Working in a Middle School is Weird

March 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today was a pretty normal day at school. A room of kids and the teacher busted out in Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” I heard some kids playing the Beatles on cellos, and there was an open conversation about poop. I love it! I think I’m pretty weird, to tell the truth. It’s freaking amazing that I’ve finally found other people who are weird in the same way that I am.

It’s actually an amazing thing about middle schoolers. They talk about EVERYthing. They want to know about pretty much anything you have to tell them. They’ll listen to you talk about poop and join in the conversation. They laugh about it, too.

One of the most amazing things about kids is that every day is a different day. Some days are good and some are bad, and you never know what kind of day it’s going to be until it’s over. It can change in a heartbeat, too. It’s kind of amazing, honestly. A lot of times, whatever happened the day before is wiped clean. They start the day new. I think adults can learn from kids in that way. We hang onto the things that went wrong, brood over them, let them overshadow our days and our weeks. It’s one of the most stress-relieving things I’ve learned, to be able to start new each day. The old things fall away and it’s a new start each day.

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Komen vs. Planned Parenthood

February 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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But I wanted to have my 2 cents. For the past week, articles, comments, and photos have been popping up in my Facebook News Feed about the Komen Foundation’s decision to de-fund their programs at Planned Parenthood. I have had many friends who cheered their decision because of they are Pro-Life. I think I have had more friends who scorn the Komen Foundation for their decision. I have three things to say.

1. Planned Parenthood isn’t an organization that advocates abortion. It provides options, and abortion just happens to be one of those. I have never needed to avail myself of the services of PP, so I can’t say for sure. I am pretty positive that they spend just as much time talking about adoption or keeping a child as options as they do abortion. Refusing to offer abortion isn’t going to make it go away. Why do you have the right to push your choice on me? Keep your choice to yourself.

2. After reading an article that one of my friends posted, I am pretty disgusted with the Komen Foundation. A huge portion of their money goes for “administrative costs.” If your costs are that high, you’re not donig a very good job. I don’t know that I ever bought anything pink, but I damn well won’t be ever again. I tend to find something wrong with organizations where you have to buy something in order to give money or where you receive something in return for your donation. If you’re going to give money, do it with the expectation that you aren’t getting anything back other than the satisfaction of helping fund a cause you believe in.

3. If the Komen Foundation’s decision were not politically motivated, I would understand it. PP doesn’t directly provide mammograms. The organization is meant to provide contraception and other alternatives to women. Yes, boob health does go along with a healthy hoo-ha, so it makes sense to lump them together. (I really hope you laughed at that!) If the KF had announced that instead they were going to fund traveling mammogram vans or mammogram clinics instead of PP, there would have been a tiny fraction of the backlash. As far as I heard, there was no mention whatsoever of what the KF was going to do with the money instead.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Komen Foundation’s decision, I hope that you can agree with one thing: No woman regardless of her income level, deserves breast cancer.

What was that song again?

January 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I’m working on a project tonight about the songs that mean something to me. I’m struggling to come up with more than 10. Music is at times an intense part of my life and at times an afterthought. It has been less a part of my life since the radio in my car quit working. I load music on my sorely outdated iPod that only holds 1GB worth of music(!). I rarely fill it. It mostly serves as a distraction during my morning drive the days I go into Lexington. At the same time, I have grown to savor that time in the morning where I simply have silence. If there is something that my life lacks, it is silence.

There has been music since I have been small. My dad played guitar, and I would often beg him to sing Gordon Lightfoot’s “Pony Man” for me because it was about horses. We listened to the radio on the way to school in the morning, and I think I could narrate things mentally in Kruser’s voice just as easily as Morgan Freeman’s because we listened to him for so many years. We listened to Raffi on car trips. My dad had two different tapes that he listened to for years: Tracy Chapman and the Indigo Girls. I can sing most of every song on both those tapes perfectly without accompaniment because he listened to them so often. He eventually moved on to listening to Appalachian folk singer Jean Ritchie and now listens obsessively to NPR.

