Category Archives: writing

This Was My Brain…


… last night. See, I had a dream. And it was seriously messed up. It was pretty disturbing. Like, beyond disturbing. For some reason I was back playing oboe – all of a sudden, at my current age with kids, fam and all that – and auditioning for summer programs. That was a beatdown. Forget about my old nemesis, extreme performance anxiety. For some reason this particular summer program was located in Big D and had an interview component to the audition process.

Yuck. Throw in the fact that I was, um, at least a decade (and that’s putting it mildly) older than the other applicants. I don’t even remember the playing part of this weird dream audition. But apparently it was good enough, because I got in.

Fast forward to The Night of The Big Concert. I met the Spouse and minions for early dinner across town. (? why didn’t they just bring me dinner?) I’d asked them to bring my concert attire with them and decided to change in the bathroom. This was a bad idea. For two very important reasons. First – I’d asked them to bring one of my OLD concert dresses. Like, from my Former Life as a Musician. Before I had kids. That’s bad enough, right? Wrong. Second – apparently I hadn’t tried it on before asking them to bring it to me.

Of course it didn’t fit. But you know what? I made that sucker fit. And headed back across town with a tight deadline.

And then it hit. Traffic. Awful, horrific traffic. Gridlocked. The kind of traffic that makes it impossible to get more than a mile every fifteen minutes. I was stuck. Panicked. Performance anxiety? That was nothing compared to my normal Type A anal-retentiveness about time – magnified ad infinitum by the stupid traffic situation. Finally made it to the concert hall – just had to park the car.

There were no parking spaces in the parking garage or on any surrounding streets. None. Zip. Zero. It’s a miracle I didn’t pop the already-strained seams on that dress hyperventilating while running for it to make it on time.

Didn’t happen. I was late. By five minutes. Had to wait outside the concert hall for the first piece to finish. And then had to walk past the Spouse and minions – seated in the front row – up to the stage to explain to my section leader why I was late.

He wasn’t having it. Yelled and belittled me as only a true musician-egoist can. Dismissed me. Totally. Told me to forget it and go home, then proceeded to ignore me while I dragged my sausage-casing black taffeta self back to the car. Oh, and I’d forgotten where I put the car in my delirium – and hadn’t remembered to snap the ‘Find My Car’ app on. Seriously. I was a blubbering, sniffling mess in that stupid dress and heels, limping up and down parking ramps.

Now, if you’re still reading, you’re thinking one of two things. Either – she’s crazy, or – that is some wild kind of messed-up stuff going on in her head.

You’re probably right either way. But here’s the catch:

I DID get stuck in horrible traffic on my way home last night. In fact, it took two hours to drive my normal 21 miles. Ridiculous. And I was late to the minions’ Cub Scout thingy because of it. So that almost makes this dream a sensible reaction, right? Right. At least that’s what I thought.

Until I mentioned it to my boss. Not all of it, just the fact that I dreamed about getting stuck in traffic and panicking about it. She freaked out, asking me if I feel trapped in my current work environment. Turns out she’s big on dream analysis. So of course I had to be curious and Google around.

You ready for what I found? It’s creepy. Sure you’re ready? Ok, I warned you… Here’s what Google dream analysis had to say:

“Gridlocked traffic could represent a feeling that things in some aspect of your life are bogged down, or it could represent your state of mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

“Walking, driving, or any form of traveling can represent: The passage of time, or making progress or moving forward in life, or moving along your life path.

“Being stuck can represent: feeling unable to make progress or make changes in your life, feeling stuck in a certain situation, possibly an awkward one, or feeling that you’re “stuck in a rut” somehow.

“Playing a musical instrument can mean that you have something to express or say, or you have a need for a creative outlet.

“Performing for others can represent: the idea of attention focused on you, or of your or your efforts being noticed or highlighted, a feeling of self-consciousness, of being observed, or of being especially concerned about others’ opinions about you. Some possible meanings include: an actual, expected, or imagined audition, feeling evaluated, judged, or “put on the spot” by others, applying for a job, university, etc., wanting approval from others, being tested, or trying to make a certain impression on others.

Dang. If that doesn’t hit all the nails smack dab on the head. Huh.

As a matter of fact, I am frustrated. Feeling stuck. Knowing the long-term goals but caught in the day-to-day vicious circle of routines. Creative? Um, hello? This whole writing thing? Check. Attention? Yeah, that’s been lacking lately.
Everything in that stupid dream analysis web site is dead on.

