Sunday, November 7, 2010


A few weeks ago, someone told me that I had integrity. I'm still mulling over what that means. I'd never had anyone tell me that before. I even had to look it up in the dictionary. I'm trying to figure out what it means to me and why someone would say that because I don't feel like I do. So, I'm wondering, what does integrity mean to you?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Seasons Change

This is a post that I've been meaning to write every time the season changes for about the past year and a half, but I just never sat down to do it.

I love the change in seasons. This may be contradictory to my life because I've never been a huge fan of change in general, but I love when the seasons change.

One of the questions that I ask my students, in an effort to spark conversation, is "What is your favorite season (winter, spring, summer or fall). I'd have to say that my favorite season is the time when they change. I feel like it's a starting over. Just when you get tired of the heat of summer, fall comes along and changes it up, brings cool breezes and pretty colors. When you get tired of the drab brown of fall after the leaves have blown away, along comes the cleansing white of winter snow and brightens up those dreary days. When you are so tired of being cold and seeing brown slush everywhere, along comes the smell of warming soil and new blooms of spring. When you get tired of the April showers, along comes the warm, sunny days of summer. And when you get tired of the heat and brown, dried out grass, the cycle starts again.

I really like all of the seasons. I don't think that I could live in a place that didn't have all four seasons. In addition to the refreshment that each change in season brings me, I hold a special place in my heart for each season. Fall brings back to school and pumpkins and fall fests. I grew to love fall in college when a friend of mine and I were in charge of the fall fest that our student activities office held. Seeing it all come together and seeing so many people enjoy it was amazing! Fall also brings Thanksgiving, which has many memories itself. I remember the smell of turkey in the oven. I remember gettting up and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I remember packing up the car with turkey, gravy and pies and heading to Grandma's house. I remember sitting on the stairs at my Grandma's house watching the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and watching the bustle of the women in my family in the kitchen.

Winter brings snow! I love snow! It's because it makes everything clean and calm. Have you ever been outside when it is snowing? Everything becomes quite. It insulates. And when the sun, or moon, hits snow, it's brilliant! My favorite part in "Twas the Night Before Christmas" is "And the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, gave the luster of midday to objects below." And Winter brings Christmas and New Years and family and more memories. Memories of sled riding, of opening presents, of going back to Grandma's house and being with aunts and uncles and cousins. And winter brings a sense of hibernation. Of resting.

Spring brings the smell of baseball! Yes, I said the smell of baseball. I can smell baseball. It has to do with the smell of warm dirt and the smell of the breeze. Each year I wait and wait and finally, one morning, I'll take a deep breath and I can smell it! And then I start hoping and beliving that the Pirates will pull off a miracle season! And spring brings the smell of flowers. Of lilacs and hyacynths. And spring brings Easter and more memories of Grandma's house. Easter dinner with cousins and aunts and uncles. And eating boston cream pie and ham and scalloped potatoes. It brings memories of fishing in the pond at my Grandma's farm...and of "catching" my cousins finger with my fishing hook.

Summer brings no school! And when I was a kid, it brought my friends from Oklahoma! It brings memories of fireflies and being at the Big House. It brings bon fires and talks long into the night. It brings mowing the grass and rides on the John Deere. It brings family reunions. It brings memories of staying at Grandma's house, even though I was scared and didn't want to be away from my mommy! It brings memories of being stung by a bee at Grandma's and Grandma taking care of me and putting a paste of baking soda and something on it. It brings memories of Grandma reading "Little Brown Cocoa" and saying our prayers before bed.

So, as you can see, I love all of the seasons, I love the change in seasons. Maybe I just love weather? They say songs and smells can bring memories to a persons mind. Maybe seasons have the same effect?

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Year's Eve/Happy New Year

Anyone confused yet?

I'm getting ready for a new year. My calendar does not run January to December. My calendar runs from September to August. When you work in a school, the "next year" does not refer to one year, such as 2011, but rather refers to a school year, such as 2010-2011. So, when I refer to last year, it could be a few months ago.
Anyway, my new year will be starting soon. So, I'll spend the next few days fitting in some "rushed" relaxing, if that makes sense. I'll also be reflecting and hypothesizing about the new school year. I'll set resolutions, just as normal people do in January.
So, if you don't mind, I'm going to go get some noise makers and some bubbly of some kind and send this year off and start the new one out right, hopefully.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Because I always mean to post and...

Since Aola said she'd be around to check for updates... and since I haven't posted anything since April... Here goes, although there are only like 2 people that read this anyway.

Where to start? It's summer and I'm recovering from an insane school year. Along with the usual pressures of working in a school, one member of our speech therapy department quit in February. Because the school district was unable to find a replacement, this added all of her work onto myself and the other speech therapist, bringing our caseload numbers to new high levels (as if they weren't already over the state recommended number). How we managed to actually juggle everything and still come out the other side still makes me shake my head. But, we did and now I'm trying to regroup and refocus and destress before another school year starts. Fortunately, we have hired two additional speech therapists, brining our total to 4. This has the promise of being a lot less work. Let's hope that is actually how it plays out. I think in my 5 years of working, there has only been 1 year that I would consider "normal". My sanity needs an easy year.

