Wednesday, June 30, 2010

At This Moment . . .

At this moment, a dog is waiting, not so patiently, for her person.  She sits, stands, lays, paces in front of the window - never leaving her post.  Her person, a good person, has left her a fresh bowl of water, a full bowl of food, knowing that both will remain untouched during the dog's day-long vigil.

At this moment, a woman turns the key in the lock for the last time.  Her one small bag holds all she needs; she wants no memory of this place, these times, that man, the terror.  She's afraid - feels cowardly - yet knows she deserves a medal for bravery.  A smile sneaks around her face as she makes her way to the bus stop.

At this moment, the sun is rising somewhere, setting somewhere else.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One Syllable at a Time

I will eat. 
I will eat from the tree
of you,
fill my gut with your life. 
I will grow
and thrive from the
stuff of you,
yet still
you will be full. 

We will be as one
yet be left as two.
You will be the tree;

I will be the bird,
build my home in you,
let you keep me safe.

And I will keep you safe
will keep away those pests
who haunt you,
will keep you strong
and tall
let you touch your sky.

Day will come
feed us both;
night brings us peace. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whitney Street

Modeled from San Antonio by Naomi Shihab Nye

Sunday I poured over your intentions,
the maddening assembly of gloom
a voice inside my head.
I was panicking when you arrived.
I lay in your arms
and felt my heart slow gently.
You knew which pieces of me
needed to turn over.
It was then I felt
the knots slide out of my mind.
I remembered the elderly couple
in the bar where I once worked,
sipping stout from a shared draft.
It was then I knew,
as a woman looking forward,
you would not leave me,
or find anyone you loved more.

Write Different!

Purple and bold and italics! Whoo-whee look at me - being all crazy!!!

You think I'm all crazy all of the time, don't you?  You believe I'm a free-spirited, no-worries kind of girl, right? You look at the way I dress, see my hair, judge my tattoos, and know who I am.  

Admit it.  

You are surprised that I'm a mom, a teacher, an advocate of youth. You expect that I'm drunk, or high, or meditating always, and therefore have no time for such activities as parenting, working, and caring about the future. 

Sometimes, you're even a bit envious - aren't you?  Go ahead, I won't tell, but I know it's true.  You want to shed that bra; you're dying in those skyscraper heels; you're adding up the hours spent daily turning your own frizzy-hair into a sleek blanket.  

You wish you were me. 

But, since you are a product of commercial-America, and you believe that the first thing people notice (at least people who matter) is your itchy-scalp, or your ring-around-the-collar, or your chipped toe-nail polish, you instead judge me, sure my poor kids are growing up to be criminals.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


    As all you regular readers know (as long as you're my Facebook friend anyway) I am dating the love of my life.  He's not perfect, but exactly who I need.  He challenges my thinking without belittling me.

     So, we've been talking about getting married for some time now - something amazing to me as we've only been dating for about 8 months, and I swore I'd never get married again.  I believed losing my identity once in a lifetime was more than enough. Happily, I now see marriage doesn't need to mean that:)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Man in Black

     The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed, cursing herself for letting him slip through her fingers once again.  Curse her weakness for good Bloody Mary's; she knew her limit should be two, and yet she was in the middle of her fourth, each accompanied by a beer chaser, when Stokel entered the pub.
     In the gunslinger's defense, the last she had heard from Stokel he was half-way across the world nearly in the grasp of her colleague; it seems she's not the only one not doing her job.
     As the initial adrenaline rush wore off, the illusion that the alcohol had lost its effect shattered, as did her ankle.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pretty Good?

Today's prompt? A Pretty Good Student by Charles Osgood.  Go ahead - read through it first.

This reminds me of a colleague's "D-" speech.  Basically the rant goes: sure, D- is "good enough". It'll get you through; probably get you a diploma. But that D- carries on - you end up with a D- house, with a D- minus spouse, D- kids, D- dog, D- job, etc.  He loves this speech, and takes any opportunity offered to share it with anyone who'll listen.  And he and Osgood have probably got a point.  But I believe there's better ways to motivate people to achieve than to threaten them with what disaster could fall if they don't pick themselves up.

As an educator, I have an obligation to offer the best I've got to my kids.  Not because of some global standardized test competition, but because I owe them my best. Because I want to sleep peacefully at night and not be haunted by dreams of my inadequacies.  And mostly, because I love what I do and think it's important.

And the best way to motivate kids to rise above a "D-" or "Pretty Good" life is to help them to love what they're doing as well.  To help them see their strengths, imagine their possibilities, honor their passions.

