Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's up with October?

So, here I am, three days into October, and already it's coming. Stupid dark months. I started working out, I'm still taking my drugs, I'm chatting it up with a really cute boy, and yet I'm getting those October blues.

I have to admit, it makes me feel really inadequate.

Which, in turn adds to the blues and anxiety.

Kinda dumb huh?

So, I'm thinking I need to call the doc and see if I can get more drugs - aarrgh,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Older = Old?

My bestie, Susie, turned 46 yesterday, and I think the idea of aging is beginning to get to her. Okay, really, freak her out a bit. So that, plus my upcoming 41st, has got me thinking about this whole business.

All in all, I don't feel old; I mean, sure my body is a bit creaky and stiff now, and I've had all these fab life experiences that make me a subtly, and sometimes significantly, different person than I was at 21 and 31, but old I do not feel.

For instance, I look in the mirror, and sure, there are those increasing numbers of natural gray highlights, and the occasional new smile line, and the thicker waist, but my psyche is so much healthier now than ever before. I mostly like who I'm becoming. Physically, I think I'm the most beautiful I've ever been (does that sound a bit full of my self? not the intent). Emotionally, I getting closer to finding the place where I'm comfortable. Professionally, I'm beginning to feel some confidence and success in what I do. As a daughter, I'm getting closer to acceptance, and as a mom - jeez, i can't tell you how proud I am of my success in that.

None of these are places I could be without being 40+. So what's the big deal, right?

Monday, July 27, 2009

A New Generation

Okay - here's me being a bit judgmental - it's an ugly, but honest, part of who I am.

Does anyone else find something immensely disturbing about filling a baby's bottle with Pepsi? Granted, the kid was more of a toddler than a baby, but, I mean, we are in the midst - possibly only the very beginnings - of an obesity epidemic here in our Grand Old States, and parents, those people who are nearly fully responsible for their child's eating habits, are ensuring that said epidemic won't end with their babies. Insane.

I'm not advocating that every child eat only fresh fruit and whole grains (though, that might be a nice fantasy) just that we use a little forethought, acknowledge in what ways our actions are going to screw up our kid''s futures, and at least try to give them an honest chance at success. Pepsi that they have to suck from a rubber nipple doesn't seem to meet that criteria.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Everyone comes from somewhere.

Most of us come from our mom and dad, or at least our mom. But some of us come from somewhere else. Sometimes we know where that somewhere else is - maybe our mother's sister who died young, or even sometimes our parent's daughter - but some of us lucky ones, we get to guess.

I have a birthday - just like my brother does, just like you do - but I also have a Gotcha Day. I came into the world on August 11, 1968, but I came into my family on September 13 that same year - Gotcha Day.

I've heard some stories as to how I came to be - the woman who I came from may have actually been a girl - 16 or so. She may have been from North (or South?) Dakota. She may have had an aunt (or cousin?) in Southeastern Michigan who she stayed with till I got where I was going. The man (or boy?) who helped her make me may have been French Canadian. I may have first been called Ruth.

But, if you know anything about my mom, you know that her words can't be trusted. It's not so much that she lies - I think that to be called a lie, it has to not be believed by the teller. It's more that she thinks something, and then it becomes true - at least for her. So, though Mom has told me these things, the only part I'm certain of is my birthday, and that's only because I have seen my birth certificate.

Mom and Dad have been together a crazy long time. Forty-five years and counting. Seems impossible, not only because of my own shattered marriage, but because I lived with them for a good part of that time and saw a relationship that still baffles me.

Mom is mean to Dad - really mean. They live in a house with pathways - there was never a sale she didn't feel compelled to attack. Dad escapes in a bottle with the TV as his backdrop. But, Dad always gets Mom undies for Christmas - even now. It's just a normal part of our holiday - Mom opens up the box, holds up some increasingly less skimpy and lacy panties for us all to see, and says something like, "Ooh - these are sexy!" He's always patting her on the butt, or telling her how beautiful she is. As I said, I'm baffled.

