career

Stand Up Straight

Posted on Updated on

DISCLAIMER:  I ❤ my high school classmates – Some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known grew up in the same little town I did. Loved them then, love them now. But I absolutely h.a.t.e.d. high school.  And now I teach high school.  Maybe I love it because I feel like I can make it little less awful for some.  Or maybe I enjoy the sweet redemption of figuring it all out now.  Either way, it’s all part of the most awkward, uncomfortable, confusing stage of development.  Nothing new under the sun.

 

“Stand up straight” is apparently what you’re supposed to whisper, like some weird form of Tourettes, to your self-conscious daughter any time she’s dressed up, in public, or otherwise already overwhelmingly preoccupied with her appearance.  And the automatic response of the daughter will always be…drumroll…the twitch/scoff/eye-roll combined with the deeper, more dramatic slouch, which translates from Cavegirl as “Leave me alone or I’ll embarrass you as much as you embarrass me.”  (“Ha!  Not possible!” –me now, as the mom.)

So why didn’t I?

STAND UP STRAIGHT joins my list of “Things I Would Tell My Teenage Self to Do Now That I’m Old and Know Some Stuff”, along with MOISTURIZE (even though super dry flaky skin is in during your teens.  sorry),  USE BOTH STRAPS on your backpack ya fool (even though no one will dare do this your entire four years of high school for fear of looking like a nerd…Thanks a lot, Urkel), and FORGET ABOUT BOYS…you’re not going to find yours here (even though your second grade teacher will officiate fake weddings for her favorite students, perpetuating the idea that marriage is your primary purpose in life.  somebody has to help sustain the population of small towns in Texas I suppose).

Here’s why I didn’t stand up straight.  I figured it out this week while observing slouching teenage girls.

Every school has cliques.  I teach at a very large high school now, and there are so, SO many.  Mine had two.  Cool, and Uncool.  The weed-out process is much easier that way.

In accordance with ancient law, Cool status could only be guaranteed to four girls and four boys – prettiest/richest girl and her best friend, cutest/richest boy and his best friend, and the top male and female athletes, and their best friends.  It’s the law.

An appeal can be made for special situations.  I’ll call this group Cool by Association.  CBAs can be promoted up from Uncool, but only while in close proximity to a Cool who acknowledges them, and only while properly cloaked in current brand names.  

Uncool included everybody else — musicians, thespians, lesbians, late-bus riders, super smart kids, fairly dumb kids, poets-who-live-in-trailerhouses, mouth-breathers, chubby boys with a sense of humor, and Wanna-Bes.  ( = girls who thought they were All That, when someone or something had clearly pre-determined that they weren’t.)

To this very day at high schools far and wide, the privilege of the Cools’ birthright comes with the responsibility to patrol and monitor the Uncools for confidence-levels deemed too high.  (Most Cools are born with eyes that can eradicate confidence.  CBAs can learn with diligent practice and imitation.)  Their primary targets are the Wanna-Bes, who tend to bring it upon themselves.  Trying a new makeup technique? – Side-eye with a hint of judgment!  Donning cutting-edge fashion? – Stare and pantomime holding back laughter!  Walking with confidence instead of staring at the ground in front of you? – Mimic, mock, repeat! a.k.a. Off with your head!  

The long-term scars are deeper than I realized.  I learned early on from these distinctions, that girls should NOT  have confidence.  Confidence equaled snobbiness.  Well-behaved conforming female Uncools, with ANY hope of becoming a Cool someday, are

  1.  not to accept compliments – discredit them as quickly as you can by immediately listing your flaws,
  2. not to stand up straight – if you walk with your shoulders back, you’re just trying to make people look at your boobs…big shirts, slouch, whatever, just hide ’em any way you can,
  3. permanently disqualified from ever fraternizing with the Cools if and when they decide to go past first base with a boy…in which case, you are granted lifetime status with the Sluts.  They live in eternal purgatory outside both cliques.  Sluts, lepers, kids with facial deformities, and fat kids with no sense of humor.  

So why, now, at 41, does it still feel awkward to adjust my posture, head up, shoulders back, core lifted?  If you haven’t read Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, by Maya Van Wagenen, based on her 8th grade diary, you should.

untitled

And when you get to the chapter about poise and posture, you’ll find yourself thinking about your posture, holding your chest up like a precious jewel is resting atop your beautiful breasts.  And it’ll feel nice.  And it’ll also feel like you’re trying to be something you’re not.  And that is why my mom was doomed to fail, trying to convince me to stand up straight and present an air of confidence.

And what’s so wrong with trying to be something you’re not?  To think you’re perfect is snobby, right?.  Thankfully, as adults, Cools and Uncools look a whole lot alike.  We’re all dressing ourselves now, we live in towns where our last names mean nothing, and there are very few athletes left.  We are grateful for ANY AND ALL compliments we receive, we admire each other’s confidence, and we’re all working pretty hard trying to be something we’re not – moisturizers, Pilates, (or Pilates cheap’n’easy cousin, Spanx), caffeine, repeat…We’re all just trying to recreate our high school selves, but this time with more wisdom, confidence, and kindness, and less drama, AquaNet, and junk food.

Also, I tell myself “Stand up straight” at least twenty times a day.  Moms know.

Other notes to 1990s Angie from the future:

  1.  You’re going to go back on your word to never ever stop tight-rolling.
  2.  Columbia House will send you bills for twenty years for that 99 cent Paula Abdul collection.
  3.  Musicians end up being the Cools.

Girl Power!

Posted on Updated on

{It’s not what you think.  I’m not a feminist.  Just defining some things that make life better.  And I’m a girl, soooo….}

The English language does an obscene injustice to the vast color-wheel of envy and coveting experienced by the common female.  Oh, we don’t like to admit it.  But admit it.  Even the best of us has experienced this little demon at some point in our life.

Looking back, my 20s and 30s were plagued with it.  I may not have been symptomatic, but I was a carrier.  Envy presented as “ambition”, but it was there.  Friends had higher paying jobs.  Other friends (or worse…the same ones) had *perfect* marriages (cough cough).  Other friends had nice homes (I realize now I was envious of absurd mortgage payments).  I longed for the country club membership, the nice car, achievements that would bait all the likes, the job that made me sound uber important, or the husband with one so that I could attain the highest of all female statuses…Housewifery.

So I joined the Junior League, bought the used Mercedes, spent money on clothes, got the Master’s degree.  Moved into the bigger house, bought tickets to Charity Ball, earned five half-marathon medals, and got a whole lotta likes.  Know where all that got me?  Exhausted and broke.  And even a little more envious because it appeared that others did it with such ease (cough cough).

