Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

Today is dress up day at school. In keeping with the Greek theme I've had going all year with my 6th graders.....I created my own version of Medusa. Which is ironic (or one of those literary elements) because I'm deathly afraid of snakes. However.....a few googly eyes are all it takes to "friendly up" even something as hideous as a snake.

Fun times. I'll likely post more pics later.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Roommate

I have this amazing roommate. She is one of the most upbeat, good-natured, full-of-grace-and-kindness people I've ever met.

She's an extrovert. And, as anyone who's ever been close with me knows, I'm an introvert. I fake a good extrovert, but at the heart of things I could very easily just hole up in my house and conduct every bit of my business and social life at the spot where I'm conducting it right this moment: on my sofa with my computer in my lap.

Sometimes she gently "forces" me to get out of my little snuggly comfort zone and interact with the world. And yet, she understands that when I'm over here zoned in on something I'm writing or reading, that I need that time to recharge. And even when I know she really needs more time to interact and talk and process socially, the way extroverts do, she allows me the time I need.

She also has this thing she does where she makes me feel smart and wise. She asks me questions about teaching and about how to deal with behaviors and learning problems in her class. And she actually LISTENS to what I have to say about all that! Good grief. And bless her heart!

She's one of the wisest young people I've ever known.
She treats Sparky and Emma as if they belonged to her.
She never oversleeps on the same day that I do. *whew*
She remembers important things that I often forget. (like when it's picture day at school)
She loves to laugh and have fun.

Happy Birthday Crystal! You're an incredible person, FRIEND, and roommate!
I love you!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Tdub has written a beautiful tribute to #1 over at his place. As a mom, I can't let this one pass without some linkage. I'm proud of all the boys, but I always remind Daniel that he's the one who continues to teach me how to be a mom since he's the oldest and the first to arrive at every stage of life. It humbles and honors me as well that the title of the piece is "grace inherited".

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If a classroom of 6th graders consisting of 13 boys and 3 girls asks you for an example of
alliteration.....don't say,

"big bouncy balls"

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Turning Gay

Sometimes I find myself in the midst or even on the edge of conversations where it becomes nearly impossible not to jump in and share. I usually refrain, but not without sometimes having to do something physically painful, like biting off a finger.

One such "conversation starter" that I hear repeatedly here in the great state of Oklahoma is "he turned gay". ????? Ok, I realize that not everyone has had the luxury of living in Gay Boot-Camp 101 the way I did for 7 years. But, come on...."turned gay"? And these are not religiously fundamentalist folks who are spouting this little turn of words. For the most part, these are reasonably educated people who just haven't taken the time to really think about the implications of their words.

Many of the religiously fundamentalist folks (even the educated ones) don't believe there's any such thing as a gay person to begin with. They've all ready got big banners printed up with the words "I TOLD YA SO" ready to take to the streets the next time there's a big earthquake in San Francisco. I won't even address that kettle of rotten fish.

I'll speak from my own experience which has been enhanced with a great deal of research, relationship with actual gay people (Christian ones, *gasp*), and actual time spent contemplating this stuff.

Tdub (Todd) didn't TURN gay. He was gay when I married him. In fact, he was gay during his first marriage-yes, the one where he fathered two sons. Apparently, the fact that he hadn't admitted to anyone, most importantly HIMSELF, that he was gay makes it appear to the very casual observer that he "turned" gay.

I went out with this guy a few weeks ago who, upon hearing a few scant details of my marriage history responded with "Well, you aren't going to turn me gay." There was a pause in the conversation big enough to drive a semi through, and in an act of grace almost as big as the one it took to stay married to Tdub, I simply let that go. Sometimes it's just not worth it, not to mention the fact that we had a really awesome dessert coming.

Tdub "came out", he didn't "turn gay". He did make choices that were different than the ones I was hoping for upon that decision. For him, coming to terms with the way that he had always been meant divorcing me and tearing our family apart. I'll not mince words here. However, I believe it was, for him, a matter of integrity and I choose to respect that decision and live with integrity in my own life. Love is patient, love is kind, love NEVER fails....even if others make decisions that hurt me.

