Diapers and Dragons

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not For Sale

A Cherry Coke, a Mountain Dew, and a bag of chocolate Donettes: $5.57 after tax, and he had four dollars cash in his pocket, his wallet left behind on the car seat. So I pulled out money from my purse, then realized I'd placed three dollars in the cashier's hand and snatched back one. I was about to replace it in my wallet when I stopped and put it in his hand instead.

I felt a bit odd about it--both the instinct to take it back and the decision to give it to him. I didn't look at his face, so couldn't tell if it struck him as odd or not. He did place the dollar in his pocket.

Three dollars. He paid for the pizza and salad and drinks we had for dinner, the movie tickets, the gas that powered his car. He generally does. I contribute financially in other ways. Grocery runs. A trip to McD's with our combined children. Helping out with the road trip costs. It's not like he carries the burden alone.

So why did I feel strange about placing that bill in his hand?

Perhaps because it was such a small amount. Perhaps because I was physically placing the money in his hand. Who knows? The moment passed and we moved on.

The memory revisits me tonight. The commerce of relationships. My mind flickers back to my brief flirtation with playing the field on casual dates. A few different men, a few different dates, all financed by them. I always carried my card and cash with me, just in case, as any wise woman would, but both parties went in assuming (as it turned out each time) that he would pay the costs of the evening.

So what did I contribute? The pleasure of my company? Some good conversation, a little light flirtation, a smile, a laugh? There wasn't physical "compensation" for their evening's investment, that's certain. If they anticipated such a thing, they hid their expectations well. And I? I didn't have to spend much on groceries for a little while.

Sounds cynical, doesn't it, put in those cold and impersonal words?

Romance is ancient enough, but relationships--particularly marriages--have long been based on commercial grounds, even when love was (and is) involved. Think back over the long history of human culture, all over the world. Examine contemporary practices, again all over the world. Dowries and marriage contracts, prenuptial agreements and insurance beneficiaries: the many and varied financial arrangements that wrap relationships in strings of silver and green and gold.

I taught Pride and Prejudice to my juniors this last year. We spent some time discussing the financial realities of marriage in that time period. "Gold digger" was the label many of the students attached to one character, Charlotte Lucas, who enters a marriage with the pompous, ridiculous Mr. Collins because she knows he will provide her with a solid financial and social position. In the (quite romanticized but rather excellent) film starring Keira Knightley, Charlotte tells Elizabeth Darcy that she "cannot afford to be romantic"--unlike Elizabeth, who refused Mr. Collin's proposal. And in the book, although Charlotte is not particularly fond of her husband (though quite good at making him obliviously happy), she is apparently quite pleased with her lot.

But she married him for money! one student protested. She doesn't even love him!

Well, yes, I responded. And when we see people, particularly women, who will be with someone just because they have money, we do call them "gold diggers". But let me put it in a different context. Keep in mind that women in that day and age were quite dependent upon men to provide them with stability, unless they had unusually excellent social rank and independent wealth. What if today we looked at a women who was widowed or abandoned, with several small children, and little ability to support them? What if she met a man who wanted to marry her and take care of her children, and although she did not love him, she was willing to do her best to make him happy in exchange? Would you call her a gold digger?

Well, no, they admitted. But that's different!

And it is, from a certain ethical standpoint. It still doesn't match our ideal of true love.

How many relationships do? And does the presence of that commercial aspect automatically contaminate the purity of the love that exists? What contracts do we create, on paper or in our minds, that govern our relationships? Are they financial? Physical? Emotional?

They vary for each situation, I know. There are the couples where one person contributes the money and the other contributes...well, that depends. Time spent raising children. Keeping house. Companionship. Sex. Other couples both contribute money and divvy other responsibilities between them. Others--well, others have their contracts people on the outside simply cannot comprehend.

If the couple is healthy, whatever arrangement is made works for them and they are content, happy, fulfilled.

