Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Will Not Chew Gum in Class

I was walking around looking for a students to assist during an after-school tutoring program when I noticed two girls, having finished their other homework, literally plowing into the task of writing in their journals. They were going at it with the sort of zeal reserved for things like pie-eating contests. I was pleased, thinking maybe they'd stumbled onto some great insight and were rapidly recording it in their personal journal before their thoughts vanished into nothingness. I came closer to discover line after line of "I will not chew gum in class". They'd filled up page after page in their spiral notebooks with these sentences. I commented, "So, which class did get caught chewing gum in?" The first girl replied, "I haven't gotten caught yet, but when I do, I'll have my sentences ready." I found it sort of funny, but then a sad commentary on the lack of effectiveness of that particular teacher. I guess it would be like all of us sending in a few hundred bucks a month and then speeding down the freeway, not even bothering to brake at the sight of a patrol car. Except that we can't do that. I usually have a problem, in general, with giving writing as punishment, although I've even stooped to it in desperation a couple of times in my 19 years of teaching. However, I'd prefer they write a research report on the history or chewing gum or something of that nature.

In other news....

I GOT A NEW LAPTOP FOR MY BIRTHDAY!!! Yes...I'm blogging right this minute on a brand new Acer Laptop. It's a wonderful, beautiful, almost cosmic thing. I feel human again. The Granbury school district provided us with laptops, so I've been without one since moving to OK. My parents bought me this one last week. I'm still figuring it out. I clicked on a desktop icon today and discovered that it had a built in camera. Here a a few shots of me at my desk at school, just after I figured out I could take pictures with it.

Pretty darn cool.

Thanks for checkin' in!
love and grace,
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Birthday Time

In all the years I've been writing this blog, I don't think I've ever mentioned my birthday passing. It's not that I haven't had them, or they weren't acknowledged by my family. In fact, Tdub was a bit over-the-top when it came to birthdays and celebrating them. It was one of the things we disagreed about in a friendly sort of way. He thought birthdays should always be a big deal and you should make a big "stink" about that person and do all sorts of special things for them on that day. I was of the opinion that you should treat people more like it was their birthday on every other day. I never wrote about my birthdays back then, I think, out of some sort of rebellion against his way of thinking. I refused to bring it up because then some people would feel like they had to say Happy Birthday or get me a card or some other thing like that.

Well. That chapter of my life is over. And...


Actually, my birthday is on Tuesday, the 22nd. I like it that my birthday is close to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday because he's a hero of mine. In fact, to commemorate our birthdays I'll remind myself and everyone else of probably my all-time favorite quote. I mean, if I had to be on a desert island, and I could only take one quote with me, this one might be it.

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well." MLK, Jr.

My cousin Wes is making dinner for me tonight and he's invited my teaching partners and a few other friends. There will be about 10 of us. I am VERY much looking forward to this. They are a super fun group and the closest friends I've made since I've been in Sulphur. In fact, they'll probably remain my closest friends even if I stay here for a very long time. I've learned, from making this move, that one of the greatest things about friendship is shared history. It's odd that my history was what compelled me to start fresh in a new place, but it's also having history with folks that I miss the most. The good news is that I'm making new history with a new group. These new friends have graciously opened their hearts to me. People don't have to do that, you know.

In other news....I've rejoined eHarmony. I was in that little funk a few weeks ago....feeling really lonely and having second thoughts about this whole being single for the rest of my life idea. So...I decided to join eHarmony. Not necessarily to search for a mate...but...I guess if that happens, it happens. I had regrets from joining it last time because it was too soon and I ended up bringing pain to someone. But, the thing is this; it's always a risk to put yourself out there, and anyone who joins eHarmony has to be grown up enough to be willing to take that risk and reap the benefits as well as the potential consequences. Myself included. Yes, it could hurt to join eHarmony. I might meet someone, fall in love with them, then be rejected by them. But...guess what?? I've already survived things much WORSE than that! Or, and I actually find this more difficult to stomach, I could have someone fall in love with me and then have to hurt them. It basically stinks when you're trying to figure all this stuff out.

Oh. I'll be 45. (that way you don't have to ask)

love and grace,

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On a 'role

My friend Kathy retired last year, and her youngest child left home maybe the year before that, and right before Christmas, she came over here with all her Corning ware and said "Here. I got these as wedding presents. I figured you maybe could use them."

Then she threw back her head, let out a booming mad scientist laugh and said "Because my casserole days are over! Over! And yours are just beginning! If you need me I'll be at Club Med."

OK, well, no. That last part I just made up, but I have a feeling she was kind of saying it on the inside.

But I never realized what a difference a few casserole dishes could make in your life! I spent about four hours cooking on Sunday, and I put everything in my casserole dishes, soup, stew, mac' and cheese, chicken, lasagna. And all this week all I've had to do is throw a casserole in the oven when I get home and presto! Dinner's ready.

Which, of course, frees me up to spend quality time with the kid. We're trying to coax him into doing his pre-school homework right now. Something about drawing a picture of a pancake.

And I'll tell you another thing. I feel like this whole process has brought me that much closer to my goal of one day writing a self-help book on techniques for covert insertion of leafy green vegetables into children's food.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Sucks to be Me

I have down days. You know the sort. At least, I'm hoping you do in a really nice way...the way that means it's normal and perfectly sane to have days when it just sucks being you. I came home today feeling that way. Thinking about how I never intended to end up all alone in the world. Even though I know I'm not alone at all. And even though I recognize, intellectually, that I have no reason to be depressed or down about the fact that I've been married TWICE. Heck, gay people can't get married once, and I'm knockin' em back like a frat boy at a keg party.

Sometimes I'll hear people talk about their experiences and they'll preface the whole thing with, "if I knew then what I know now..." OK. That's just nuts. If you didn't go THROUGH the experience you wouldn't KNOW what you now know. That's the sucky part of the whole thing.

I'm always telling my students..."stay in the moment"....because they are constantly wanting to know what we're doing next. I need to take my own advice....but....the moment I'm having right this second really sucks and I don't really want to be in it even though I'll probably end up looking back in a few years and wishing I could be right back in this moment. Oh please, Lord, don't let that happen. And so...I'm thinking....well...what is it you want? Do you want to meet someone? Do you want to get married again? What do you want?

I DON'T KNOW!!! augh!

All I know is that right this second, it sucks to be me.

thanks for listening.....and I'll get better....promise.

love and grace,

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