I have seen the Einstein quote about insanity quite often. Yet, there are things that I keep doing the same way as if I really believe I could get different results.

Facebook friendships are my weakness. Maybe it’s the challenge to see how many friends I can get. Publish a book and hit all my friends up for a buck. That would be an amazing start.

I’m starting to bore with the predictability. A male without any Facebook Friend’s in common asks me for my friendship.

I ought to set the timer to see how quickly that newly found friend privately messages me. This newest one…

Chat Conversation Start
You’re friends on Facebook
Worked at U.S. Army
3 minutes ago


How are you doing today
It’s late. What’s up?

And thanks for accepting me as a new friend here okay
I have my doubts, but we’ll see.

Okay nice to meet you
So, what’s your angle?

Where are you from and how old are you if you don’t mind asking
Hmmm. You asked for a Facebook friendship. How about starting by reading my Facebook?
I don’t know if that was the end of the conversation. I thought it was rather funny. Kind of pitiful.
Why? Do I have to discriminate against males because 99.9% are fishing?
The worst offense new female Facebook friends seems to be trying to sell me something like handbags or something stupid and obviously doesn’t know me.
The other day I told these third graders that I had to clip my keys on my pants or I would spend the day looking for my keys. Mostly it gets the kids to look at my cute Koala Bear, though recent one child thought she was an elephant. I think I decided her name was Matilda.
I guess I better go peak in on the conversation I’m having. I no longer even remember his name…

Sometimes life lessons

Sometimes life lessons come from unexpected places.
Today i had the uncomfortable assignment of subbing for two different teachers, but two very different grades. Third. Fifth. Third again. I felt more like a fish out of water. Flailing as i tried to suck enough air inbetween my begging for them to not only stop talking but to pay attention. I can only explain how to round up a hundredth number. By the tenth time i am seeing astericks where there used to be a decimal point.
And even then i get “i don’t get it.” Do you think i can do a one on one and not have to stop and ask,  “why are you out of your seat?” Or, get interupted because one kid called another kid the R word.
One kid said another kid was being racist. I was afraid to ask.  The kid called him poop. How is this racist. The kid was black.
I had one boy yelling and slamming doors, insisting that everyone hates him for being British. I am sure his temper outbursts make him the life of the party.
I had an opportunity to talk to this young man. It saddens me to hear a kid say that none of his peers like him.
I told the kid that it took me a long time to learn how to like myself.  Once proved that i can support my endeavors on my own.
I talked with this young lad that he needed to be his biggest fan. Start to feel good about yourself, others will follow.

Sometimes Blogs

Spring from unlikely places and times. I had already blogged today and wasn’t thinking about double-dipping, but as I was writing to a group of wonderful women that I met just last month at a retreat at Breitenbush. If you live in Oregon and have never been to Breitenbush, you really must go. This was only my second time there; the first time was about thirty years ago. I will not wait another thirty years to go back. I’d rather drive the 110 miles there than to Portland. I can even go vegetarian for the time there without any complaints. It’s all about the Natural Hot Springs. It doesn’t quite sound so good when a fish enjoys hot water? While we’re on that topic, let me ask why we can sit in hot water and not get poached. I supposed if I submerged and took the hot water into my system, I probably wouldn’t look any better than the Salmon I had the other night. I wouldn’t be as tasty.

Anyway, I was writing an email to this wonderful group when I realized I had overstepped the boundaries of what a good group email response should be and stepped into blogdom.

Hello everyone. Benefits from the Breitenbush Gathering has been noticeable in the way I choose to work and to play and to just be. Yes, money is great, but it’s not the end all; most of my working years, I have worked more hours than necessary. Overtime? You got it.

I can’t blame my overworking workaholic personality on the God Almighty Buck. I’ve always had a certain compulsion when it comes to doing something that I love to do. Teaching is one of those jobs when there’s never an end. There’s always something to read or create if I’ve managed to do all the grading in a timely manner. Like the next day. If I gave a quiz, which I always did every day, it had to be graded immediately.

Investing time and energy in becoming a better athlete, a better teacher doesn’t count the hours, just the outcome. After I completed my Master’s in teaching, I’ve been building on my teaching license as if I were adding rooms, more space in my life. I couldn’t settle for a Grades 6-12 Highly Qualified English teacher, I had to return to Pacific University and add grades three through five. Even though I learned that fourth, fifth, and twelfth are my favorite grades, I went back to Pacific University for the third time to add a K-12 Reading Endorsement. When it comes to reading, I have no favorite grade.

This blog isn’t even close to the one I imagined. Sometimes blogs have a mind of their own. I’m just the typist.

Even though I love teaching, I have a harder time springing back, especially with the little ones. I’ve had some second and third grade classes that have run me into the ground. I run from student to student. Maybe I absorb all of the drama. There are way more tears in this age  group. Lots and lots of drama.

To me, the drama mellows out in fourth and fifth, though it comes screeching back by the time they hit sixth. It depends on whether sixth grade is part of middle school or elementary. I liked being a sixth grader in elementary; you got to be the top of the heap rather than the bottom. So many sixth graders can’t be competing against seventh and eighth graders. I might even have a theory about bullying regarding sixth grade status, but I’d have to give it a lot more thought.

This is why I said that my favorite grades are fourth, fifth, and twelfth. By Senior year, Most of the drama cards have been played, and these people are just ready to start their life and stop jumping through all of these silly little obstacles that school throws out at them.

The other day someone on Facebook posted a short statement that encompasses my one and only goal:


This is my main desire for the second half of my life. Is this asking too much? I think not. When I have the energy and the desire to teach, I work. If my desire is to spend more time reading and writing and perhaps even sleeping in, I don’t work. I’m even balancing what grades and subjects I’ll tackle. I traded a full day with third graders to two half days with fifth graders; I especially liked the ten o’clock start time rather than the 7:45 time. Why can’t they come up with night school for kids.

One of the residual effects of this work schedule is that I am so much happier. When I sing in the choir, I have been singing louder; I can’t vouch for whether I am singing better, but I’m having fun, and that just adds onto that happiness I have begun to feel.

There are some days I go out and cut blackberry paths just for the hell of it. Now that it’s been raining, I’m thinking about working on blackberry tunnels instead. That would be cool. Life sure can be a Vicious Cycle.

How to Destroy

A Teaching Career

I’m a C-SPAN2 Book discussion from last September on Banned Books.

As I have written several blogs about my sudden firing from the Willamette Leadership Academy almost five years ago, I have to come up with my own reasons as to why a former teacher of the year and one of  the hardest workers  wasn’t going to have my contract renewed. It was sudden in my mind, but I’m thinking that the signs were there, but I failed to see them. I often prefer my own World and ignore reality. If I think someone doesn’t like me or has a problem with me, I tend to ignore this and pretend these feelings don’t exist.