Andy, my little bro, does not have a Gotcha Day; somehow Mom and Dad managed to get him on their own. He doesn't much like to read, and isn't very good at it. But, he knows things that are pretty useful, like about cars and building stuff. He's a great liar, and is fully aware that he's doing it - usually to get me riled up.

My firm belief in nurture over nature is always called into question when presented with evidence concerning my self. I am nothing like them.

This is not bad. I love them. I know they love me.

I will likely never find where I came from, and the possibility of discovering I came from a place where things are different - where moms tell the real truth, dads give cozy slippers for Christmas, and little brothers look up to their sisters - is enough to keep me away.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pronouns Revisited

A few subtle changes that I think help better get at my point:


by Penny Lew


was bringing another baby

into this world.

into this family.

As things eventually fell apart,

hindsight told her that they

were trying to glue things together

long before understanding

that anything was broken. They

were rationalizing her choices,

justifying his,

fooling themselves,

believing all was well.


was bringing another baby

into this world.

into this family.


Not they.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ah - maybe I am a writer!

So - as I write this, I don't want it to sound as if I am assigning blame. because no one is to blame. Just an understanding of when the marriage really made a turn. Does it work?



was bringing another baby

into this world.

into this family.

As things eventually fell apart,

hindsight told her that she

was trying to glue things together

long before understanding

that they were broken. She

was rationalizing her choices,

justifying his,

fooling herself,

believing all was well.


was bringing another baby

into this world.

into this family.


Not they.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Books, books, and more books

I started reading in 1st grade. This didn't exactly begin my love affair with books - that began before I can remember, back when Mom and Dad actually took time to spend with us kids - but the magic became all mine in Mrs. Hurst's 1st grade.

Things started simple, "See Wiggles run. Run Wiggles, run!" But simple and wonderful need not be mutually exclusive ideas. I devoured these primers; eager to see what Bill or Nancy would do next. Sally and Kitty and Larry all became an enormous part of my life, and their adventures were mine.

Soon, I had graduated to "chapter books" and by the end of 2nd grade, again with Mrs. Hurst I had become intimate with the Ingalls family, and imagined my own life on the prairie. Always since then, whenever asked to define or describe myself or my interests, my first response, still even before Mother, is Reader.

Books have so shaped who I am today; I own my last name because of Lois Lowery's A Summer to Die; I found the strength to leave an unsatisfying relationship thanks to Alice Walker's Temple of my Familiar. I'm not afraid of the dark thanks to Stephan King.

I am a teacher because I wanted to pass this amazing gift on to others.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I am not an athlete. This is not to say that I am not active, because I am. I walk a lot, bike a lot, dance a lot, and do yoga less than I wish I did. But, organized sports and I are not friends.

Growing up, I loved baseball. I was born during the heat of the Tiger's 1968 Pennant season, and grew up hearing stories of watching my first World Series. I couldn't wait until 3rd grade when Little League started. That day that the marigold-yellow fliers were passed out at school, I carefully wadded mine in my thrilled fist and ran to the bus. Now I could join the actual game; I was anxious to get home and get Mom to sign me up.

Mom, though, had other ideas. "Little League is for boys," she said.

"But, Mom, there's a girl on the picture too," and there was, next to the cartoon boy, a cartoon girl, wearing a cap, holding a bat. Couldn't she see this?

"No. Boys play Little League." And that ended the conversation.

Fourth grade was about to end, and again the Little League fliers were sent home, but this time, with it came a different flier. One for girls softball. With no way to stop me this time, Mom allowed me to play. Several of my friends were on the same team (I don't remember the name, but our shirts and caps were purple! We all constantly chewed Grape Bubble Yum to match) and so I always had a ride to games and practices - Mom and Dad never made it to a game. I loved playing; I was terrible, but so was our whole team, and I was playing baseball.

Life was good.

The next year, Andy was finishing third grade. My little bro is, and always has been, more interested in taking things apart and putting them back together than in sports, but, as Mom told me two years eariler, "Boys play Little League."

It was terrible. She made him play; they went to every game; he came home crying 50% of the time. I continued to hitch rides with my friends to softball.

