Tag Archives: memories

The newsroom

There’s this picture.

I kind of forgot about it. It’s been on the blog already, and it’s on my Facebook. It’s a photo of my Rider newsroom boxes all packed up sitting in my old house’s office.

Somehow that photo ended up on my timeline today.

Not gonna lie. Seeing that photo was a punch to the gut.

I just finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. She talked about grieving for SNL when she left.

I totally understand what she means.

Teaching at Rider was one of the best experiences of my life. Living in that house was too. 

I chose to leave that, and I don’t regret the decision.

But this semester has been one of grieving what I left behind while building something new. It’s the perfect definition of bittersweet.

Interestingly enough I picked up my first CTHS newsroom t-shirt today. The two moments are kind of symbolic of the whole semester so far. 

I’m in a new place and I love it. I wouldn’t trade the years at the old place for anything. ❤️

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The World Turns…

When I started this blog, I didn’t have Facebook or twitter or Pinterest. My daughter was in junior high. I’d lost a lot of weight on WW (and then gained and lost and gained and lost…). It was super bowl time and I talked about strawberries a lot. I wrote a lot. I read a lot. I posted crazy photos. I dreamed about traveling. I was a cat mom and never thought about owning a dog. I ate carbs all the time (thus the weight gain and loss, gain and loss). My grandparents were alive and I went to stay with them every once in a while, usually with my daughter. My grandma sang all the time. She and her best friend my Aunt Helen let me take their photo at family reunion, I belonged to a yahoo group called catarom and spent a god-awful amount of time reading emails. I hadn’t ever heard of education reform or the WFISD Leadership Cohort.

It’s crazy how much has changed.

Those changes are why I love this blog. It’s so amazing to walk back through life and see how I’ve grown. It’s also awesome to connect with readers and writers and just say hey.

Today I wrote 7k words. I still write a lot.

I’m up to chapter 7 in a Karen Templeton book. I still read a lot.

I deleted twenty emails and kept about 50 I need to read. I might get to 10 of them. I rarely read email now.

I checked in on facebook and twitter for what was supposed to be a second but that turned into an hour. Facebook and twitter consume time if I let them.

I was grumpy about some things and then a friend posted asking for prayers for a family member and it was like God smacked me with some perspective. I still learn a lot.

Happy reading and writing.

Hopefully I finish a book draft tomorrow before lesson plans.

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

DH moved into the old house in 1976. I moved in 1992.

We’ve spent the past few days over there working to get it ready to sell or maybe rent. It’s so weird how every empty room brings so many memories to life. Today I was scrubbing doorways and found a caution sticker stuck to a wall just high enough that DD must’ve put it there when she was around 9. She spent a lot of time with her nose in the corner back in those days. I figure she reached behind my desk and stuck it there.

And speaking of desks…I wrote my first books in that giant living room turned office of sorts. I woke DH up at 2 a.m. crying when I reached The End the first time. NOTHING I’ve done with writing beats that feeling.

I remember when we got Internet. One of my students worked for a company called Webfire, and he helped us set up AOL when we bought our first new computer, a Macintosh Performa. It’s so funny to remember trying to figure out email. It’s even funnier to remember DH calling me at work to tell me he’d broken the computer. It wouldn’t turn on. Back in those days computers cost a fortune. I ran to the office and everyone agreed it was urgent for me to go home, so they called a sub in and I drove like a crazy maniac to get to my panicked hubby. The dead computer wasn’t dead at all. It was asleep. One quick touch of the space bar and wa-lah.

It’s funny to remember the games of Risk and Phase 10 and poker and the number of Colorado Bulldogs and Dr Peppers and that time I decided to become a gourmet cook and DD and DH wrinkled up their noses and called for pizza. AND that time I caught the tostada shells on fire and then looked for them. AND that time DD blew on the rotel tomatoes before taking a bite because she thought that would cool them down.

I never loved that house. It never felt like mine. But now that we’re working to get rid of it, I’m sad. Not sad enough to move back, but sad all the same.

