Flippin' CAR CRUD!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Image result for car maintenance funnyWhat is it about car maintenance that makes me feel SO completely and frantically upside down?

During this past month, I have had two very distinct situations that have literally made me want to peel my own skin off...

Let me preface this post by stating, I drive a Chevy Tahoe.  I have had 3 and loved each and every one of them.  My first was emerald green, the next silver, and this one luxury and charcoal grey.  As I think about my 2011 "trusty steed" - I think of all the journeys we have made together and the many many memories that Fisherman and I have made in this "car".  It has successfully hauled many things - groceries, fishing "stuff", my favorite 3 little peeps, my parents, Fisherman's family, friends, to destinations with narry a peep out of it.  It was purchased 2 weeks after my beloved Grandmother passed away and carried my Mom and Grandfather to and from California (fighting LA traffic, to boot), with tears, and provided a means for my Gram's brother to grieve her loss with those who loved her.

Over the last 3 weeks, my valiant steed (which I think can sense that I am committing "car adultry" by looking at other vehicles) has been cause for consternation.  As Fisherman and I took the car in to have the tires rotated and balanced - the clerk at Costco called us and and said "Mr. Fisherman, we cannot in good faith, rotate these tires again...they are showing too much wear and uneven wear at that."  Initiate total ugly crying in the middle of Costco.  What made it worse is that Fisherman was so great about it.  He tried to comfort me and keep my head from completely blowing off my body and having to scoop me up, like so many small puddles before.  "Babes, it is ok...we will be ok.  It is car maintenance, it has to be done."  So, at a cost of a small island, new tires were put on.

When we went to pay, the clerk said "Mr. and Mrs. Fisherman, you really should have the alignment checked out to see why there is such uneven wear." Issue ugly cry of the evening number 2!  Fisherman had just talked me off the ledge and consoled me with a Costco frozen yogurt and NOW this!!!  Is he trying to kill me?! I mean can the man sense that I am a puddled meltdown - and just sees "sucker" - but no, Fisherman is there...so it can't just be "take advantage of the blonde woman".
So we make the appointment, shuffle our entire world (Fisherman to work, me to work...etc.) and get the alignment checked out.  It was wildly out of alignment and was now fixed. Slightly apprehensive, I set out the next day, finished with all my summer teacher-y things, and headed NORTH.  It ran beautifully.  My new tires hugged the pavement and it rides very smoothly.

Finally, yesterday, I decided to treat my trusty to a "wash and set" so-to-speak.  I ran to the Diamond Car Wash (they do a great job). They polished her up and I was ready to roll...dun, dun, dun {{ominous voice}} my mom and I were about to toodle off to shop 'til we dropped when *clank*, *thwack* *thwack* *thwack* - AAAAAAGH! WHAT THE HECK!?!?!?! I pull across the street and look all around the vehicle...and NOTHING. I get back in and *clank*, *thwack* *thwack* *thwack*! SERIOUSLY....AAAAAGH! I know that I cannot go further, I KNOW I need to know what is going on.  Fisherman was still on summer school duty so I called my Dad (30 minutes out) and waited.

I could literally feel the nerves in my head M-E-L-T-I-N-G, like OH-em-GEE I think I am having a small stroke.  I was dizzy.
I KNEW it was going to cost me thousands of dollars and the remainder of my sanity. FISHERMAN was not there to put the puddle back together and was dealing with some bit of summer school stuff and didn't even ANSWER THE PHONE. Lawdhammercy! My mom calls my brother...he is about 10 minutes away and answers the call.

He pulls in, and I just ooozed out of the driver's seat.  My mom stayed in the car with him as he "Mario Andretti'ed it" up and down the street.  He comes back after about 5-10 minutes, and says very calmly in his loving brotherly voice...

"Um...it would be helpful if you wouldn't use 4-wheel drive on the pavement...DUH!"
"I can write it down for you if you need - 2 wheel drive = pavement; steep, weather, mude = 4-wheel drive"...bwahahahahahah!"
My response..."Mother of all CUSS WORDS, and the GRATITUDE!"

Hallelujah! I've seen the light, I was at the abyss and was yanked back from oblivion.  Everything was good, no FREAKING FANTASTIC!

Living to drive another day...

Help a teacher out!

Monday, June 25, 2018
What am I going to be when I grow up...said the little blog to the creator? After re-vamp number 3 here, and the smooth lines of the new blog, I find myself giddy with possibilities and topics that I want to discuss.