Life was.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dreeeeeeam Dream Dream Dreeeam

Some friends of mine belong to a Dream Group; this is a place, they explained, where members describe and then discuss their dreams to maybe figure out some meaning behind them. I thought it sounded interesting, so when they invited me to join in one day last week, I didn't hesitate. It was a bit surreal, but at the same time very cool, and it has gotten me paying more attention to and thinking about my dreams.

I have long had several recurring dreams. One is about work - whatever work I am doing at the time - and dates back to high school and McDonald's. These dreams don't really leave me much wondering about meaning - I take my work fairly seriously (yes, even at McDonald's), and the dreams are usually about me failing at some aspect of the job that I shouldn't have a hard time with. Probably reflective of my previously documented insecurities.

A slightly embarrassing one to share is the bathroom dream. In this, I am searching for a bathroom. Usually, I find one, but it's truly disgusting. Like beyond the worst gas-station bathroom I have ever seen. Flooded with backed-up sewage, all the toilets are brimming, and there's no privacy. This one's easy. I have to pee.

My other repeaters are perhaps less obvious. Frequently, I am living in whatever house is actually currently mine, and happen upon a whole room, floor, wing that I didn't know was there before - and it's super fabulous. Perhaps this speaks to my near constant and very mild discontent with life as is? Maybe that great things are in my life already, I'm just not always seeing them?

Or I'll be living somewhere that is unfamiliar in my reality, but again super fab, and to enter this fantastic space, I have to wriggle through a small opening of some sort. A few summers ago, I helped a friend in his crawl space. The crawl-space itself was fine - a pit in the earth, but a fairly clean, dry, spacious pit. Entering, however, was reminiscent of those dreams. We had to crawl around under his deck, turn around backwards, and slide into the space. I was a bit freaked here, but not so in my dreams - it's just the way I have to enter. In fact, I'm never perplexed or put out by the openings in said dreams - any more so than I am when entering my true home through the front door. Clueless as to potential significance with this one.

My favorite is the naked dream. Nothing at all sexual about these. They always take place in public, usually, but not always, at a workplace - though, interestingly, never at school. Really, mostly at the casino - a place at which I haven't worked for nearly 10 years. Here, I'll be doing whatever it is I should be doing, when suddenly, I realize that I'm naked. Shit. I then am trying to figure out how, exactly, I'm going to get out of where ever I am and get some clothes without alerting everyone to the fact that I am without. Sadly enough, no one ever does notice. What does that say, do you think?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Writing Territories

Who and what do I write for?

Well - I write as a teacher - I try to write decent lessons, prompts, and questions to challenge my kids' thinking about the world around them. I write personal notes to my kids to encourage them, comfort them, or connect with them. I comment on student writing and ideas in an effort to recognize triumphs and gently but firmly push them forward. As a teacher, I also write to adults - communicating with parents, peers and administrators concerning myriad ideas from school dances to the place standardized tests should have in our schools (on the sidelines).

I write as a student - sorting out my thinking on various subjects including my profession, but also motherhood, morality, and meaning.

I write as a mother - texting my daughter regularly, leaving notes for chores, reminding my children how important they are and how proud of them I am.

I write as a woman - keeping track of my dreams, working through my pasts, making goals for my future.

I write as a writer - sometimes to archive my life, sometimes to entertain, sometimes to learn, sometimes to vent.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Insecure me

I think this goes back to my mother. Doesn't everything right?

Once, four of us girls were best friends. Deanne's family invited all of us up to their cabin for the weekend. my mom said no because. "what if they decided they didn't like you anymore, and left you alone in the woods?"

Terrifying shit this motherhood stuff. What the hell am I doing that Al's going to remember as mucking up her life?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Truth (27 of 100)

I am always a bit surprised when I learn that people like me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Truth (26 of 100)

I am more than a bit lazy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Truth (25 of 100)

It's time for me to go back on my drugs.

Ah Sweet Summer, Where Have you Gone?