But, as I listen to the panel of authors who discuss how their books have been challenged and banned in schools, I start to think about my last Film as Literature course. Color Purple is one of my favorite books. Not only is it a great book, but the movie is just as  outstanding, but the book and the movie are night and day.

My class was upperclass students, Juniors and Seniors, in high school. I asked for a class set, which was approved. I got a really good deal at Smith Family Bookstore for the Pulitzer Prize winning novel. I was  excited and had worked so hard on pulling together lesson plans.

Somehow the School Board President, a very conservative Christian, got wind of my kids reading Alice Walker’s book. All she had to do was read the first page of the novel to the Colonel, and all hands on board distress signal was given. By the time it subject  was brought to the board’s attention and they declared this book not worthy for this Public, but Charter school, we were just finishing up with the book. I was told I could never teacher  that book  again.

I was angry. In the five years that I had taught at WLA, the only perk, aside from the free uniform and cheap haircuts, I had one hundred percent control of what I taught. Now that a red flag was raised on my choice of literature, I was told that from now on, I would have to ask the  board’s permission.

I did not ask permission for the next book my kids were reading, but again they had already bought Fahrenheit 451, the banned book about burning books. I was pissed that I was getting censured especially when the middle schoolers during this same time were reading Hunger Games. It’s okay for young kids to read about kids killing kids, but Heaven forbid that an older student read about incest and coping with the situation.

I was extremely vocal about my frustration and probably vented a lot on Facebook. That is, after all, the main reason I was fired.

The irony about my losing my job when I lost it was I had been struggling with depression and was just getting a handle on the problem. As a result, I was probably the realest and truest with the students than ever before. I stopped hiding the fact that I was gay, but unless you are totally blind, it’s really hard to not make this guess. I was spending more time with the kids than grading I was refusing to take on all the extraneous meetings and fundraising that was eating up a lot of my personal time. I had spoiled the school by working eighty hours a week, but I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. The Friday evening after school benefit, after so many hours, or the all day Saturday to supervise cadets at a football game only added to my eighty hours. No, I won’t put together the school newsletter anymore.

It was my last year that I volunteered to run a credit recovery program that was a huge success and also time-consuming, but since kids were getting something out to it, It was worth it. I even took on the role of doing all class scheduling for all the high school kids that involved requesting and studying transcripts. Still time consuming, but also important to the student. We were such a small staff that we all had to pitch in. The second in-charge teacher, Major Cheney, had the task of mapping out all of the FTX schedules on top of her course load.

I guess my last blog in venting about WLA wasn’t my last. Maybe this one will be. Maybe. It is a very tender spot in my heart.

Why Do I Have

Health insurance? I love my physiatrist. I trust all of my aches and pains in her capable hands. My back isn’t making life easy; it’s really just a battle against gravity that I’m losing, but we’re trying.

She wanted to change pain medication. Morphine wasn’t cutting it anymore. I couldn’t make it through a bowling tournament without feeling like I was eighty years old and ought to give the sport up. If my scores were better and I was in pain, I’d be a much happier camper, but that’s not the case. Not by a long shot. The only Saving Grace is that lately during this once a month tournament, the scores have been frustratingly low for many bowlers, and my team has been able to scratch and claw its way into contention for four months in a row. It wasn’t always the case that I’d rather be lucky than good, but I’ll take the breaks anyway they come.

So, the Doc wanted to change things up. Increase number of acupuncture visits and alter the pain meds.

I don’t really know the names of the drugs. I might do some research as I write this so I can educate myself on the matter.

OXYCONTIN® (oxycodone hydrochloride) extended-release tablets is an opioidanalgesic supplied in 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, and 80 mg tablets for oral administration. The tablet strengths describe the amount of oxycodone per tablet as the hydrochloride salt.”

As I said, I trust my Doc more than any other doctor I have had. She prescribed two different kinds of Oxycontin. Just like the morphine, one was for extended use to be taken twice a day religiously, and the other for cut through pain, like a supplement. Well, when I went to pick up the prescriptions, one cost almost nothing. The other one, not only was stumbling out of the gates in getting it filled, but even after insurance pays their cut, I will be paying about a hundred and fifty dollars for a month. It’s probably the stuff that I’m supposed to be taking every day, twice a day regardless of pain. The problem I get myself into is once I hit that pain threshold, it’s really hard to make the monster retreat. Pain maintenance is critical. I’ve been doing this dance for a long time now.

So, why do I have this kind of insurance?

I hope

my blogging idea didn’t go away. I had it just a second ago, but I got distracted. I had to look back to see how many days in a row I managed to blog. Four blogs, three days. This makes four. It’s hard to get back on track once it isn’t part of my routine, though I’m  not sure if I could label any of my times routine.

My journal was relatively easy to train into an every day thing. I had times when I would bound out of bed right before the stroke of midnight to write so I wouldn’t miss a day. I am hoping to use all of these journals to perhaps breathe some life into my blog.

I’m still not getting much response. I get a few tallies of having readers, but it’s just not the same. Is it the content? Is it the lack of key words and categories? Maybe this isn’t the best blog site. I don’t know. I’d like to think that my writing isn’t awful. As I said before, I’ve been doing it for so long, I think I’ll continue even if I and Bex, Bex and I are the only ones who like my writing.

I’m learning the difference

I’m having another one of those duh moments. I’m suddenly realizing the difference between Facebooking and Blogging. What can I say, but I am a slow learner, but I”m a tenancies one and refuse to give up. Learning, to me, is almost like  getting little presents spontaneously.

Today was one of those days. My faith in Humanity was rediscovered. Thank you Thurston High School. Best doesn’t begin to describe it. Smooth. A little too smooth, but it had it’s moments of reality.

The two senior literature classes were awesome, even in their napping. I probably don’t want to give too much detail away to protect student privacy. They are so sweet and adorable at this age, especially when they are sleeping. The way I figured it: it was Friday. I was doomed right from the start. I was their second sub in a row, and I couldn’t see anything remotely looking like a record of yesterday’s events. No clue what kind of sub they got, and there are some scary ones out there. Majority are the sweetest, but I suppose there a few in every occupation. I hope no one is thinking of me in this fashion.

I usually write a short story to the teacher I am in filling in for, giving more positive than negative if possible. So the twelfth graders were a dream. But even the Sophomores were sweet. Maybe it was I that was still asleep, but I wouldn’t let anyone pinch me. The best part about the students were I could treat them like young adults from the get go, and they could either choose to treat me the same or get on my bad side. I tell them right upfront that I’m a pushover and easy going until someone crosses the line, and then I gotta get all serious. And this is turning into a blog…

Three hundred words is not for Facebooking. I’m noticing that I’ve finally changed channels in terms of what kind of writing I’ll do where. If my writing starts to dig a little too deep and I want to allow it to expand in any direction, I’ll transplant it from Facebook to WordPress. I still could lose my job, but I don’t think as instantaneously as I did last time. The only time. Hopefully my last.