Scary, huh? But it sure does make me think.

Now I’ve gotta do something about it.

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Filed under Dreams, Hobbies, Music, working moms, writing

Fashion Bloggers’ Envy

I’ve got a serious case of blogging envy. Serious. And I think it’s getting worse. Why is that? Oh, you can be sure I’ll tell you. In full detail. Here goes.

I’ve talked before about following fashion blogs. Some of them have really let me down recently, because the looks are either a) completely weather-inappropriate for H-town, b) not my style at all – hell0, pleated skirts and clutch handbags? and most recently c) rippin’ expensive.

And my biggest beef with fashion blogs? They keep showing me things and trying to convince me that I need to buy them. Really! And that’s a huge problem when these items are way out of my budget. So that started me on a little detective quest…

How in the world do these bloggers afford all of this stuff??

Simple. Their status as fashion bloggers gets them ‘gifted’ stuff from companies who want them to promote it, use it or review it.

Ok, I’m in. I wanna be a fashion blogger. I mean, one of the women I’ve recently started following has a kick-ass LinkedIn page. Let’s see what it says:

Current position: professional blogger

Past positions: co-founder, content creator, freelance fashion and arts journalism, online editorial intern, communications coordinator, public relations intern.

And she’s got a sweet little apartment, with one of those double-door-opening-out balconies that look over a treelined urban street. That’s her OFFICE, y’all!! She’s been featured in other blogs and online articles. Sounds a lot like My Dream Life! Well, admittedly I’m not sure I would like being tied into writing about fashion 24/7. But if it was a choice between that and NOT writing for a living, I’d take it in a heartbeat!

The kicker? The real throat-punch to this story?

SHE’S 25 YEARS OLD!! 25! AT 25 I WAS STILL IN COLLEGE LEARNING HOW TO BE A TEACHER!!! And most all of the pieces she uses in her posts to put together her ‘looks’ are WAY out of my budget. SO not fair. Maybe I need to reread Outliers to find out where my opportunities went wrong. Or where hers went right.

Sigh. It’s not the stuff I envy, folks. Really. It’s the opportunity and the lifestyle. Guess I need to work on my five year plan!

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Filed under Bloggers, Blogging, Fashion, writing

Change of Pace: Book Reviews

Wow! This is a bit of a different take on my usual posts, but I’m so proud of myself that I’ve just got to toot my own horn here.

Guess what? I’ve been reading! Not only that, but I’ve finished not one, but two books! Granted, they’ve both been on deck since just after Christmas – but that doesn’t count. What DOES count is that I made time to read, finished two books and enjoyed them both. So I thought I’d do a mini-book review here. Just because.

First up – my at-home reading. The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr. I mentioned this one a few weeks back, when personality types and behaviors started sounding a bit familiar. Once I Googled the book and read that the town of ‘Leechfield’ is actually the town where a good chunk of my extended family on the Spouse’s side are from, this made sense. I actually need to go back and reread now. Some of the families mentioned in the book could be clones of some people I know. Hmmm…

Anyhoo, Karr uses this book to give us a glimpse of her childhood – which really puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional  – growing up in southeast Texas during the sixties. She manages to put a comic spin on even deep-seated family issues, while painting her family as living, breathing individuals. These are not caricatures. Even those Yankees who may read the book need to take my word for it – these are picture-perfect depictions of people I have met. No stereotypes here. Well, they sure have aspects of the stereotypical redneck Texan – but each person’s issues will strike a chord of familiarity within you, no matter what your upbringing.

I will say that the book became more and more uncomfortable for me to read towards the end. Not through any fault of the author, but her story and its direction brought out some experiences, memories and fears of my own. And that, to me, is what makes this book so memorable and transcending. Regardless of your background, issues or life story, Mary Karr puts us smack dab in the middle of her story – and makes us truly feel what her characters are going through. Empathy. The mark of a Really Good Author.  Just my two cents on that one. Read it. Read it if only for the description of flight from Hurricane Carla across the Bridge. I’ve been on that bridge. In calm sunny weather. Scares the crap out of me every single time. And Mary Karr actually makes it funny.

Next up – my lunchtime-at-work reading. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This is incredibly interesting stuff. Gladwell actually looks at data, events and statistics surrounding ‘good ol’ American success stories.’ As well as some stereotypes regarding cultural background and achievement. With incredibly interesting results. Turns out that the American Work Ethic of ‘hard work equals success’ isn’t absolute. In fact, if you look at many rags-to-riches stories, you see that hard work is only one part of the equation. Place, time, culture, events – they all add up to very specific opportunities for very specific people in very specific situations.