Other than regrouping from work, my summer has been filled with family and friends. I've taken two vacations. The first one was to Philly with my parents and sister. We went to Valley Forge (George Washington's winter camp during one year in the Revolutionary War), of which, I think I enjoyed this the most. The rest of my family probably could have skipped it. I'm not sure why I love history things like this, but I do. We also went to Byer's Choice. It's a place where they make hand carved carolers for Christmas decorations. The place is set up in different Christmas scenes and is really cool to go through. My mom was able to go through it. Since she is unable to walk for long periods of time, on vacations she usually sits in the car while the rest of us go tour things. We rented a wheelchair for the trip and she was able to get out and see some sights. This made me happy...beyond words. We also went into New Jersey to see where my great grandpa on my father's side had lived and to try to find his gravesite. There was some controversy, you could say, involving my great grandfather. When my great grandmother died, he left his young son (my grandpa) to be raised by my great, great grandparents. My great grandfather moved to another state and started another life. No one really knows exactly why he left. It was neat to hear stories from my dad about his family and things that he remembers. I really do love my parents stories.

The second of my vacations was to Kentucky with my sister. Louisville, to be specific. For the past 3 years, my sister and I have taken vacations. It's a nice time to just get away. The past two years have been trips to the beach, so this year we decided to head "inland". This trip included a stop at Churchill Downs, Zachary Taylor's gravesite, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses in Ohio and a breif stop in Ohio Amish Country. However, the main events were the stop at The Louisville Slugger Museum, the Jim Beam distillery, and the Kitchen Aid factory store in Ohio. Yes, I bought a baseball bat. Anyone that knows me shouldn't have to question that. Yes, I tried Jim Beam bourbon. I've decided that I'll stick to beer and wine. Yes, I bought myself a Kitchen Aid mixer. I've already made a chocolate cake using it. It was a very fun vacation. We've decided that we'd definitely do Kentucky again.

Other than vacations, I've been running around getting different check-ups done for myself and my car. I've been to two Pirate baseball games so far, with hopes to go to a third. I've had a girls day with two friends that I grew up with, and we have plans to do another girls weekend with more of the group hopefully in September. I've enjoyed a bonfire and sitting on the porch with the friend that's known me the longest. We have plans for many other things this summer.

Daily activities have included helping out at my parents house. My mom fell in June and has been having a hard time recouperating. Luckily nothing was broken, but she's scared that she'll fall again. She's very sensitive and downhearted about life. I keep hoping that she'll come back around and be herself. My dad will be 80 in December. He's trying to juggle taking care of a garden and the land while dealing with tractors and equipement breaking down. He's also trying to figure out what it is to be 79 and not be able to do things he used to, both in the physical and mental sense. It's literally heartbreaking to see your parents like this. My older sister deals with this daily and has taken on the task (whether she had wanted it or not) of caring for my parents. I have no idea how she does it. But, I'm thankful that she's there. I worry about her to. I try to help out as much as I can during the school year, but I'm 4 1/2 hours away. My other two sisters live closer, but are married and apparently have lives that don't often include my parents, unless asked or invited. Not sure if this has to do with their husbands or what. But, it's discouraging to say the least.

All in all, it's been a good summer. It's not over yet, but it seems to be winding down fast. I don't feel prepared to start back to work, but I'm thankful that I do work in a job where I get this break and am able to "start over" each year.

If you've made it through my "update", props to you. This was a long one. But, just ask Sandy, this is usually what my emails are like.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everybody! I was thinking this morning that I like Easter better than Christmas. There isn't the rushing around, trying to find the perfect present for everyone. You just sit back, enjoy the spring weather, eat chocolate bunnies, and see family. Okay, so there is some rushing around to make sure the ham is cooked and deviled eggs are made, but it's a lot less stressful.

So, sit back, relax, eat those ears off of your chocolate bunny, and enjoy the nice weather!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I read a post from Pioneer Woman today about diversity. Go read it, please. It made me smile. It made me think. It made me aware. I particularly liked her photo of all of the "people" in a big pot with a spoon. I was also glad that it included elderly people and persons with disabilities. I try not to be prejudiced, but I know that I am in some ways. I HATE intolerance of any kind, be it intolerance of other races, disabilities, sexual orientation, age, gender, weight, religion...whatever. I think that it's just silly and shows how little a person knows rather than how "smart" they think they are when they talk about or make jokes about another "group" of people. Does the fact that a person is black/asian/white/hispanic make their views less important? Does the fact that a person is gay/lesbian/straight change their personality? Does a persons age make their opinions less valuable? I mean, what do I care where a persons ancestors came from/who a person chooses to sleep with/what they weigh/who or what they worship?!? I care about the person that I'm talking to. I care about their personality, their opinions. I mean, yes, I care about their views about life, but I hope that I don't let that influence my decision as to whether I can be their friend/co-worker/family.
Maybe I'm way off base. Maybe I'm living in a dream world. Maybe I'm more prejudiced than I think I am. Who knows. But, I'd like to know your reaction to Pioneer Woman's post.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Well, we are leaving 2009 behind and looking forward to 2010. I thought I'd spend time reflecting on 2009 and then I realized that I'll just look forward to 2010. Then I thought, well, maybe I'll just take it one day at a time. Here's the thing...I work in a school, so this New Years thing...well, my New Year starts around the end of August. I consider summer my time to reflect about the past year. So, New Years isn't really that big of a deal. But, I have done some thinking about this whole New Years Resolution thing... And I've come to the conclusion that when I set it now or at the beginning of each school year...I just set myself up for failure. I don't often, if ever, keep my resolutions and then I end up feeling worse about the fact that I couldn't even keep my resolutions and I didn't change anything. So, I'm not making any resolutions this year. I will try hard to live life...whatever that means. And I guess we'll see at the end of the year what exactly it ends up meaning.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!!