If not...Well, we've all seen the many forms dysfunction can take and the varied roads those couples travel. Some of us have been there, walked that.

Too often the dysfunction lies with the calculations. What is the give; what is the take? What concepts do we have of what is obligated by each party? What are the expectations and how well do they match? How much do I have to give and how much can I get?

Ah, and there's the rub. There's the greedy, selfish, ugly-side-of-capitalism twist of relationship commerce. There's where "don't be a doormat" deforms into "don't let him/her get the better of me." There's where love distorts into manipulation.

A woman told me some time ago that the best advice she ever got on marriage came from the man installing the new carpet in her house.

How much do you think each person needs to put into the marriage to make it work? he asked her.

Fifty-fifty, she replied.

Nope, he said. It's one hundred - one hundred. Each person has to put in everything, without expecting the other person to meet them halfway. If you don't commit fully, it'll never work fully.

A relationship comes down to more than how many dollars we each put in. It has to go beyond whose turn it is to do the dishes or take out the garbage or pick up groceries or take the kids to appointments. When we start keeping our mental tallies and budgets, when we start begrudging little things like back rubs and bigger things like who's paying the bills, when we start looking for what we can get instead of seeking for what we can give...

...then we're holding back more than our "share." We're holding back our hearts.

Love isn't a contract. My heart isn't a commodity. It is a gift, and by giving it away I get far more in return than any sale could ever bring.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


woman came from man's rib
so the story goes
created to be helpmeet and companion
but absent, left man with less armor
to protect his heart

plato proposed we were once octolimbed creatures
split by zeus's anger at our presumption
and defiance
now doomed to wander life in search
of our missing halves of soul

either way

one is part of the other and vice versa
and combined
create a larger whole
puzzle pieces from the clay

which do not always match
snug in some regards
rubbing raw in others
and when we are broken
as in this wounded world we often are
our edges catch and rupture

but sometimes
when fractures have healed
and lessons have steeped
and signs have led
and roads have met

we find the companions of our hearts
and finally come home

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shame and Consequence

Here's the true nastiness of sin: even once you've asked and received forgiveness, forgiven yourself, moved on...the consequences don't end. Actions have reactions, and the fractures we make ripple out through the crust to create shock and aftershocks.

It's not punishment, you see. Punishment is finite. That was your crime: this is your punishment. It comes to an end.

Consequences are simply (and yet so not simply) the logical and often perpetual result of actions and choices.

So even when I know, to my core, that I am cleansed of my sins, I will still see consequences for them in this life. A shattered relationship that will never fully heal, revisited with pain and hurt and lashings-out in cyclical fashion. Children facing upheaval and uncertainty and change and pain that they did not earn. Friendships weakened and damaged and even lost by torn loyalties. An insidious doubt lurking in the mind of my beloved.

Long ago the people my mother works with gave me a name in their language. I cannot replicate the name here, since my keyboard lacks much of their alphabet, but the name means, essentially, "the shame is gone." They gave me the name because I am my parents' firstborn daughter--and therefore the end of culturally "shameful" childlessness.

These days I claim that name for other reasons. Do you have any idea how precious that idea is to me?

My Shame Is Gone.

There are those who would wish it to remain, who would pile it back upon me. I'm learning to ignore that. Every now and again I feel that burden creeping back and have to remind myself to let it go.

My Shame Is Gone.

But the consequences remain.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


They are bittersweet, these days of sorting and purging and packing. Cleansing, to toss the bags and boxes of trash built up from years of forgetfulness and laziness. Ancient academic and financial papers that lost significance years ago. Broken bits of this and that forgotten in corners and closets. Outgrown clothes and toys and books and decorations.

Much of the undertaking is simple. I have lost much (though by no means all) of my need for Things. I feel less sentimentality about objects than I once did, no longer harbor an obsession with keeping anything and everything that might have importance. I prize relationships more highly than possessions these days, for nothing I owned made any difference when my life fell apart. People did.