Not that my 40s instantly propelled me into total WGAS-mode, but I must admit, I’ve been freed from the chains of the things I used to care the most about.  I’m sure this change was supported by moving out of Victoria and into a life of near-anonymity, as well as baptism into Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love way of thinkingEither way, I’ve found happiness in downgrading cars (come on and hit me with your best shot).  The last thing I want is no job (more jobs is actually what makes me happy).  And maybe even laster than that is wanting to dress up to go to a fancy restaurant or sit poolside with people who American Expressed their perfect lips and thighs.

After five years of half-marathons, I had one excuse after another – divorce, family in town, that little matter of the tib-fib fracture.  The last time I met up with my original running girls (why did we not call ourselves ORG?) was 2012 – I went to cheer for them and eat with them and hear their war stories from the course.  And I felt like a loser.  I love these girls with all my heart, but here they were, more fit than ever, obviously more reliable than me, and with more medals than me.  I was happy for them, but I was sad for pathetic old me.  Guess that was which friend I was.  The loser one.

ndodbtw

What. the actual. hell.  Same meet-up last weekend…they ran, I showed up to eat.  Guess what we discussed over Mexican food and the smell of Icy Hot?…Their run, of course. Their training.  Their journeys.  But also my book.  And my next book.  My happy grown-ass independent daughter.  My awesome new job.  Our years until TRS kicks in (I think this officially makes us adults).  Our amazing husbands and kids.  I’ve done a hella lot this year.  So training for a marathon wasn’t one of them.  WGAS!

I owe this realization to a meal and conversation about running in that very same Mexican restaurant ten years ago with the very same friends (God bless Lupita, whoever she is).  I owe a lot, in fact, to watching them both (should I call them Sarcy or Marah?) and their desire to study and truly learn the sport (thanks, RPG, for everything), commit to something and stick with it, and support each other through accountability and lots of laughs.  I have those traits!…just didn’t use them in the same way.  And guess what?  I’m not sure if I was more proud of their marathon or if they were more proud of my book.

Moral of the story:  In good times, and bad times, I’ll be on your side forever more.  That’s what friends are for.

images31go0rmy

So yeah, that’s what friends do.  Sorry and sad it took me this long to enjoy it this much.

176694-that-s-what-friends-are-for

ENFP -Why it’s fun/terrible being one

Posted on Updated on

One thing my boss learned about me in my final weeks at my job is that I’m a tightly-wound ball of loose, fun, colorful, frazzled yarn.  Or maybe I’m a loosely-braided ball of really hard, tough wire.  I don’t know…Who knows?!?!  She looked at me with great sympathy and said, “It must be really stressful being you – you’re a walking contradiction of OCD and ADD.”

enfp-insightgame

 

I was known as the free-spirit, the hippy, the rule-breaker, the “what box?” person in our office of 16.  So it seemed strange to her when I melted down in my office and busted out with the admission that my house was in disarray because of the reno, my treadmill was out of commission, and it made me feel like my whole life was falling apart.  Okay now that does sound dramatic.  However, I thrive on structure and schedules and to-do lists, yet I operate in un-structured spontaneous irreverent ways.  I finally realized that the lists and order are coping mechanisms I’ve developed to survive in the real world.

This got me thinking…Is there any part of me that is wholly and completely any one certain way?  (These things are probably not unique to ENFPs, and certainly not unique to me…just a little self-realization at 40, that’s all.)

Political views:  With regards to taxes, government-involvement, economic policy, domestic and global protection…completely Republican.  With regards to personal decisions …completely Democrat.  I realize this pretty much makes me a Libertarian, which pretty much makes me screwed.

Religious views:  My dad, grandfather, and uncle are/were Southern Baptist ministers.  I was raised in the church and am so thankful for it.  I like believing in the things the Bible teaches.  I like the way I feel/am/behave when I leave church.  I think a lot of the world’s problems would be solved if more people knew and followed Jesus.  I don’t believe everyone else has got it all wrong and are doomed to hell.  I don’t believe science had no part in this.  I don’t believe we should look any differently at people who don’t believe like we do.  I don’t believe what Christianity is taught to be, in most cases, was what was intended. And even if I’m still afraid to be so brash as to claim that any parts of the Bible are wrong, humans are.  All the time.  And we’re the ones trying to read/teach/impose it.  Language and metaphors and translations and interpretations are real actual things.  Jenn Hatmaker says it best in her book, For the Love…”If it isn’t also true for a poor, single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.”  Fact check, mic drop.

Career:  I need someone to tell me exactly what to do, and then I want to do it completely differently and them not get mad.  Good thing I’m going to be a teacher again.

Homosexuality:  If you’re going to use the Bible for reference to claim something as a sin, you have to use the same Bible as your reference that God created everyone in His image.  Never met a gay person who was faking it.  Never met a gay person who hadn’t tried to be straight.  I have lots of friends who are gay.  Some of them are the very best at showing God’s love – why should I care who they show it to?

Gun control:  Guns should be controlled, but if I want one, please sell me one.  I don’t care about privacy when it comes to this topic.  I believe in lots of regulations here.  But I think the sudden surge in taboo-izing guns is part of the problem.  I want to be the one to decide who gets to buy guns and who doesn’t.  I think that might help.

Marriage/Family/Divorce:  Going to have to make this one a separate post.  Stay tuned.

Parenting:  I want to give them tons of structure, bedtimes, schedules, rules to follow, expectations to meet, with tons of independence, freedom, and self-expression.

Media:  I hate the media.  100% completely.  There!!!…I found something without a “but”.

**The Myers-Briggs Personality test categorizes ENFPs (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception…also known as Campaigners, Champions, Idealists) as constantly contradicting themselves because they genuinely see multiple sides to most situations.  Sorry not sorry.

In search of summer…

Posted on Updated on

I’ve had five days off since my last day on the job, yet, in typical fashion, I’ve managed to make sure I don’t feel like it’s summer break.  Not sure what’s in my head (single-mother syndrome?), but I’ve always tried my derndest to make sure no one has an opportunity to see me as “lazy”.  I feel like I’ve always been so excited about summer, but never really really done what you’re supposed to do with it.  Today might be different..

th68VH678K
This looks like what I feel like, minus the hat.  I don’t feel this confident in a white fedora.
thRK0BXQJF
This is an actual photograph of me, for reference.

I’m going to justify some down-time today to write.  Kwame Alexander answered a fourth grader’s question, “What is the hardest part about writing a book?” with the response, “BIC.”  Butt In Chair.