I started writing yesterday beginning down one vein and then I thought (or fell down the rabbit hole) I need to totally revamp this blog. Which leads me to my first topic.

During this past year I have been working (sweating, gnashing, pouring) on my National Board certification and it has overwhelmingly sucked up all my time. I am now done (all except knowing if I passed) - like STICK A FORK IN ME I'M DONE.
So now, ta da, I am back on the bloggy circuit. WOOT! The NBCT work has inevitably caused me to reflect on my teaching, the state of teaching in general, education and the state of education in America.

This past year I watched as some of the bravest and most admirable teachers - those who have been a mentor to me through the years agonize the choice of defending the profession and demand that they are treated AS PROFESSIONALS. They made a very brave decision to walk out of their classrooms and hold those in leadership accountable for the state of education in America.

Teachers are the backbone of America. We in the throes of the educational upheaval broach the tumult with apprehension, joy, nausea, as well as necessity. Our students demand our very best, and we as the aging part of the population, should demand that the generation who will lead our future, have the absolute very best. We enable EVERY. OTHER. CAREER.

I have been pondering my profession as of late...let me restate...MY PROFESSION - and for those of you who are unaware teaching is a PROFESSION. We are required to have a degree, and maintain licensure requirements that differ from state to state, continually PROFESSIONALLY develop, we are held  (some would argue) to a higher standard than even physicians (whom nobody would question as a professional).  However, for some odd reason, since everybody has been to school at one time or another, they believe that they are a professional educator.  

Let me draw a quick analogy - most people at one time or another have used a band-aid but would not call themselves a surgeon nor proffer opinions on the best method to reattach a severed limb; so, why do so many think they are experts in education because they attended school? Sure, I can address the needs of 6+ students on an IEP, know by heart that the focus standards of the CCSS are being met in lessons, use updated pedagogical strategies while documenting growth, and mastery; all while under the SCRUTINIZING eye of someone who thinks they have the silver bullet to education.

So, THIS summer like many others, I will confirm my allegiance to the multitudes of teachers who bravely find redemption and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and proclaim out loud "WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH".  Here is what we know...
  • We don't like testing anymore than students do - especially since our students are tested, to death.
  • We don't love having zero autonomy in our classrooms - trusted to be professional.
  • We don't like when we are punished collectively for the misdeeds of few.
  • We hurt when our students do.
  • We celebrate victories with students regardless of size or achievement.
  • We welcome evaluation where we can celebrate our students instead of hanging our head when students do not meet an arbitrary mark set by those who haven't a clue.
  • We welcome feedback but do not believe that everybody is an EDUCATION expert just because they went to school.
  • We are taking this time during the summer to re-charge, reclaim overtime put in during the year, educate ourselves, make-up lost moments to family, and yes...think about school.

So, if you see a teacher realize that they are angels on the good side of the fight. We love your kiddos, we will continue to love your kiddos and strive to make each one of them the warrior they are meant to become.  However, if you are able, fund a classroom, volunteer, ask what you can do with your child, drop off a bag of Hershey's kisses (I promise they will be devoured with love), ask your student what they are working on - EVEN AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL, send a note to a teacher, value teachers like we value your student! AAAAAND for the love of all that is holy...don't forget about us in the upper grades...we love your kiddos too and we love to know that we are a part of the time honored sacred triangle - student,  parent, teacher - working together to magnify the success of each student. 
Image result for elementary vs. high school teacher


Tuesday, June 19, 2018
What is it about love that makes us so stupid?

Image result for love makes us stupid
I believe that love is the single greatest thing that we as human beings get to experience. Studies have shown that all living things require love...ALL LIVING THINGS - which actually means that I talk and show LOVE to my garden and flowers in our home (it also means that Fisherman thinks he married a complete whack job because I do).

Related imageI have been re-reading The Five Love Languages that everyone, literally EVERYONE, recommends. I, like everyone else, have read this and know in my bones that my love language is physical touch.
Physical touch 
To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. That doesn't mean only in the bedroom — everyday physical connections, like hand-holding, kissing, or any type of re-affirming physical contact is greatly appreciated. A person who speaks the language of physical touch isn't necessarily an over-the-top PDA'er, but getting a little touchy-feely does make them feel safe and loved.

Image result for acts of service love languageI feel SAFE both emotionally and physically.  I experience LOVE through CONTACT.