I live this awful dual life. The one part of me, shall we call her Polly?, loves everything about her job. Everything. Really. And she wants to get better at it, so she signs up for any and all workshops, classes, and professional development opportunities she sees that may possibly increase her level of competence. Often these are fantastic, and really do improve her skills. She's always glad she participated, because at worst, she was able to spend time with other like-minded intelligent improvement seekers.

Then there's Anna. People love Anna; Anna loves people, but Anna often wonders what the hell is going through Polly's head when she book up more than half their glorious, well deserved, summer with all these stinking workshops. Really - five day since they've left, and they have to be back?

"Please Polly," Anna laments, "think on it a while next time?"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Truth (24 of 100)

It's harder for me to write when my kids are here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Truth (23 of 100)

I am a consumer. Shit!

Binge and Purge

Summer brings with it so much that enriches my already rich life. Okay - I know it's not technically Summer, but my life truly has two seasons - School and Summer - so for me, summer is here.

I love the way summer allows me to write. I have the time to do it, and less of the guilt that I ought to be doing something else.

This morning, I finished a book before I even got out of bed (reading it, not writing it). No other time of the year can I indulge myself in such a way.

The windows are open constantly - fresh air filling the dank and dusty corners of my soul!!! Sure, some mornings it's a bit nippley in the house, but 56 somehow feels more tolerable now than in the dark months.

Beer tastes so much better on a sunny patio. So much better.

And the dancing begins in earnest. Ah, dancing, the nectar of my being.

But, finally and hugely, my annual purge.

Those of you (don't you love this - what a Pollyanna I am!) who know anything about my Momma know that calling her a hoarding pack-rat is really not a severe enough description for her condition. Quite literally, there are aisles to get through most living parts of the house, and several (yes several) rooms that are nearly impenetrable by humans. And I am using "Literally" in the literal sense, not as a tool of my much beloved hyperbole. People must see it to appreciate - the few that have ventured to Novi to witness, despite my preparations, were astounded by the amount of Stuff. Seriously.

And my greatest fear, despite my love for my parents, is to turn out to be them. Terrifies me (again, I am abandoning the hyperbole) more than anything, including heights, birds, and even Republicans. So, while mom buys lots, recovers lots from others, and keeps it all in her brimming house, I tend to discard anything I haven't used in the last fifteen minutes (okay - now I've allowed my beloved to rear its beautiful head).

The first two weeks of summer are devoted primarily to deep cleaning and thinning out the "Stuff" that I have somehow needlessly collected. I don't know where half this Stuff comes from. I fancy myself a light consumer, but apparently this is self-deception, because every summer I manage to pull enough Stuff into my garage to sit there for an afternoon attempting to lure other innocents into the same traps I fell into throughout the year.

It may not be my favorite part of summer, but it keeps me sane.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Okay - time for some real writing I suppose

I think my 100 truths is an interesting experiment, and I intend on continuing with the exercise, so , faithful reader, don't lose sleep about a change of course. I do feel a need to also do more quantiful writing though, so my intention is to do both. Panicking may cease now.

Tuesday number one of Summer. What a wonderful day. Slept until 8:30 today. Now, at 9:47, I am indulging in my love of writing, mint tea with honey, and The Talking Heads. And, I'm not feeling even a little bit guilty about any of it. Ah, Summer!

Yesterday, the first REAL day of summer, I did something that was perhaps a bit reckless, but turned out wonderfully. But I must back up a few weeks to tell this story.

As I've chronicled before, my latest addiction is Facebook (not really easing off on this one too much yet). I've connected with many friends, past and present, in the past months, and, by making an offhand comment to one friends post, gained myself a whole new friend even. Roy and I have been in perpetual conversation since, and yesterday met halfway and had lunch together. This is where the recklessness came in. I mean, he could have been a Psycho Killer posing as a cool dude, for all I knew. I didn't even tell Susan, because I knew she wouldn't be impressed. I, however, did not worry because, as you all know, bad things DO NOT happen to me - ever. And, alas, that seems have been the case again. Roy and I talked non-stop for about 3 1/2 hours; During which time, we had a lovely lunch with a couple of cocktails, and went on to our other lives. It's nice to make new friends. We can all use them (or at least I can).