I had a boyfriend who I bonded with over different bands. I think that it was a large part of our conversation. When we tapped that out, we weren’t left with a lot to talk about. I was passionate about music at that point in my life. I’ve never again felt such passion about music. Another boyfriend was equally as passionate about music. I asked him the question “What lyrics best describe you?” simply because I knew that it was a question that would delight him to think about and discover an answer.

There’s the song that Marissa sang along with our freshman or sophomore year of college. The peppy beat still makes me think of her, even though it has been long since I have heard it on the radio. She’s not that girl anymore, but she’s still there in that song every time I hear it. It encapsulates her, has sealed who she was to me at that time in a bubble so that I remember the essence of Marissa back then each time I hear it.

I’m struggling to remember what song it was that Shannon sang one day at the Wesley Foundation. We were all in the living room, and had just heard the news that singer Rich Mullins had been killed in a car accident. I can remember that crystalline moment, one of so many during those years when I was learning to be a person. Despite turning my back on much of what those years meant to me, they were years that let me learn who I was and gave me the confidence, the acceptance, and the love I needed to grow into myself. Those years were steeped in music. I attended weekly worship services that were about 50% music. I sang in the choir. I sang for fun. We were even known to have morning singing sessions in the showers.

Of all the music I miss the most, I miss singing. I don’t go to church any more, so I have no opportunity to sing in the choir. What other choirs can adults join? I just sing in my car now.

Boredom

January 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

 

I should probably write, but I haven’t been able to focus on much tonight. I’m obsessed with looking at Zentangles this evening. They’re really cool, look super neat when you’re finished, and seem like they’re easy to do. I have absolutely NO artistic talent, but I think I could do Zentangles. They’re the doodles the artistic kids did back in high school with a grown-up twist.

 

I’m probably going to go to bed shortly. I doubt I’ll go to sleep very quickly, but I’ll read or play Rayman Origins. It’s my new favorite game, and I actually don’t suck at it. I have horrible hand-eye coordination, and I die what feels like a hundred times before I finally beat a game. I’m a big fan of the Rayman games as well as Raving Rabbids. The graphics and art on this game are spectacular! I really love all the different creatures that the game makers have come up with.

rayman-origins

On Tap for 2012

January 21, 2012 at 2:11 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I wouldn’t say that my year has started out with a bang. I hope that it will get better ASAP. It’s not that there have been a lot of bad things that have happened, it’s just that the bad things are big.

But! I have 3(!!) non-fiction book ideas to work on and 2 fiction book ideas. I am coming to a point in my life where the ideas are bubbling over so much that I almost can’t NOT write.

The thing that has kept me from starting these projects is my perfectionist streak. I can’t control things in my life, but I have total control over my writing. Unfortunately, I want it to come out absolutely perfectly the first time. I don’t think it actually will, so I never start typing.

Also, I clutter up my time. I write letters, I read, I crochet, I knit. Somewhere in there I have to work, theoretically. I’m not making the time for writing. Maybe this is the year I will unclutter my time and do that.

Words Sway Me

February 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I just finished reading a stunning and heartbreaking novel about what might happen if an EMP was detonated over the U.S. Very realistic depiction, in my opinion. I don’t know what was worst; imagining this happening for real in my life, the deaths of the elderly, the cannibalism, the need to lock people up in asylums/sanitoriums again, or the death of a child due to lack of insulin. I could very easily turn into a survivalist if I think about it that much. Then again, I would head for my friend Shannon’s house in the event of an apocalypse–she would have plenty of green things growing. And a catapult or trebuchet for defense. Plus, those Baker boys are something fierce!

My mother has always said that words are weapons for me. I can slice you to pieces without ever touching you. I try to use my power for good, but it doesn’t always work. I guess it follows that words affect me in the same way. I cry much more easily while I am reading a well-written book than I do when I’m watching a movie.

There are books that I have been reading and re-reading for 10-15 years where the characters seem like old friends. There are books I can no longer read because of the deaths of those beloved characters. There is a book that haunts me, that I love, that was probably my introduction to the genre I most love; fantasy. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It is such a book of humanity and haunting beauty. I want to read it again and again, to hold the words close to me. I can’t bear it, though. The unicorn’s story is too tragic. There is both great hope and great despair in the tale.