For the most part, the Thurston Colts students were working on projects that are due next Tuesday. I made my rounds, prodding gently those who weren’t doing any work to perhaps at least look like he’s doing work. If I confiscated every cell phone I saw today, it would have broken the teacher’s desk.

Remember: I’m a sub. It’s a Friday. Oh, it’s an early release day when the day once again forgot it’s supped to be raining. Football game and Dance this weekend. I enjoyed chatting with all of the athletes in the room; maybe that’s a reason why these students were really on top of their game. Sorry. I refuse to edit or I’ll convince myself to remove clichés. Not today.

I thought I had another reason for cutting the kids a bizillion yards of slack, but mostly I was still tired after the third graders at Dos Rios played me like a fiddle. I was running around the entire day except for the half an hour lunch break.

Today was more about respect. I caught the first class of seniors off guard when I told them that my name was Susan. Someone asked me if that were my last name. No. I’m noticing that sometimes not having a title puts kids more at ease, and that tends to make the transition smoother. Some kids had to call me Ms. Susan. They acted as though they had never had a teacher like me before. I like to remind myself that that is so true as there is no other teacher like me, and today this philosophy paid huge dividends.

Obviously, I don’t teach for the money. My first full-time job teaching is my testimony.

I’ve probably written about being recruited to teach at the Willamette Leadership Academy, now in Sringfield, but recruited isn’t quite the word. Beg. That’s how they used to get all of the teachers. I should know. I spent plenty of time on the phone calling every single substitute on the Lane County Education System list and beg people to at least think about working at WLA. Most people laughed. You want me to teach how many courses, without a prep or proper license, for what kind of money? Oh, and you don’t get health insurance or retirement. We had people lining up for miles to get into the door.

There were a strong core of us who thought we were fighting a valiant, though futile war. It wasn’t bad when there were only two companies of twenty-five students each. When the high school doubled in size, it only made our job that much harder.

I think the thing that ticks me off more than anything is that most of us stuck it out. For the most part, tenure was never in anyone’s title. A few Sergeants had stuck it out, but before  2007, the teacher’s lounge had a revolving door.

I had no clue what I was walking into. I didn’t know that the salary was about half the amount a teacher in Eugene or Springfield would make. I didn’t even care that there wasn’t insurance or retirement. I had been waiting to teach for way too long and I wanted to do it while I still had the energy.

The best thing about working at WLA is that I got to kill off my entire teaching career in a five-year span.I was like a Shooting Star. When I was told I wasn’t being asked back for my sixth year, an unheard number, especially for the rank of Captain, I was told it was because I was burning out. Oh, work eighty plus hours a week for five years. Summer would be cut down to the regular forty. Teach the hardest students possible. Teach at least three classes without the proper authorization. I did it because I believed in the mission. I didn’t agree with the physical corrections they use, lugging tires around from one pile to another doesn’t do much good if the student is either adamant about they didn’t do anything wrong or don’t know what they did wrong. My biggest wish was that the school would employ psychologists instead of military personnel who are really good at yelling into the faces of students. I almost wet my pants the first day I was at WLA, watching an adult less than an inch from a student, spit flying. I hate yelling. I hate conflict. So, what the hell was I doing at a military-style school where Academics came second and behavioral was primary. In the very beginning, having a good First Sergeant was so much more important than getting a good teacher. 

First Sergeants, especially those with Marine backbones, are the most tenacious and dedicated soul that I have ever met, but they are kind of like the Pit Bull in society. When I needed a student chewed on, I always called for a Marine. I loved my SeaBee, but he couldn’t yell worth a darn.

I’ve been working on letting the angst of this job go for going on five years. The job I loved to hate or hated to love.

Even though I hate conflict and yelling, I took to that school like a duck in water. How about a Pisces in water? My natural element. Right from the bat, it was everything I dreamed of. I could wear army clothes and army boots.What law abiding Tom Boy wouldn’t like to wear this every day. I didn’t like the military dress uniform because of the dorky hat we had to wear; I reminded myself of Jackie Gleason. There was that even stupider cover that made me look like the tin man. The BDU regular dress allowed me to wear a baseball cap.

I got used to the yelling; I just didn’t allow it in my room. I didn’t make the kids yell in the classroom. I always waved off the need to call Attention when I walked into a room. No yelling. I hardly ever yelled. I preferred a walk or two around the track. In my last week or so at the school, I spent quite a bit of time walking with students around the track as we both cried.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had  with a young freshman. He was crying, which only got me crying, and in-between sobs, he asked if he were the reason I was being fired. Maybe he had complained about one of my assignments. I don’t know. I never was told why they weren’t renewing my contract. I never asked.

I do know that Spring was around the corner. The Colonel was marking my classes for the next year in purple. It was going to be my first year where I only had to teach English, the only thing qualified to teach. I was so excited. I didn’t really want to move schools, but I was starting to think about packing up five years worth of stuff. Teachers collect. It must be a gene.

Maybe this will be the last time I have to write about this experience. I’m starting to get bored. Some of you, probably are, but I’m not sure if I have ever written the entire story.

It must have been around April that I noticed some things changing. I remember being in the Colonel’s office begging to accept a student back, and feeling extremely surprised that I wasn’t getting my way. I had gotten used to it when it came to either booting or welcoming back a student. Even after being lied to by the best, I worked hard at giving second and third chances, and I believed I could read their character’s in the way our eyes meet. I learned quickly that I couldn’t use this contact as a measurement with those who just can’t give eye contact. I suppose this would be one reason why someone wouldn’t make it in the military.

I never had the chance to serve in the military. Now that women have more choices and don’t have to wear stupid dresses, but they still wear that dorky tie. While at the school, even though it was all pretend, it wasn’t for some. Some were going to be entering the military right after graduating. Mr. Wolph and another student entered the Army the Spring of my first year.

And I did have the slight hope that perhaps if I couldn’t turn students towards college instead of the military, perhaps they would be ready to face the real world some how. Probably wishful thinking. Hopefully none of the students I have known have had to experience anything besides boredom. I pray for boredom for soldiers and police officers.

Anyway, I noticed some chilliness in the air. This was a staff that I have had over to my house for bonding experiences. I could cut the tension with a knife. I asked my counterpart in the high school if she would tell me if anything were wrong. “I cannot divulge on that matter.” It must have tore Cheney up to say this to me. Wed become good friends in the five years, but she was second in charge. I was third. But there was a shooting start amongst us. Someone I had begged to come interview for a teaching position. I was promoted at a typical rate, a rank a year, but early on I was asked if I would learn how to run the show. The Colonel had only two years of full-time teaching before he was asked to be the head honcho, though everyone knew Sergeant Major Arbuckle was really running the show. Kind of like a puppet.

Maybe it was he who didn’t like what he was seeing in my teaching methods. I wasn’t very good with the military protocol, though at least I stopped saluting with my left hand after a month or so. There were all sorts of things. My body was falling apart. I had had knee and shoulder surgeries. I had been through a lot of physical therapy for my back.

