Thursday, February 26, 2009


As I sit here staring at this blank screen, feeling compelled to write, but wanting to say something worthy of being recorded for posterity (or at least for the duration of this read time), I am not unawares of the movement surrounding me~ though I sit and pretend I can't be reached.

This cozy little space I've carved out for myself (like most dwellings I've adopted and relinquished), where I spend my energies enlightening my charges with numbers- partial, equivalent, negative, and Orders of Operations (no donor list registry required,) is rattling and resisting, and the winds are teasing the very foundation whose solidity I find I have taken for granted. I didn't predict these, but I knew they'd come. It's time. There are lessons to be learned. Their arrival is just more direct and more immediate than I would allow for...

Actually, I would've (past tense) sealed the cracks resisting the winds insistence, despite what we were taught in my Kansas youth; a time when Tornado Drill protocol was taught as it's own religion, sometimes even during catechism classes~ and it was this: that to minimize the damage of the gales, it is far better to open the windows and doors, inviting them in, deflating their significance and relieving the pressure, affording the anchoring of the foundation to remain.

Embrace them? But that would sure be hell on one's hair...

These winds aren't of that significance, and I've learned when to take cover and when to watch for the dance of polar cloud opposites. The heat. The lightning. The cooling. The subtleties now instinctual. Flee or ride out the storm? I've tired of hunkering down, trying to predict the precise strike of random blows... awaiting the damage revealed.

So, what of this lengthy, obscure analogy ('What the hell was she saying? Beats me. Probably some bad hair day story or recess duty again. I've 'eard she 'tips the bot'el' a lit'el...') Nah. Well, that last one is true... It's just that I'm learning not to fear adversarial forces (a HUGE lesson for this conflict averse chick) and I am able to stand and face those winds head on, embracing those lessons they carry through with them from places I choose not to travel. So, I've honored my inner siren (wink, wink), I've stood my ground, shetered my own, and safeguarded from directional blows this week.
(And...sardonic link here.)

It's time to go open the door...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wish I had thought of this...

I love this technique and am already trying it with my class! Genius!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

... as if it was MY fault...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Channeling Erma- Incessant Babble (circa 2004)

Dear loved ones,
Just a brief (you know better than to fall for that) note to make an excuse for my not being in communication lately. Had my first official board meeting for PTO and it went really well (say those in attendance; lest I should ever boast) and everyone commented on the organization and the documentation.
As you all who know me, and love me any way, can attest to, I can be a little.... anal? I made binders for all the members, color-coded, outlined everything, divided/ labeled sections and typed and compiled mounds of information that at some point, in our natural lives, someone might ask for. (I'd have been great on Let's Make a Deal! I'm even now carrying Tattoo Goo in my Marilyn bag.)
Lest you think I'm too OCD, you should check out my house. The dust bunnies have multiplied, as they have a way of doing rather prolifically, and have actually morphed into dust foot warmers, ottomans, coffee tables etc. I suppose one day I should actually put away all the Christmas 'stuff' I've now stored in the front living room; hmmm.... Exactly just how many more months is it until this Christmas?
Any way, awakening the next morning (after following a successful first attempt at presiding over a PTO meeting) I prepare to prod my children (what? it was gentle!) out the door to await the bus. ('Free at last...'What?! Just belatedly celebrating MLK, Jr. day) Moments later, after I attempt to get on the computer to refine and compose more PTO stuff, I hear the most blood curdling scream from my first born who is tearing through the door with blood spewing from his mouth.
It would seem, despite one's family religiously watching 'A Christmas Story' several times a season, that one young male third grader, trying to impress 4th graders, would actually stick his tongue, and then forcefully remove it, from the street sign down by the bus stop.
After 45 minutes, the blood finally subsided, with the highly medical technique of applying a raspberry Edy's popsicle directly to the TWO missing areas of skin. My first born (the one so much like his mother) then proceeded to go to school around 10:30 ('Just in time for recess!' he told me~ and following a snack he selected of sour cream and onion ritz chips,) and was now a 'celebrity.'
I was met with responses like, 'Did you go look at the post? You can still see pieces of his tongue with blood on it.' 'There was a trail of blood we followed all the way back to your house.' and my personal favorite (by said first born, upon conversation from wise mother conveying how to prevent the injury should the opportunity ever arise again...) 'I can just do it in the summer.' I kid you not.

