Tag Archives: Christmas break

Gratitude Affects Attitude


I did less this break than I have in years. I don’t regret that. I needed to breathe. To just be for a bit. So I did, and I feel better right now than I have in months. It’s funny how I was dragging all this negativity around with me all semester and how doing that led to something heavy building inside me. Whatever that was manifested itself in sickness that stayed with me until the bitter end of December. It’s funny how taking the time to breathe actually made me physically able to really breathe.

I’ve always believed in mind over matter, that a positive attitude creates positivity, in the laws of attraction, in letting go and letting God. But believing and acting on those beliefs are two different things.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

I’m going to dedicate much of my blog time to reinforcing my life affirmations.

Thankfulness is one of the keys. I’m incredibly thankful for so many people who have been in my life. Without others I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’m thankful for my students over the years who gave so much of their time and talent to the Rider media program. I’m thankful for family members and for my small group. I’m thankful for my old writing group that challenged me and taught me and inspired me, and I’m thankful for my new writing group…even though it’s so far away. I’m thankful for my daughter who has always shared her life with me and for my incredible husband who is my best friend and my love.

I’m thankful for BBC and their incredible mysteries and Gilmore Girls and Netflix. I know that seems silly, but my break of nothingness translated to time spent with Netflix, George Gently, Phryne Fisher and the Gilmores.

I’m thankful for Zumba. I forget how much I like it, and then I get started again and it makes me so happy…two days and counting this time.

I could go on, but I think I’ll save the rest for later. 🙂


Such a little word

That means so much

And so little

At the same time

A word full and empty

Like all words but not

Because thanks


It seems

Like a word for others

But in reality

It’s a word for you.


I’ve loved this year at school, but this break has been amazing. I’ve slept in, cleaned closets, found photos that made me laugh (on my Facebook if you want to see). I’ve spent time with family, lost Phase 10, eaten too much low carb food and created a “lowish” carb almond butter mousse to die for that’s now reserved for holidays only (recipe at end of post). I’ve spent hours with Emmie on my lap, survived another blizzard, and I’ve shared a million and twelve funny memes on Facebook, the best of which remains Grumpy Cat Star Wars. I’ve written (not enough) and read and read and read. I caught up to the end of the GRR Martin Game of Thrones series (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!), I finished Peggy Browning’s Fifty Odd book (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!), read Ally Carter’s Uncommon Criminals (Sooooooooooo Good!!!!!!!) and started the latest Dresden, which so far is….Soooooo good!!!

See a theme? That’s been this break. Sooooo Good.


Recipe for Deadly “Lowish Carb” Almond Mousse

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, splenda (I used four packets), a little vanilla: Whip it up

In a separate bowl combine 1 box cream cheese, 1/4 C almond butter (or more), sugar free chocolate syrup..just a little–maybe 2 TBSP, half that amount of sugar free carmel syrup.

TASTE that mix and see if it’s yummy. If it needs a little more sweet, add some splenda, one packet at a time. It doesn’t need to be super sweet because it’s rich, rich, rich.


Once it’s perfect, fold in the whipping cream you’ve already whipped up.

Top with dollop of whipped cream and a tiny bit of sugar free chocolate syrup.

OMG soooooooo good and sooooooooo bad.

Emmie Afghan

Lesson 5,000,012

teacherdeskI saw his name on my roll sheets and groaned. See, he’d spent a semester with me the year before explaining how he was switching schools and talking about yearbook and how much he wanted to be on staff. BUT it was a lot of talk. A lot. In fact, it was about ten (million) times more talk than actual work. On top of that he’d earned a trip to the alternative campus. And his writing…I don’t have the words to explain.

So, yeah, I saw his name and groaned. I even took out my shiny new red pen (thank you, Office Depot) and crossed his name off the list then started to take it to the guidance office to say “No way.”

But as I started out the door I remembered my decision to give any kid who wanted to try staff, who agreed to the contract terms including after school lab time, a chance.

Day 1: He shows up to class excited and ready to work. I tell him he can stay “on probation.”

Day 2: He asks to switch to newspaper. (much internal groaning commenced, but smile stayed firmly in place as I said, “suuuuure,” all the while thinking yeah, right.)

Day 3: He asks to take photos also because he kind of stinks at writing. (acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing the problem)

Day 10: He decides photography won’t work. It takes too much time outside of class.

Day 15: He turns in first draft. On time.

Day 16: He frowns when I say open the draft so we can talk. But goes to work right away looking for professional examples of stories like the one he’s trying to write.

Days 17-40: New draft every other day. Editor works with him, encouraging, cheering him on, telling him to get buys and stop talking.

10 drafts in he submits a publishable story. It’s awesome. We add two drafts to our presets for him, but he gets it done. We high five and I tell him he’s earned the prize for most revisions ever, an award as impressive in my mind as best story ever.

Day 60: Next story in. Another multi-draft work. Another great job.

Day 77: He finishes his page in the magazine before anyone else.

He’s done more work than this, but these are the high points. These are the points that retaught me the lesson about expectations and the importance of “want to.”

It’s been a great year. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of all of my kids. And I’m ready for a break!

Two days and counting.








New Year!

Cousin Janet was everything I wanted to be as a kid. I remember watching her at family reunion when I was a kid. She was in the back of a pickup truck, her long dark hair blowing in the breeze, a dark swimsuit with a crisscross rope front closure making her look a little like Barbie and a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader in one. She was loud and funny and gorgeous and sexy. As a thirteen-year-old who was unfortunate enough to be in pretty plus (God, who was the IDIOT who came up with that anyway?!) sizes, I knew she was everything I wanted to be. When my mom tut-tutted and said something about being ashamed, I KNEW Janet was who I wanted to be. She lived out loud.
I whimpered. (Okay, so I was thirteen, but I still wanted to roar.)
Yesterday coming home from Grandma’s, I was thinking about resolutions and that image of Janet flashed in my brain as real today as it had been the day it happened. While my whimper days are long gone, I still find myself letting hours go by, wasted forever. I resolve to embrace life, to live out loud, just like Janet did way back then.
I resolve to write something every day. That discipline is my big writing goal this year. It’s what I’m going to work on in the Uber-Challenge on Jo Leigh’s website. I resolve to get my house in some sort of order. I moved into my MIL’s house a long time ago. She was gone, but I’ve never really claimed this house as my own. This year, I’ll start changing that. I resolve to work at building up my daughter instead of griping all the time. And of course, I resolve to eat healthy and work out at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Happy New Year!