I stopped working eighty hours a week. I took time off when I needed. The colonel reminded me on multiple occasions that he and I were lucky that this school would hire us at such an old age. I think he was ten years older, but older teachers and staff didn’t last long there, especially after having any health concerns. I did mention that at first they didn’t offer health insurance. That did change, which almost made it worse when they discontinued the contract of a teacher’s aide after she had a stroke, or a teacher for another health issue.

Instead of thanking me for dedicating my heart and soul into the school that paid me back in low wages, no benefits, they opted to kick me to the curb.

Guess it still hurts. Might as well turn this into a blog. I’m on a roll.

My Definition of What Girls Can Do

My Definition of What Girls Can Do and other peoples’ definitions are different.

While growing up in the sixties, my definition of what girls can do was constantly beaten  on. Girls don’t throw well, so don’t try. If it hadn’t been for Earl Harvey, I probably would have. Earl and Brian were my main catching buddies. Sometimes I wish I could bring “catch” back into my life. Tossing a baseball, softball, tennis ball back and forth and talking is the best form of therapy.

Maybe I should start a club. Mostly I need to get back on the track to where I was earlier, before I started to reminisce. I don’t recall ever being discouraged in doing anything by Mr. Harvey, but that’s not what I got at home. Girls do not play the drums. At least the flute wasn’t hard to carry and it was easy to fake in recitals. I wonder if I would have liked performing more if I didn’t detest the dress I had to wear.

What did I learn that I could be when I grew up? Teacher, secretary, accountant, nurse. Maybe a veterinarian; I was told I wasn’t smart enough, so I don’t know if being a girl had any factor. I certainly wasn’t going to be president. It seemed unusual that women were in politics in the sixties. I’ll have to do some research. I really wasn’t cognizant that there was a world outside of my world until 1970, though my sisters would probably push that through the 70’s. I do know that I woke up in 1983 and realized I needed drastic changes.

Now that I’m looking at my first 23 years on this planet, I probably spent most of those years angry. As soon as I realized that I would be treated differently because I was a female. It would piss me off to no end to go to some stupid family holiday when we only saw family once or twice a year? The family part wasn’t stupid, but it was what I had to wear. Slap a Polo shirt and a pair of Chinos on a boy, and people are so impressed at how dressed up he is. Slap that same outfit on me, and I’m declared a Tom Boy. At first, I decoded social Q’s as being a Tom Boy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was the only girl in camp that slept in my undies and a T-Shirt. I even hated wearing nightgowns, but only because I’m such an active sleeper, I would get tied up in my own clothes. Skip pajamas altogether was my thing, and it wasn’t until camp that I realized that this was a little bit off. I do believe I was eleven when I was shipped off to “Fleur de Lis.” Great camp, but not my idea of a picnic. I was so home sick that when my parents came to pick me up at some visitation, like the halfway mark of my parents’ vacation, that I refused to get out of the car, and they had to forcibly pry me out. Same thing was the same for dances. Again, I probably would have loved dancing around to good music, but foxtrotting in a dress again was not my cup of tea.

My problem was that I didn’t understand what my role on earth was going to be. Everything I thought was fun, I wasn’t allowed to do. Girls don’t play baseball. They changed their minds the year after I was too old to play Little League. You bet I was cheering for T’Nisha, I think is her name, the girl who not only played in the Little League World Series, but dominated. Because of her, it started to become known that throwing like a girl isn’t a bad thing, but I bet if we took a poll of young males, they would still say that was a bad thing. It’s hard to hold onto the notion that it’s a good thing when it is constantly hammered home that girls can’t do things that boys can do because we’re not good enough.

A few blogs back, I wrote about a discussion I had with some fifth grade boys. I noticed there were quite a few wearing the same football team jersey. I asked a couple of boys if there were any girls on the team. They looked like I had just sprout another head. What? Girls don’t play football. I wondered if the boys were worried about getting hurt or perhaps even beaten by a girl. Some fifth grade girls are still bigger than some of their male counterparts.

Basically I cut my teeth on the Equal Rights Amendment. I loved hearing my sister Barbara take on my dad in politics; she could hold her own, go toe to toe with the conservative Republican that would have voted for Richard Nixon even after he was declared a crook. I don’t think it was my sister’s liberal tenacities that really caught my attention, but the fact that I don’t think I had ever seen a female take on my Father. This is a new observation, so I’m still mulling it over.

I learned that women made about half as much as men did for the same job. And I learned that women couldn’t even go to Dartmouth College, my Grandfather, Uncle, and Cousin’s Alma Mater, until late in game. My grandfather was so excited that by the time I was in high school, Dartmouth not only took women, but they had a women’s ice hockey team. It’s possible no one had told my Grandfather that I wasn’t smart enough to even clean the floors of Dartmouth College.

I learned that holding onto being a Tom Boy, which is not what I called myself, wasn’t a good thing. I don’t recall being harassed about my future sexual orientation was going to be, though i did have one friend teased. She was my closest friend at the time. It never occurred to me that I was getting teased. Okay, so maybe there is a upside to being a little slow.

I learned that there were still a lot of men who didn’t want girls or women have anything to do with Little League. I started coaching a Farm Team while I was in high school. Peter Büttner was the first man I ever met that believed that Girls could do anything and everything. He raised his two kids Karl and Lisa, to believe this, and both were on that Farm Team. Pete made coaches and parents mad when he discouraged bad mouthing the players. He didn’t allow people to yell, “Hey batts, batts, Swing.” He didn’t let adults to this or the kids to each. Catcher used to say all sorts of crap to the batter, and these are eight and younger. They can’t catch or hit or run in a straight line. They didn’t need the interference. And I coached. Pete brought me in as an assistant coach. I don’t think a young woman had ever coached little league. My fundamentals were superb. I could slide, hit, throw and catch with the best of them. I taught myself a side arm toss to render me different from most of the girls who throw with their elbow. My being in the system really got them riled up the next year when I graduated to head coach and Pete took over as my assistant. We had a lot of heads shaking in Weston, Massachusetts in 1977.

Mr. Büttner was my biggest ally, against the world and against my dad. I guess it was unusual for any one to stand up against him.

Today I was with third graders. At one point some girls said that they could  do anything. At first, I swallowed the truth, and reaffirmed to the girls that yes they could be anything they wanted, thinking that perhaps they had the same definition as I held.

But then again, maybe their definition is different. Maybe their definition is a woman can do anything she wants to do that is within the domains of what Women can do. I think about the fifth grade boys. Maybe no girl has wanted to play football or be willing to go up against Title IX, also after my time.

By the time I was nineteen, I learned finally that women athletes were treated differently. I messed up my knee playing Lacrosse, a sport I would not play in high school because of the kilts, and played goal in college so I could wear pants. I never did outgrow my revulsion for women’s clothes. I suppose you could blame my dad after all; he did sell boys and mens clothes, and the majority of my clothes came from him. The amount of time I spent on the floor playing with the dog and going through my knees constantly, I would have had ugly knees if I had to wear a dress. Okay, so after three knee surgeries, I really don’t have a very nice looking knee, though I like my battle scars.