Once I return to my sanctuary locally, (okay, I went through the drive-through at the coffee shop) I headed home to find that my computer had the 'mydoom' worm and was destroying my files. What's a girl to do...? Let's see, I already tried clicking my heels... (reference to new tattoo here) so, I did what any of you would do under such circumstances, I opened the bag of Dove chocolates I bought for Kolton's teacher and plunged in.
I was able to eliminate the killer 'worm' in the computer ($60 worth of downloading later) and was going to 'touch base' with you on Thursday, but instead ran errands so I wouldn't have to clean the house. How does one get a flat tire at the exact moment one now has own children, as well as others, in the car? Midas did have free peppermints. And husband had decided to let wife, who is so 'good with others' feelings, tell realtor ( who also happens to be the coordinator of upcoming women's retreat I'm attending in March,) that we are not going to relist with her. (There goes the containers of m&m's I took to the PTO meeting.)

Alas, today we finally arrive at this (bitterly cold) morn, THE day when I planned to 'take charge' of my life, put away those decorations, suck the dustball slippers into oblivion~ only to find that because of the 'chill' in the air, school was cancelled. (Mental note- force smile to the kids as you tell them. Be happy for them.) Sigh...

So, following up a conversation with the employed member of our family, and stopping to take him a latte because the scale had tipped in the wrong direction for him in their weekly weigh-in competition today, I succumbed to a cinnamon white chocolate scone with a latte; therefore, ending my successful protein laden diet streak (of two whole days!)

Following trip to Target to let second spawn spend her birthday money, with the advice and manipulation of first spawn, we arrive at residence only to find the kitchen floor and counter tops cleaning themselves. 'What?' you ask.(I love how you indulge me.) How ironic it would seem that on the very day my mom emails me with 'lots of love pouring down' that I would therefore prove my theory about how bad it could be to have one's washer/ dryer upstairs, because... should it ever overflow/ leak/ shoot all over the bathroom!!!, then it would damage the ceiling in the kitchen. (Don't you hate to always be right? It's such a burden.)
So, it should warm your hearts to know that my kitchen and bathroom floors are now clean. Kolton's tongue continues to work as always (a little biting) and Kallin is wearing jeans that are not, on this particularly frigid day, exposing her crack. Life is good, or at least interesting.
So, now that you have eye strain and you're thanking God for the hand that he has dealt you, I want you to know how much I love and miss~ and NEED each one of you. May all your dust bunnies be neutered.
With you in spirit.
(who else? No, really, come on. Who else could actually relay all this drivel?)

'Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls.'
john donne


She arose to the remnants of red scrambled eggs. Her teen made, and consumed, his brain. Food for thought?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Random Things that Converge in My Head (FB 25 Things)

I know how to play this game. List your 25 things about you that your friends, real or virtual, can't validate for sure about you, or answer on a game show, and create this symbiotic human linking of experience.
Obviously you don't know me, and thus need this 'listing' if you will. I don't like to play by the given rules. Oh, I'll pretend and walk the line just enough, flirting with guidelines as my teenager does with half-truths, but I'll play on my terms. So, if you're still with me, let the ramblings begin... in no certain order or importance, or even any real relevance. (Still here? Crap.) Here goes...

