July 30, 2010


August 1 is fast approaching. That's the day when I need to start thinking about getting back to work. Maybe more than think. Maybe looks at some books. Review my lessons from last year. Collaborate with colleagues.

The thought of going back to work is giving me anxiety attacks. I'm sure they'll wear off.

Okay, on the down-low here, I was thinking that I am not sure if I like these long summers. In some ways they are too long. The last few years I have actually forgotten that I have a job like everyone else, and I'm not spending my waking hours reading books, watching movies, and surfing the net because I'm wealthy. When the time comes for me to go back to my reality, it hurts. Seriously. Hurts.

Of course, I work my rear off during the year, and I think I deserve my vacation. I mean if that's what you call it. I really only get paid for 180-something days of work, and in the district where I work, they choose to spread my salary out over twelve months. But whatever the justification, maybe the allocation of time does not always help my mental stability.

For nine months of the year, I'm a whipped servant, a lowly teacher keeping her head low, just trying to do her best by the students. The other three months, I'm a lady of leisure, with money that magically appears in my bank account, thinking that I should do something charitable with my extra time. Ah, but I never get around to it. I'm much to busy with myself.

Funny, I know. It's my dream world. I must do it very well though because at one time this summer, my aunt said something about my not seeming like a teacher. The way I look? The way I act? I don't know. But I was playing my lady of leisure role very well!

Sigh. Two more days.

Transitioning to reality is hard. I need a 12-step program or a detox diet. Something to ease the pain.

July 29, 2010

Not As Bad As You Think

Don't Do It! 28/52
cross post with Flickr photo project

"Being a teenager is not terminal," I tell the hundreds of students who've walked through my classroom door. That's not how I begin the welcome-to-my-class speech, but perhaps I should because over the years, I've come to realize that whether they are spoiled brats or hood rats, they are all messed up.

Sometimes my colleagues and I joke about how f'ed up they all are, but deep down, we're not joking.

We just wish we were.

Some ease the angst of adolescence with alcohol and drugs, a social way to fit in and while feeling better. Others withdraw into themselves, with some of them exiting through self-inflicted pain. I hardly notice those who float through life high or between highs, a condition I've come to expect but not to approve of, yet it's the cutters that break me from the inside out. Cutting can be just as lethal as binge drinking or overdosing on drugs, but to make yourself bleed just to feel...

I don't know.

It's so desperate.

No, neither the hungover nor the high affect me the way those cutters do--when they've come to me in a panic, rolling their sleeves up, revealing their fresh scabs and pink scars, knowing that in the end it didn't really make them feel better. They come afraid, clinging to their fears, not wanting to die, as they aren't suicidal, yet knowing they are too close to the dangerous edge when they slit themselves open.

But, what am I suppose to do?

I wish I could have stopped their pain before it started...
if only I could make them see...
life isn't as bad as they think--
things won't always be so unbearable.

July 22, 2010


This morning I spotted something under the kitchen table that looked a little odd, and when I leaned in to look a little closer I realized it was a SCORPION!


I called to inform my sweetie that he needed the exterminators to make a house call because I'd found a dead scorpion under the kitchen table.

While I was on vacation he said he talked to the neighbor, and the neighbor had recently found a scorpion, but that's the neighbor. His house is twelve feet away. (Ah, life in suburbia hell!) We have an exterminator and a security system. I'm suppose to be safe against what is out there.

I went out to the garage to get a broom to sweep it up, so then I could bag it up, but then it started scurrying around the kitchen floor. Toward me? Away from me? I DON'T KNOW! I JUST KNOW that IT WAS VERY MUCH ALIVE!


Thank goodness I didn't try to just pick up its dead body with a paper towel like I do with other undesirable creatures.

I beat it with a broom and call my sweetie back to tell him that the scorpion under the table-- where his children had eaten their Cheerios just a few hours before--had actually been alive.


Attention all scorpions in the area: I have no problem with you. You seem like very nice little creatures, well, except for the venom stuff, but you are NOT invited to visit my house. I have this tiny little space to live. You have the vast desert. Bug off!

Disclaimer: I am not always the weak wife who calls her husband over bugs and such. I deal with a lot of things around here, like other dead bugs and spiders; loose, bleeding baby teeth; clogged toilets; and the things that perished horribly in the refrigerator. He can take on this new heebie jeebie business with the scorpions.

July 13, 2010

Sneaky Thoughts

It's pretty common that we teachers spend part of our summer planning for the next year. Goodness knows we seem to fall short of planning time during that year, and most of us are always bent on doing it better next year. I've been doing this gig long enough that I don't want to change a whole lot, but I might be getting a little stubborn in my old age, too. I swear I've been there, done that, and had the parent conferences about it. Nevertheless, at the end of the year, I knew there were some things I needed to work on...now what were they?