Maybe I wouldn’t have needed the first knee reconstruction if I had a couple of doctor’s really look at my knee and not tell me it’s just sprained. Okay, I’ll act as if nothing is wrong. I’d go out running and my knee would go out. Back to the doctor. I learned that male athletes got a lot better attention. Careers are on the line by the time a male athlete reaches college. Unfortunately, that’s getting earlier and earlier. Anyway, I had no pro career looming, though I did begin to have aspirations of working hard enough to be on the US team like my amazing lacrosse coach, Canids Russell. Another person who believed in me.

I had been to two to three doctor’s before he said that my knee was possible toast. He wasn’t sure and wouldn’t know until he opened my knee up. He told me that if I woke up with a bandage on, the damage was minor and meniscus related. I’d be good as new in a short time. But, if I wake up with a cast on, it’s almost my Swan Song.

I do believe I was twenty at the time. Two of us were having the same look-see procedure; they didn’t trust the scope yet even for diagnosing, at least not where I went.  As I commiserated with this guy about his bandage and rehab, I asked him if he were going to continue playing football, and he said no. He told me he didn’t want to end up like me. My surgeon said that it is possible my initial injury was minor, but every time it went out or caused severe pain, I could have been creating new damage every time.

Unfortunately, I’m still learning what women can and can’t do. We still haven’t been president and we still get paid like crap.

And it is still illegal for women to play professional baseball. A few years ago I read about a women during the Babe Ruth era, Jackie something, which I thought was fitting, had been taught how to pitch with amazing accuracy and variety that she started playing minor league professional baseball. Jackie Mitchell I do believe is her name. Back then players played for the fun of the game. They didn’t make a lot of money. They didn’t get great accommodations or transportation. She had somehow proven herself to the minor league guys.

The Yankees came to town for a exhibition game, though perhaps this minor league team went to them. Anyway, Jackie Mitchell pitched and struck out Babe Ruth and the the guy that bat right after him. Could have been Lou Gherig. Anyway, these guys were so pissed that their masculinity was in jeopardy, the Commissioner voided Jackie’s contract and sent her packing. From what I saw a couple of years ago, it’s still on the books that women can’t play baseball.


I have my October 1984 journal sprawled open on my lap. Twenty-four years old. Had I been in Eugene for right around a year? Lane Community College had me pointed in the right direction. I had a new lease on life. A quarter century being that was still developing a little slower than those around her, though light years ahead in other capacities.

I savored eighty-one cents worth of potato salad, especially since it was going to be a day or so before another eighty-one cents worth of bottles and cans could be collected. It had been a while since the couch had been stocked, so there wasn’t any point fishing for change there. I think I was still smoking back then, so no change was kept in the car ashtray. I practically gag thinking about that horrible stench.

All of my memories around smoking are in my memory banks. I never journaled about smoking, though there’s lots of things I tend to avoid. Denial is an amazing force. Simple omission is almost as good as getting my memories erased. Not quite. Sometimes a word or story can cause memories to flood bad. Some good. Some bad. Some just are.

Recently, the family tree sprouted another branch. My cousin Jay Barclay and wife Jesse brought Casey John Barclay. I think my memory is staying steady. The cool part about is where my 1984 journal is open to. Back on October 4, 1984 my Aunt Doris wrote me a letter. Cousin Judy was having a baby. No, it wasn’t that baby that is now having a baby, but Christine’s big brother Jay. My journal of the past sometimes creates complete cycles, like circles. This one is more oblong, but fun just the same.

Well, since I’m no longer 24, I need to put myself to bed. I’ve got third graders to keep up with tomorrow. I can’t wait to meet them.

Mini Vacation

It was just Friday when I was forced to see life differently. Six days ago my eye sight took a back seat in my life’s routine. I could see enough to not walk into things, but that’s the extent to my visually acuity when my left eye is forced to take a vacation and the right eye is supposed to step in. I need a better temp agency.

By Friday night, the antibiotic drops cleared up the irritation and pain. I survived not being able to read or watch television. I could write just because I don’t have to look, but not being able to re-read the words are different than choosing to not edit.

This week has been a week of taking care of myself. We’re hoping that with an increase in numbers of acupuncture, I can experience pain relief.

I hope as taking the narcotic route isn’t working as well as it used to. It’s been a few years of two different kinds of morphine used to fight at the front lines, but the osteoporosis and arthritis is winning the war.

Dr. A. suggested that we mix it up with the drug regiment. Sure why not. Two like the morphine. One for steady use and the other one for breakthrough pain.

And of course, the transition between different insurances has me feeling as though I have stepped into a giant spider’s web. Pharmacy filled the Oxycodon script, but said they need Prior Authorization for the primary pain meds. Tennis anyone? Tennis is a cob web. Doctor said that they talked to insurance, and they said I didn’t need a PA, and that the drugstore messed up. Drat. So, back to the pharmacy. The pharmacy person said that I did need the PA, and it occurred to me to problem solve from the beginning. Which insurance were they billing? That’s where the problem sat.

One hundred and forty-seven dollars. Is this Oxycoton made out of gold? If I didn’t have insurance, the price for one month was over three hundred dollars. What choice do I have? These aren’t the times that I have to weigh the cost of something. Maybe the Mini Cooper won’t be getting the extra good stuff for a while.

My mini vacation is over. Close to twelve hours from now I’ll be entertaining a third grade class at my current favorite elementary school, Dos Rios in Springfield.

Taking My Vision

For granted. The difference between Knowing that if something were to happen to my left eye, I would be legally blind, and Experiencing being legally blind has left my head feeling a whiplash effect. Boomerang so quick that it smacked me in the face. No that’s not why I can’t see.

This past Friday, for only the second time in my life, I had to stare down blindness; definitely the bad guy that would turn my life upside down.

Maybe I really live in a snow globe and am just coming to the conclusion of the reality.  Twilight Zone. Rod Sterling, Ithaca College Alum. Go Bombers. I wonder if Sterling ever used drugs to enhance his creativity. I remember one episode where a plane passenger kept seeing a strange beast on the wing of the plane, doing damage, but by the time anyone would come to look, the ape-like creature would be well hidden. I don’t remember if the plane did end up crashing.

Taking away my vision, I wondered if I were at the end of the road for my brain to pick up visual memories? The day started with a nuisance itchy left eye that escalated to pain and an excursion out on the town.

Unplanned unexpected eye doctor appointment declared my cornea had a scratch. How does something like this happen over night? I must have had a wild night and didn’t even know it. Antibiotics. Patch. No more visual stimulus for me. I tried to take a peek at my roast beast sandwich at Jimmy John’s, my new favorite place to go, but I couldn’t see much around the patch. I could see enough of it to get most of it in my mouth. I could see that I had made quite a little mess on the table. I can do that with my eyes closed!