The not-so-reckless part of me then went on to have supper with another newish friend, Denise. We were in RCWP together summer last, and have managed to maintain a long-distance friendship since. I don't usually do these well, so I am proud of that friendship.

Okay - this was a lame get back to writing attempt - I'll do better next time:)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Truth (22 of 100)

I am so proud of the job I've done raising my girl. She is an amazing young woman.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Truth (21 of 100)

I want to have a richer life, and I don't know how to go about it. Wonder how to get over the belief that people don't really want me around.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Truth (20 of 100)

Getting married at 20 was quite possibly the stupidist thing I've ever done, but since I wouldn't have ended up with Legs and Carlitos otherwise, it has turned out to be the best thing I've ever done.

Truth (19 of 100)

I am terrified that I am living up to my potential.

Truth (18 of 100)

I don't believe that I am living up to my potential.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Truth (17 of 100)

Teaching has many surprising and non-tangible rewards.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Truth (16 of 100)

I have often been small-minded and judgemental.

Truth (15 of 100)

I like to think of my self as open-minded and accepting.

Truth (14 of 100)

My best friend in highschool is not who I thought she was.

Truth (13 of 100)

My former college roommate is not the person that I thought she was.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Truth (12 of 100)

I believe I'm nearly past my guilt.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Truth (11 of 100)

I sometimes think I'm a fraud.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Truth (10 of 100)

I'm terrified that I will end up like my mom.

Truth (9 of 100)

My mom is a very difficult person to like.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Truth (8 of 100)

Writing 100 truths is much more difficult than I expected.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Truth (7 of 100)

I feel a bit smug and a bit guilty when Ally complains about her father.

Truth (6 of 100)

I'm not sure that getting a dog was a good idea.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Truth (5 of 100)

If I could afford it, I'd quit my job tomorrow.

Truth (4 of 100)

I love my job.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Truth (3 of 100)

You never know how much time you've got left.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Truth (2 of 100)

I need better self control.

Truth (1 of 100)

I am on facebook way too much.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

DMSR (minus the SR)

Perhaps one of the worst things about the dark months is the lack of opportunity to shake my groove thing. I love dancing, especially to live music, and being a hermit from September till May doesn't much help feed my need. But I'm thinking this is about to change.

Back in my college days - well my young college days - people I knew would occasionally go to Boomer's, a nightclub on the east edge of town. I went a couple of times, but didn't much dig it as most of the people there were pretty old (over thirty). I abandoned it and stuck to my serious drinking establishments downtown. I've kept this image of Boomer's as a place for an older crew ever since.

Last night, a friend of mine wanted to go and meet a bunch of other friends there, so I agreed to join her. Turns out, it is still that older crew place, only I've come to understand that I am now one of them!! The horror of that realization soon gave way to the euphoria of boogieing to great (okay - really only decent) live music.

My feet are sore, and my booty is all shook out, but I'm loving life!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Newest Obsession

I'm fortunate in that I have only a mildly addictive personality - I obsess briefly over something, then move on. This grand new invention called the Internet has offered me the chance for many an obsession. I have spent countless hours playing minesweeper, solitaire, Zuma, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and Tetras - though its been years since I've played any. I have 242 movies in my Netflix queue despite not having added any since the new year. I religiously downloaded my new music every Tuesday for several months as I'd scan and rearrange my itunes. Cruised eBay,, and shopforchange for bargains I couldn't afford. And still enter every book I read into my Goodreads account (I believe I'm at 64 since New Years 2008).

My newest check-three-times-a-day site is Facebook. I've been hearing about it for a few years - actually even opened up an account sometime last summer - but never really saw the attraction. Then I started getting invites from friends I hadn't heard from in years, finding out what they're up to, and can't leave it alone.

I think I need to figure out a way to become obsessed with eating carrots and jogging.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Holy moly - I have heard, from various sources, that Watchmen is a fantastic graphic novel, and it may very well be. But the movie - yowza bad.


And disjointed.

And violent.