The difficult part of this task, the bitterness on my tongue, lies with the memories. Too many of them, as I page through photos and scrapbooks and memorabilia: the detritus of a life lived as someone else, with someone else. What is linked to my children I kept, divided, parceled out according to affiliation. Certain other pieces, less shadowed, met the same treatment.

Much I discarded.

They are too bitter, those memories of loss and failure.

He thinks I hate him. I don't. But neither can I cling to a past that is laced eternally with gall and acid.

Besides, the memories will never be erased. They are an indelible part of me, nearly half the chapters that make up my life.

And now? Now it is time to turn the page.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Nine O'Clock On A Friday

It's 9:11 on a Friday night, and I'm sitting in bed catching up on blogs before drifting off to sleep in a bit.


Seriously, I'm pretty happy to be where I am. This week has felt twice as long as it actually was due to a jam-packed schedule. MTL's been raising his eyebrows every time I whip out my agenda. There isn't much white space left. My scribbles have scribbles. I'm exhausted.

The end of the year, work-wise, is always jam-packed. This one, more so than many. I had the normal tasks such as writing, administering, and grading exams; finalizing grades; packing up the room; changing my voice mail; cleaning out both virtual and physical mailboxes; filing all the crazy paperwork that materializes in June; and checking out for the summer.  Then there were the usual functions: graduation, the end-of-year staff picnic, the end-of-year English Department party.

It was the goodbyes that got to me this year. I didn't fully realize until a few weeks before the end of the year just how many seniors I had connected with over the last few years. At graduation, the staff members create a little honor guard as the students exit the arena. This year, I had students piling up waiting for their turn to high-five, fist-bump, and/or hug me.

I even told two of My Boys that just ONCE, just for that moment, I was their Boi.

Brandon may have fist-pumped the air. I know he was telling everyone in range that I'd finally said it.

I said goodbye and good luck to a lot of special kids this year. I know my Facebook Friend count went way up that day. And if I wanted to, I could skip buying groceries on weekends for the next couple of months and just live off graduation party food.

This job comes with those farewells every year. I've gotten more used to them. The harder ones are when coworkers, friends with whom I interact and collaborate daily and monthly and yearly, say goodbye too.

Three of my closest coworker friends were on the bottom of the district seniority list. They all were laid off on Tuesday. I don't think it's sunk in for me yet: next year they will not be there. I lost my mentee C., and losing him is losing a friend, a wonderful collaborator, and a little brother all at once.

Okay, writing that made it a little more real. THIS SUCKS.

Then on Wednesday I went to a small retirement party for the first real friend I ever made at my school. He was a father figure, the first one to really get to know me, the person who told other coworkers I was worth getting to know. Every time I saw him, he had a hug and a smile and an encouraging word to give.

Dammit. I'm getting teary now.

Since then? I've been diving into sorting and purging and packing all the crap that piled up in the house over six years, because I'll be moving at the end of July.

I'll write more about that later. It is now 9:33 and I'm ready for bed.

What's awesome? I get to sleep in. For REAL.

'Night, all!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Eyes

Last night MTL was teasing me and I was teasing back in a faux-pouty sort of way, when he suddenly pulled back, looked at me askance, and said, Uh, hello there, DramaBoy!

Apparently I was using the exact facial expression, exact words, exact look as the sort that DramaBoy pulls out from time to time.

There's a reason I call him my mini-me. It's not just his physical appearance, though that alone causes commentary everywhere we go. Our temperaments are nearly identical (thus the fulfillment of my mother's curse) (have I apologized lately, Mom and Dad? I AM SO SORRY) and the source of many of our conflicts. Odd how two strong-willed, quick-tempered, ridiculously stubborn people will spark off each other.

I will say this: his eyes are no longer purely mine. They used to be. Now, while they're still hazel, they've become brown-hazel rather than green-grey-hazel. They've become much more like his father's over the last year or so. Still, when I look into his eyes--I see myself.