Fisherman is the type of man whose love language is that of acts of service:
Acts of service
For these people, actions speak louder than words. People who speak the language of service want their partner to recognize that their life is rough and help them out in any way possible. Lending a helping hand shows you really care. People who thrive on this language do not deal well with broken promises — or perceived laziness — and have very little tolerance for people who make more work for them. Basically, if you're not willing to show your appreciation by doing them a favor, you're saying you don't value them.

I know further that his "sub" love language is that of service and knowing that the domestic part of our life is taken care of - meals, laundry, and that we are organized, de-cluttered, and our home is clean.  He says that the latter two are "no big deal", but he walks in peace and is better able to be present and calm when these things are done.

Most of those who know Fisherman and I as a couple, know that we met through Match.com and to everyone's surprise (including my own), we are absolutely the right two people for each other.  We are a matched pair. Do we agree on everything...um NO.  Does he sometimes make me want to smother him with a pillow...um YES, NO. Do I frequently require more maintenance than a service station...um NEVER {{eye roll}}. Regardless, he and I just work.

I have been thinking about US recently, and the times where Fisherman and I have felt the most stress in our little marriage and home.  This past year I spent month after month working toward getting my National Board Teaching Certification (details much, much, much later).  Suffice it to say that I spent an enormous amount of time working on this to the neglect of our home and even at times to the neglect of the needs of my husband - which in turn lessens his ability to be my safety net. An epic cycle of continents drifting apart.  It may seem imperceptible to most, but the crack in our planet has left me with a sense of unease - a feeling of emotionally unsafe.
5 Love Languages
My relationship with my beloved husband is the single most important relationship in the entire world. It transcends a parent-child relationship, it transcends sibling relationships, and transcends even my very life. Even now, when I think about my husband, he takes my breath away and my heart beats faster. I realize how fortunate we are - we both know that our LOVE is a gift. It needs cultivation, it needs for us to tend the weeds that crash upon us like thunder, it needs for us to re-dedicate ourselves to each other and to be cognizant that our sense of self comes from the way we love each other.

So, the big SO - so, with this knowledge I vow as I did five years ago and twelve years ago to love, honor and cherish this Fisherman of mine. I vow, that I will renew my commitment to him and find again what it means to be an honorable wife, partner, and LOVE.

Nerd Squad

Thursday, May 18, 2017
This year, more than any other has been filled with tumult and what seems to be a sort of "managed chaos".
There is never enough time for grading, planning, working one-on-one with students, participating in the culture of the school, more planning, visiting family and friends, or even time for reading to my favorite little peeps.
 etc.Image result for teacher memes
What I have made time for, however, is to really cultivate a solid group of women who are smart, funny, who share in similar professional battles, who sustain life with chocolate and text messages.

We have affectionately called ourselves the StormSquad, but we secretly are the ultimate NerdSquad and are proud of it.
Our sheer love of Bitmojis and having entire conversations of nothing but funny bitmojis, has propelled us from StormSquad into total Nerd-dom!
We collectively have made it through the rough days on campus where actual tears were shed.  We have held and lifted each other through the illness and passing of a beloved colleague and friend, we have earned a master's degree, we have pushed children through another grade, we have sustained each other through deployments, we have buyoed each other when a phone call from a child's school has resulted in said child showing other children their heiney, we have talked through infertility, adoption and of course endless conversations about the wack-a-doodle things our husbands do to make us crazy, to make us happy, or to make us swoon.
We have "curriculum meetings" just to vent about particularly crazy days, we do paint parties and BBQ's, and time around fire pits.  We send endless streams of chocolate from our stashes to one another and always share in the abundance of a class party.

Here is what I have learned. WOMEN NEED WOMEN.  We need to know we are not alone.  We, who are smart, need to know that is okay.  We who fumble around and make mistake after mistake, need someone to share in the chaos and force us to laugh at our shortcomings.  And, let's face it, we need each other for assurance that, YES!, all husbands are weird! Most importantly we need the chocolate!

I heart you NerdSquad and I look forward to many years friendship and folly! Long live the NERDS!


Marriage things.