Well my butt is in the chair, it’s 10a.m., I have a glass of Skinny-Girl wine in front of me and no bra on, so, by golly, it must be summer so I’m writing.

I’ve had a lot of posts swirling around in my head, and though I haven’t made time to write any of them down yet, I’m going to make a list of the posts I want to write over the next three or four days.

  1.  My soon-to-be-published book, Where Poppy Lives – past lessons, present timeline, and future plans
  2.  My conflicting views on just about everything & why they make me happy-slash-sad
  3.  Inspired divorce (this one might merge with #2)
  4.  Home reno update
  5. The boys of summer

I’m going to try something new for me…I’m going to leave this page right now, and I’m going to set up the drafts of each of these pages.  Then I can add to them as I think of things – this technique more closely resembles my brain anyway, so it might be a better mode of operation for me.  I will set them up, type a little, go get on the treadmill (better not take a second sip of this wine), and come back to each of them as required.

We leave for the lake (hallelujah) this Saturday, so my goal is to complete(ish) each of these by then because I want to be free of all brain activity by the time we get there.  THAT will truly feel like summer.  (Right?…I think…not sure I know what it’s supposed to feel like.)

thX951TBVI

 

 

Wah, wah, wah. (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

thYPMOMT2A

I just deleted the whole post I had started (and almost finished) here because of how whiny it sounded when I reread it just now.  I’ve been crying a lot.  That’s it.  Don’t know why (maybe job-change, house in boxes for upcoming reno, band seemingly slowly dismantling, treadmill isn’t working, watching Call the Midwife, allergies, lack of sleep, being 40, maybe.)

In the meantime I blamed everything else imaginable.  I know it’s not my husband’s fault, or lacrosse’s, or his band’s, or anything else I accused.  But I can’t really fix any of the likely culprits.  So I’m going to stop whining.  (I might not be able to stop crying, but I can stop whining.)

thDWFLUNYL

That’s it.  Short post.  If I keep going it’s going to turn into whining.  (And probably crying.) 

oprah-crying

Updates (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

The A-Z Challenge was over for most people yesterday…I’m a little behind, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to evaluate progress in the areas I’ve been challenging myself.

A- Acceptance:  Took the A-Z Challenge…still with it.  Took the new job…still excited!

B – Boys:  I’ve stopped trying to understand boys.  Boys and girls are not meant to understand each other.  I am still trying to educate my boys (the little ones) about girls and mostly how to navigate the differences and not piss off the ones you like.

C – Confidence:  Meh.  Wearing a short-sleeved shirt today – does that count?

D – Diet:  Bummed about this one.  Stopped most carbs and alcohol, started Insanity and Workweek Hustle with my FitBit (getting in no less than 10,000 steps a day)…Not a pound lost.  Depressed and discouraged, I rage-ate pizza and wings a few times.  Even besides that, probably not doing too well with this one – and DEFinitely not doing as well as I know how to (as my skinny gynecologist pointed out when I expressed concern about recent weight gain.  Bitch.  Jk, I like her.)

E – Expectations:  I’m realizing that my internal clock ticks really fast…that’s helped some.  I’ve also had a conversation with my hott husband that might have given me more insight than before on how his brain works and why some things don’t happen the way I expect them to.  Besides, I would hate it if I knew what went on in my head went on in his too.

F – Facebook:  This one took for a while, but then I found myself stoplight-scrolling uncontrollably.  Today, I’m going to make the conscious effort once again to not look unless I have something I specifically want to find.

G – Grout:  Picked it…going with the one that’s the most like taking me on a date…cheap and easy 😉

H – Husbands:  Great success in loving without fear.  It isn’t as hard of a task as I thought…and it feels so good.

I – Intoxication:  Went drink-free for 5 1/2 days.  Have had many nights without, a few nights with one (none while home alone), and a couple of nights with two.  Probably need to do a 5-day drought every few weeks.

J – Jeri:  Called her so she could keep rubbing off on me.  Need to do it again soon.

K – Keuka:  57 days on the countdown!

L – Learning:  Learned how to delete a row on an inserted table in Word today…so I’d say this one is a success 😉

M – Magazine Perfect:  I have forced myself to leave a few things out that are not bothering anyone.  I haven’t straightened the pillows on the boys’ playroom couch in over a week.

N – News:  This one has been great – not tempted at all.  And the couple of times that I’ve caught the news, it’s been glaringly obvious how terrible it is.  It’s like eating super-sweet desserts after you’ve given up sugar for a few weeks…bleh.

O – Over-analyzing/Obsessing/Over-observing:  Caught myself reading every license plate the other day and then spending way too much brain energy arguing with myself over what year model a particular car was, but otherwise pretty good, maybe?

P – Plans:  Kinda had a grip on this one, then had a long discussion with hott husband that made me shift my grip, if that makes sense.

Q – Quixotic:  Still me.  Still happy about it.

R – Reading:  Haven’t read in a few nights.  Might put down the pedagogy and pick up a YA novel that I’d want to recommend to my future students.

S – SCR (aka Hott Husband):  Love. Him. So. Much.

T – Testing and Treadmills:  Too soon.

U – Updates! – Done!

Testing and Treadmills (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

So, if you’re one of the few, the proud, who have followed my journey into figuring out what I want to do now that I don’t need benefits – aka, my mid-life crisis – you’ll know that I’ve recently resigned my “coveted” (ha!) position as Curriculum Specialist and taken a job back in the classroom.  I guess I’ll call that Step One.

I’m mixing reality shows, but somewhere between Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and The Biggest Loser, I know that at some point, a failed contestant has to look at the camera and say, “I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader,” and Bob Greene says to the kicked=0ff contestant “I’m sorry, but you are NOT the biggest loser.”  I feel like when I walk off this job on June 14th, I’ll gladly look into a camera and say “My name is Angie, and I am NOT a curriculum specialist.”

And that makes me proud right now.  I want to be a teaching specialist…A kid specialist, a learning and reading and thriving specialist, but not a curriculum specialist.  Sure you have to have a curriculum – even though I managed to be a successful teacher for many years either without one or without paying attention to one.  But I understand you have to know what you’re supposed to teach, and by nature, you need some measure of your and your students’ success with those goals.  And since there are thousands of teachers in Texas – hundreds or more of which are not naturally good – there has to be a common assessment.

I don’t want a common classroom, though.

My treadmill broke last week, and it’s been stressing me into a depression.  I’ve learned to do my running and walking in the comfort of my pollen-free bedroom while watching Keith Morrison lay out the details of murder after riveting murder.  There is no way on earth I’m going back outside in the dark where the mosquitos are and it might be humid and there aren’t – fortunately and unfortunately – any murders to be solved.  So I’ve done no running or walking, just cursing a lot at my treadmill and the scales.