And it scares the sh*t out of me.

You see, I was broken for so very, very long. I was tormented by my dragons for nearly thirty years, and I lost the battles until I forgot how to fight. And while there were outside forces and trauma that I experienced that I pray God will never be part of DramaBoy's life, still I wonder how much of my life was simply the path I took as the person I am.

And I can't (and won't) "blame" my parents. No parents are perfect, but to this day I place no blame on mine for the broken road I traveled. They were and are amazing people, amazing parents. MTL is already starting to get a certain smile when I reference them, because I do it so very often. We don't agree on everything, my parents and I, but I respect them deeply.

So what does that mean for me? I struggle every day with parenting practice. I feel like I'm trying to catch up from years of being out of touch, correct countless bad habits (both mine and the children's), and piece together the puzzle that is parenting.  MTL helps. He's been doing this longer than I have, including the single parenting gig. But ultimately he can't and won't tell me what decisions I must make for my children.

What if it's too late? What if my son is already heading down a path similar to the one I trod? For all the love and growth and beauty that has come to me at this point in the road, I would never ever wish that journey for my son. I would never desire for him the pain and despair and brokenness I experienced.

I can't live his life for him. I can't protect him from all harm. But I cannot help but feel tremendous fear.

Because when I look into his eyes...

All I can see is that broken road.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jam On It

I have a confession to make.

I may have mentioned it before. It's entirely possible. I have lost track of how many little pieces of shame I've posted here for your amusement judgment absolution.

But it's that time again. So it's time for my confession.

Forgive me, Dear Readers, for I have committed the sin of mindless mass media mastication.

It's true.

I'm addicted to "So You Think You Can Dance."

*ducks head in shame*

But really, what's not to love?!?! All the DANCING! The HOOPLA!! The FABULOSITY!!! The HOT TAMALE TRAINS!!!!

(I know. You won't get that last one unless you actually watch the show. And the third one is totally made up. So sue me.)

Anyhow, Season 7 just started and I had a backlog of recorded shows on the DVR. Yesterday I parked myself in front of the TV and plowed through over 200 pages of student essays in a matter of an afternoon, all while semi-watching seven hours' worth of SYTYCD auditions/Vegas week. They were perfect company for the daunting task: music and background noise without the distraction of a plot, with the added bonus of an occasional really fascinating performance to give me a break from the endless words words words words words.

At one point The Widget was cuddled up next to me, and a very talented break dancer performed his audition. I heard a little gasp from my snuggler. He leaned forward, eyes riveted to the screen, then pointed and turned to me.

Wow! Look at him! he lisped. Oh COOL!!!

(If you can imagine this said in just about the sweetest, squeakiest voice possible, you might get an idea of how adorable he is, by the way. MTL says it's because he's such a sweet little guy that it comes through in his voice. /melt)

Then The Widget crawled forward on the bed and turned a somersault.

Is that cool, Mama? he asked.

Yes, honey, it's very cool! I replied.

Mama! Watch this too! he demanded, and he lay on his back and attempted what I can only believe was one of the back-spin thingies (I know, I'm so technical) the performer was doing on screen.

Apparently a bed is not the best location for such stunts. He didn't get very far.

For the next half an hour, he wandered in and out of the room, saying Mama! Look at this one! and performing various somersaults and spins and moves that apparently were his idea of break dancing.


I just might have a little B Boy on my hands. Heck, he's cute enough that he'd probably bring in plenty of cash performing on street corners, technique or no technique.

Maybe I could buy a laptop of my very own AND get him some Bakugan!

It's not child labor if he's just having fun, right?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Today, it's all too much, all at once. The ups and downs of this and that, the rollercoaster ride of expectations meeting reality. There's the death of the old, the next stage in joy with the new, bumps appearing in the road that once was broken and now is healing and yet and yet

life does not run smooth

I was foolish to think it might. There's that odd optimism raising its head at the wrong moment, bashing against the edge of reality. However better I am for being where I am now

life does not run smooth

and the road will bring new obstacles, new cracks, new heartaches to face.