And set up for a sequel - unbelievable!

Please, save yourself the dollars 8 and the hours three and don't go - no matter who tells you what a fab book it is.

I may sound like a masochist, but now I totally need to read it - did they butcher the book, or is everyone I've talked to about it is just crazy?

Wow - I cannot tell you enough not to see this.

So - see any good movies lately?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


When I first began teaching, I began my Master's program in School Counseling. Most people think I'm fairly level-headed and a pretty good listener, and though I was REALLY struggling in my classroom, I knew my future included working with kids. I stayed in the program for a few semesters, but, after some time getting to know my kids, realized this was not a career I wanted.

As an ELA teacher, I'm privy to lots of info that other teachers may not get about their kids thanks to the power of writing. This is wonderful in terms of relationship building, but clues me in to some of the more awful parts of a kid's life as well. I figured that currently I know more than I want to about the bad things that go on in the world, if I became a counselor, the world as I know it would get darker. No thanks.

Another example of the wiseness of my decision to pursue an MA in English Ed occurred this past week. Several of my students are in foster homes, some with more success than others. On Thursday, the office called one of my students out of her 4th hour class to release her into the custody of two strangers - effective immediately. Her foster family decided they didn't want her any more, and within a half hour of discovering that, the girl was on her way to a detention center in Detroit - not even allowed to say goodbye to her teachers or friends. So not cool - and we wonder why some kids are screwed up.

So, while this has reaffirmed my career choice, it's also reaffirmed my intentions to become a foster parent when my kids are grown. I like to think some good has come out of this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bowling for ?

My friends, Sue and Lori, and I decided that we become way too hermit-like in these dark winter months, so last fall, we joined a bowling league to force us out of the house one night a week. The idea was to see each other regularly, and to perhaps meet some new people along the way. Sounds brilliant right. Well, it turns out that maybe not so much. It's not that we don't have a nice time, but really all any of us want to be doing from 7-9:30 on a Tuesday night is cuddling up on the couch with our dogs watching Two and a Half Men reruns. So, needless to say, we are anxiously awaiting the end of the season.

Maybe next year we'll try darts.

Speaking of cuddling with my dog - I'm guessing most of you don't know I have one (don't you love how I assume enough people are actually reading this to allow for a most of you!! Call me Pollyanna:). Jasper (named after a semi-famous vampire) is suppossed to be Ally's ridiculously cute birthday present dog, and he is all that. Except he thinks he's my dog. But - here's a couple pictures just so you can fall in love (and see my cute kids too:).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Noon-thirty already!?

As my devoted readers (which number many:) may have noticed, posting here has taken too much energy of late, but when my friend Kevin exclaimed that my blog sucked (which I am choosing to believe is in reference to quantity, not quality) I decided it was time to shake off the funk and get back to the business of becoming a writer.

The end results of Daylight Savings Time are, for me, wonderful. I love the light - crave the light - am looking forward to actual spring, then summer, with gleeful anticipation. But, this day with only 23 short hours in it about kicks my butt. In fact, it has been a long bleak winter for me.

Despite appearances, I am not much a doer of drugs, but two pharmaceuticals these past several months have persuaded me that a daily drug habit can be a good thing.

Late fall - perhaps with the end of Daylight Savings Time as the signal - my mood began spiraling downward to the point that I finally relented and asked my doc for some help. I'm thinking this turned out to be a good thing - no more crying jags on my way to work, and I've actually been managing to get out of bed at a reasonable hour. Doc recommends staying on them pretty much except when the summer is here - I'm beginning to agree.

Then, in early February, we finally put Carlos on ADHD meds. I wasn't so sure about that, and I'm not sure his dad or his teacher were totally gung-ho either. Carlos was a fab little dude with a ton of energy - was there really anything to be fixed? Apparently so. One month and 26 magic little pills later I can't imagine it took us so long to do this. He is still a fab little dude with plenty of energy, but he can now focus that energy on specific tasks. The amount of progress he's made with his speech, writing, and other fine motor skills is tremendous. Seriously.

So Kevin - let me know if I stop sucking:)