 

 

Night Owl Retraining

Used with creative commons license. By Dave Stokes. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33909700@N02/3159761620/

It’s 1:24 a.m. and I don’t want to go to bed, but I start school in a week, so I better make myself remember NIGHTS are for sleeping. I’ve always been a night owl. I think it started when we got the Atari when I was a kid. I loved Pac Man. Mom loved Pac Man. We’d stay up all night gobbling up those little dots and trying to beat those pesky ghosts. That music is etched in my mind. My friends and I would have read-a-thons when we stayed at each other’s houses for sleepovers. Who could make themselves stay up all night to FINISH the book. Or we’d have write-a-thons. Who could write the most  chapters before crashing? When I first started writing commercial fiction, I could stay up until 2 a.m. working and function the next day no problem. That’s changed. So even though for some reason my creative brain works better after 10 p.m., it’s time to retrain. It’s going to be a great school year and great writing year. The school paper even made the local newspaper yesterday! ###

If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and LiesDead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page.

Moving Day

I’m moving rooms. I almost said no. New is tough. It’s hard to let go of a place you’ve been in for over a decade! It’s especially tough since DD spent four years in the old newsroom. But the new space is bigger and better and I can’t believe I almost said no because of nostalgia. I won’t be at Rider forever. Even if I spend the next 13 years as the newspaper and yearbook adviser, someone else will follow. I can’t let my memories and the names written on the wall keep me from moving forward.

Things I’ll miss about the old room:

It’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look.

The courtyard window.

Easy access to the studio.

The names on the wall including DD’s, including my former editors who got engaged this year after dating for years. The started dating when they were sophomores in newspaper together. Their brother and sister are on staff now. When they got engaged, the sister painted a heart between the names. (So sweet!) The random places people signed the walls all over the room. The fact that there’s no room on the walls because they’re covered in design ideas, old posters and quotes kids say throughout the year, the fact that you have to be able to pay attention in complete chaos because the newsroom is tiny and there are usually four classes going on at once, the way I can be at my desk and look out across the room and tell if kids are working at every computer except one, the memories of staffs for years stopping work for random deadline dance parties, the ability to turn off the light and disappear from the school because without lights most people don’t know where we are, the Newsroom Lane hallway with first amendment posters, the phone IN the room so kids answer and make us laugh if I can’t get to it fast enough, the cabinet that used to hold curriculum but now serves as a binder holder for binders that never get used (An AP Stats study guide from five years ago was found there this year! Seriously, never gets used!)

The move is a good thing. The only bad thing is photo camp starts tomorrow. It runs from 9-noon. They turn the air off in our building at noon. It’s going to be 111 the rest of the week. I’m thinking the move might have to wait until all day air next week. Even though that means someone’s going to be moving in while I’m moving out.

Don’t forget Don’t forget Prodigal is on sale now. Click the link to buy or preview. Coupon Code: ZH29T good this week! Use it and the book’s only $0.99! Sisters with secrets.
Eighteen years ago, Cass Deason Myers ran away from home and heartbreak. Now she’s running away again, this time to the home she left behind. A preacher’s wife, Cass finds herself questioning her faith and her marriage. Her sister’s phone call asking for help with their mother provides the perfect opportunity to escape.
Anna Deason-Fite-Turner doesn’t want or need help for herself or her three daughters. But her mother is another story all together. Calling Cass is a last resort. But when Anna finds the bottle of pills in Momma’s dresser drawer, she knows she has to call her sister. Unfortunately, Anna knows when Cass comes home the whispers will start, and once again, everyone in town will compare perfect Cass to her failure of a sister, even though she’s the one who stayed behind.
Prodigal: a story about family, faith and the redemptive power of love.

 

You know you grew up in…

This last week facebook has exploded with “You know you grew up in….” groups. It’s been a fun walk down memory lane.

I’ll never forget the little store down the street from my house. We’d walk down barefoot to spend our allowance (Usually a quarter.)