1. I love the punctuation mark the ellipsis... and I love to use it... a(space here, people!)lot... As a matter of fact... some might think I overuse it... What know they?... I love that it implies that I'm not done yet, there's more left unsaid, which probably would've been a great way to end this posting... Or an epitaph...

a. I hate clowns. Not just dislike. HATE. LOATHE. Fear. I know it's not a rational 'grown up' feeling, but working in the field of education, with vulnerable, open, loving, non-discerning children, I see clowns as a perfect guise for a pedophile to hide behind. Please don't tell me about all the good clowns. That's like telling me about all the wonderful hybrid roses out there w/o thorns now. I don't care. I've been pricked~ a disclosure my parents didn't know about until I was 38. 38. He wasn't a clown, but certainly a joke of a human.
I also know, personally, John Wayne Gacy's daughter... and she is lovely, and witty... and looks exactly like him.
If you ever go to Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, KS, you will see an antique clown 'playing' an organ, glancing over his shoulder at you. He still haunts me. Did you ever read IT by Stephen King?... I think I've made my case.

17. If I hadn't chosen teaching (said the daughter of a college Creative Writing teacher), I'd have been an actress, and a reasonably well-read author (you know, others would read my stuff?) The movie role I feel I was born to play (one of many, actually) is Sandra Bullock's lead in Hope Floats. Most of it wouldn't even be acting... just some theatrical embellishments. Side note: the little white lights hanging inside the tent give me incredible joy, if you ever watch it.

*L* I want to be weighed one final time before I exit this earth. I plan to be drained of bodily fluids, donate what organs/parts I can, and then be weighed and have that recorded for all posterity as my final weight. Finally."She looked so good at the end. Are those her skinny jeans?' Then be cremated and scattered. Or, pressed into a diamond. That's the latest. 'What a sparkler, that one was...'

4. I have offered my children less than I'd hoped as a parent (but divorced him! Kidding. This is about me... ME, moi, numero uno~ when it's convenient to others, and only if you don't mind...) but I have been able to keep my word on not moving them away from their friends anymore. When 5 years old, my son, now 14, pointed out that he'd already lived in 4 different states. 4. At 5.
When I moved us here, knowing I was going to end my legal bindings to their father, I made a promise that I would not move them and that they could graduate with their friends; not a huge committment in the scope of most lives, but it was in ours. (As a teacher of their friends, I knew this was a good call.) I recently realized that on April 15th of this year, I (they) will have lived here 4 years. They'd been in Illinois for 1.5. Newton, Kansas for 3. Michigan for almost 3. Oklahoma for 1.5...
I've kept my word. And I'm proud that I offered them what our 'family unit' could not. A chance to grow roots.

8. I know I should've never married my ex and wanted to walk out on our wedding. I don't think he knows this to this day. (Well, I think he gets the 'I don't want to be married to him part now...')

9. I don't like to play if I'm not good at something. I'm (privately) incredibly competitive.
9a. I love to sing and really emote~ if no one can hear me.

10. My sister, Nancy, and I give each other the 'gift' of suspending reality on occasion when we peruse the old neighborhood in her jeep singing 80's hair band music at the top of our lungs and driving by old boyfriends' houses.
[And I did actually have one considerably 'old' boyfriend; well is 14 years difference a lot when you're 18? I digress. That was in Iowa, when I was 'rebelling'~ another story... or the 22 year old when I was... well, divorced. Ahem. 'Kids, go to bed.' We'll save this story, too. No judging. I married young. Smirk.]

11. Some of my family members will check this blog looking for their names, or hope they're not here. I hope they understand that everything I write and carry with me is related to my time with and love for them.

12. I smoked for the first time (ever!) last February in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with my sisters and cousin and found I really like the way cigars taste. Seriously, I'd not so much as taken a drag of anything until that day. I also found pina coladas to be a perfectly acceptable breakfast. And lunch...

13. Catholic fear/guilt guided a lot of my decisions. I'm over it now. Way over it. Grin. I no longer have a desire to be a nun.

77. The only men who's mothers didn't want me to marry them right away or (gasp!) didn't embrace me, were the men I ended up involved with.... Hmmm... I'm over that, too.