At first I was depressed. See, I definitely was NOT born in any certain situation with these kinds of opportunities – at least as far as I know. My attitude halfway through the book was basically ‘what’s the point of effort then?’ That’s my Type A pessimism kicking in. It was a Debbie-Downer-ish moment. Well, more than a moment. A few tens of moments. But I kept reading.

And at the end, Gladwell’s message isn’t that only a few individuals have certain exceptional opportunities – it’s that we need to pay more attention to the details of the journey and their impact on the end result. I actually feel inspired. Part of me wants to do a study on myself and my background to see if there are any trends for people like me.

Or maybe I’m just looking for the next bend in the road. I can’t see around it yet, but I’ll take this book as a message that it’s coming. And in that I have faith.

Like I said, I’m not a book reviewer. But what kind of dream job would that be? To get paid to read books and write about them? Count me in!! But that’s what I’ve been up to lately, y’all. Had to give myself a shout-out.

Now, if I could just decide which book on deck to pick up next…

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Filed under Book Clubs, Books, Reading, writing

Dream Life Needs Advice! Mayday!

blogI’ve got a small problem. Just a teeny tiny itty bitty problem. The smallest of problems, really. And to most, it wouldn’t even seem like a problem. But it’s bugging me. The problem?

I have a Dream. Complete with a Dream Life.

Ok, that sentence doesn’t read exactly the way I want it to. What I meant to say was that I have this goal for a Dream Life in my head. Which isn’t bad – normally that would be good. The problem is that I have absolutely no idea how to get from point A to point B. At least, no idea that is grounded in reality instead of absolute fantasy. That causes my Type A personality piles and piles of stress, because my Type-A-ness likes to have a goal, set a timeline, take steps toward the goal and make it happen.

I’m totally out of my element here. What’s my Dream Life? In my Dream Life I’m a freelance writer. Correction – a Writer. With a capital W. Because the capital W makes a big difference. It does. Really. As a Writer I’d have much more control over my schedule, be able to express my creativity in my work, interact with fascinating people in interesting situations and – of course – do what I love. Reading and writing.

Of course, my Dream Life also has a Dream Office. Like the one in the picture, only looking over a tree-lined boulevard of New York brownstones – or perhaps an artsy Parisian neighborhood, complete with cafes.  What would the Dream Job be without a Dream Apartment in a Dream City, after all? If I’m gonna plan this out I may as well do it right, right??

But here’s the catch – I am completely spinning my wheels on this writing thing. I’m stuck. One problem is that I’m enough of a people-pleaser that I find myself trying to write what I think others will want to read. Bad Writer! Hand-slap! Throat-punch! I should be writing what I think, feel and experience – and to Heck with anyone who doesn’t like it! (Says my rational side that only pops its head out and about bimonthly or so…)

I started blogging. Check. Daily. Check. Switched platforms when I realized that a) most of the hits I was getting were spam, not legit readers and b) heard through the grapevine that people were having trouble commenting on my posts. That’s not cool.

But this new platform is intimidating. I feel like a really really tiny minnow in the Pacific Ocean. So many amazing writers – and who am I to think I have anything at all to contribute? It’s danged intimidating, y’all! And darn it – work keeps getting in the way of my writing time! I get most of my inspiration during my commute – and since I’m challenged behind the wheel on a good day, I’ve no chance at all of recording/writing any of these ideas down. I mean, honestly. I’m the one with the Find My Car app on my phone, remember? I’d end up in New Orleans if I tried to multitask behind the wheel, especially the way I get consumed when I write. And I’ve had a really good idea for an editorial in my head for months now – but spend my days editing others’ work instead of creating my own.

So here’s the thing. I need advice. Lots and lots of it. Preferably of good quality. What steps should an aspiring Writer take to get on the right path? Where do I start? Any and all advice is welcome – I’m begging here! Take a look around this blog, read some of my stuff, and tell me what you honestly think! No Ponzi schemes please – I’ve already weeded through a few of those. I’m talking legit Writing Business Advice here! Thanks for taking the time to comment!


