A Perfect Day

Today has been one of the most relaxing, stress free, enjoyable days I’ve had.

M and I slept until 9:00,  something that’s very hard for me to do.  We went out for pastries, came home and had them with coffee.  Then we got back in bed.  So wonderful. We watched recorded Criminal Minds and Jeopardy, looked at our computers, planned our food for the week, read articles, and just enjoyed it.

M was done sitting around and ready to shower.  I was ready for a nap.  It was a tough week, it wore me out.  I slept for an hour and a half.  A damn good nap!  I really love to sleep.

We went to a new restaurant for dinner, an early dinner.   Yes, that much of the day had passed, doing nothing.  Dinner was fine, I’ll try the restaurant again, for breakfast or lunch.  The goat cheese crostini had too much greenery and too little cheese.  My fish tacos had far too much cabbage slaw.  M’s meal was delicious – shrimp and grits.  Smoked gouda and bacon grits.  Really good grits.  I didn’t try the shrimp, I didn’t care so much about it, but I could have bathed in the grits.

We went to Costco, 15 minutes before it closed, but zipped through.  I usually drink beer, but since it’s cold I’ve been drinking wine.  I tried two new bottles.  I’ve opened one, and it’s quite good.

Then, Tout Suite, for the best flat white and a double chocolate almond cookie.

Tout Suite flat white

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What a day

I went to work at 6:40 this morning to get copies made for my advisory classes this morning.  Not just one class, of 25/30 kids, my 9th grade class, of 730 kids.  I got everything ready, separated, office assistants could deliver them.  I got two new students today, was getting their schedules done, being interrupted constantly.  An autistic boy came in, wanted to talk, I sent him away.  One of my favorite girls needed to talk, I sent her away.  I had to get these schedules done.  Then, I heard chaos in the main office.

One of my students had been in a fight.  I had no idea what happened, she just showed up.  Her eye was completely messed up, clumps of her hair was falling out.  She was on the phone and crying.  She had been in a fight in the classroom.  I had no idea what happened.  Where was the teacher?  How did she just show up?  I had her come to my office, got her some ice, and calmed her down.  She eventually started to write her statement, taking breaks to ice her eye.

My assistant principal had to meet with another parent, so I told her I could handle this student, and her mother when she came to pick her up.

Wow, I had no idea.

Mom, clad in her pink with purple heart pajamas, came in with guns blazing.  I’m pretty good at diffusing, yesterday I calmed down a pretty hard-core boy, gang member, who was punching the wall. But this mom…. maybe not. I managed to get her into my 8×8 foot office, the first thing she said to me was, “What the hell kind of school is this?  Where is the girl who jumped my daughter?  I need to talk to her!”

I replied, “No, ma’am, you won’t be talking to the other girl.”

“Where is she?  Why isn’t she getting punished?  Is she just walking around this school not in trouble?  But my daughter’s eye is fucked up!  I want to talk to her!”

At this point she hadn’t even looked at her daughter.

Again, “No, ma’am, you won’t be talking to her.  I don’t know who she is, or where she is, but I assure you she will be dealt with.  I’m concerned with your daughter, my student.”

“Then I want to talk to her parents.  I need their number.  We’ll work this out after school, on our own turf.”

What?  Did I hear her correctly?  She really wants to work this out after school?

Dealing with this is way above my pay grade.

Just in time, an administrator at my door.  This mom just went on and on.  She even went so far as to say she has her girls back, will help her find the other student, will be there when they fight, one on one, just in case other girls jump in.

We expect kids to come to school, ready to learn, knowing how to act appropriately, and this is their role model.

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Only five.

“I’m not an addict, I’m a speed freak.”

That is one of the funniest sentences my mom has ever spoken.  I actually started laughing, out loud, over the phone.

I was in elementary school when I realized my mom took drugs, during that time, speed.  I was in the car when she met a friend at my aunt’s house.  My mom told me to wait while she went in, not typical.  My mom always wore what she called a work shirt – a long-sleeved, denim, pocketed shirt.  When she got back in the car, she took the pills out of her shirt pocket, held them in her loosely cupped hand, and said, “Fuck! I can’t believe he only had five.”

My mom has had many highs, and many lows.  The lows are pretty much directly related to addiction – alcohol, drugs, relationships, work.  A few years ago she almost overdosed on OxyContin.  Her doctor finally referred her to a pain management center, where they now dole out a transdermal patch.  She made the above comment, after leaving the pain center, furious that they were treating her like an addict.

Her sense of reality has always been skewed, and leaves me with a befuddled look on my face, but this comment left me tickled!

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We were sitting in the living room of our new house, we had bought it just a few months earlier, and he said, “That day I wanted to reach behind, grab shit, and throw at you.”

“What?” I asked, “What are you talking about?”

He replied, “That day in the bathroom, I was so angry with you I just wanted to throw shit in your face.”

It was October, one month after I married ex-husband number 2, appropriately called #2 for several reasons, he shattered his elbow.  He was riding his bike, used the front brake instead of the rear, flew over the bike, and landed on his elbow.

It was ugly. The injury was ugly, the treatment was ugly, six months of him not working was ugly, lots of meds were ugly, his personality was VERY ugly.