Jimmy Johns doesn’t beat Quiznos, but I don’t think there are any of those joints around anymore. I’ll probably never go to Subway again. One bad sub in Junction City knocked them off my list.

It felt like I had been at the doctor’s office waiting forever. It’s easy to be patient when I have no other choice; they squeezed me in. It’s not like I could be doing all the normal things I normally do like read and write. I just wanted relief and would have waited hours. It didn’t even bother me that I had to stand away from everyone just in case I had pink eye or something highly contagious. I begged for a cup of coffee, but even my pitiful status didn’t help my cause. I settled for the cups of water.

Upon returning home, planted on my green comfy recliner with Ricky, letting music keep me company. Norah Jones melts me. I couldn’t watch television or read. I could write, but I couldn’t see what I was writing.

I’d give my eye-teeth to have a voice like Jones, but I would not give up my sight. I suspect that I would eventually adjust and adapt to being legally blind if something were to happen to my left eye. Listening to baseball is sometimes more entertaining. My biggest challenge would be not being able to read. I tried to listen to a audible book, but I’d have to practice following along. Let’s just hope I don’t have to do this in the near future.

Being a Pack Rat

Pays Off. Well, to a certain point. I’m way past that point, but I am determined to make this a road of return.

Now it is time to purge. Mental pillaging if that’s appropriate. I don’t really know all that is involved in pillaging rather than it’s a bad thing, but how bad? I usually hear Pillaging, Plurging, and even some Plundering, though I must confess I don’t know what Plunder means. If plundered means confused, that’s me. But if it means something really bad, nope.

Well, maybe. You can be the judge of it.

Around four or less years ago, I had pillaged my career. Plundered by employment at the Willamette Leadership Academy. I was purged from WLA.

I apologized to the school, to the principal, to the board of directors, to the staff, to students for writing on Facebook that the school was using teacher’s licensing falsely. I apologized even though it was true. I taught US History multiple years. I never was endorsed to teach US History. If you look at students’ records, my name isn’t on high school transcripts. I taught other classes that I wasn’t qualified. I did what was asked of me, and for the most part without much of a complaint.

Well, towards the end of my five-year-tenure, which was the longest in the history of the school for a teacher at the PYCO organization. Cheney had me by a half a school year. The Colonel didn’t count because they promoted him to run the school after one or two years of teaching sixth grade. It really didn’t take that much to get promoted around there. If.

If, you played the game. The school was so desperate when they called me to interview. Their strategy was to call people from the substitution list and beg you to apply for the job.

I had graduated in 2004 with my teaching credentials, but due to some mess-ups along the way, I never could land a job. I’d interview. Mostly I didn’t even interview. I don’t know if my age has anything to do with it, but that’s the straw I drew. I settled in for a long and hard career as a substitute teacher. I was willing to substitute at any school anywhere. I even drove a couple of hours to McKenzie River for a half day. I did that more than once.

Some of you, especially former WLA students, I am the biggest pushover that ever had a teaching degree. Hamlin kids in Springfield ate me up as I was just so nice. I believe everyone. I have had half the class in the bathroom because I believed them. Might even have been high schoolers, but there was always someone who would tell me. I suppose I should miss all of those big bodies, but I’d be talking to the kids, helping them out, and I just wouldn’t notice. They were after all high schoolers. Was I to make them go one boy and one girl at a time?

Ate me up. My student teaching experience caused me to cry. Mostly I was crying for myself. When I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. As I grew up, I wanted to coach, so I started to sort of think about the older kids, but even with the older kids, everyone loves the PE teacher.

Not the English teacher. Here comes a mini whine story. While I was at Ithaca College, I tore my ACL and my MCL my first semester Sophomore year while playing Lacrosse. If I hadn’t flunked anatomy the semester before, I would have known what that was, but I didn’t, and I didn’t even know the importance of those letters in my knee until I listened to the doctors and athletic trainers. I have to backup this story. Doctors?

I tore my knee up plowing into a offender to prevent her from scoring on me. The ortho guy I had in Ithaca, said it was F’ed up, and I needed surgery. I was 19 and four hundred miles from home. I wasn’t letting a doctor I didn’t know, and who had a reputation for being knife happy. (Maybe these paragraphs need to go into a different blog. What do you think? Until I hear otherwise, I will go on.)

I couldn’t do a lot of my classes. I was extremely depressed. I was in a cast from my hip to my toe. I bowled a few times, but almost spun over. That was, come to think of it, the first time I really fell in love with bowling. I had forgotten about bowling there.

I’m so off…Back to being a desperate sub in desperate times. When the Willamette Leadership Academy recruited me, I was floored. I had never heard of WLA. I didn’t know Eugene, though only in address, or Veneta that there was a military school. I wasn’t ever really against military, though I have been against war and military spending all my consciousness life. Conscious doesn’t really say it. I’ve been conscious many a time without really know what’s going on. I’m really good at it.

I came in for the interview. I saw Sgt.’s spitting into youth face’s as they yelled at the kid. I almost wet  my pants. I hate yelling. It scares me. I didn’t even like it when they yelled attention if I walked into the room. I’d wave that part. There was all sorts of yelling I did away with. You don’t have to yell, “Permission to take our seats Ma’ams!”

Some of you are confused. When I was Captain Honthumb at Willamette Leadership Academy I was the strictest teacher. I had high expectations. I gave quizzes every day. I gave homework every day. This is high school. If a cadet didn’t do his homework, he or she would go outside and get PT’d until they were dragging. My favorite Sergeant was a computer genius, Sgt. Ough, and that name fits him. I would ask Sgt. Ought to put the kids through the paces at lunch time. They got their obligatory twelve minutes. For some, it caused some to do their homework. It’s not like I was hard. I did give them the quiz questions a week to a month in advance. Short answer. Ten questions. Right from the little section of reading. I was not asking too much.

I taught Pre-Algebra at WLA. No, I’m not a math endorsed teacher, but these poor cadets were so below their basics that I wasn’t teaching number identification and division. The kids got mad at me when I banned calculators. Just liked controlled substances, though in the early years, there were a lot more spot inspections for that stuff.

The school was desperate to keep students as well as staff. There were slackers that never had any intention of getting with the program, and the Colonel kept giving them slack. Colonel Mac was more of a softy than I was, especially since they were his kids that I couldn’t control. Davis. Brown. I don’t remember first names as only last names are used.

I’m surprised my hair didn’t go white in the first half of the year. I was a late hire to the high school. Second semester. The numbers fluctuated. Twenty-five max, but sometimes dangerously went low as I demanded that the kids either get on board or they get off the ship. I wanted to stop the squeaky wheel when I had some students who wanted to learn. I got good at doing paperwork. I got good at making the sergeants do the paperwork, but that rocked the boat. If we got under a certain number of students, we wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. They were already giving us peanuts. No vacation. No retirement. Heck, at first there wasn’t even insurance.

