. I suppose if I had to pick, I like those best, along with the tube slides where we got to go down together. It’s fun to experience the thrill of the ride with someone else, especially my kids.

I’m excited to go visit my family this summer. I’m getting anxious to go, but I still have more than a month until the day arrives. However, my kids are leaving with their dad a full month before I head up to go visit his family. That will be a calm week, for sure. Now that I think about it, it will be two weeks. That is a long time. Not sure I like that. I know my son, even at age 10, cries for me after too many days. At least he will have his sister to keep him comfortable, and hopefully my parents will keep him occupied.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Classics, current fiction, also non-fiction. This year I have taken to learning about history. This shocks me because, before being forced to help teach it, I avoided it at all costs. Now that I understand the connections and themes more, I find it interesting. I have a summer reading list. Just finished reading “The Help.” Started it once before but it was too slow at the time. I really enjoyed it this time. This weekend I started reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, I’ve read it before, but other than the overall theme, I couldn’t tell you one detail about it. Time to change that. I remembered it being a slow read, but I guess as an adult, it goes much more quickly.

Even though life isn’t perfect (it never is), I understand that I am so incredibly blessed. I have two beautiful children, a nice house in a safe neighborhood, a stable job, an education, am fairly financially secure, parents who are both alive and want to help me out, an ex-husband who is good to deal with most of the time, friends, food on the table, a reliable car, and am healthy overall. Life is good. Sometimes it is difficult to remember this, but I truly know how good I have it, and how bad it could be.

A good close friend and co-worker is leaving me to go live closer to his child. I don’t blame him. Being away from your children sucks. He is a great dad and wants to be active in his child’s life. It’s difficult to do that from 15 hours away. I will miss him. We have gotten really close this year, both professionally and personally. I know I will cry the day he heads out. I know there will come a day when he is so busy I won’t hear from him again. Perhaps it will happen on my end that I will wean off of our daily conversations about anything and everything. He’s a good man, even if he drives me crazy sometimes. I hope great things happen for him. Him leaving will be the start of something new. Something I cannot even imagine. New adventures are good, even if I am resistant to change to begin with.

I am shocked at how many things can run through my head in a twenty minute period. Actually, I’m not. My brain is active non-stop. My doctor told me this is why I’m always tired. My brain goes all the time, usually thinking about at least two things at once. There’s usually some kind of rerun in the back of my head. I know it’s not real; it’s more like a tv show running through my head.

Today’s assignment was to free-write for twenty minutes. That’s a whole lot of typing! We are not required to publish, but I figure what is the point of writing, if not to share. I will not be editing at all, as the purpose was to just let the thoughts pour out onto paper or screen, whichever you choose. My time is up now, so it’s time to quit. My fingers are crampy, anyway.

The Dented Bucket List

I’m sure we’ve all at least heard the term, “bucket list,” even if you are unsure what it means or what to put on it. But, what, exactly, is a “dented bucket list?” While I have my ideas of what it means, I decided to take it to the authority and find an actual definition. Of course, since its pretty much a made-up concept, I had to piece together the definition by breaking the phrase apart. The definition of “dented bucket list” is:

Dent- “A depression in a surface made by pressure or a blow”

Bucket List -“a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime”

In piecing the two definitions together, I have written my personal definition of “dented bucket list,” which is, “a number of experiences which would blow.” That’s it, there you have it. Official as can be.

Now, onto the list itself. Things that would dent my bucket…

(* indicates I have already accomplished this dent)

  • Losing a child, in the death sense
  • Losing a child, in the kidnapped and gone forever sense (this scares me more than the death)
  • Rape or other serious crime against me
  • My house burning down
  • My parents dying (I know this will happen eventually, but it will still dent my bucket)
  • Getting divorced *
  • Having a mental illness *
  • Having the love of my life walk on me with absolutely no warning *
  • One of my children having a life threatening illness, like cancer
  • Losing my eye sight
  • Having a child who is sick, but no one can figure out why *
  • A learning disability
  • Having 2 miscarriages *
  • Finding out you had given your heart to someone who didn’t deserve it *
  • Losing my job
  • Losing my home
  • My child getting hit by a car
  • Losing my right to worship how I choose
  • A war on U.S. soil
  • Having to take public transportation everywhere
  • Becoming disabled so that I can no longer take care of myself

I’m sure there are so many more things that could possibly dent my bucket. The good news is, I’m highly resilient, so I’d like to think I’d bounce back from most of these. And for the ones that take longer to recover from, I’m glad I have amazing friends to help me through it.