1965- I was supposed to be born on my mom's 21st birthday. She waited two days in the hospital in labor and I arrived Pearl Harbor Day. I do think I have characteristics of a Saggittarian.

#- Lobster w/drawn butter at the ocean, a few bites of a rare filet mignon, steamed artichokes, a spear or two of asparagus, red wine and chocolate dipped strawberries wins hands down. I don't even care if there's not a competition. It wins. (see #9.)

B. There's a song from Kenny Rogers Music Man that resonates with me lately in regards to my son... 'and you surround yourself with people who demand so little of you...' I hope that after he's done being a 'resident genius in all things I know apparently nothing about' and reenters reality as a developing adult, he will evolve more than he indicates.

b. I don't worry about the person my daughter will become. Life will not be easy for her, but she'll take what she wants from life. This is the child who professed at 2, smeared head to toe in fecal matter (her own, I'm assuming) that, 'Poop makes me happy, Mommy.' Whatever it takes, Buttercup.

12. I, like others of you, have screened respondents (not judged) based on their command, or lack of, the written word. I used it as a 'quick tool' (of whom I met several; I'll blog about my self-conducted speed dating last summer at some juncture, I'm sure) to decide whom to respond to, or delete, based on the number of potential options I had via Match. There were some that slipped through... briefly. Grin. It wasn't all about the writing.

12. I have dating stories that are too good to tell my grandchildren. Or my children. Or even my very liberal mom. And NEVER my dad.
12. I flew on a 'blind date' to Denver.

13. My friends refer to my writing style as the modern day Erma Bombeck. I take that as a huge compliment.

5d. I make a mean jalapeno margarita. And, yes, I did get the recipe from my sis, but as with all things, I distorted it, tweaked it, and made it my own. My friends all get initiated... You're invited. RSVP

99. I worry about money all the time. All the time. I hide it well. (Not the money; the worry.) I think it takes a lot of my creative energy and time away because I do. And please, don't go feeling sorry for me and offer to buy me a drink next time I see you... I'll just feel like a charity case. Okay. If you insist... *grin*

f. I've danced on tables... not for money, just for fun, but... had I known it could be lucrative... Never mind.
g. I am a clone of my mother, but she's kinder and even less judgmental. I'm getting there.
f.I got my first speeding ticket at 38 (years, not m.p.h.) the same year I got a tat, a piercing and decided I needed out of my marriage.

21. I have given myself a piercing... on purpose.

6. I never feel I'm grateful or appreciative enough and I fear that others won't know their significance to me.

88. I tend to see things from a perspective others often miss.
89. I want a dog, actually, I want my dog back that I had to keep re-adopting because he kept running away. But I don't want the responsibility. The same goes for my old Victorian house in Newton.
90. I've dried a cat (in a clothes dryer) and run over a dog (with an Expedition~ both front and back tires.) Neither one made it... I don't usually get asked to pet sit.
91. As a consolation for said dried cat, I was presented with a furry kitten on Christmas Eve at my former in-laws that when handed to me went into convulsions, threw up on me and died. Who could make this up? Merry F'ing Christmas...
It was a 'theme' Christmas and matched the book 101 Uses for a Dead Cat that was placed under the tree as a joke.

31. I was a trophy girl at 81 Speedway in Wichita when I was 15. My grandpa, Frankie Lies, raced there.
31a. The most self-less thing I've ever done is organize a gathering/ compilation of letters from fans, friends and family from across the country for my grandpa under the pretense of his 77th birthday, when in fact my motivation was to let him know how important he was to so many while he was still around to know. He had just been diagnosed with liver cancer and wanted to keep it private. When he went to Houston for treatment, I place an ad in the Wichita paper seeking people who remembered him and asked them to send a letter/card/pics. I enlisted my siblings and his daughters, and then I created a book of all that we'd gathered.
He looked at that book for hours... days... and we all got the gift of sharing those old memories with him. That's the only time I ever saw him cry. I love you Daddy Frank and miss you greatly. 'Frankie Lies'
31.b. He was the one who taught me to always take the high road every chance you get and you will never have anything to regret. I follow that advice at every opportunity. Sometimes it's so hard, but he was right.