Filed under Career path, Personal growth, Reading, Uncategorized, writing

Weekend Update

I’m baaack! Relaxed, refreshed and recharged. Oh, and actually appreciating my family. Or rather, I’m not so freaking exhausted that appreciation is out of my vocabulary. Here’s the scoop…

Friday. Finished work. Headed into town for my retreat, and hit… Traffic. Bad traffic. I guess everyone in H-town had Big Friday Night Plans, because they were ALL on the highway. Determined not to let it ruin my mood, I decided to play CD surprise. Never heard of it? Not surprised, considering I made it up Friday night while stuck in traffic on the highway. How do you play? Easy. Reach over (in the dark, while keeping your eyes on the road), grab a CD out of your CD wallet, and insert. Anticipate what it’s going to be. Listen. Hey, I figured it would pass the time, and since I really DO have interesting CD’s in the car I figured it was a win.

Fail. First CD – Kidz Bop. Veto. Second CD – some guy playing hammer dulcimer EZ listening hits. A holdover from my elementary teaching days. Veto. Third – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Music Memory from days gone by. Veto. Fourth – Diana Krall live in Paris. Ok, that one was doable.

Finally navigated the traffic and checked into my sweet digs. I found a great in-town deal at an extended stay place, which meant that I had a full kitchen, sectional couch, desk and separate sleeping nook. Oh, and a walk-in closet. That’s crucial for a two night stay, right? Got situated, surfed the web and started A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. How is it I never had to read this for school? It’s amazing. But if I’d had to read it for school I probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway. Most of the time when I’m told I have to read a certain book I don’t like it. It’s the passive/agressive rebellious side of me. Fine. I’ll read it. But I won’t LIKE it. Anyway, I finally made myself put the book down and sleep.

Saturday morning? It’s a good thing I’ve got priorities. I mean, if I hadn’t checked Facebook before eating breakfast and showering, I’d have missed the message about my folk dance session. “A slight mistake has been made. The original start time of 9:30 posted here was incorrect. Today’s workshop will begin at 8:30.” Good thing it was only 7:30 when I decided to Facebook.

Day of folk dancing. Skipped the fitness room workout due to the time change, but hey – six solid hours of folk dancing HAS to count as exercise, right? I mean, I did actually break a sweat once or twice and it was cold in the room. And I realized how much I miss that part of my musician life. The sense of community and collaborative music making with a group of talented people. And I’ve always loved dancing. If I’d actually been born with the right body type I probably would have kept up with it past sixth grade. But hey – at this point it’s a fun hobby. Did you get that? A hobby! Me!

Lunch on my own at a group of swanky little shops across the street. Leftover time and an Anthropologie gift card. Darn. What was I to do? Yep – found ONE – sweater that I loved. There was ONE left. In my size. And my favorite color. On sale. Score!!

More folk dancing, then a trip to the HUGE Half Price Books I’d spotted near the hotel. Huge. And, for some reason, much cheaper than the HPB near my house. Hmmm. Cheaper in town than the ‘burbs? Shocker. I love wandering in used book stores. The musty smell of old bindings and slightly mildewed dusty paper is like a drug. So addictive. They should bottle that and sell it for Plug Ins. Seriously. I’d be all over that. And I managed to score a biography of Alan Lomax – one of the songcatching family that traveled Appalachia and recorded TONS of American folk songs back in the day. You can access the recordings for free here. It was a message. This is a hobby that needs pursuit. Message received.

Back to the hotel. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Couldn’t. Put. It. Down. Hours of uninterrupted reading? Check. Intersperse journal writing? Check. Inspiration? Check and check. Right before a massive migraine sidetracked my entire plan.

Skip ahead a few hours – too much Excedrin and caffeine left me wide awake, so I pulled up the Netflix queue and started Sweet Land. An indie flick that the Spouse wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes into, it’s full of lovely shots of Minnesota wheat fields, prairie and 1920’s postwar issues. It’s easy to forget that those of us with German ancestry faced discrimination during and after WWI. Anyhoo, yes, this could be looked at as a chick flick since there was a love story. But the messages of humanity sticking together and hardworking people with their innate connection to the land can’t be ignored either.

More journaling and reading this morning, then back home. Fam was happy. Apparently I was missed. Rested, recharged and appreciated? Priceless.

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Filed under Folk Music, inspiration, Journaling, Moms, Reading, working moms, writing

Inspiration, STAT!