Retaining-Food

So here’s where I’m going with this:  The scales are how I measure and celebrate my hard work on the treadmill.  But without the treadmill, I am stubbornly content to just watch that number go in the wrong direction and bitch about the broken treadmill – as if that’s how to fix it.  Tests are how we measure our hard work in the classroom – Is that the way I’m going to measure and celebrate my hard work with kids???  Of course not!  Never have, why start now?!?  I want to find alternative ways – aka “the right ways” – to sneekily achieve what our advantaged students achieve – without the moaning and dread and copy machine.  I know this is possible.  Dear friend, colleague, mentor, in a conversation with a Resource teacher, flailing a STAAR practice workbook and bitching about the broken copier, reminded her that what kids really need to is to be reading.  Resource teacher said to friend, “It’s not what your kids need, but it’s what my kids need,” (paraphrasing) to which friend replied, in her head, “My kids don’t need that because they REEEEAAAADDDD!!!!”  I know these truths to be self-evident.

46dbbefd4fc561e2ee3864f01956eccb
(Really???? Gag me – I don’t mind the STAAR, but I’m certainly not going to attempt to motivate teenagers by having them reach for a test.)

 

So translate, brainiac! (me to self) – If you can find alternative ways to facilitate a learning environment that achieves the same (or better) measures of success in the classroom, why are you so uncreative and unwilling with the running??  You ran outside for decades when it was all you had, but you’ve been spoiled.  Would you be complaining about your kids scores if you had given up on them too?

Not sure what the challenge here is, but I think it’s along these lines:  You know what the goal is, and you know what your resources are, and you know what you have to do…Don’t blame a broken treadmill for your lack of activity.  And don’t ever blame a set of broken standards for your lack of creativity.

thU1YOCX9Y

 

Reading (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

I’m not sure how deeply I can delve into this subject in one post.  But since I’ve accepted this new exciting teaching position, I’ve been paying way more attention to the gurus, who, it turns out, operate out of good old common sense – something I think our schools have forgotten how to do.

So in honor of my “R” post (on the day I should actually be on “W”), I thought I’d share some nuggets of wisdom from my favorite book right now by my teacher-crush, Donalyn Miller (world’s biggest advocate for self-selected, non-graded non-worksheeted reading):

thebookwhisperer1

(some research cited from other sources within the book)

“…students in remedial settings read roughly 75 percent less than their peers in regular reading…Students who do not read regularly become weaker readers with each subsequent year.  Meanwhile, their peers who read more become stronger readers – creating an ever-widening achievement gap.  Dubbed the Matthew effect by Keith Stanovich…The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

“Students who don’t read, even if they are capable of completing reading tasks at school, run the risk of falling behind students who read more than they do.  After all, Mark Twain reminds us, ‘The man who does not read great books in no better than the man who can’t.’

“My husband, a self-proclaimed slacker in school, figured out that when he finished his assignments earlier than other students, his reward was more work.  He began to work more and more slowly, stretching out assignments that he could easily have finished…”

“I do not advocate reading to my students because it is good for them or because it is required for school success.  I advocate reading because it is enjoyable and enriching.”

“What makes reading painful is when it takes longer to do reading worksheets about a book than to actually read a book.” (-a student named Sklyar)

“Students are not reading more or better as a result of the whole-class novel.  Instead, students are reading less and are less motivated, less engaged, and less likely to read in the future.”

 

Quixotic (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

Full Definition of quixotic

1 :  foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially :  marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action

This is me.  In a nutshell.  Emphasis on “nuts”.  Actually, maybe it’s a Nut’s Hell…hmmmmm…?

I have two things to say about this word – this word that I didn’t know until our band’s leader and songwriter wrote a song with the line, “So quixotically we press on toward the sunset” in a song called “Eden for Our Time”.  It’s stuck in my head, and since I’m trying to quickly catch up to where I should be in the alphabet by now, I’m going with it.

1st – I don’t care if the words “foolishly”, “impractical”, and “rash” are used to describe this trait, I like it.  I don’t want to change that part of who I am.  What I can and should change is the reaction I tend to have when my “lofty romantic ideas” don’t pan out.  I mean, it is kinda why I’m leaving my current job and going back into the classroom (aka, Angie-land), but I think leaving is better than getting upset (which is still the feeling I’m having every day that I’m finishing out current job).  Can I have these two things simultaneously?  Can I be a dreamer and a visionary and still learn to not get upset when the rest of the world doesn’t follow?

2nd – I need to learn more words.  I love words, and I love writing, yet I’m not particularly adept in the area of colossal superfluous colloquies…and I wish I was.  (I have to use the word “somnambulating” in a song on our upcoming album, and I had to ask what it meant AND how to say it…ugh.)

Cheers to Jack:

f8bc29f32bab9e655b2fce1fc99914a1thOR9QDTPO

Learning (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

Next on my Report Card of Life and things marked as “Needs Improvement”…Learning.  I felt like high school was a lot of time spent doing things that would never matter in real life, and I hated high school.  I felt like college was everything I was ever going to need in life, and I loved college.  And I loved graduate school.  And I loved the classes I took after grad school.  But I block out the noise and flip the “Ignore” switch if someone tries to teach me how to hold a golf club or explain north, south, east, and west because why do I care? 

09us30013

And thus, you have the summary my self-diagnosed learning disability.  (Second opinion from husband confirms.)

I don’t really think I have a disability – Contrary to the definition of a disability, I’m pretty sure I chose mine and practiced it to a craft.

It is one of the big reasons why I am so happy to have resigned from my current position to go back to the classroom.  My current (soon to be ex-) job requires me to learn how to do a lot of things that I don’t really care about, and they all make me feel mentally disabled.  The things I DO like to learn about in my job all have to do with teaching and learning.  I’ll learn about learning all day from Donnalyn Miller, Jeff Anderson, Kelley Gallagher, Penny Kittle, Julie Lythcott-Haims, and just about any Ted Talk I can get my hands on.  I love learning about forensic science – that post is coming soon.  I love learning about eating right and home decor.  But try to show me how to import a document into an Excel template and customize the margins, and you might actually be able to hear the sound of my brain powering-down.

sshot50e5ddc6a2de5

I’m happy that, as I’m writing this, I am firmly reminded that I do still have the superb capacity to learn new things.  It’s the learned-stubbornness against things that I rely on others to know that I need to try harder to shed.

*voice in my head*  I’m still having a hard time understanding why I need to fix this flaw – I don’t feel like this one affects me or anyone else negatively…Geez, I must really have a lot of work to do on this one.