I took the job because I dreamed of teaching. After a while, I realized that these giant pickle-colored cadets were really only little kids in disguise; their emotional maturity was almost as low as their academic maturity.

I got used to the yelling. Did a little bit myself, but only when really, really, really angry. I let the Sgts do that. I did like to walk the kids around the track and talk; that was more my speed. Gave me a reason to get out of the classroom.

As I said, there’s either the fast-track or the no track at the school. If the school didn’t like you or your philosophy, you were not promoted and you were not asked back. I felt bad for Lt. Prince. For half a year, he was the only high school teacher. He had to teach every subject to high schoolers. He didn’t sleep. Sometimes he slept on the floor at the school. There wasn’t enough time in the day to prepare for twenty-five kids. Alpha was the only company. They let Randy go the next year.

I continued to plead for the ones who wanted to learn and demand that we give walking papers to others. It started to work. The shift started to happen. Back when I started working at WLA January 2007, it was true that mostly bad kids went to PYCO. I was determined to make that change.

I don’t think I worked as much as Randy Prince ever did. I never slept on the linoleum in a tiny little office. But I did put in up to 80 hours a week. I have all of the lesson plans I had to create. There wasn’t enough time in the day to schedule teachers prep time. So, if I was t teaching US History, Government, Pre-Algebra, and two to three English classes. There wasn’t even a repeated lesson. I was given no lesson plans. I was given  nothing.

If it hadn’t been for the comedian turned late night show host hadn’t put my picture on his television show, WLA wouldn’t have gotten knew US History textbooks. Darn. I should know his name.

I’m tired of just thinking about the hours I put into the school. Lots of fundraising events. I couldn’t say no.

I started the 2008 school year as a newly appointed First Lieutenant. No, my partner wasn’t invited to the ceremony, but I was pleased as punch. I had bought the military style system. I kept my standards up and pushed the kids that would let me push.

I was on the fast-track. Cheney and I. Ironically on Sylvia’s birthday, September 22, 2009, I was promoted to Captain. I hadn’t realized at my other promotion that typically spouses were invited to promotions. Spouses got to actually pin the rank on. Even though Roger McClelland and all the staff thought it was okay that I was a lesbian. They came to my house. At my food and drank my beer. They asked about her with earnestness, but it never occurred to them to ask Sylvia. Well, maybe the Christian-run school board that follows a Christian-founding. I didn’t hold it against them as long as they didn’t hold it against me.

When Major Cheney left on maternity leave, I took over helm for a week stint at Camp Baker. I loved running it, and thought it went rather smoothly. Well, except when a staff member gave some girls some chew. I went ballistic. She was later on awarded teacher of  the year. Really.

I don’t know when or why the wheels started to come off the bus. I started to say no. I started to get grumpy. Eighty hour weeks for five years can do that to a person. I had a few surgeries, but I was hanging in there.

At one point, I noticed some shifting in attitude of headquarters. There was a student I was going to bat for that wanted reinstatement. I did this to plenty of kids who truly were  willing to change their ways and were sorry for the offenses. There was a sweet young man who brought a knife to school. I believed him that he didn’t mean to bring it. I fought for his return, and he did turn out to be a great cadet. McCluskey I think was his name. For the kids who were ready to turn their lives around, I was willing to bust my butt for them as long as they were willing to bust theirs as well. For some, it worked.

And for others, it didn’t. Maybe there were complaints that I made a kid do some exercise because they couldn’t be bothered to do their homework. I made them do correction if they couldn’t bring a lousy pen to school, especially when I started the year  handing them out left and right, until a six month to year supply would disappear in a month, mostly because the boys liked to eat them. Shoot spit balls with them. Not ever use them.

This ranting and raving has really stirred up lots of stuff. I’m wondering how long I should hold onto those five years worth of lesson plans.

Some days I am quicker

Than other days.
Today is one of those better days. Today’s Wednesday Sudoku even only took two tries.
If I were a gambling kind of person, I’d put my wager that this acuity is the direct result of working with kids at Dios Rios/Two Rivers Elementary School. Elizabeth Cossin, you and the rest of the Springfield School District, are a lucky bunch as are the kids. If I had a Golden Apple, I’d award it to this school of being the best Elementary School that I’ve been to this school year.

I know I am not supposed to show favoritism to one school over the other, but I think as a Substitute Teacher, I might have that right. Schools have their favorite Substitute Teachers.

There are many outstanding schools that I’ve not been invited to, so I will hold the door open to another school to de-throne Dios Rios/Two Rivers Elementary School.

I really knew I was on my game tonight when I played Words Against Friends, I mean Words With Friends. My opponent, Osima, played Leet. This word opened right on up to a triple word. Ooh.  I tried an R, an I, and a C. Nope.  The C created the word Cleet, and according to Words With Friends, Cleet is not a word.  At least they were nice about it.

My next notion is to play defensively. How do I know that she’s not holding a letter that not only can add to the Leet, but get in on the triple word? The game was too close. After my offensive strategy, I thought defense. How can I block or Fleet or Sleet?

And then this little tiny seven-point word piped up in my head, which is more like a whisper. ILL isn’t a guarantee, but in order for Osima to take advantage of the triple word, she’d have to be able to use the i I played.

To Be Continued

Fall is right around the corner

Saturday, October 3, 2015

20151003poisonoakFall is here. No doubt about that. Cooler nights and mornings help foliage fight unseasonably sunny days. Last Sunday morning it was 32 degrees. Thirty-two ass-biting degrees. Granted, last Sunday, I was still in Breitenbush where the elevation is a bit higher than Eugene’s valley.

Colder temperatures will be here sooner rather than later. I am not a fan of cold. Give me the rain and warmer temperatures. You can keep the frost and frigid air. I do not need to see my breathe to confirm I am still alive. I would rather pretend I can see it. If I am going to wear gloves, let them be work gloves and not mittens. Better yet, let me wear a softball glove. And since I’m in the mode of just dreaming, can I go back in time ten years? Maybe this year will be my last year for taking to the field. Running is no longer my friend. I’ll be a body if a team needs me to graze in right field. I’ll even provide my own sunflower seeds.

All around me are signs that winter is coming. Squirrels scurry to gather food. Don’t you just love a cliché here and there? The last grey squirrel I saw, had a big acorn in it’s mouth. I never have my camera out when I really want it. Mostly I hear the squirrels chatter their frustration with Ricky as he loves to give chase. At least  he’s never caught one. I’d be horrified. Shelters are being being built.

den?100315I don’t know if this is a potential den or abode, or if this is just the way the blackberry vines die. These could be from our last snow storm from two years ago.

I’d like to think that there are fox burrowing in under trees and in thickets.

Is it my imagination that has animals giving birth in the winter and by the time spring arrives, the little bundles of joy are ready to explore their surroundings? (Okay, the sappy clichés might be like too much pepper in the soup.)