I loved the feel of hot asphalt on my feet.

Once I found what I thought was four quarters in the road outside my house. I brought my friends with me to the store to buy us all candy. Turned out I had four Susan B. Anthony dollars! The store owner tried to convince me to save them. No way! We bought TONS of junk and shared it.

Back then we took off out the door as soon as possible on summer mornings and wouldn’t come home until dark. We’d play in the park, run around in the cow pastures, walk all over the place, but we made sure that when the sun went down we were home. If we weren’t TROUBLE followed.

Dark didn’t stop the fun, though. Dark brought ghost stories, and light as a feather, and Bloody Mary, and TV…sometimes.

I remember childhood in small town USA and I smile.

But one of the girls added to the group didn’t smile.

Her first post was “I didn’t really know you people and you made my life hell, why would I want to be in this group?”

The responses were fast: That was 20 years ago, get over it, and I’m sorry, and if you feel that way get off the group, and you’re right, and facebook allows people to apologize and give you peace over those times.

The girl did take herself off our hometown group, but I couldn’t help but think about how intense her emotions were 20 years later. She made sure people knew this wasn’t something she spent time thinking about, she’d moved on, was a success in life now, but that reminder of school years put her right back in that place she’d been when she lived in our town.

We talk about bullying today as if it’s something new. It’s not. Kids can be mean. They can be brutal. And adults have often turned away and let it happen.

I’m going to enjoy looking back on the memories of days gone by as I look at the facebook group, but I’m going to take a lesson from it, too. Our schools can be a place of fun and family, but they can also be a place that hurts. I want to make my class one where hurt is rare.

The Weekend Update.

I’ll never forget my last true temper tantrum. It was horrible and loud and angry and at the end I got smacked by my mom and a talkin’ to by my grandma.
The smack from my mom wasn’t the last.
The talkin’ to was.
This was the day and age of feathered bangs and bright blue eyeshadow. The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders were my heroes. I wanted to be JUST LIKE THEM, (or maybe, if not them Miss Arkansas or Miss Texas) even though I couldn’t do a cartwheel to save my life and my somersault was, let’s just say, SCARY!
The Oklahoma summer was in full hundred degree plus bloom and my grandma had decided to have a garage sale.
It was my first garage sale.
It was NOT FUN.
And my mom gave me the feathered haircut by putting my hair up in a ponytail and, snip, it was gone.
I don’t remember what set the tantrum off. I don’t remember what was said. But I do remember what happened afterwards. And I’m not talking about the smack. I needed a lot more of those before I was done growing up.
My grandma, the sweetest, kindest, most Godly woman I’ve ever known, sat me down and we had a little talk about anger.
Seems my anger issues weren’t the first she’d seen. She’d had a few herself.
I about died. The only time I ever saw her angry was when she and Grandpa would have their “moments” at the lunch table.
She gave me some advice and even though I didn’t use it right away, I did eventually.
She told me that day that the only way I would ever get past the anger was to work at finding peace every day. She said my mouth was a bad habit. She was right.
The last three years I’ve been reliving the mouth stage, only instead of the one saying the words, I’m getting to hear them. Today I shared my grandmother’s advice with my daughter. Times are different now, and I might ought to use the old smack technique, but I can’t do it. But grandma’s advice was some of the best I’d ever been given. I don’t know why it took me so long to share it with my daughter.

I gave four workshops this weekend at our state journalism conference. In three of those conferences I said something I absolutely believe even though it sounds so exaggerated.
High school journalists are so incredibly important to their campuses. They ARE the voice of their entire student body. They are the record keepers for the year. More and more, we’re seeing student voices quashed. In this day of zero tolerance and random drug testing, rights are taken away from kids on a regular basis and slowly but surely they’re beginning to NOT CARE. What happens next? WHat about when they’re in charge of upholding a constitution they no longer understand? It’s a scary world out there. I’m going to do my part to make sure my students understand the dangers in this type of thinking.

I’m participating in a BIAW this week. Hope it goes well.