Number here: I have any incredibly functional dysfunctional family who loves each other. We could be closer, but I fail along the lines of communication. They know my failings...

?: I still believe that one person can make a difference. I guess the only tangible proof I can offer to this end is the letters that find their way to me, despite the previous moves, from former students who remember their time with me fondly. Those letters never come from the students I expect. Which is a good reminder, on advice from a fellow colleague years back, 'You might be the best thing that happens all day to a child in your class. You can't control his/her home life, but you can control how he/she is treated here and what they'll take home with them.' I'm sure those weren't the exact words, but that was the conversation, roughly. I don't take that responsibility lightly. And if you show up in my room for Valentine's Day, you'll need to come bearing a valentine for every child~ or none. Room policy.

102. I don't believe in do overs. I think life provides us with ample opportunities to figure out our 'stuff.'I wouldn't go back and do any of it over (even though I'd like more time with my grandmas), but I'm smart enough to know that right here is where I'm supposed to be right now on this journey. (And... cue the music: Right Here, Right Now...)

And I know that without the experiences, challenges, opportunities, support, that I couldn't be where I am... and I like where I am. It finally feels like my life. I like that I'm still learning and growing and am feeling really good about the majority of my decisions. But I also like that I know I'm not done and am not content to rest on where I've arrived. (Maybe just a brief respite.)
I'm pretty sure 'I get it,' and am confident enough now to publicly admit that, without it sounding like a super ego issue. I get it. Yeah, I get it...

Shrink Wrap

Since 2008 was a year of physical adjustments, I felt it best to start off 2009, with a brief reassessment of the meds that stave off the genetic self-destructive tendencies dispersed fairly linearly, with no preference to gender, through my maternal generations. Hey, Obama's in charge; it's got to be good news... right?
Okay, so that's what I'm telling you. What I hoped to prove, under the tutelage of a lovely, bright, functioning friend (who also answers to former fiance of my beau, and who I now share documentation shelf space with by the same doctor~ she even gets a nod as my referral) was that I do, indeed, have ADD tendencies and would benefit from this elixir (prescribed) that affords not only focus, but also the added benefit of weight loss. Probably, thus just proving my case to all of you that I needed that reassessment~ in spades.
Be careful what you wish for...
I, instead, just orally committed (!) to being not only a recipient, but also a carrier, of some issues I'm sure you'll discover about me, and will now be taking the same medication as my 14 year old son! How did this happen? I studied. I researched. I consulted with experts... at least experts in my circle. And I even used Wikipedia! Lol!
Is it not enough that I have inherited these 'swings,' but also have the guilt and fallout of having passed them on, or at least passed them through me, to my son~ in whom it manifests it's symptoms so differently. (I should be grateful I don't have the desire to hit something~ or someone, I guess?...)
What I really want to share, despite this (too) revealing posting, is that while waiting for the doctor to conduct this meeting~ this reveal, this tenuous walk down through familial tragedies, some averted, some not, while I sat on a too soft couch~ clearly on a level far beneath his positioning~ was this... in this tidy, ordered, professional office... on the floor, behind a stack of trade journals juxtaposed beneath a massive desk, was a box of Girl Scout cookies peeking out. And what occurred to me is that we all control what we want others to see about us, and we hide~ or at least attempt to hide~ from others all that is us. Even those in the field; those we pay to expose our vulnerabilities and 'treat' them~ pun intended.
And what gave me hope is that I don't feel compelled anymore to hide parts of me that others might judge. And that self reveal was worth the copay.

For the record, they were Tag-a-Longs, not a personal favorite. I would've gone for the Thin Mints... and I would've offered to share.