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I don’t want to be on Facebook, because he’s not there. I don’t want to post to Tumblr. He won’t see it.

I looked at all my sites where I can usually find something of him. A note, a digital footstep, a sign of his presence. Nothing.
I finally found a sign of him, a journal entry so full of pain I literally walked to the door, keys in hand, to drive to him.
Outside is covered in multiple feet of white. A snow day so beautiful that if it had been anything but today I’d have been overjoyed. I love snow days. But this one is stopping me from going to him, unwelcome as I am, to try to staunch the bleeding, heal the pain. 
 
He left me.
 
Do I throw everything away that reminds me of him?
I’d have to throw away myself. My own body reminds me of him.
Looking at the gym shoes I bought at Target to replace the ones he bought me, hurts.
Everything burns and stings. 
Thinking stings enough to bring tears to my eyes. 
 
I don’t want it to be true. I want it all to go away. I want him to come back and say “just kidding” “April fools” “I changed my mind” “I still love you”
 
I don’t want him to hurt. The weekends were full of healing, fun, bliss. 
 
We were so in love, had such amazing sex, sang such pretty songs, fired such bitchin guns. We drank together, played together, fought together, scrubbed floors together. I’d not give up an instant of it to save an army. I don’t want to be the good guy anymore. I just want him back.
 
I didn’t know how much I leaned on his presence in my life to be ok. Every spare moment I was checking my device for a Facebook message, a fitness app note, a new Tumblr post, a new journal entry, a new music video on Facebook. His digital life was rich and… still is, I guess. I’m just not invited now. 
 
I changed my passwords. It didn’t seem right for him to be able to walk in and out of my private places. 
He cancelled his Facebook
I wonder if he’ll think it’s an accident that I left all the other avenues open. He knows my bank pin and account number, my Tumblr password, my fitness app, my fitbit. He’s my special friend on Facebook and can see every post. Hell I almost called him this morning. 
 
Maybe I should. 
 
Maybe I shouldn’t.
 
It would be totally inappropriate.
Almost surely unwelcome.
 
…It would almost be worth it, getting hung up on, just to hear his “hello”
 
I’ve been crazy about him. I guess I still am. 
 
 
You are tall and handsome
You are brave 
You are loved
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February 13, 2014 · 1:12 pm

I was reading an article about southern women today and I realized something interesting.

My father is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and my mother is from southern California, and the girl I modeled my social skills on in high school was an army brat from (mostly) Texas. I was raised in Indiana in the woods, like a savage, but while my accent is that of a hoosier, my manners are not. 

I quite often compliment my friends, and the folks around me. If you’ve ever been a clerk at a grocery store that’s helped me, or a barista who made my drink, you’ve probably felt the sweet side of my tongue. But here’s the thing-  I don’t give false compliments. I look for something about you I can honestly enjoy, and I tell you about it. As simple as that. If I know you well, you’ll get compliments that are deeper and more to the heart. If I’ve just met you it might be on the order of your pretty earrings, or the color of your shirt. But there’s nothing, I’ve realized, keeping me from being nice, except the fear we all have to show weakness to someone who might hurt you. Well I have made my sweetness into strength, my borrowed southern manners into a face I’m willing to show to a stranger I just met. It’s weird to some of my northern brethren (which, honestly to say, I am one of) but this sweet smile has opened more doors than any number of polite nods or grouchy frowns. People who don’t know me well wonder if this is all an act, false smile, false compliments… I can’t say that I never cry, or frown, or gaze off with a thousand-yard stare, but I make a concerted effort to make the decision to be as positive as I can. Which, frankly, most days, is pretty damn sunny! 

 

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October 12, 2013 · 6:16 pm

I hate this.

I got my period today, wasn’t expecting it, and it hit with no warning and like a ton of bricks.

I was at work, standing crossing guard duty when I first felt it. Nothing to be done but let my jeans soak themselves with blood underneath my black coat. Got into the car when the first strains of the next stanza started, the sick feeling that comes from the estrogen withdrawal.

Stopped by Starbucks on the way home, standing in line wet with blood, to get some disgusting soy milk to drink, hoping it’ll help.