Another really bothersome aspect of the whole "turned gay" opinion is that many times the people speak with great authority yet have nothing more than having watched TV to back up their belief. The closest many of them get to actually having any sort of relationship with a living, breathing gay person is some lady at work who had a son who "turned gay". You don't have to talk to them very long to figure this out. Nevermind that there's been scholarly research done on the subject as well as an internet chocked full of articles, studies, and anecdotal information of the sort I offer here. It would be like me giving you my opinion of the Vietnam War based on nothing more than having watched M*A*S*H reruns....and yes, I realize that show was set in Korea!

The bottom line is this; I could no more "turn gay" than I could turn into a purple bunny rabbit. And if I WERE a purple bunny rabbit, I would hope that the other bunnies would allow me to live among them free of shame and able to make decisions about my bunniness that did not include trying to "turn" me into something I never was.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

School and School

I'm in the thick of this mostly online master's degree program. And my first observation is that trying to "study" while online is like conducting a prayer vigil at the Macy's Day Parade. It's not the best environment for those of us with attention issues.

However, I'm actually doing fine with it and managing to complete everything on time and with success.

In other school news, I know I've talked like this before, but this time I mean it: Teaching 6th grade reading is the absolute BEST teaching assignment I've ever had.....EVER.

And in still OTHER news....if you are my sibling and you are reading this....I need to come see you for Fall Break! ;)

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Online Connections

I still get emails quite frequently from someone who's been reading the blog for years or sometimes someone who's stumbled onto it and read the whole thing over the course of a night or a couple of days. It's awfully encouraging to hear from other men and women who've found encouragement here. I don't think they actually find answers (and I'm certainly not arrogant enough to think I actually have any of those), but they do find that the way they are feeling is "normal" and that it's possible to maintain some level of sanity and a positive outlook in the midst of a purely tragic situation.

Then, occasionally, I'll stumble onto a blog out there from a woman or man who is at this moment living the sort of tragedy that I lived during my marriage to Tdub. It's tough to read, yet I'll find myself reading it in the same sort of way I can't stop scratching a mosquito bite.

I've been reading one of those stories lately. I'll not link to it because I'm not sure they'd want more attention brought that way and they appear to have their own little blog circle of friendship formed much the way I have mine here.

Many of the circumstances of their story are different. They've only ever been married to one another and their children belong to them together. They're not involved in any sort of therapy to try and change or manage the guy's attractions to other guys. They are both blogging about their experiences and feelings. Also, and I admire this so much, the guy came out to his wife of his own volition. He wasn't acting out sexually or forced to come clean with her because their marriage was in deep trouble. Basically, it appears to me that she is his best friend and he could no longer keep it from her, even though he apparently married her believing that it was something he could "work through" or "get past".

And that's where the stories, theirs and mine, intersect in a way that brings it all rushing back and gives me a kinship with them that runs deep, cutting to the very core of who we are as human beings. Reading their story reminds me of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. It's connection. Finding other folks who related to me, particularly in the middle of something so daunting, gave me a sense of purpose and even hope that all was not, and is not, for naught.

There's nothing much worse than living as a victim in some sort cruel play. It's a hopeless feeling. But somehow, knowing that I was not alone, gave me hope.

I want that couple to know that there is hope, so I'll keep checking in on them. And even though there are times as I read their story that I feel like I'm watching a train wreck in slow motion, I'm here for them. Just as so many of you have always been here for me.

love and grace,

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Friday, October 03, 2008

The New Geography

Just stumbled upon this and thought it was worth sharing.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Graduate School

Alert readers may recall that my decision to stay in Sulphur ultimately came down to a grant program offered by my school district whereby I can get my master's degree free of charge.

This is the book for one of the two classes I'm taking this semester.

At first glance, I was sure there'd been a mistake and that I'd inadvertently received the large-print or maybe even the Braille version of this text. It's over 2 inches thick, weighs in at just over 6 lbs., and has one-thousand fifty eight pages of 10 pt. font not including references and index.

Furthermore, the title says it's a HANDBOOK. I'm thinking of affectionately calling it "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Teaching Kids To Read But Were Too Stupid To Ask Because You've Never Read This Book." I could actually fit that on the cover.

Hmmm.... Sharpie marker, anyone???