So you’d think, seeing that I’m headed for some serious reading/writing/reflection time this weekend, that I’d be chock-full of topics and ideas to write about. Know what? I have zero. Absolutely zero. Well, not absolutely zero. Trouble is that the topics I’d really like to vent discuss are way too personal for a blog. As in, specific people and situations, We’re talking names, folks! And that’s just not appropriate for this blog. It would be one thing if I wanted to talk about (insert celebrity name here) or the latest episode of Downton Abbey. Which I haven’t seen yet, by the way, but I HAVE heard enough spoilers to get the gist of what happened. Not happy about that.

But I digress. I’m getting really irritated that I’ve got all of this time coming up over the next couple of days but no inspiration. I mean, almost two days? To myself? That’s a gold mine to this working mom. You’d think I could at least write the Next Great Novel or something! That’s a joke, folks – I have trouble writing fiction. Funny, since when I was younger that’s pretty much all that I wrote. My problem is that I get an idea for fiction but get bogged down in the actual writing. As in, I know the basic plot outline and have good ideas for specific events – along with really good descriptions in my head. But it all tries to explode onto the page like a big glop of a verbal explosion. When my youngest minion gets his stream-of-consciousness talking going (and he’s been known to keep going for up to 45 minutes at a stretch) we call it Verbal Diarrhea at our house. Same basic concept with me and fiction.
If I were smart, I’d actually follow the writing process and do an outline first. But I’ve always hated outlines. Why waste time organizing ideas when you could just write them? See my problem? It’s that kind of ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ approach that’s keeping me from writing fiction.
And, like I said, my nonfiction ideas are way too specific – and, at the moment too positively negative – to even think about posting.
So what should I do folks?? Ima be hoppin’ mad if I spend the weekend staring at a blank page!

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Filed under Blogging, inspiration, Moms, Self time, writing


If you read any of last week’s posts, you may remember that my parents were in town for a visit. Mom and I got a chance to shop and hang out, and she asked how my job in the business world compared to teaching. That got me thinking.

Now, Mom has always said that I should write a book about some of my teaching experiences. I never thought that I’d have all that much to write about. But now that I’ve got some distance from the world of public education, I see that what I used to call ‘everyday events’ were actually pretty extraordinary. So I thought I’d share some of the little-known facts that those of you who aren’t embedded in the education world may not have the privilege of learning. Here goes:

Technology is a Double-Edged Sword
When I first started teaching, ‘mandatory trainings’ consisted of gathering around the TV/VCR combo during a faculty meeting and watching whatever district-issued presentation had been approved for that particular year, and signing off on a sheet of paper that you’d attended. Usually just mundane, the worst was the blood borne pathogen video. Up close and personal, I learned more about how to clean up spurting bodily fluids than I ever cared to. And, to make it worse, our faculty meetings were always before school, around breakfast time. It’s hard to choke down some yogurt or toast when blood is pooling and spurting on the screen. But gradually these video-based sessions gave way to the online version. That was better. Still mundane, but clicking through slides and answering random questions got rid of the spurting blood. Especially when you could borrow the ‘study guide’ from a nearby teacher who’d just finished the training.

School Nurses Are Grossly Underpaid
Never did I learn this more than the one year I taught in a district close to home. Literally, five minutes away. See, I’m sure any of you who’ve been to school remember the twice-yearly head check. That’s right – the Lice Check, folks. Well, apparently this particular district decided that the Lice Check wasted valuable instructional time. Lining up the whole class, walking to the nurse, waiting, walking back, etc. It takes time. So in this well-meaning district, once per six weeks I would get a bag of sticks and a pair of latex gloves in my mailbox. You guessed it – teachers had to do their class’ Lice Check every six weeks. The one thing I can’t stand is the idea of lice. Just the thought of it and I feel things crawling all over me. So imagine me, with my gloves and two sticks, checking heads. The boys were OK, but the girl with the waist-length hair that hadn’t been combed (or washed) in a while – yech. Nurses should earn combat pay.

Yes, Even Puke Has Rules in School
Knock on wood, I was never peed, pooped or puked on during thirteen years of teaching. I’ve had kids puke on desks. No big deal. But I did become briefly notorious during one week in my music teaching days. See, in a typical day between 120 and 270 kids would come through my room. Yep, you read that right. And  if a virus is going around, that seriously ups the odds of sick kids in one place at one time. One day, after I’d called the office for the fifth cleanup in a day, our oh-so-patient head custodian personally showed up to do the deed. I loved this man. Always ready with a smile and a joke – for teachers or kids – he was a rare gem. But as he showed up for my fifth cleanup – this time a splatter in the doorway – he leaned in, put his face close to my ear, and whispered, “Ms. B – what the hell are you doing to these kids in there today?”