It’s helping now. Three hours in. Without outside influence, this usually takes closer to eight hours to run it’s course, and no medicine helps, not even a little.

The nausea is bad, but the worst part is this sick, Wrong feeling in my center. Like there’s something going terribly wrong inside and nothing makes it feel better, but bending at the waist makes it a Lot worse for a few moments, ‘makes me want to throw up. Then it goes back to just feeling terrible. And the nausea gets Worse when I drink the soy milk (probably because it’s gross) but it’s got to work it’s way through the body to start working. So I’ve got to get as much down as I can. I hate this. People have SO many home remedies for “women’s troubles” – keep your belly warm, drink tea of various sorts, pain killers, Midol. Yeah, right. And the next time you have a cold, eat some grass from the backyard. You’ll be totally cured, I swear.

The symptoms are starting to abate now, and the description of them almost seems unreal. I start to forget how bad it felt. Good thing, too.

Oh, and my sense of smell is here today. Thanks, body. Nausea PLUS a sudden hyper-awareness that food has a smell. My husband is eating cold cuts straight from the refrigerator, and the smell of ham is overwhelming and GROSS.

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January 3, 2013 · 5:00 pm

Sara and Fighting Musings

I got a call this morning, and my friend SaraBear is having a really hard time right now. She’s feeling beaten down by life, feeling like a bad person, and generally feeling like someone feels when they’re being beaten with big emotional sticks. I know she feels like she deserves it, and that is the absolutely worst part. No-one can hurt you without your permission, and she has given every single possible permission to be torn down to her base components. When I talked to her she sounded like a little girl. Young and fragile and innocent and hurt. It hurt my heart. 

 

Not being able to do anything about it, I am just doing duty as a shoulder to cry on, and a stalwart companion, ready to jump in and act if ever a moment came when there was ANYTHING I could actually DO, which there isn’t. I feel like a superhero who puts on his cape and then sits on the bed waiting for the call. 

 

Must distract myself! So on a Totally unrelated note- I was hoping to schedule a shop day with my knight on Wednesday to get that helmet strapped and ready for Friday, so I can actually Fight this Friday. My schedule got fershnikered, though, as my second shift ends at 2:00, instead of the usual 4. This could actually be a good thing, as it means I’m available after 2 and all evening, if he wasn’t so busy in the afternoon and evening. But he is (busy), and it looks like my helmet will have to wait until Friday to be finished. I hope we can get it done fast. I don’t want to wait another week to fight. I could really go for hitting someone right now. Maybe mister rubber-face in the backyard will have to do. 

 

-A

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December 9, 2012 · 5:39 pm

Sunday’s Musing

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/beforeyouboard/whatToKnow/whatToPack.do

What to pack for a cruise. They’re rather specific, aren’t they?

Mom called me up today to tell me they were decorating the tree today and I should come over to help. Unfortunately, I schedule my days more than zero days in advance. negative 1/2 actually, since she called me at around noon. I told her I’d be free after 10 pm. She wasn’t best pleased, but didn’t give me too hard a time. Just rung off.

Thanksgiving was lovely. I posted so many pictures to my Facebook wall. Peaches (mom’s teacup chihuahua) was adorably cute, as always. She’s so cuddly and quiet! The least obnoxious chihuahua I’ve ever met.

Dad picked my sweetheart and I up around 9am, and brought us over to the house. I’d called mom at 7:45 to have the turkey taken out of the fridge to start warming to room temp.  Since mom has recently had spinal surgery (by recently I mean less than six months ago) she’s not allowed to lift heavy things. So I told her I’d be cooking the turkey (and I stole away the mashed potatoes too, while she was busy elsewhere). High heat method, started upside-down, and turned over halfway through the two hour cooking process. French egg glaze, applied with a heat-proof brush. It was brown and crispy and Lovely.

Mom does not do turkey well. We all joke that her dry turkey is why her gravy is so amazing. So each to her own, and the gravy was indeed awesome, and she had to sate herself with cooking the FIVE or SIX other dishes on the table.

Since both my brother and my dad are recovering alcoholics, there was no wine this year. So mom asked me to make a version of Amanda soda I recently discovered. Hand squeezed clementine juice, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, sparkling water. (No caffeine in this one) over crushed ice in a crystal carafe. It looked Lovely. Nice palate cleanser too, between mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc. etc.