Intoxication (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

This next self(ish)-improvement challenge is way less selfish than the rest.  And it’s not one I planned on assigning myself when this A-Z challenge month started:  I’m going to stop drinking.

I know…it sorta feels like I just started!  I didn’t drink in high school – Not (only) because it’s illegal, but because I hadn’t met a drink I liked yet.  And in high school and early college, you kinda just have to accept what someone else is willing to illicitly provide you.  I did, however, learn to hold a drink in my hand.  I would accept a beer or a Bartles & Jaymes so that I didn’t have to go through the complicated turning-down-a-drink exchange, and then I would just hold it.  I might take a teeny tiny sip and try not to wince if I thought someone was watching, but that was it.

Then I discovered the good drinks.  But you had to get out of your house and go somewhere where they make them.  And then you have to pay for them.  So that was rare.

Then I got a divorce and had lots of time and nobody keeping track of my finances (including me.  another story.)  I went to Greek Bros. an average of two weekdays for Happy Hour and usually at least once over the weekend with friends or my band.

Then I moved here and stopped all that nonsense.  I married a man who makes the best drinks and is happy to make them.  And he gladly does a couple of times a week.

Then I learned how to make them myself.  Not a good thing.

MjAxMy02OGY2MDhjYjc1YThiYWZm

Last night, at a 40th birthday GNO, I had too many.  Yada yada yada, I woke up this morning knowing what I needed to do…Just stop.

I’m not saying I’m never drinking again, and I’m not setting an end date.  But I do know that it’s easier to be the one who says Thanks But I Don’t Drink than to only have one.

It’s a perfect storm right now, really…trying to clear my mind, get into shape, practice all this self-discipline I’ve never had before, save money, and I’m not stressing about my work like I was since I know I’m half-way out tha do’.

So here’s to tea and all the money and calories I’m about to save.  You margarita drinkin’ hooligans can have ’em all to yourselves.  Cheers!

 

Expectations (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

Last night, I was thinking out loud to hott husband on the phone (he’s in Atlanta on business) about what my “E” post should be.  Since the theme of Accepting Self(ish)-Improvement Challenges has poked its little head out, I now have parameters.  He first said “Exercise“, to which I explained, unsuccessfully, how yesterday’s “Diet” post was really more about Exercise.  I reminded him of my theme, and he – without hesitation – blurted out “Expectations“.

Ouch.

I know this is the one thing that sometimes tries to divide us.  I’m sure it’s really at the root of most people’s problems.  But we’ve definitely identified it as a big difference between the two of us, and my way of managing expectations as being the spark that starts most of our very VERY few conflicts.

Example:  I walk very fast.  I do everything very fast.  I can go to the store with a list of 20 items, get in get out and get home in thirty minutes.  I walk in the door, and hott husband says, “Oh my gosh…you did that in like two minutes!”  Husband doesn’t do anything hastily.  He – as people should – enjoys everything.  He loves to look at items in the grocery store, even if he has no intention of buying them.  He’ll see jelly with a funny name and make up a song about it, dancing in the aisle for a good solid five minutes.  He also doesn’t spend any brain cells trying to strategically plan his grocery run…He might meander from one side of the store and back and back again four times, and it doesn’t stress him out.  All being said, it takes him for.ev.er. to make a grocery run.  He walks in the door, I’ve been running through the three most rational scenarios that could have caused his delay (accident, phone call from family member, fire in front of the exit), so not only has my expectation of time not been met, but when he walks in the door I’m expecting his “Oh my gosh you won’t believe what happened” story to explain his delay.  Instead, he be-bops in the door singing his new jelly song, and the instant he sees “the look on my face, he knows what’s about to happen.  It shouldn’t be a big deal.  It shouldn’t even be a deal.  Why do I make it a deal?

He acknowledged on the phone last night that I haven’t done that in a long time.  But there are still little cases-in-point from time to time.  Not that our relationship is comPLETEly perfect, but it’s pretty dern close.  And I can control one of the tiny little things that blemish it on a monthly-ish basis.

I look at him – Mr. Positive – and wonder how it is that he doesn’t even seem to ever have any expectations that those around him need to try to meet.  And I realize that’s just it.  He’s positive.  I am much more of a Negative Nelly when put up next to HIM, and I’ve never had to see myself that way.

Capture1

I need to let him rub off on me.  Not only do I need to Let it Go, I need to not have IT to begin with.  This one’s going to be tough.  (I think I’ve said that about Acceptance, Boys, Confidence, and Diet.  Guess it’s part of the theme too).

In about four minutes I’m resigning from my job.  New chapter.  I don’t even know WHAT to expect, so I’m going to look at that as a good thing.  This might birth tomorrow’s topic.  🙂

Diet (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

I’m not talking about “dieting” in the American twenty-first century sense…I’m talking about diet.  I’ve been eating and drinking a lot of crap lately.

Today was my first day of my fourth round of the formerly-popular Insanity workout.  My hott husband (then hott boyfriend) and I bought a used boxed set of the DVDs off Craiglist in 2013 and started on April 1st.  It was also an all-important English I STAAR testing day for me, and I worked at the high school which required my arrival by 6:45a.m., and I was just coming off a ferocious tib-fib break that had birthed a titanium rod in my left leg, screws in two places, and a cut open and stitched back together knee-cap.  Thinking back on it now, I was one tough cookie that year.

But it was all about the challenge then.  I was out to prove something.

thY120PBZI

The next year was good too…it was nice to feel like it was a little bit easier.  Last year I was such a slacker.  I was scheduled to have surgery at the end of the first month of the two month program, so I knew I was only going to get in one month.  I didn’t even do that month with any real vigor.

This year needs to be different.  I have added 10 solid pounds to my “normal” weight, 13 since the wedding.  I’m forty now.  And I’ve made the career decision for August that puts me back in the classroom where I’m happy and know I can feel my best.  My motivation has never been weight, and it’s a good thing because Insanity has never made me lose any.  But it needs to this year.

190047_10151654324252445_1554339886_n

So I’ve been announcing to anyone who will listen (my hott husband) that everything goes into high gear today…Insanity in the mornings (second Craigslist boxed set since we wore out the first set), healthy eating all day, walking in the evenings, and alcoholic beverages only for special occasions.  It’s only 8:03a.m., but so far I haven’t fallen off the wagon.  I have accepted yet another great challenge geared toward self(ish)-improvement.  Insanity will work on the outside, but diet has to be the focus to feel better on the inside.