Apple, pears, plums, and blackberries  are what brings the deer around. Welcome back. I miss seeing the bucks. One of these days I hope to come across the remnants of the horn after they shed them. They do, don’t they? I don’t trust myself from just making shit up. If I don’t remember, I just come up with something.

Last night, on my way home from bowling, I stopped to talk to a young buck standing by the side of the road. I managed to say Good evening, before he moved on; he didn’t want anything to do with me or my Mini Cooper, though the Mini doesn’t seem to be that much of a threat. I doubt the deer would agree with me, and I hope I never find out.

I’m glad my Mini has a loud motor so the deer can hear me coming. When electric cars first came out, they were constantly running into deer because they were so quiet. I only had to go a yard or two before I could resume my conversation with the buck. This time he didn’t walk away.

4-point buck070608I told him that hunting season was coming up, and that he needed to be extra careful of us humans. I told him that I was on his side.

This picture is more than seven years old. I wonder if this buck is still out and about, dodging bullets and cars and the stresses of living off the land.

Well, speaking of Living off the Land, my Labradors, soon to be referred to as Labradeers for the holidays, can’t live on pears alone, so I better get to the store to get them some kibble before the University of Oregon Ducks football game comes on.

20151003lucylovespearsA delay has bought me so much time that I’ve been sitting in the dark for more than an hour. I just haven’t been able to pull myself away from the television. UCLA is making the game against Arizona State interesting, and being led by an 18-year-old amazes me. What young guts. Oregon is playing in Colorado tonight and weather has forced a delay. Lightning?

Second and Eleven for ASU with an incomplete to put it at third and long. Just when I thought they were done,  their quarterback held ground and moved the chains. Milking the clock would be a good thing, but there’s seven and a half minutes. Before I started watching sports, I thought that eight minutes was an eternity. It took me a long time to enjoy waiting and not letting long waits get to me. Fourth and inches. ASU only has a six point lead and the Bruins have the momentum. Or do they. Gutsy call. Hey, I said that way before the commentator. The coach must have been sweating. Seventh-ranked UCLA is losing to an unranked team, and they’ve had the ball for nine minutes.

Another long third down with a blocked pass gives the ball back to UCLA. Arizona has a punter that likes to paint corners, so even though UCLA gets the ball, they get to start on the one-yard-line. At least, that’s what I heard or hoped I heard.

Still no game. I was surprised to see that Florida is 25 and Ole Miss was number three. Where have I been?

Speaking of Where have I been, Arizona didn’t have thirty-one points the last time I looked at the game. Four minutes and Arizona has the ball. No points with a long drive will secure the victory.

I am especially glad that I am sitting in the comforts of my own house. The players, coaching staff, fans, stadium personnel had to deal with a forty-minute delay. with heavy rains. The fans were evacuated twice because of lightning. The Ducks need this victory.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

October is in the air, under my feet, and even in my teeth. October’s a crunchy month, though plum, pear, and apple guts under my feet are trying to win my vote. The other morning at Breitenbush, there was a bite in the air and in my body, a thirty-two degree bite. Crisp Apples can also make comfort-filling Apple Beatty. My dad taught me how to bake apples. He taught me a lot, but that’s one vivid memory.

I’m trying desperately to not let today be another one of those days that is sketched in the bark of a tree. Muted baseball and Heart Meditation music. I realize that pretending the incident in Roseburg didn’t happen doesn’t do any good. It hasn’t so far. So, why would I think today be any different. Who knows what would happen if we all thought about this event with such powerful positive energy that not only can we help heal the wounds, but we can make this to be the last time. Wouldn’t that be an amazing record. We can’t even go a half a year when another none sensical event happens again. I feel for the shooter’s family. Maybe they hadn’t a clue. Maybe they did, but not really. It’s such an impossible thought.

Maybe if we can figure out what caused a young twenty-year-old to be so full of hate and rage, we keep this from happening. I’ve been ignoring the news with my attempt at backing up, but the event is still real. Sylvia just retired from Lane Community College, a sister school to the Umpqua Community College.

Lane Community College was the place that turned me around, and so it’s impossible for me to not think about the Roseburg campus where this was the first week of a New Life for so many people.

I’m such a believer of New Beginnings that I think small increments. Today’s a new month, a new document. A new beginning.

I ought to be paying attention to the Red Sox as they are continuing to show up even though the phrase is now, “Better late than never.” They could rain on the Yankee parade, but it doesn’t look like sweeping the series is in the cards for the Boston team that never gave up. There’s always next year.

And starting the new month with a clean slate is that much sweeter after fulfilling a mighty big promise. I told my Life Coach, Sherrie Goggin-Patterson, Kassy and Jeanne, my new Angels, and the wonderful women at the Reflections Retreat that I would have a story published before the end of September. I even did it with a couple of hours to spare. Thank you all for holding the circle for me.

And now what next. Rhetorical question. I find it ironical that I read television captions who the name of the shooter shall not be named, at least the Sheriff will never utter his name, and he advocates we do the same, to not give the incident attention, yet the media is only giving people what they want. Is it a matter of us being so addicted to sensationalism. I love reading old newspaper clippings when a cat in a tree made the press. Now if there’s not a fatality, there’s no press. Is this one of those directions we can change?

I’m going to have to put myself to bed early tonight as I have an extremely early and yet so important of a date. The desire to be at an elementary school tomorrow will help lessen the pain of a 7:15 report time. Every morning, I fight getting out of bed, though I don’t recall having any problem the day before when I subbed at one of my most favorite elementary schools for one of my most favorite teachers. Mr. Smith at Page Elementary School always has the best kids. The only problem I have is falling in love with them. Sweet Fifth graders.

When people ask me what grade I enjoy teaching, I’d have to say fifth grade, but I love all of the youngungs, young uns. I like unes the best, but I can’t convince my lap top to not autocorrect. It’s my document, I should have control over how I spell a word, right? You know what I mean? Isn’t that the point?

Two girls made little books for me, telling me that I was their favorite substitute teacher, but mostly they like me because I can chirp like a bird. If that is what I become known as, sobeit.

When I am asked what kind of writing I like to do, I have a hard time narrowing down the categories, and romance is probably the only kind I never could imagine doing, but I do try to never say never. There are so many types that I haven’t even tried.

I have so much to learn that I’m Thankful that I do have quite a few years left because I will need almost all of it, maybe all. It depends upon how much work I am willing to expend.

For me to remember some dates, often times a tragedy has occurred. Not always. It wasn’t last March, but the March before that, or roughly around that time, I learned for the first time that my friend Emily Dyer had taken her own life. Our constant communication over ten, twenty years, often had places to breathe.

The first time I came to understand her choice  was two Springs ago outside of Roseburg. I listened to the Great-Horned Owl, telling me that Mz. Em was soaring and enjoying life again. For some the pain is just too great to carry on. Roseburg, thanks to close friends, Roseburg has  always been a source of healing.

And now Roseburg needs as much love as possible to heal the horrible wound.