Dad went and picked up Aunt Bobbi (my great aunt, one of the ladies who helped raise my mother) from the nursing home, and she sat down with us and ate a plate of (carefully pre-cut-up) dinner. We ate at around 2:00, because we never remember to eat breakfast or lunch when we’re cooking, and we’re always ravenous in the early afternoon. So we just started having Thanksgiving dinner as a late lunch. Maybe next year I’ll put the turkey in earlier and we’ll eat at noon : ) But then I won’t be able to sleep in on Thanksgiving, a crying shame.

We always bugger off after dinner is over and we’ve offered to do the dishes (and been turned down by mom). Haven always has an emergency, or we’re going to see a movie with friends, or whatever.

There is only so much family time we can stand, and it’s MUCH nicer to leave them wanting to chat more than to stay until there’s friction or an argument.

Poor Chris. My little brother is living at mom and dad’s at the moment. Lost his wife (he broke it off with her, the stupid-dummyhead) his girlfriend kicked him out (that was a smart move on her part) and he had nowhere to go. So he’s living in the spare bedroom, and letting mom badger him about how he should wear khakis on the cruise ship, because black slacks are “too hot for the Caribbean”. I’ve always wondered how he manages to sleep fourteen hours a day, but perhaps he’s just hiding in his bedroom, posting to Facebook, so he doesn’t have to come out and be social.

I have found some forgotten dishes that need washing, or perhaps to die by fire. So this is me, signing off.

-A

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November 25, 2012 · 9:59 pm

Cruising for 7.5 acres in the mountains

Interesting day today!

Woke up before my alarm, and practically had to bodily eject my sweetheart from bed (no, not really) to get him up in time to come with me to my first shift. After Dee drove us, we took him home and absconded with his car (he would be busy for second shift) and went out to eat ALL the breakfast, and take a relaxing drive in the mountains.

Found a really pretty piece of property for sale for retarded cheap in an area we’ve been looking in for a while, so we began the process of getting the info we needed about that. Seven and a half acres, fifteen minutes from civilization, well all dug and finished, electric already run to the site… pretty freaking cool.

But we kind of forgot all about it when we got home, because I got a call from my mother (three, actually, she was really excited). Mom and dad are having their 35th wedding anniversary soon, and they’ve bought Gene and I and my brother all tickets for Christmas to go on a 9 day cruise with them on January 26th. Two weekends, and the week in between. St. Croix, San Juan, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and then back to Baltimore.

I’m going to have so many new clothes to buy!

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November 21, 2012 · 3:15 am

Started out an “About My Day” and ended up “How to be a Substitute Teacher”… Huh.

Today was a bit dodgy, but ended up with me in a reasonably clean kitchen, watching “Sherlock” and writing my new blog, so not too bad overall : )

I woke up too late to cook, so I ordered the most food-like breakfast Macdonalds makes, on the way to first crossing-guard shift this morning (a bacon egg and cheese bagel with no sauce on it, a hashbrown, and a coke). I sprinkled salt all over my hashbrown and immediately devoured it (I love salt.) but apart from a few sips of coke during my shift, that was all I managed to have for breakfast. My sandwich came home with me, sat on my desk in it’s white paper bag for a few hours, and later moved to the floor. I ate it after my second shift, perhaps 3:00, for lunch.

Cranberry juice when I got home (don’t ask), and a hard boiled egg (with salt on it) to keep me from sugar-crashing, and then off to my job. Such a long commute. I turned my computer chair around to face my computer, and started on the last day of website updates before the thing went live. It’s a  telecommuting job. Project manager, Client caller, Office organizer, and all around Girl Friday.

I just had a dear friend ask me for some advice on starting out as a substitute teacher (a job I had for several years), and this is what I told her:

Oh gosh, there’s a gazillion things I could tell you!

First, every situation will be a bit different, but the more “tools” you have in your “toolbox”, the better you’ll be able to roll with the punches. This will be a lot of stuff, but it’s really only a taste of all the info you’ll want. Gotta start somewhere, though!