Today I sit and stare at the great mounds of papers that must be graded, for time has run out. I have no interest. My mind has already skipped over the next week into this summer: bags to fill with trash and donations, boxes to line with books and toys and clothing and the necessities that will carry over into the next stage, places to go with friends and children and my beloved, hard days of work and long nights of play. The clock is ticking, and so much must be done. I mix anticipation with apprehension for what is to come for

life does not run smooth

and though I know I have strength I lacked before, love I lacked before, health I lacked before, still the anxiety of all the unknown wells in my throat.

Of some things I am certain:




and knowledge that there is nothing I cannot surmount because of them. I have been to the depths and back. I have known the dark of deepest night, wept my tears of pain and loss and heartbreak, faced the dragons of my despair and lost the battles.

But I won the war.

My chains are crumbling. My armor is stripped away. I have walked the broken road, followed dead-end paths, traversed the bridges built by God and family and friends to reach again the stretches and signposts that led me here.

And the rewards, the blessings: they overflow. New life, new hope, new faith, new love.

life does not run smooth

for life is imperfect, the road broken in a world that is broken. I have learned that the paths that appear easy are those that hide the greatest pitfalls. Anything worth having requires that a price be paid, a sacrifice be made.

Today I am overwhelmed and the tears run close to the surface. But I do not despair. Strength lies beneath, and Today will pass, and Tomorrow holds such brightness that I must catch my breath with the beauty that lies ahead.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


And it's done. As Sunday said in her comment on my last post, it was all very anticlimactic and businesslike, and that was exactly what I was hoping for.

I'm closing comments on this post. If you would like to comment or respond, please email me directly at teachermommyblog [at] gmail [dot] com -- or just click on that "E-MAIL ME" button over on the left!

Now for more paperwork...

Monday, June 7, 2010


I know I've been gone a while, and I know there's plenty I could write about, but plainly put I'm just Too Damn Busy. Papers to grade, paperwork to complete (both for work and the personal life), exams to create, errands to run, a divorce to finalize.

Which is where this quickie post comes in. Tomorrow morning at 8:30 Eastern time, The Ex and I will be entering the court room for what (knockonwoodcrossyourfingerspleasedearGodplease) will hopefully be our final appearance and the finalization of our divorce. We're getting along quite well right now, so there isn't all sorts of tension, but we both just want to be done with all this legal crap and move on. So please hold me/us in your thoughts and prayers, and hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to post a follow-up informing you that I am, in fact, Done With That.

I'll see you...maybe...on the other side.

Friday, June 4, 2010

7 Quick Takes, Awards, and Blog Flogging (Oh My!)

If you've been reading here for a while, or if you are one of the few people who bother to peruse my sidebars, you know that I have a little award I give out at times for blog posts that strike me as particularly marvelous.

Truth be told, there are some bloggers who, if I didn't have some self-control, would get an award for pretty much every post they ever write. Top of the list would be Julia at Julia {here be hippogriffs} because OMG that woman can write. Another would be Mike at Cry It Out because ditto (only he's a man, obviously: stay with me, peoples). Perhaps I should just give them overall blog awards. I'll think about that.

However, there are certain posts that will hit me as being superlative, and so I'll give out my Top Marks award. I should note that I have by no means awarded every deserving post, partly because my sidebar would get really really really long (like it isn't already) and partly because sometimes it just slips my mind. I know. I suck.

I have handed out a few lately, and then never actually acknowledged doing so in a post, although the recipients did get notified and their blogs and winning posts are up on the sidebar as winners. Then this week I was given two awards for my own blog, and adding it all up, I realized I have seven awards about which to write.

And it's Friday.

So here is a special Awards edition of 7 Quick Takes AND Flog Yo Blog Friday. Let's all give ourselves a hand!!!