I marvel that this one story can absorb so much of myself. I marvel that this author has woven such a tale! Such a deft hand at the pen. Where does his story come from? I want desperately to have the same skill at writing a tale, the same power to bring tears, to have someone read and re-read my words fifty, a hundred times because of their weight, their aura, their transcendence. I fear that I have nothing so pure and amazing within me. I fear that I have that skill within me, but no story to tell. I fear that I have the story, but cannot find the right words.

Words hold me in their grip, tightly. I live my life along their edges. They susurrate over my tongue, whisper in my ears, grip my soul in both their hands and haul me under the deep blue of their gluttonous mouths.

Note: Cross-posted at My Kingdom for a Book and my personal Facebook page.

January Goals

January 6, 2011 at 9:10 am | Posted in Monthly goals | Leave a comment

My first set of goals for the year!

  • Submit one poem to twenty20 Journal. Cannot complete this because the journal has closed to submissions until at least March. Boo!
  • Update each of my blogs once a week.
  • Write 1 short story.
  • Write 3 poems.
  • Finish the darn Sleestak mittens!

I think that 5 is a nice number. From my time as a special education teacher, goals should be specific and measurable! I know exactly what I want to do, I have a time limit, and it is easy to see if I have accomplished the goals or not.

Planner

January 5, 2011 at 8:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I bought a planner yesterday. It’s clean, blank, and has no entries in it. It has room for all possibilities the upcoming year holds. It’s beautiful and full of hope. It is not the blank page of writing, but something much less stressful.

One of the things I like most about myself is that I am usually able to live my life like this planner. Yesterday may have been the worst day I could have had, but I wake up in the morning to a fresh start. Yesterday is finished, and I can’t change what happened. Today is a new day. It was the same with my special education students. There could have been a huge fight the previous day. They could have flunked their test. None of that mattered. The day was full of potential, of possibility, of positivity.

It would be awesome if I could face my writing the same way!

2010 in Review

January 4, 2011 at 8:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am just now really catching up with the fact that it is now 2011! I don’t know what happened, but I got left behind. My habit the past few years is not to make resolutions, but rather to think about what I accomplished in the previous year and to set goals for the coming year. This is my list of things that happened this year.

The Good:

  • I ended up with an awesome boyfriend.
  • I don’t live with my brother and sister-in-law any more!
  • I joined the review crew at www.RiseReviews.com
  • I had a very productive writing year!
  • I started a writing collaboration with two of my great friends.
  • I finished all my Christmas presents BEFORE Christmas. (This is a HUGE accomplishment in my mind! I have a Christmas present from 2009 that still isn’t finished. Sigh.)
  • I made a new friend.
  • I added a new state to the list of places I’ve been.
  • I visited a new place–Cleveland, OH.
  • I submitted my writing to more than one place/competition/lit mag.

The Bad:

  • My cousin was murdered 10 days before Christmas.
  • My uncle passed away on Thanksgiving weekend due to a heart attack.
  • I got unceremoniously dumped, hard-core. (This led to #1 on my list of good things to happen in 2010, however–I am with  now with a boyfriend much more awesome than the previous one.)
  • I was still unable to find a full-time job.

The Bad stuff was bad with a capital B this year. I made a real effort to think of good things because of it. This year has a lot of excitement coming up. I’m starting school again. I am planning to submit my writing to some literary magazines, and maybe even a competition. I’m planning to set monthly goals. Hopefully I will be able to announce that I’ve gotten published this year! One of my wishes for the year (but something I have no control over) is that no one in my family will die for the entire year. I’d like to get through the whole calendar year without a death in my family because that hasn’t happened since 2006.

November Goals

November 1, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Posted in Monthly goals | 1 Comment

I think that from now on, there will be a monthly goal post, and I will be checking off each goal as it is accomplished. These may or may not be writing goals, but I’m going to try to keep it strictly writing. Here are this month’s:

  1. Finish the Sasquatch socks for my bf’s birthday(Nov. 2!) Complete!
  2. Participate in and complete the Writer’s Digest Poem-a-Day challenge!
  3. Participate in and win NaNoWriMo!
  4. Finish at least two more Christmas present projects.
  5. Submit to 2 literary magazines
  6. Compile poems for chapbook competition
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