I’m prepared to dress in pin-up fashion this Friday evening for the Art Car Ball.  Even if it’s only in my head, I want to feel better about my body from the inside out…and then I’m going to walk out the door with the confidence of someone who doesn’t judge (see yesterday’s post).

I’m also considering whether or not to provide myself some extrinsic motivation…thinking of registering for a half-marathon in some fun place – maybe San Diego?…Pretty sure hott husband wouldn’t mind a surf weekend soon 🙂

No gimmicks, packaged foods, or calorie counting…just good ol’ fashioned common sense and junk-food snubbing.  Here goes…

FB_20150413_09_40_18_Saved_Picture

 

Confidence (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

Confidence is a funny thing…it comes and goes, and not at convenient times.  I have been told many times – after dates, interviews, by friends and co-workers – that my confidence is one of my strengths.

It only makes sense that I’m an amazing actress, because this idea that I have confidence, much less enough to be admired, is one of the more bizarre things I’ve had to get a grip on as a human person.

I know the things that I am good at – I’ll even be so bold as to say that there are some things that I feel I am one of the best at…in my field…in this area…during this time period…but still.  Piano, art, teaching, all areas I feel truly confident.  I make bold choices for my home and I don’t worry about them or question what anyone else will think about them.  That’s confidence, right?

th2QZ1RAWV

There’s not even a word, however, for how I feel about other things…inconfident, unconfident, nonconfident?  It’s not the same thing as self-conscious, though I definitely suffer from that curse too.  It’s more that sense of being judged, being talked about negatively by the popular girls, being measured up against.  I can put on an outfit I love, fix my hair and makeup perfectly, choose accessories that I know people will compliment, feel fabulous about myself, and still as soon as I step out of the car to walk up to a place, I’m as close to panicking inside as a person can get without a diagnosis.  Does everyone feel this way?  Was my maturity stunted in junior high by some traumatic girl-incident that I’ve blocked out of my memory?

thGW4OF07Q

Yesterday, my hott husband and I had a chance to take advantage of the perfect day and go out on the motorcycle.  We had been wanting to ride up to The Heights and cruise through the cool old revived neighborhoods and eat at BB’s to get our Cajun fix.  Since it was 70ish degrees outside and likely to cool down as the night wore on, I wore a Nike jacket, running tights, and my new snow boots since they are warm and cover my legs where they need to be covered to serve as protection.  We parked and started walking toward the restaurant where, I must say, I immediately noticed that everyone was dressed as if it was an occasion.  Standing in line to get a table, I heard a guy behind me say to his date, “those are some awesome shoes, aren’t they,” and I swear he was pointing at my shoes and snickering.  Granted, I would have been the person in line behind me thinking “What was that girl thinking?  It’s April in Texas – put the Uggs in the attic, or better yet Goodwill,” because yeah, sometimes I’m that mean.  Oh.  My.  God.  That’s why I’m inconfident…It’s my own fault.

What the person behind me should have thought, which was what I was screaming in my head, was, “THERE’S A VERY GOOD REASON WHY THIS INTELLIGENT GROWN-ASS WOMAN IS WEARING SNOW BOOTS IN TEXAS IN APRIL!”  And now, as I preach to myself, I must remember the same.

That tattoo might be weird and not make sense to me, but I’m sure that’s not how the recipient felt about it when they got it.  That shirt might be buttoned up two buttons too high, but she or he chose that number of buttons to button and who am I to judge?  Or CARE, for that matter?

I think what I’ve learned here is that I may never know true confidence in these areas until I learn to stop worrying about other people’s choices.  Accept it.  There it is.  Just accept it.

Actually, I’m thinking about the things I don’t understand about some people and I’m realizing how hard it’s going to be to just accept certain things.  So, I’m going to learn to accept without understanding.  That’s better.  It’s like agreeing to disagree, but better because I’M going to be better for it in the end.

Ugh…this is stressful already.  But I want confidence so badly – the kind that a forty-year old should have earned by now.  I’ll let you know how it goes…this might take some falling down and getting up.

Accepted (ABC Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

The challenge said “A to Z”, doesn’t sound so hard to me.

Twenty-six days of blogging – I blog twenty-six times a day in my head.  But maybe – maybe – that’s the challenge…ONLY twenty-six things to blog about.

I read the challenge, contemplated, and accepted.

Cocky.  Sometimes I pretend I’m confident.

Acceptance means commitment.  Acceptance means challenge.  Acceptance means a schedule.  Acceptance means I could fail.

I accepted a new job last week (haven’t told my boss yet).  But I’ve committed.  I’ve been challenged.  I now have a schedule.  And I could fail.

So just as I accepted this A-Z poetry/blog challenge, I accepted a job that will make me have to plan every day again, deal with something new every day again, and put a huge part of myself out there for judgment, scrutiny, and personal and professional evaluation every day again.

But that’s what I’ve missed.  So here I am – Challenge Accepted.

 

Draft Mission Statement 1.0

Posted on Updated on

“Contemplation, concentration, anticipation, revelation…”

Lines from a Coastal Bend B-side non-hit (not that any of our other songs have made it onto the FM dial, but still).  A line our song-writer-leader-producer Tim wrote for me to sing.  I’m quite proud of the final cut of the song, but the morose nature of his creation certainly isn’t a sing-along that’ll win over new fans at your local bar…

It came to mind just now as I’m trying to write a mission statement for my life – an assignment given to me by my boss after I shared (under duress) with her the fact that I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this job and that maybe I should go back the classroom.

Then, sitting next to Danette in writing group – who showed me a post about Coastal Bend (my band) – I couldn’t help but get stuck on these lyrics (just be glad these aren’t the ones I decided to tattoo on my hip in an earlier state of duress).

After reassuring me that I AM the right person for this job (…and other flattering things I’ll get into later), my boss asked me to do two things before making a decision – one of which was to write my own personal mission statement.  She wants to see it when I’m done, and we’ll analyze whether it’s the mission statement of a teacher or that of a curriculum specialist.

I’ve written one draft already and deleted it because it was quite contrived to fit my current mood.  I always seem to connect lyrics to songs to how I’m feeling – and then proceed to sing loudly so that all the land is on my page – so I feel like the place to actually, and honestly start, is with these lyrics.  “Contemplation, concentration, anticipation, revelation” sums up what I love about people and teaching and my job and what I want to do and get better at and shout from the mountaintop.