My dad and stepmom (C) had plans to visit us for Thanksgiving.  They thought they shouldn’t come, because our situation wasn’t great, we went to many doctor and physical therapy appointments.  I begged them, I was so miserable, I needed them to come.  I didn’t have many things I wanted to do with them that week – a gourmet grocery store, hanging art, and going to a girls high school basketball game. I had promised several of my students I would go.

#2 wanted to be babied. He spent a lot of time in bed, he thought his “condition” compromised his ability to function as a regular adult.  One evening, after dinner, he was in bed. Dad, C and I hung art, and we were watching a documentary about Aron Ralston, the hiker who was trapped in rocks and cut off his own arm.

Around 8:30 we heard a faint voice, muted the t.v., and heard it was #2 calling for me, in a soft wounded voice.  Now, keep in mind this was a 900 square foot apartment, he wasn’t far away.  I went in our room, he was in the fetal position, crying.  I asked if his elbow hurt.  No.  Was his stomach hurting.  No.  So, what’s wrong?  He was lonely and wanted me to stay in bed with him.  He was also angry because we hung art without him, and I was spending time with my parental units, not him.  I explained I see him every day, every night, I don’t know when I will see them again.  He tried to persuade me to stay with him, given his condition warranted he stay in bed.  I refused.

The next morning, Dad, C and I were at the kitchen table visiting.  We heard pounding in the other room.  We looked at each other, puzzled.  We heard it again.  It sounded like stomping feet.  I went looking for #2, he was in the bathroom, on the toilet, stomping his feet.  I knocked on the door, he was crying and wouldn’t reply, so I went in.  He was constipated.  He was sitting on the toilet, straining, sobbing.  Apparently he had never been constipated before.  Really?  I didn’t know a single person who hadn’t been constipated.  But, he hadn’t.  But he was taking pain pills which may lead to constipation.  I told him I would go out and get some prune juice, he shouldn’t strain.  He screamed at me.  I don’t even remember what he said, but he was screaming.  Saying horrible things.  He was so angry that I wasn’t spending every bit of my attention on him.  I was just shocked!  Was he not 33?  Was I his mother?  Was I supposed to nurse him?  What the fuck?

It was about 10 months later when he told me he wanted to throw shit in my face.  I told him I would have walked out and never come back.  

I wish he would have.

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Welcome back!

Hello, Sun!  It’s so nice to see you again.IMG_1190

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Teachable Moment


I taught for several years.  I taught in a high school where kids didn’t have a lot of self-control, so controlling the classroom was a constant battle.  Even when I had a good relationship with the class, and it was pretty calm, we had more difficult days. When I get frustrated, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, try to collect myself, and not lash out.

One day I was taking a lot of deep breaths.  The kids would not stop talking.  During one of those moments I heard a boy whisper, “Shhh. Leave her alone. She’s about to explode.”

My eyes popped open, my head up straight, I put on what my nephew calls “the teacher look”, and eyeballed the students, to figure out who the boy was.

Kids kept talking.

Shut up!  Ugh!

Again, the boy told them to be quiet.

He was one of the really sweet kids on the 2nd row.  I questioned why he would say that.  What would make him think I was about to explode? I am, after all, incredibly patient and don’t show my frustration.  That’s why I breathe deeply and close my eyes.  I maintain my cool, and don’t let on that I want to wring someones neck.  At least, that’s what I tell myself.

The boy answered, very matter of fact, “Because you’re on your period.”

Huh? What? What would make this boy think I was on my period?  Granted, I was a little grumpy, but my period?  I thought, “Ass! Assuming any woman in a bad mood is on her period.  Ass!”  But, instead, I asked him why he would say that.

He replied, “Miss, I have a mom and three sisters.  I’m the only male in the house.  I have figured out how to keep track, and when to stay quiet, so I can stay out of trouble.  It’s your time.”

Gotta hand it to the kid, he was close, but I had PMS, was not on my period.  That was my teachable moment of the day, the difference between the two.

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Sweet peas.

My grandparent’s house was on about an acre of land.  Their house, built in the 60’s, sat near the front of the lot.  There was just a little front yard, and bushes grew beneath the large living room window.  The majority of the land was in the back yard.  As an adult I realize it wasn’t huge, but as a child it was a gigantic playground.

The North side of the yard was lined with cherry trees, the South side with apricot trees, and the back of the yard butted up to an empty lot, in season raspberries grew along the chain link fence that separated the two properties.  A tire swing hung from one of the oak trees, that offered shade.


My siblings, cousins, and I would spend hours running around the yard, swinging, and pretending we were on some great adventure.  But my favorite memory of that back yard is the garden, a fairly large garden in the very middle of the yard.  One time I was helping my grandpa – he pulled a carrot from the ground, we went to the water spigot, he washed the dirt off of it, and handed it to me.  I took a big bite off of the carrot, the wet leafy tops dripping water down my arm.  My grandmother would send me to the garden to collect veggies.  One time she sent me for peas.  I guess I had been gone too long, and she came looking for me.  I was walking down the row of peas, eating them as I picked, depositing the empty shells in the basket, which was meant for the peas. They were so incredibly sweet, I couldn’t stop myself.

I wish my grandparents were alive now, so I could tell them this.  Some of my best childhood memories were spent at that house, in the yard, sleeping over, playing in the basement, and eating the wonderful sweetness that came from their garden.

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