My first Top Marks Award goes to a personal essay by Mike Adamick at Cry It Out. Mike does a brilliant job of recording events in his life as a stay-at-home father to Emmaline in the beautiful city of San Francisco. In "Something So Good," he relates and comments on his conflicting experience being a Good Samaritan one day, and along the way reminds us that good deeds are rarely as purely good and pure as we would like to think.


My second award goes to a personal essay by Beck at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends. Her brilliant May 3rd post "The End of Love" is not what it may sound like from the title. She writes with her usual eloquence tempered with humor about the finish line of lasting love, the kind that endures the years and trials and hardships to hold strong even when one's body becomes weak. Her last line puts into words what I hold in my own heart: "It is the end of love, this finish line, that I want, decades and decades more, worn and perfected, a water-smooth rock, something final and lasting in whatever forever there is."


The third award was given the very next day to a former schoolmate of mine with whom I reconnected through Facebook. Josh is now a pastor in California, and his blog The Outpost-It contains his musings on life and faith. His post "Gone Jogging ~ 5/4/10" evoked memories of Africa for me and brilliantly connects the physical experience of jogging with "getting going" in life.


Next up is a humorous poem by Monica at And I'll Raise You 5. As the mother of five kids, Monica is far too familiar with the ongoing battle to climb Mount Washmore. I couldn't have been more delighted to read her parody of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous "Sonnet 43" in the form of her June 1st post "Sonnet to my F***ing Laundry"--especially since I was just about to teach Victorian poetry (including that very poem) to my juniors! Monica's poem inspired an assignment for my students: they are to write a parody of their own for that sonnet by Monday. THEY ARE SO HAPPY. Thank you, Monica!


And just this morning, right in time to make it onto this post, Betty Herbert at The 52 Seductions wrote a post called "Monogamy: A Manifesto" about why monogamy is right for her and her husband--a thoughtful, eloquent post that speaks to the deliberate, daily, hourly choice of monogamy; not because of biology or religious ideology, but because it is THEIR choice. She put into words what I have felt and why this is also my choice.


I mentioned that I myself received some awards this week. The first came from Monica at And I'll Raise You 5, who was a little put out that I managed to get my award to her (though not mentioned in a post here) before she had a chance to give me one for a post she particularly loved. She came through, however, and so I now have received this:

for my "If I Were..." post. Monica wrote beautifully about award-giving in her post "Award Love". Thank you, Monica!!!


Finally, this morning I discovered that the lovely Wanderlust also gave me an award. This is one that will no doubt make my poor grandmother shake her head yet again over the profanity-laced awards that I keep getting (*ahem*) but such is life. Besides, it's MEDUSA and that just rocks. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've been connected with that particular mythological creature before...Why yes! I have.

Go figure.

So be warned, peoples! I've been given the

Thank you, Wanderlust!!! You're my kind of blogger.


For more fabulous blogs (and perhaps even some awards), go check out the other blogs linked on Flog Yo Blog Friday at MummyTime. It's FUN!


Thursday, June 3, 2010


I wrote this almost three weeks ago as part of a writing challenge posted somewhere--where exactly, I've forgotten. And then I couldn't post it, for some reason. I'm taking a page out of DraftQueen's files and posting it as is, in draft form. Just because sometimes Courage is hitting the Publish button.


You're the strongest person I know, he said. If there's anyone who can get through it, you can.

I don't feel it, you know. Strong. Brave. Courageous. There are so many minutes hours days weeks when facing the next step drains me of energy. Another day of being mother teacher friend counselor mediator lawyer defendant plaintiff and everything else that I must be in the course of a day.

It's what most of us do, after all. Face a day filled with joy and pain, hardship and ease, love and hate. Pick up those heavy feet, take the next step, move forward instead of back.

And it's not as if I do it alone. Where would I be without my friends, my family, my therapists (of varying sorts), my coworkers, my beloveds, my God? I may be stronger than I once was, but I'm not an idiot. I don't walk alone.