And the rules don’t stop there. Standardized testing?? As much as I hate it, I’ve got to hand it to the folks in Austin – they’ve obviously hired real teachers to come up with rules for every possible testing scenario. In the Lice Check district, we had a kid puke on Test Day. All over the test and his answer sheet. Guess what? According to the rules, a teacher has to transcribe all answers onto a new answer sheet and write up a detailed explanation (witnessed by the counselor) of events leading to the transcription. But it doesn’t stop there. Apparently two adults’ statements that the original got puked on aren’t enough evidence. Rules state that you also must bag and submit the original testing materials along with the transcription. Yep, folks, that means that a bagged, puke-covered answer sheet went to Austin in a Priority mail envelope. I bet the person who got to open it felt really lucky they decided to come to work that day.

Teachers Get Built-In IQ Tests, Daily
I spent two years teaching in the Hood. As the music teacher, I saw each kid once every seven days. They rotated through art, music, PE and the library. In one particular kindergarten class a kid gave me trouble. Shocker. Teaching kindergarten music is like herding cats, in case you wondered. So anyhoo, I asked this kid’s name and he told me it was Montell. By the end of class I knew Montell’s name on the first day. Few days later – same kid. ‘Montell! Please sit down.’ Kid replies, ‘I’m Montrell. You got my name wrong.’ Few days later – same kid. But this time he tells me I’ve got it wrong – it’s not Montrell, it’s Montel. Confused yet? I was. I couldn’t get it straight for six weeks.

Until the day we pulled the entire kindergarten together to practice the Christmas program. And I finally figured it out. THERE WERE TWO OF THEM! TWINS! AND THE MOM NAMED THEM MONTELl AND MONTRELL. Really. I can’t make this stuff up. There was another set of twins too – Johnny and Jommy. Honestly, if you have twins it should be mandatory to give them drastically different names!

Not All Fashion Police are Adults
During my second year in the Hood, we got a lot of new kids from Hurricane Katrina. No, no sets of twins among them, thanks. But there was one special little cherub named Jacklyn. Sweetie – she always welcomed me with a smile and a hug. Until the day I got a haircut. ‘Ms. B – why’d you go get a wig?’ ‘Jacklyn, it’s not a wig. It’s my hair. I got bangs when I got my haircut.’ Nope. No way. She just wouldn’t believe it. We went back and forth until, as I was sitting on the floor with my circle of kiddoes playing a game, she decided to PROVE it to me. By climbing up into my lap and trying to pull that wig off my head. Needless to say, it didn’t work. And that was the last time I cut bangs with layers.

Dress Codes are for Everyone
One of the schools I spent time in had a very strict dress code for staff. Students wore uniforms. And one of the specific rules for staff stated that ‘stirrup pants are not to be worn.’ Can you guess the age of the principal and when the dress code was written just by that one rule? You’re probably right. Well, one of the teachers got called into the office one day for a violation. It was a full-on, behind-closed-doors official reprimand. The teacher in question was called out for wearing leggings with her over sized t shirt. Granted, it was a violation, technically. But let’s look at two important factors. One – the teacher was eight and a half months pregnant, hubby was in grad school full time and she had woken up that morning to find that absolutely no other pants fit. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know that this can and definitely does happen at the drop of a dime. Factor two – this teacher taught PE. But she got called out anyway. She tried to explain the situation to no avail. She was told to change or go home. She went home.

That’s all I’ve got for today folks – but I’m really just getting started here. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for future ideas. Should I turn this into a book? Starting to think so.

Maybe I’ve finally found my hobby…

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Filed under kids, Moms, Teachers, working moms, writing

Insomniac Haiku

It’s been one of those weeks. I’ll save the details for tomorrow’s post (or maybe later today if I get time) but let’s just say that I’ve had my share of stress. Definitely. And after last week’s hallucenogenic dream episodes, the doc decided to change up my meds a bit. Which is a good thing in the long run, but really messes with my sleep in the short term.

Sleep has been a luxury this week.

The other night I finally caved, got up and went to the living room with my journal to write. And looking around the room, I was inspired by what I saw. Here are the midnight results. Prepare to be amazed…

Thirteen dirty socks
strewn around the living room –
Who’s missing their mate?


Two cats sleep – in a
pile of smoky gray softness,
Purring through dreamland.