Please ignore the fact that the name of the song I’m quoting is “Waste of Time”.  The line from a Coastal Bend song that I DO have tattooed on me is “Let Me Show You How to Fly”…which would be much more appropriate for my Mission Statement 1.0.

untitled

I believe my earthly “job” is to inspire.  Though my content skills may be surpassed by others, there is something about the transference of attitude, desire, and sound philosophy that intrigues me.  It is the one element common to all of my jobs and hobbies that I think about night and day…How is what I am doing going to inspire others?  It motivates me to push myself in ways that nothing else will.  I haven’t mastered this art, but I long to more than any other professional goal.

Stay tuned.  This will get better.  Otherwise, I think it tells me I have a career in a commune somewhere where Becca teaches Yoga and I close the day with an inspirational quote worthy of Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley.

Stage Crew Credits

Posted on Updated on

Being a step-mom is weird.  It’s nothing you can learn about from anybody else.   And I hate the term “Step-Mom” for all the reasons one would expect – including the only two adjectives I’ve ever heard preceding it…evil and wicked.  There are no (or if there are, I can’t think of them) popular examples of step-moms who are loved, appreciated, or revered.  There’s even a show devoted to stepmothers who murder their families.  As if.

I blame Disney.

Stepmother-cinderella-9889059-110-161

For the first year playing this role, I felt like a new mom – The boys’ bio-mom was scarce at best…I was Mom #1, and unmarried, so without the “Step-Mother” label.  It was great.

This past year, the ex-wife has re-emerged as Mom #1.5, and I have had to learn to play the role of Mom #1.5, and be introduced and known as Step-Mom.  It’s much harder.  They say “Step-mom” but it feels like “Step aside…we’ve got this”.

 

I started dating my dream guy when my daughter was 16.  Small-child-parenting days were over.  When she and I were on speaking terms, it was about jobs, colleges, ACTs, careers.  My dream guy had eight and six year-old boys.  It was never a decision – I never contemplated NOT being with him.  I would have taken him von Trapp style if that’s how he showed up.

But any of you who have been here know that it’s nothing like raising the first, biological one.  Older, wiser, less self-absorbed, and much MUCH more worried about screwing someone else’s kids up than your own.

So many things are different/harder with steps, boys, siblings.

Weekend before last, we had two events Friday night, two lacrosse practices, two lacrosse games, a birthday party, junior high solo and ensemble, and a high school musical on Saturday.  Then another birthday party, team photos, a grown-up painting party, and Scouts on Sunday.  I was joking with my hott husband (and the ex) that We Did It!…relieved that we hadn’t left any kids behind, hadn’t missed or forgotten anything (that we know of ;-/), and that was all with my parents and her sister in town.  Then I realized that I did nothing of logistical value.  I was merely the calendar keeper…I made sure everybody knew where everybody was supposed to be.  My hot husband did all of the transporting or arranging of transportation for everything.  He physically drove everyone everywhere they were supposed to be, and was the parent of record for both kids at each and every event.  I felt like I needed to take my “WE Did It!” back and apologize for not pitching in.

I felt bad – until I remembered these seemingly small but critical things (to which few people give/get credit):

Everyone had home-cooked meals, the little athletes and big coach had chilled water bottles, the birthday friends had wrapped gifts, everyone sported clean uniforms and nicely pressed band gear, we had reserved seating at the musical, and everyone slept on clean sheets.  I finally know what the home fires are and what it means to keep them burning.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who praises every little thing I do to contribute, but I’m sure there are many who don’t, and THAT makes me understand why second marriages run an even higher risk of divorce than firsts.  I work harder raising your two kids than I did my own but I’ll never earn the endearing title that implies unconditional appreciation – “Just Plain Mom”.

It’s his turn to be the actor on the stage who everyone knows his name, and it’s my time to work backstage to make sure he has his props and sets and zipper up to deliver the thrills without a hitch.  It’s a role I’ve not only made peace with but become fond of, and it’s a love language I didn’t even know I had until I became Step-Mom.

stage_crew_t_shirts-r52346549989a478bb42c5b7a8d2a3b5f_8nhmk_512

 

P.S. –  As I’m writing this, I’m picturing my hott husband driving around in an eighteen-wheeler (which he does not), with dark glasses and Ronnie Milsap hair singing,

“She keeps the home fires burning, While I’m out earning a living in a world that’s known for its pouring rain…
She keeps the home fires burning, Ooh and it’s her warm loving that keeps me returning again and again.”

🙂

 

So what you’re sayin’ is…

Posted on Updated on

Two weeks to go.  Two weeks left in the 30s club.  Two weeks to lose more than those pesky five pounds that I can lose for every important weekend (Halloween, concert, etc.) but that find their way back after a couple of days of Indian food, wings, pizza, and no (seriously, no) exercise.  Two weeks to be where I want to be when I have to say that I’m 40.

Way back in my late 20s and early 30s, I ran the Austin half-marathon every year.  Every year my M.O. was completely different.  But one year, I created a playlist on a borrowed iPod.  I made sure I had two hours and 35 minutes of music on it – because I knew I better not take longer than that.  I alphabetized the playlist, and I estimated what song I should be hearing at each mile marker.  Knowing my alphabet would be a skill that would help me figure out if I was ahead or behind my targeted finish time.  I probably should have spent this valuable time actually training, but this was so much more fun.  The coolest thing ever – that I could not have predicted – was that I ended up rounding the corner of the capital building with the finish line in sight as The Eagles encouraged me to take it to the limit one more time.  Tears welling up in my eyes, arms and fists pounding as if I knew how to play the drums…Sing that intro in your head – yes, it was that beautiful.

I’ve scheduled my life out in little increments.  I’ve set goals based on high school reunions, weddings, vacations, milestone birthdays – goals that included weight (usually based on pre-determined outfits), career changes, degrees earned…where I wanted to be at what point, and how to know if I was ahead of or behind the deadline (or the curve, now I see).

Now, with this little adventure I started with this blog, I’m looking around at my life as it is, and something just occurred to me.  I was really down on myself last night because I haven’t been as hell-bent of a go-getter toward this self-employment thing as I am when I’m blogging more – which is usually when I’m unsettled about something – which is usually when change occurs.  I thought to myself (and out loud to my hot husband), “I’ve had all this time to do more toward my goal, and now that I’m all happy with my job and stuff, I haven’t done anything.” (pout)

How pathetic am I?  Complaining that my life is so great that I haven’t done anything to change it, and woe is me…I’m going to turn 40 with my life so great that I don’t want to change it…Waaahh!

I’m certainly not trying to brag (though I do have the best husband, kids, a house that I love to be in, a job that right now is my dream job, and wonderful family and friends, by the way), but I think I’ve been so caught up wanting to do something heroic and remarkable, that I’d lost sight of what the picture looks like right. now.  It’s like finishing my half-marathon with Take it to the Limit, but thinking about how much cooler the Wonder Woman Theme Song would be.  YOU’RE AHEAD OF THE SCHEDULE, WOMAN!  Quichyer bitchin!