Donorschoose.org Electronic Dictionaries for Students in Special Education

If you are so inclined, I would appreciate you taking a look at the following project I created on donorschoose.org to provide electronic dictionaries for my students in special education. Students in wealthier campuses all have access to electronic dictionaries, however, my campus is NOT wealthy, so we are stuck in the stone ages with paper dictionaries. This is not good for my students, who struggle with even knowing how to use the dictionary.

Even if donating is not your thing, I would appreciate if you’d look to gain an understanding of the problem, and share with everyone you know. Also, donations are being fully matched by a hedge fund for women project builders, so every donation you make will be double! What a deal! We have about $300 to go, which is only 3 more $50 donations! Any amount is very much appreciated. Thank you so much!

Click here to be taken to the project

Dear Students

Dear Students,

As another school year comes to a close, I want you to know how proud I am of you. All of you. Even those of you I butt heads with on a regular basis. In the midst of your mixed-up hormonal lives, you may not see it, but you have all matured both physically and emotionally. It is always my great pleasure to watch you grow from scared new sixth graders to independent and ready-to-soar eighth graders. There are some things I have not gotten a chance to teach you, so just in case we don’t get to see each other next year, I am going to tell you now.

1. You are not your grade. My college professor told us this the first time he handed back papers. “God loves you just the same whether you got an A or an F,” he always said. Powerful words to live by. Just as you are not your grade, you are not your score on a standardized test, nor the number of days you spent in ISS this year.

2. There is so much more to life than the little bit of world you see right now. Many of you don’t get many opportunities to travel outside of this area, or even to the next city over. You miss out on cultural opportunities, chances to view colleges, and other things many children from affluent families take for granted. Trust me when I tell you there is so much more. Find a way to go experience it.

3. I believe in you. Forget about the dumb things you did this year. You are between the ages of 10 and 15. Doing things you regret is part of growing up. Take your experiences and learn from them. You will do a whole lot of growing up over the summer. Come back strong and proud. I know you can do it. I know you will do it.

4. I love you. I am on your back every minute because I want good things for you. I force you to bring your own supplies to teach you responsibility. I move your seat away from your friends because I want you to stop talking so you can learn. I make you call home when you misbehave because I want you to have consistency.

As this school year comes to an end, know you will be missed. Eighth graders – I will think of you often. Seventh- and sixth-graders, I hope to see you next year. If I don’t, please remember, I will also be thinking of you. Some day you will go out into the world and make yourself proud! And, when you play your first NFL game, graduate from college, or receive an award for the great things you’ve done, invite me. I will be there.

Rain, Rain, Please Stay

” Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day. Little children want to play!”

I remember reciting this poem with my father many times while growing up in a sometimes wet and rainy upstate New York State. Rain was known to hinder our plans, and force us inside for yet another day. The thought of running out of rain never crossed our minds.

I live in Texas now. I’m sure, even if you are not from Texas, that you have heard about our drought situation. A combination of hotter than normal temperatures, decreased rainfall, and population increasing every day, has led us into a situation where we must have rain, and lots of it. We are not at liberty to chant it away. In fact, acts like rain dances are starting to sound quite appealing. Some towns are talking of resorting to recycling toilet waste water for human consumption. Apparently this practice is perfectly safe, but it still makes my stomach churn. Talk of another Dust Bowl is common. People are really starting to consider that we will run out water.

It has rained for almost two days straight, and not one person I know has complained. The increased water levels in our lakes is being celebrated; the problem is all this rain is having very little effect on our water levels. Why? The drought is so severe that water is not even making it to lakes. In order for rainwater to make it to rivers and lakes, first the ground has to be saturated. Simply put, it isn’t. Texas is in a serious state of affairs regarding our lack of water resources. So, instead of the traditional tale of wishing the water away, perhaps we should be chanting,

“Rain, rain, oh please stay, and rain again another day. You’ll stay longer, I like to think. Because we need the water to drink.”