Inside myself, I
watch life passing by without
anyone seeing.

Can you tell I was getting bummed about the insomnia? Since I still wasn’t getting sleepy, I did the one thing that usually works: turn on the TV. Looked for an infomercial, but they all seemed too interesting. So I resorted to my never-fail: LMN. But darn it, the movie was actually interesting – star crossed lovers and all that… Oh, will they or won’t they?? Continuing my haiku theme:

Unspoken thoughts – that
used to be words. Shall I not
hear you say ‘My love?’

And of course, just as I got into the movie… I fell asleep. I’ll never know what happened to Titus and Meriwether – if they got togehter, died, etc. Sadness.

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Filed under Hobbies, Insomnia, Laundry, LMN, Moms, writing

Globes and Shout Outs

First, off, I need to give a couple of shout-outs to two of my fave bloggers at the moment. My friend Tina has an awesome one. If you want a witty, brutally honest and female perspective of the single life in NYC, check her out at I must say, her comments about manscaping literally made me wet my pants. Seriously. She’s that funny, folks. And her latest post about grammar police is a must-read for any of you affected peeps who just can’t let it go. I got schooled on that one too.

Second, Jenn at People I Want to Punch in the Throat has been one of my idols ever since her expose on Elf Mommies. Check her out! Warning – if profanity offends you, take her with a grain of salt – but she’s just so dang funny! Her take on the Golden Globes and her friends’ live tweets during the actual awards are priceless.

Which brings me to my second point today. The Golden Globes. There are three occasions per year where life stops in my house. Globes, Oscars and Emmys. Really. Now, I read a post on Facebook calling these ‘vacuous awards shows,’ but really? I’m a smart person and by no means shallow. Everyone needs a dose of vacuous Hollywood now and then for their own good. If you can’t agree – even in just a tiny way – then you’re being affected. Stop it. So, in solidarity for all of us vacuously-minded, here are a few of my Globes highlights.

  1. Tommy Lee Jones. Didn’t. Want. To. Be. There. At all. Really, dude – at least fake it for the cameras, or you just may not get hired next time.
  2. Jodie Foster. Absolutely LOVED her speech and comments about privacy. So important – and we tend to think that actors don’t deserve any sense of it. Fab reminder, Jodie!
  3. Jennifer Lawrence. Fabulous hair, fantastic gown and color – but what was up with the Mad Men boobs? Seriously…
  4. Jessica Chastain. Love her. Gorgeous and not stick-thin. If I could gain a few pounds and look like that I’d be happy! When I told the minions that she was the voice of ‘Gia’ from Madagascar 3, they both stopped, in a trance, and said, “She’s so pretty!” Uh oh. I see the girl trouble coming. Better get out my Big Bad Mommy Stick.
  5. Anne Hathaway. I like her. I really do. I’ve even been told I look like her. But she’s starting to get annoying simply from overexposure. Media peeps – STOP IT!
  6. Michelle Dockery. Looked fantastic and I was disappointed that she didn’t win. But at least Dame Maggie supported the Downton fans!
  7. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. How cute are they?? As much flack as she gets from the media about looking sloppy – get over it. She’s a mom who obviously has her priorities straight. And she cleans up well!
  8. The Globes always get more entertaining as the evening progresses.Why? The booze, of course. It’s funny how the speeches get longer and less coherent the later it gets.
  9. Julianne Moore. Gorgeous woman – please leave the Sarah Palin beehive at home.
  10. And finally – Taylor Swift. Please please please – if you are her publicist – have her work with a drama coach on the ‘I didn’t win but I’m still a good sport anyway’ face. Seriously.

So that’s all I can think of at the moment. What were your fave moments? Who were your picks for fashion disaster? I promise it doesn’t make you shallow!!

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Filed under Bloggers, Golden Globes, Grammar Police, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, writing

"You Need a Hobby"

So I have been told – more than once – that I need to get a hobby. Sure. Easy enough, right? Just get a hobby. Right. Just pick one up and do it. Easier said than done. To me a hobby needs to be something for which I have a passion and truly enjoy – not just something to do. And that’s a real problem because I have this nasty tendency to overthink everything. Yes, everything. Well, ok, not everything. Certain decisions, like what kind of toilet paper or laundry detergent to get, are just no-brainers in my book. But everything else? Big problem. Lots of overthinking going on. And overanalyzing too.

