Moi @ 47. 48 around the corner.
It took almost an entire semester, but when we returned from break I felt like me in the classroom.
I would have never guessed I would have a mini identity crisis as an adviser after all these years, but setting matters. (The writer in me should have known that.)
I still have so much to learn about teaching, about journalism, about life in general.
At almost 50 it’s easy to just go through life’s motions instead of really living. I don’t want to do that. I want to be like Auntie Mame minus the Great Depression and those boots.😊
Live, Live, Live!
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. ❤️
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.
I love January 1. It’s a time for renewal, a clean slate, a rebirth. It makes me feel like anything is possible and helps me refocus. I’m not doing resolutions this year. Instead I’m going to focus on living out loud every day. My daughter Katie is 23. Before now I’ve called her DD most of the time. At 23, I think she can handle her name being on the blog. When I started this blog in 2005, she was a freshman in high school. Time flies.
Today Katie and I set out on an adventure. She’s moving to Cleveland, Ohio because she loves the Cleveland Indians. I’m going up with her and flying back in a couple days.
When Katie was a freshman, she said she wanted to go into sports marketing or journalism. She loved baseball. And hockey and the Olympics and pretty much everything sports related except basketball. I don’t know where she gets it. We like the Rangers, but we haven’t been avid watchers since the strike in the 90s. We love the Stars, but we live in Wichita Falls so regular game attendance isn’t practical. The only sports Katie really grew up with was high school football.
All that doesn’t matter, though. She loves the Indians and she’s going to their turf. I tried convincing her not to go. It’s cold. There’s snow. She doesn’t know anyone. She has a life here.
She told me she’s 23 and if she doesn’t like it she can always move back or anywhere else because Starbucks transfers. (Starbucks is her second love.)
I’d have to be okay with the move if she were going with school, so I have to be okay with this move too. It’s the school of life. I sure hope the Cleveland Indians have a good year.
Our back to school assembly made me cry three times. That’s a first. Teachers, what we do is so important! I can’t wait to get this year started. BUT first, I’ve got to finish getting my new room set up.
I haven’t been by as much because I’m writing and working and working out.
I don’t know why I put off working out so often. I LOVE the Y, I love the elliptical, Pilates and Zumba. For some reason I let the prospect of the five minute drive stop me from DOING.
I finally broke that trend. Over a week straight, and I feel great!
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.
Posted in adviser, education, Family, newspaper, school, teaching, writing, yearbook
Tagged adviser, DD, memories, moving, newspaper, newsroom, Prodigal, school, staff, students, teaching, yearbook
When my fourth grade class found out I was moving to Texas, they were all excited.
Dallas was our main Friday night entertainment, so everyone thought I’d have a horse, live on a ranch, and be connected to the oil industry somehow.
I didn’t know about any of that because Dallas meant one thing to me: Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, which is weird considering I couldn’t even do a cartwheel.
At nine that didn’t matter. I dreamed of two things: being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader or Miss America. Back then your only chance of being Miss America was to be Miss Texas, Miss Oklahoma or Miss Arkansas.
Miss Minnesota NEVER won. I was moving to Texas and my chances were increasing astronomically.
At nine I believed I could do anything.
The move to Texas was a bit of a shock. No ranch, no horse, and while there were oil wells down the street (and around the corner and across the fields…), those wells had nothing to do with my Air Force family.
That fact didn’t stop me from pretending or dreaming.
I remember in kindergarten my teacher crumpled up my paper and threw it away because I colored my people purple. But that didn’t break my dreams. Not even when she told me there was no such thing as a purple people eater. She was wrong. The end. It didn’t bother me that she didn’t realize it. I believed I could be and do anything.
In fourth grade I was mortified when my teacher crumpled up my paper for writing in the margins. (I thought margins meant the area with the holes! Not the area with the lines on both sides.) I believed I be and do anything.
In sixth grade I was mortified that I couldn’t do a cartwheel in PE when everyone else was doing that and more! But my coach didn’t ridicule me, she just had me do somersaults. I believed I could be and do anything.
In eighth grade I was mortified when my math teacher told me girls couldn’t do Algebra and then made me stand at the board in front of the class until I could figure out the right answer. My friends were trying to signal the answer, but I couldn’t see because I had a cold. I sneezed and the teacher wouldn’t even let me go wash my hands. I believed I could be and do anything EXCEPT Algebra! And maybe Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, since by this time I could STILL not do a cartwheel.
I don’t know when the absolute belief in my abilities to be and do anything changed to a quiet acceptance that dreams were just that: figments of an overactive (ridiculously overactive!) imagination.
Some people call this growing up. I mean, come on, Miss America!?! Really? Part of me gets that. But part of me misses that kid with the imagination, that kid with the ability to do and be anything.
Honor and Lies deals with failure and dreams and daring to live beyond expectations. I wrote it 12 years ago, and I still love the characters. Honor and Lies coupon: 50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z. Find the book here.
Posted in books, education, writing
Tagged Air Force, Algebra, belief, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Dreams, Honor and Lies, Miss America, moving, school, teaching, writing