(Wonder Woman is 64.)

fat-wonder-woman

The Academy for Inappropriate Reading Levels and Writing Topics

Posted on Updated on

Pardon my rant and my break from this blog’s purpose, but maybe – if you read all the way to the end – you’ll make a connection like I did.

If anyone knows if such a school exists, please let me know so I can send a resume.  I want to work there, I want to send my children there (re-send the oldest one), and I want to watch the students blow the kids from Appropriate school districts out of the water on all things related to Life.

Who wouldn’t love for their child to be immersed in a culture- and vocabulary-rich novel, and watch them Skype with students from other states and countries so they could discuss the different ways to view the character and the problem from other points of view, and hear them discuss with their friends how a book and an author helped shape them into the person that they always knew they needed to be…?

Oh, sorry.  You can’t.  The title has the word “ass” in it.  Throw it out and ban it from any future conversations.  But continue on with your television, commercials, movies, and video games where violence and murder are the vehicle for entertainment at the touch of a button.

I’ve recently downloaded the podcast “This American Life” on my phone and I listen to it in the car constantly now – I kinda short-circuit if a call comes through or I reach my destination because I have to put the stories on hold temporarily.  It is a series of collections of short-stories, read by their authors…it’s SO great in so many ways.  I just finished #379 Return to the Scene of the Crime, and I can’t help but think of my junior high students and the writing experiences that could come out of it if only the language was more appropriate.

Apparently the kids at one local Appropriate middle school had been reading “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” but just had it ripped out of their tightly gripping hands because it was deemed “not an appropriate reading level for Advanced 6th grade students”.

I’m tiring of the word “appropriate” these days.

I went to a writing conference this past Tuesday and learned more, internalized more, and have done more with what I got from the presenter than EVER before in 17 years of being in this profession and going to conferences (zzzzz).  One word to describe this presenter?….Mildly inappropriate.  (okay, two.)  And he worked magic.

The students at The Academy for Inappropriate Reading Levels and Writing Topics really learn stuff.  I can only assume that their understanding of deeper and greater things and their desire to take risks and communicate significant (and insignificant) things in clever and crafty ways might outweigh the severe emotional damage done by hearing the word “ass” or learning compassion through children who knew no prejudices during the Holocaust when they’re 12 instead of 13.

25014-large

NEW THOUGHT, RELATED TO OLD THOUGHT

Maybe this is what’s happening to me:  I subconsciously know I’m going to make an exit from this job one day, sooner rather than later.  I always thought I wanted to have a school named after me.  Still not an unpleasant thought, and still not out of the question if I start my own school one day.  But it’s a long-shot, and I don’t even know who the people are who our schools are named for, nor what they did to get it there.  MAYbe, I want to go down in a blaze of glory.  On my way out the door, I want to shake this place up, poke the bear, stir the pot – pick your idiom – so much that this district will never be the same, and there will be folk-tales whispered about me in Language Arts classrooms when their doors are shut.  That would be much more my style.

tall_tales___slue_foot_sue1_7062

Forward Progress Under Review

Posted on

Before
Before
After counter re-do and new shower curtain
After counter re-do and new shower curtain
After wall-paint :-)))
After wall-paint :-)))
Favorite hack: over-the-door-organizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure exactly how many steps forward I’ve made this week (a lot), and I’m even less sure how to quantify the steps backward I’ve made, but I’m hoping through all of the efforts and disasters that I’m at LEAST one step ahead of where I started.

Much like in football, it’s difficult to measure and celebrate your successes when other things – in completely different areas – have gone so, so wrong.  Let’s start with the positives:

I’M PUBLISHING MY BOOK!!!!  Hallelujah, Praise Jesus, I’m doing something with this story after 10 years.  I don’t know why I have these blocks up in front of some of the things that mean the most to me, but it’s been like the birth of a baby after a long, long pregnancy (I guess).  I “purchased” a publishing team with a great reputation, particularly with the subject matter that I’m touching.

I FINISHED THE CAMPER BATHROOM!  Not nearly as gratifying as the book, but it sure makes going to the bathroom fun.  For me.  It’s probably a little girly for the three males in my house, but I think camping is pretty masculine itself, and I get dirty and smelly like boys, so at least my bathroom will be pretty 🙂  And I’m pretty much the only one who doesn’t pee on trees anyway.

MY PIANO LESSON SERVICES ARE ON CRAIGSLIST!  Again, not really worthy of ALL CAPS, but I’m sticking with a theme here.  I realize that if I pick up four or five more students with this I will be a little busier than I like, but I can’t quit my job until I have everything ready to go in other areas so I can just slip the job out from underneath and it’ll be like, “whoa, girl, you’ve got so much going on, you really had to quit that job thing.”

It’s much more difficult to acknowledge the negative things that have happened (duh).  (1) I think I’ve lost two of the piano students that I had just started the summer.  Their schedule was funky, and mine’s been too funky to be that flexible…They haven’t said they’ve quit, but I know the signs.  (2)  I’ve gained a solid three-four pounds.  You may laugh, but if you’re laughing you’re probably not 5’2.  And I know exactly why – I haven’t woken up early enough to do much exercise, and I’ve been eating more carbs than a carbivore…I blame the Astros and allergies.  (3)  There is dust on most of the surfaces in my house, there is [folded] laundry on everything with legs in my living room, and the dishes in the sink might be from more than just last night.

Those things may not sound bad to some people, I realize that.  But these are three things that I obsess about.  Yes, I obsess.  Compared to my hot husband, I obsess about everything.  But compared to most, I think I am among the “normal”.  I obsess about people I feel like I’ve let down – one of the biggest drag-you-down feelings I can think of.  I obsess about my weight – I’ve been overweight before, and I don’t care what doctors say about the number on the scale…one pound quickly turns to two which quickly turns to thirteen, and thirteen is to a short person what fifty is to the rest of you.  I obsess about my house because, well, I like it clean and picked up and I don’t like it dirty and messy.  They say that the organization of your house/office is an outward display of the state of your mind (chaos vs. structure).  But while I know my mind is waaaaay more scattered and disorganized than most, I find peace and sanity in a clean, organized house.  [Cue Jack Motley’s folksong “Who the Hell are ‘They’?]

After further review, I’ve realized that my body feels too tired and carbed out to show how freakin’ happy I am about the book, the camper bathroom, the piano ad, and my hot husband.  But just so you know, I’m stoked.  The call on the field has been confirmed.