So, hobbies. Right. That’s where I was going with this. You’ll have to excuse me today – brain is still coming back from the fog of Christmas and a few days of vacation with the entire boy-clan at home. Anyhoo, I started thinking about my past hobbies. Aerobics. Weight lifting. Running. Pilates. Yoga. I spent years doing those. But, really, shouldn’t a hobby be something you like doing? Yup. And I really hated most of those – except when I was able to tell someone that I ran X miles the day before. That felt kind of good. But still not really enjoyable.
About the only kind of exercise I ever really looked forward to was Zumba. Yes, Zumba. Even though I’m sure watching my uncoordinated self try to do some of those moves was pretty entertaining for everyone else in the class, I loved it. But the budget wouldn’t hold up to the gym fees, so that went out the window. The Spouse even got me Zumba for the Wii. Have I cracked open that box yet? Heck no. Maybe it’s time.
I know plenty of people with hobbies. I do. One of my friends designs and screen prints t-shirts. Yep – you read that right. She actually went out and bought a real live screen printing machine to speed up her work. And she won’t go into business with it, because she says she wouldn’t enjoy it then. Makes sense. But I definitely don’t need a hobby that would bring lots more stuff into my house. There’s too much crap and clutter there as it is.
Last year around the holidays I spent lots of time with a group of women who crocheted. Couldn’t be too hard, right? If that many people were able to do it and talk/listen/carry on entire conversations and watch TV while doing it?
Wrong. I tried. Something about the little bitty needle, written directions that made no sense and YouTube videos that all seemed to feature right-handed people. I’m a lefty. The world is made for right-handers and it stinks. Plus, just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, my cat decided to jump right in and gnaw through my yarn. Another bust.
I’ve talked with knitters. I used to knit. My mom taught me as a kid, and we had a rocking collection of handmade potholders if I do say so myself. But just reading about charts and repeats and numbers – that sounds too much like math for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like math – on my own terms. But we didn’t get along well in school. At. All. So that kind of takes away the enjoyment factor that should be important in a hobby.
Tennis? I used to teach at a school with a large population of ‘tennis moms.’ These were a rare breed. I never knew that it took so much time and effort to get all made up with full hair to go and play tennis. Not to mention the designer shoes and sportswear. Who knew? But apparently it’s fun. A colleague’s husband was a tennis pro at one of the clubs frequented by these mommies, and he always said they were the easiest to teach. Show them a few tips, and then spend the rest of the hour listening to their gossip about who was doing what on Facebook. Seriously. Not sure that fits my budget or idea of a good time either.
So that brings me back to writing. Sadly, I get most of my ideas on the drive to the office. So I want to immediately get them down in writing when I get in. Bad idea. Not sure the office people would understand about that one. But I do carry a journal and write stuff down when it hits me.
Ok, so I’ve got a hobby. But writing is also a dream of mine. To Write For a Living. To Be Published. I’ve sent off a couple of things here and there. I have. I’ve got the rejection emails to prove it. One online site told me that ‘personal statement essays’ are not considered by their firm. Personal Statement Essay? Never learned that genre in school. Somehow I think it’s a made-up name, kind of like ‘literary nonfiction’ in the district where I taught. Hmmm…
I’ve looked at other options too. Wrote a piece that – in my opinion – was at least as good as some of the junk I’ve read in magazines, and looked for contact information to send it in. I found these guidelines on a popular women’s magazine site. They look for:

Marriage articles with an emphasis on strengthening the relationship

Short parenting features on how to deal with universal health and behavioral issues

Reporting on exciting trends in women’s lives

“Writers are advised to read at least the last six issues of the magazine (available in most libraries) to get a better understanding of appropriate subject matter and treatment. We prefer to see detailed queries rather than completed manuscripts, and suggest that you provide us with some ideas for sources/experts. Please enclose two or more samples of your writing, as well as a stamped, self-addressed envelope. “

What’s a query? No clue. So I guess my piece about a woman trying to escape her abusive polygamist husband while battling an addiction and searching for her soul mate wouldn’t be a good fit. Dang it. And I thought I had a good hook, too. And other web sites have been just as discouraging. Apparently you have to be published in order to get published. Kind of like looking for entry-level jobs that require experience when you have to work the job in order to get the experience.
Guess I’ve got a LOT of learning to do. But hey, at least I’ve got a hobby now, right? All I need is unlimited time to explore it…

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Filed under Blogging, Careers, Hobbies, Moms, Publishing, writing