Yes, "Pretty Good" shouldn't be where anyone settles. And "D-" isn't the life anyone wants to lead.  But instead of threatening our kids, let's embrace who they are and watch them grow into who they can be.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crazy Verbs

The trampoline hammers my entire body, but it's so much fun!
Sawing through the house, the Boo's purr kept my spirits up.
Love sands the rough edges off a heart.
My house may never be polished, but it's home.
My pink bike cuts through campus, leaving me with time and a sore butt.
Her shoe screwed itself down into the hole and up into her ankle.
Drilling the watermelon may crack it open, but knifing it typically proves more effective.
Ally measures her strokes as she glides through the water.
Long curly locks draw moisture like a sham-wow in a swimming pool.
My new bed imagines all the future nights of actual sleep I may now get.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't Obsess? Really?

How, exactly can you expect me not to obsess when you just told me not to obsess? Really?  Did I seem like I was obsessing? Is it obvious to all who watch me that I'm obsessing? Was I not obsessing but should have been? What should I be obsessing about? There's a fly? Where is the fly? Should I be obsessed with that? Is it obsessed with me? Is killing it inhumane? Is not killing it crazy? Am I crazy? How would I know if I were crazy? Would someone tell me? If they did would I believe them? HAS someone told me, but I'm too crazy to remember? Am I the fly? Jeez, I hope I'm not the fly. Don't let me be the fly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


When you're 13, the things that happen to you, or that you happen to, or that happen around you, stick.  Forever. With Gorilla Glue.

I mean, sure the things at 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 help make you who you are, and the stuff you're a part of at 14, 15, 22, 27, 34, 41, 53, and 65 all influence how you turn out, but 13 is full-on there. Always.

So it should be no surprise, at least to any 8th grader who attended Novi Middle School  in 1981, that I am driven by my hair.  That I define myself at any particular moment by the quality of my "hair day".  That I don't really believe people when they compliment my hair.  That I still fantasize about scalping Kate Jackson and pasting her tresses over mine.

Actually, the truth is, it probably would surprise many of my classmates.  Maybe most of them even.  Let's face it, part of the reason 13 sticks is because we are so supremely self absorbed.  I KNOW everyone was constantly observing and ridiculing my hair; I have lost countless hours of sleep over what was being said behind my back about the Brillo pad growing from my skull (no matter that these taunts were only occasionally actually said in a manner in which I could hear them; I know, KNOW they were a near constant topic of conversation). 

After having been re-immersed in 8th grade culture for a decade, however, I'm also pretty sure that all of the rest of the class of 1986 were, in 1981, positive that something weird or abnormal or creepy about them was the main conversation in the lunch room.  This adult understanding however, absolutely doesn't diminish the hold my hair maintains to this day.

So, you wonder where crazy obsessions come from? They come from 13.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Becoming a Sissy

I'm not sure when the whole "Sissy" thing came along.  It seems a thing of my kids generation; I mean, we did have Buffy and Jody and Sissy, but I always thought that was just her name - like Sissy Spacek(sp) - not a signifier of a role.  Today, my Ally, and lots of other girls I know, is a Sissy in the same way that I'm a Mommy.  when did this happen?  Why did this happen?  I was always Penny to Andy, or "My Sister" (among other not-so-nice names) if he were referring to me.  All of my girl friends have similar stories - not a Sissy in the bunch.

But Ally has been Sissy since the day I was pregnant with Carlos.  He knows her name, just as he knows mine and his dad's, but he as not once called her by it.  Boys don't seem to have a signifier like this - perhaps yet another example of the sexism still rampant in our society? Is there a boy version of Sissy?  I hear people occasionally calling men Bro,  but it seems in more of a peer signifier way than in a sibling signifier way.  Is this a bad thing? Is it testimony to the nurturing expectations of women/girls in our society? Is it just a name and nothing more?

What Might I Write About?

Fond Memories?
  • Pregnant with Ally
  • pregnant with Carlos
  • 10-speed
  • meeting John
  • Tim and Dana
  • Jeff/divorce
  • rubick cube thing
  • bad things never happen to me
first day of school
  • CMU
  • mrs batser
  • high school
  • Chicago/Montreal with M&D - Lyons Club
proud moments
  • flag - mud
sad times
  • pregnant with Carlos 
  • Myron
  • Matthew

  • weedding
  • speech
family stories
  • burping kiss
  • tv dinners
  • carlos MRI
special holidays/rituals

center of attention
  • Birthdays
  • Dancing girl

  • chicken pox
  • tonsils

learning to ride/drive
funny incidents
don't tell Mom and Dad
mean stuff I've done
first times