How is that strength?

How is that courage?

I'm learning that courage lies in the everyday. Courage is not the sole property of those who face down tanks, race into burning buildings, climb sheer cliffs, perform the feats of daring-do that make the headlines and leave us gasping in awe.

Courage resides in the woman who chooses to walk away from the abusive spouse and start life over anew. Courage resides in the man who takes full custody of his children in the face of society's expectations so they will have a stable and loving household. Courage resides in the student who tells her friends to leave the oddball kid alone. Courage resides in the boy who was beaten down by family and poverty and illness and rejection, and still chooses to make something of himself come what may. Courage resides in the couple who takes the risk of welcoming a troubled child into their home. Courage resides in the teacher who chooses to reach out to students rather than stand back and say That's not part of my job.

And yes, courage resides in the woman who chose to face her dragons and face her truths and say This is who I am. I am imperfect. I am flawed. I am fallen. And I am strong. I am beautiful. I am worthy of love.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

5ive Things

I've been Tag-Teamed, apparently, as both Tim Riley at life of riles and DraftQueen at The Drafts Folder tagged me for a meme. A nice, simple meme involving answering five questions and then tagging five other bloggers. Easy peasy. Since I'm trying to get stacks and stacks of The Great Big Paper a.k.a. "The Bitch" (actual file name from one student's emailed final draft: "10 pages of HELL!!!.doc") graded and still have exams to create and Benchmark Assessments to administer and massive amounts of end-of-year paperwork/tasks/packing to accomplish, anything that makes life easier is more than welcome.

So thank you, Tim and DraftQueen!

I should note that because I'm obsessive like this and also have a sneaking suspicion that whoever originated this meme was on a "5 Things" kick, I've slightly altered two of these questions to keep with the "five" theme. I know. It's a little sad.

1. Where were you five years ago?
Physically? Right here in Oakland County, Michigan, teaching at the same school, though not all the same classes. I was pregnant with DramaBoy and heading into my last summer teaching summer school while simultaneously beginning my Masters program. Because I was crazy. Mentally? I was under the illusion that I was doing well while ignoring my constant low-level depression (PPD wasn't even a reality yet) and the ever-widening fractures in my marriage.
2. Where would you like to be five years from now?
Physically? Right here in Oakland County, Michigan, teaching at the same school, though not all the same classes. Unless I miraculously win millions in the lottery, in which case I will be on a sandy beach somewhere with a steady stream of umbrella-d drinks in my hand. Mentally? I'd like to be on even more solid ground, enjoying my career (or the beach and fruity drinks), parenting well, flourishing in my relationship with MTL, growing in my relationship with God, and overflowing with all the love in my life. Not necessarily in that order of importance.
3. What are five things on your To-Do List for today?
  • Grade papers. Make some sort of inroad into the piles that are threatening me with Grievous Bodily Papercut if I don't do something about them.
  • Prep the Victorian Poetry lesson for my juniors that I'm giving tomorrow. Come up with a way to keep them (the students, not the poems) from wanting to commit harikari. Though now that I think about it, the poems might want to do so after my students get through their whining and moaning and bitching.
  • Prep the ACT English-style Benchmark Assessments I'm giving my sophomores on Friday. Avoid wanting to commit harikari over giving such tests in the first place.
  • Track down more paper boxes (you know, the sturdy boxes with lids that hold reams of copier paper that are the BEST for packing?). Try to do so without having to engage in duels with coworkers who also lust after them.
  • Relax with MTL. Despite being chronologically last on my list, it's actually kind of highest in importance. Despite the ongoing threat of exsanguination via paper avalanche.
4. What are five snacks you enjoy?
  • toast with Nutella (or rather, the way I spread it, Nutella with toast)
  • Godiva Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Filling bars (OBVIOUSLY)
  • Doritos (but not Cool Ranch) (because they're gross)
  • Cheetos (especially the Flaming kind) (hehehe--I said Flaming)
  • apples with Cheddar or muenster cheese (Haven't tried it? DO IT. You won't regret it. Or if you do, you might want to have your taste buds checked. Loser.)
5. What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
Oh, I've played this game before. In order, I would (1) pay off every single one of my debts, (2) pay off every single debt owed by my loved ones, (3) create trust and college funds for my boys, (4) build my dream house, including a massive library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and sliding ladders and a big bay window and massive armchairs made for curling up and reading, and (5) go on a lengthy trip around the world with MTL.
There you go. Thrilling stuff, I know.