I use one term a lot so I want to define it. “Be happy”. I don’t mean “smile and be all bubbly for the kids”. F’ the kids. I’m talking about you taking good care of yourself, and finding and doing what makes you feel the best, internally.

Yes I had to take the course, jump through the hoops, get fingerprinted, etc. It’s worth it. It’s over quick, and you never have to do it again. Good luck filling out which schools, grades, etc. you’re interested in. You won’t know until you try them. But you can adjust your settings later, so feel free to cast a wide net now.

Yes, there is a broad range of both quality and impact of substitute teachers. There are people who slog through, never taking the reins and letting the kids heap abuse on them like that’s their job. Then you have babysitters who have decided their job is to make sure none of the kids die, and that’s it. That’s fine, but then there are the Teachers, and they are like gold. The teachers who get substitutes who ARE teachers will call you back and ask you to sub for them when they go on vacation, get married, need maternity leave, get sick. The schools that you like and go back to over and over will get used to you, give you permissions most substitutes NEVER get. It will just happen naturally that you’ll be allowed to go where the faculty goes, do what the faculty does. You never have to grade a paper, keep a job you didn’t like, or stay in one place if it doesn’t suit you. On the other hand, you can take long term assignments that suit you to the ground, and have a real impact on the kids, forming bonds that you’ll remember forever (and so will they!)

1) Your primary and first objective is to control the classroom, which means taking a leadership role. It seems obvious, but if you are organized, and can answer most of the questions students will certainly have when they see a new face, and give them the kind of instructions they’re used to getting from the person standing up at the front of that classroom, they will automatically put control in your hands (up to a certain age. High school kids are different. You have to balance giving them some freedom and control while staying in the driver seat. I could never get the balance right, so I stick to littler kids.)

2) The next thing is to be as prepared and organized as it is possible to be, and I don’t mean bringing your own kit. I almost NEVER walked into a classroom where the teacher hadn’t made SOME kind of preparation for their absence. Usually there is a lesson plan for you to follow, or a note pointing you to a folder tucked in a drawer with “What to do if I’m gone” which will have busywork worksheets for the kids. (Or worst case, go to the school library, ask the librarian for a video, and make it movie day.) In any case, the trick is to (as quickly as possible) read everything you’re doing and get confident as you can with the material, so when you give it to the kids, you don’t make mistakes and act un-confident (which undermines their confidence in you). If you look and seem like you know what you’re doing, they will just assume you do. Fake confidence is just as good as real confidence in this case. None of these kids know you, and they’re all programmed to see the adult at the front as the teacher.