Sunday, April 23, 2017
Fisherman and I have almost been married for 4 years - it flies by, truly!  Having known the big ol' blue-eyed Fisherman for almost 11 years now, there are some things that I have learned:

  1. Wives will NEVER, repeat NEVER have control of the remote.
  2. When entering Home Depot, Lowe's, or varied hardware stores of any kind their primal instinct takes over and they feel the need to explain everything - i.e., - "this is a hammer and is used for the hammering".
  3. Dead (dirty) socks will NEVER end in a laundry basket. 
  4. There is no end to the number of baseball caps that will end up on the kitchen counter or table.
  5. Meat, with a side of meat, is perfectly adequate and COMPLETE meal.
  6. Taking into account #1 - a conciliatory gesture seems to be an episode of "the Simpsons".
  7. Any idea found on Pinterest is just...ugh!
  8. Although he has sat in a car in Alaska waiting for me to get my nails done, secretly men just cannot fathom the reason behind it.                                                                                                                                    
  9. ehicles primarily driven by the male spouse always seem to have just a hint of eu d' musky.
  10. F-A-R-T-S - enough said - see previous number.
And even though this list, however funny, cannot replace the absolutely amazing things that he does on a daily basis to to make my dreams come true.
  1. Our garden is beautiful and watered daily.
  2. The amazing barn door in our bedroom hangs and looks beautiful
  3. His coaching and endless hours spent on the weekend giving his time is done for the sole benefit of our home and family.
  4. Literally picking me up off the floor when I fell or putting me in the bath when I am soooo sick.
  5. Having a fire, blankets, and cocktails ready for a group of women after a paint party and strawberries too! 
  6. Being my constant cheerleader.
  7. Having pride in my accomplishments and shouting them from the rooftops.
  8. Realising that my Storm Squad (Nerd Squad) are important and sometimes the sole reason we make it through a rough day.
  9. Loving and teaching our nephews and niece every time.                                                          

  10. Spending each day fighting the zombies, killing spiders, and wrapping me in love even when he doesn't like me too much. 

So, as I wrap up this blog post, and VOW to post more often. I love my Fisherman - enough said.
 More to come, I SWEAR.  Even as I type he is laying in the bed encouraging me to post more often.

'til we meet again,


Sunday, March 6, 2016
I have spent a good portion of my brain power this cloudy Sunday thinking about my interpretation of the word feminist.  Before you change the station, click to the next webpage, or move down the "multi-task" list; wait!

This past quarter we have been talking about the role of media in society - editorials, etc. in my regular junior English class.  I must say that with the campaign in full-swing for this 2016 election season it has provided a great deal of fodder for debate within my class.  I typically do not divulge to my students my views on politics, hot-button issues, or most "debate worthy" topics.  I want students to come to their own conclusion and think through ALL the options

For the first time in history of this nation - there is an actual chance that a woman could occupy the top seat of power in our country.  That is remarkable.  It should be cause for celebration from my gender, and I am certain for many, it is.

Perhaps it is Spring with the blooming flowers, or the chance to mold my VERY OWN garden into my vision of Eden that has me thinking of the legions of women who have gone before me - the "true feminists".
I think of my grandmother - by far, one of the sassiest women I know.  She has shaped my life in ways that I don't even fully understand.  As I drove to get my "Sunday afternoon Sonic Soda" the song on the radio was "Who I Am" by Jessica Andrews - I always substitute the lyrics and sing at the top of my lungs "I am Wanda Lee's granddaughter..."
"Who I Am"

If I live to be a hundred

And never see the seven wonders

That'll be alright
If I don't make it to the big leagues
If I never win a Grammy
I'm gonna be just fine
Cause I know exactly who I am

I am Rosemary's granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma's still my biggest fan
Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy
But I've got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It's all a part of me
And that's who I am
I think of my grandmother.  She was a true feminist.  
She was so all the way down to red shoes and to the top of her curly bouffant Texas hair.  She would tell me stories as a girl about why her favorite color was red - and why she wore it so often was because it was a taboo when she was young and "quite simply, nothing is stopping me from wearing it now, Sis"!  It carried with it the stigma of the "red light".  She loved to wear her red pants, or red shoes, or even red(ish) lipstick.  She was class wrapped in a firecracker and I simply adored her.  I always told her that she and I were twin souls separated by a generation.  She instilled in me my determination and the bootsrap, bulldozing, attitude that "anything you (the boys) could do I could do better"!  I miss her EVERY BREATH I TAKE!

I think of my mother who holds fast to her principles of feminism - different from my grandmother's and different from my own but no less valiant.  

She believes fiercely in family and showing gratitude and grace in all human beings.  Her feminism for me was on display when my father was injured and she led our home and family through the darkness single-handedly - often working 2-3 jobs and sleeping on the floor tending my father and raising my brother and I in her spare time.