I'm tagging

Monica from And I'll Raise You 5 (but of course)
Lori from Random Ramblings of a Stay At Home Mom
PantsWithNames from Pants With Names
Katie from No Missed Opportunities
Arby from Boarding in Bedlam

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Whiny


I'm back. Amazingly enough, I'm back in one piece and of sane mind--well, as much as I usually am, which I suppose is up for some discussion. I'm sure there are quite a few people who would have a few opinions to express on the matter. Shut up. It's not your blog.


So how did the Great Camping Adventure go? Well, as Boy Crazy said in her post about her weekend, I'm a fan of selective memory. Therefore, I am choosing to remember
  • multiple small children running about bare foot playing tag while MTL and I cooked breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • The Widget sitting contentedly on the beach, just out of reach of the water, piling sand on his legs/torso/curly head
  • DramaBoy finally getting brave enough to wade out in the water up to his waist
  • both DramaBoy and The Widget eating their hotdogs across the top (corn-on-the-cob style) rather than from one end
  • roasting marshmallows over the fire
  • The Widget wanting a marshmallow properly toasted, taking it in his hands, then handing it back with an "ick" face, complaining that It's squishy! It's too squishy! despite assurances that its squishiness was, in fact, a desirable characteristic
  • The Widget marching about in board shorts and a hoodie, face adorably framed by the hood
  • DramaBoy climbing everything in sight like the monkey he is
  • sitting by a fire sipping cold drinks while laughing over MTL's family's stories (his sister et famille and his parents were there as well, which raised the adult-child ratio to a marvelous and anxiety-reducing level)
  • eating a delicious if very messy Choco-Raspberry Burrito grilled over the fire (though we'll use foil on the grill next time and add more cinnamon)
  • toasting on the hot sand while the kidlets splashed about in the lovely clear lake
  • getting into a water fight with MTL and his kids (mine stayed safely out of range on the beach)
  • moments of pure, unadulterated happiness
And I simply am choosing NOT to remember
  • the whining
  • trying (with limited success) to remove sand from scalps and every possible crevice of small dirty children
  • protests over eating the food we brought versus the (apparently superior) food brought by MTL's sister and parents
  • the whining
  • biting flies and mosquitos
  • trying to get three small exhausted children to STAY IN BED and GO TO SLEEP when (horror of horrors) the sun was still up and other people got to stay awake
  • the whining
  • dealing with fighting and complaints and various difficult requests from two kidlets in the back seat while driving for hours and hours without anyone in the passenger seat to help
  • the sheer exhaustion (shared by MTL) that resulted from tending camp, cooking food, bathing children, ferrying children to the potty, being woken in the too-early hours of the morning by small kidlets, driving for hours, and generally Being In Charge While On Vacation
and did I mention
  • the whining?
That second list? Didn't happen.

It couldn't have, because MTL and I have agreed that camping is something we want to do frequently. We're even going to prep some permanent camping bins and make some lists (yay! lists!) to make sure we don't forget certain key items. Like, oh, a can opener. Or dish soap.

Thank God MTL's parents were there in their fully-stocked RV.

I should note, however, that we plan to make a good number of those camping trips kid-free. Then we can spend hours reading and relaxing and doing things whenever we feel like it rather than on Kidlet Time.

Hopefully that means we can take the h out of whine.

And that, dearest readers, would be something to remember.
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