3) Your secondary objective is to be happy. You’ll be happy and confident in a school, grade, and subject that work with your brain. So first thing is to try a bunch of things and see which ones are fun and which ones suck big hairy balls. I taught at schools I’d never go back to in a million years, and fell in love with the school right across the street from my apartment (which was hella convenient!)
I found that sixth grade was fun to teach, and everything else didn’t feel quite right (or felt awful).
I never cared what subject I taught, but if it was gym, I’d better be ready for the testosterone to be shooting through the roof, and if it was biology, I’d have to water the plants, and maybe feed the frog 🙂
Once you get used to a place, you’ll be happier. I found that choosing a school (or schools) and sticking with it got me lots of benefits. Everyone knew me, treated me like one of the teachers. Gave me the password to the computer, the run of the copy room, showed me how to use the library checkout system, even gave me a library card! A long stint in a classroom (I took care of an English teacher’s kids for six months- she had cancer.) can be a great thing. You’ll find that you need a mat to stand on, so you’ll bring one and put it down. You’ll find there’s always a lack of pencils, so you’ll bring a jar of pencils, and devise a system to keep the kids from wandering off with them. You’ll notice that the kids have a hard time settling down and getting to work when the bell rings, so you’ll make rules that make sense, and get the kids used to following them. Plus, most teachers that aren’t BRAND spanking new have a lot of lesson plans all lined up. You just follow the road, keeping a step ahead of the kids so you can explain and answer questions. You make it work for the kids, and for you. Gotta keep that balance.
So remember-
1) Control the classroom
2) Be happy and confident
If you can manage these two objectives, you’ll be like solid gold to the school system, and they will ask you back again and again.
A couple of tips
-Make friends with the front office ladies. They are the power behind the throne. They know everything, are the gate-keepers to everyone, and can make your life Loads easier, or LOTS harder. Seriously. If you’ve known them for more than a month, bring them coffee mugs with chocolates in, or cute gifts, or potted plants. Whatever it takes.
-Kids become little quiet, drooling zombies when there’s a movie on in the room, and all movies are longer than one class-period. Just choose one that won’t have the parents hollering, and it’s like dark, evil magic!
-There’s never enough time to eat at the kids’ lunchtime. Especially if you try to go through the line in the cafeteria with the kids. Pack a lunch, eat in your classroom. You’ll be happier. Snacks are good too. Just a few minutes between classes can do wonders if there’s a piece of cheese behind your desk and a bottle of gatorade or something. Talking all day is thirsty work, and the teacher is allowed to break a few rules that the kids have to abide by. They are used to this.
-Figure out how children get punished in your school. It’s important, because all children push barriers and it’s good to have several sizes of stick, and several sizes of carrot. The ATOM BOMB of punishments, and my favorite, is to call mom (or dad).
At the school I chose, there was a lot of parent involvement, and if I was having a sticky problem with a child, I’d go into the rolodex that the teacher made at the beginning of the year (they almost always do) and called home and explained the problem. I’ve heard horror stories of parents taking their kids’ side and yelling at the teacher, but this Never happened to me. I would just call mom and say “Little Johnny is having a bit of trouble at school.” and before I could get two words out, I’m being grilled “What is he doing? He said WHAT? Oh when he gets home he is going to GET it!” (I was always as nice as I could be about the child. Nobody wants to hear their child denigrated. But I was always precisely honest about his or her behavior. Parents like to be able to point to examples when they’re shouting at their kid 😉
And little Johnny comes back the next day white as a sheet, polite as a choirboy, and generally (quietly) pulls me aside and says “could you please never call my mom again? I’ll be good, I promise.” Heh. My favorite. But there is also detention and referrals (where they have to sit and get yelled at by the vice principal, who’s job it is to be scary) and too many referrals can result in a suspension, which means they’re at least out of your hair. Those are all variously big sticks, obviously.
-Oh, and the first year of teaching, you will get ALL the colds. Every flu virus will make you it’s bitch. Just be aware, this happens to every teacher for about a year. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just collecting the whole set of antibodies. Next year you won’t have the same trouble.
What is subbing like?
It’s scary, stepping into who knows what to deal with who knows who every day. It was a challenge for me to make myself take that leap every morning. It was much easier not to take a sub job that day and stay home.
It’s an amazing feeling, though, to get through the first day that you get through with no major issues. You feel like Superman. It’s a very hard job to do well, and when you DO find that you’ve done well, it’s a Really good feeling.
I remember sitting in a restaurant with my hubby, spending my hard earned money on a couple of steaks, and having two little girls run up to me “Miss B, Miss B! Remember us from school?” and having them hug me and waving at their parents. It was a Really good feeling.
And it’s kinda fun to feel like the captain of this brightly colored ship. Getting to run things your way and make decisions to make your life, and the lives of these kids, easier and better.
Some days are bad. If I just couldn’t keep the kids under control and someone stabbed someone else in the leg with a pencil, or a kid walked out of my classroom and I had to call the front office and tell them I lost one, or when it’s just too stressful and you want to melt into a puddle of tears. Those are the bad days.
It was always too stressful for me, actually. But that was because I was Always on high alert. I maybe took my job a little too seriously. But I cared about those kids, and really wanted them to be well, and have a clear space to learn and grow.
I always took a shower when I got home. Chalk dust, mold, and stress sweat washed away and I could relax after what was really not a terribly long day, with a long planning period break (most days) in the middle somewhere.
I think if you can stay happy, you’ll be an amazing substitute teacher. I have no doubt you’re organized enough, and willing to shout a class down, and I know you care enough. The thing you’ll need to find out is (and I can’t stress this enough) how to get and stay happy. You’ll figure out what you like and what you need. It’ll just take a bit. Give it that bit, and you’ll know something new about yourself, and a lot of new things about teaching. And there will maybe even be some kids out there who’s lives are better because of it.

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November 20, 2012 · 2:22 am