Finally, I think of my niece who has been like a beacon of the possibilities that are yet ahead for us all.  She is the culmination of sass, fireworks, and brilliance that have rolled down the generations.  Quite literally, she has no barriers in her path.  She is smart, fierce, and determined.  She puzzles out solutions, twirls with abandon, and dances to her own unique little beat.

Now, what, pray tell might this all have to do with the elections, teaching, etc. (for Heaven's sake get to the point)...I say all this because I have a very distinct version of feminism and it has nothing to do with the candidate previously mentioned. In fact, I think about her being the definition of feminism to the little girls everywhere and I wonder, truly, will they ever know? I do not believe that SHE represents the ideals that most women engender as feminist. We prize determination not self-promotion whilst devaluing our own worth. We hold examples of strong women in our hearts - not women who have been made strong by highlighting the worst qualities in humanity. We can let our intellect and drive for perfection lead us while still holding fast to our value and morality. Most importantly WE ARE NEVER DONE...we will continue to press forward knowing there is GRACE in the attempt.

Take me out to the ball game...

Sunday, February 28, 2016
Blonde bulldozer here...with some tales of a fish wife, although lately it is tales of a softball widow.  Fisherman is in fullswing with softball and I joyfully relish the 2-3 hours in the afternoon to dance around in my underwear singing "...you make me wanna shoop, shoop be doop" (sorry, not sorry for the visual).  I have been in a step challenge at my school and I have been gleefully exploring our neighborhood in the afternoons while he is at practice or games.

Today is Saturday and I have been solo Seiler since 6:40 this morning.  I did not even open my peepers until 8:30 and then I rolled toward the window to let the sun shine on my face as I woke slowly with the warmth.  Without a doubt this is my favorite thing in the world - to have the warmth of the sun wake me vs. having the obnoxious sound of my alarm clock.  I lolled around in my PJ's and watched the absolute brain decaying candy of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" while I had a bacon sandwich for breakfast (don't judge me).  I have kind of cleaned today, but mostly I have been lazy - gloriously, blissfully, lazy.

When I finally did get moving I got in my trusty wagon and headed to the local sonic - and got a strawberry limeade, aw yeah!  Still the baseball diamond was callin' my name.  I went and watched one of the 4 games that Fisherman coached today.  I can, without a doubt, say that there is nothing, repeat nothing I do not like about baseball (or softball).
I remember nostalgically as a child being raised at the ball park.  It was the stuff of my summer.  I was no more than seven when I, sharing the duties with my cousin Levi, got to be the bat girl for my older cousin Sass' team The Reds.  Later, I started watching teams all over again as my brother went through the Roberto Clemente -> Pee Wee Reese -> Mikey Mantle -> Sandy Kofax -> and then finally Connie Mack leagues.  I worked consessh, got splinters from Ricketts Park, ate 1000 pounds of sunflower seeds, umpteen thousand awesome Frito Pies, had Coke with the "good ice", sucked on cinnamon suckers (always dipping them in 7-Up), and cheered my heart out as the Reds, A's, and Bandits won and lost. A little fact, my hometown has a world series - The Connie Mack World Series - and my brother played on the team that went the farthest toward garnering a home team win of any team in history, check it out here.
My Jamie-lou-ia and I LOVED spending our time at the ball park - and still do.  We were ecstatic to have finally coordinated our schedules back in 2013 to watch a couple of the games of the world series.  I have to say when the national anthem was sung by some local celebrity - I got teary-eyed, and still do because those moments are...perfect.
And, finally today, I was watch watching the love of my life coach the next generation of "girl ball players" I was overcome, truly.  I love baseball.
It is in my blood and I carry all those wonderful memories around to a new baseball season.
Now, I get to not only watch Fisherman and proudly exclaim "I Heart the Coach" but get to watch my little nephew suit up and look mighty handsome as he struts his little self out on to the diamond.  Last year was his first season and he was a rockstar.
Roughneck (my brother) and I were walking with him along the hallowed ground of Justis Park and we looked at the trees and ivy and laughingly commented on how many miles of sunflower seeds, baseballs, and fun dip comprised the back ivy of the park and how much it just smells like summer.
I can't wait to watch him play, I can't wait to watch my littlest nephew Noah play, and I am overjoyed to have Fisherman coaching and seeing his team bat, bunt, run, slide, and homerun their way to victory.

Bring on the boys and girls of SUMMER!


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