Oh, yes! That bag of journalism books behind the couch. Something about beefing up my curriculum. Less time for students to be sitting around doing things that could get us all in trouble.

Every once and a while, I have a flash about the need do some planning, but then I get distracted doing more interesting things.

Last year, I put my foot down and said that I would be taking the entire month of July off. No work. No talk of work. No planning. No research. I thought it was a wonderful compromise to being able to enjoy a guilt-free vacation and needing to spend some time preparing for my hectic life in the classroom. This year, I made myself no such promises, yet it wasn't too hard to do it naturally.

Some of you might call it procrastination. Whatever. I'm still on vacation. So, be gone thoughts of work! It is not time for you! Go have some iced tea! Chill out already!

July 11, 2010

Road Trip!

What a great idea for me to get back into blogging this month. It's not like I'm going to be on vacation or anything. Computer gets a vacation at home, and blogging from my Blackberry bites. I'm doing the best I can here!

Mom and I are off to see Grandma, who is 800 miles from where Mom lives. She's about 950 miles from me, but I'm taking the long way, adding 500 miles, to go get Mom so we can take this road trip together. Road Trip!

People have been asking, "So, is your grandma okay?" Well, kind of. She's not in the best of health, and last year she appeared to be at death's door a few times, but she's a tough cookie. She's doing fine. But still...it's important to go visit.

My dad is not keen on taking the long trip to visit my grandma anymore. I can't blame him, and I've always said I'd go with drive Mom to see her if she would go during the summer when I'm off. I think my dad is pretty serious about not taking the trip because when I mentioned it to Mom a few weeks ago, she said, "Okay. When can you go?"

We've done taken a road trip or two before, but it's been quite a few years. In fact, I think the last time we went, I had a super-fun Mustang to cruise in, but that was before kids. Now, I have my sweetie's new Toyota (Wahoo! And, yes, we'll be eating and drinking.), but we can still put our shades on, sip our iced coffees, and look super cool as we wind our way up the Salmon River in rural Idaho.

Excuse me, I had to recover from my self-induced LMAO moment.

Seriously, though. It's going to be a blast hanging out with my mom. We'll take our time. Stop when we see something interesting, and just enjoy ourselves without the guys. Plus, when one approaches a trip with that ROAD TRIP! attitude, it just opens up the potential for fantastic things to happen.

July 10, 2010

Another Year and a Car Show

Today's a special occasion! Okay, actual it's two special occasions because for one thing, it's my birthday, but it's not a monumental year or anything. Actually, turning 39 might be considered big one because later in life, this can be the age I'll lie and say that I am. Maybe this is a year where I should be taking notes about what was like for future reference.

I'll try not to reflect on just how old I'm getting because I'm going to an event where everything is older than I am. I hope, anyway. The fun event for the day is a car show where I'll be hanging out with my Dad and his car, Elda Mae. She's a cool little ride, and my Dad is sure proud of her. I told the story a few years ago when he just finished restoring her. It's a nice story about a man and a car.

July 9, 2010

A Little Thing Like Attitude

During my anniversary month, I've been looking over my ramblings and wonderings, and I recently stumbled across what I thought was a pretty well-written rant. Many of my rants are stale, you know, with so many things in education, it doesn't matter how smart or experienced I am, some days it just seems I'm in an impossible pickle to do my job well. Furthermore, it feels like our whole education system is suffering in the same brine. Blah, blah, blah.

Please revisit one of my fresher posts I made about how something little like not doing one's work is either the root of all evil or is result of a hell our culture has created.

Can I get an Amen?

July 6, 2010

The Food that Binds

A few years ago, I blogged about the bonding power of mangoes. When I think of mangoes, I think only of making my specialty, which is mango salsa. (Check out the post for the recipe.) Over the years, and I mean years, as I have been making this salsa for well over a decade that might even be creeping into two, I have tried to introduce this salsa to my dearest friends and family. Frankly, most of them don't get it. In other words, that means that the food I am known for with my best friends has been a complete and utter flop to many, many other people.

Regardless of how picky people can be, the one thing I know is that food brings people together. Furthermore, the more of a tradition the food it, the more it seems to bond. I was reminded of that over the holiday weekend while visiting friends. Miss June, my best friend's elderly yet spunky mother, just had to make her 15-minute chocolate cake. I think there has always been a 15-minute chocolate cake there when I've come to visit, but there was also a family event, so seriously she had no choice but to make the delicious chocolate cake.

I thought of asking for her recipe, which I am sure she would share with me, but it just wouldn't be the same, would it? It's not necessarily the cake itself. It's much more than that. I could say that it's about Miss June and the love she puts into it. I think it might be more about Miss June and the love we have for her. But it might also be the occasions for which she makes the cake. It could be a combination.

Around my hallway at work, I've become known for something other than mango salsa. I make brownies. These brownies are hardly anything special. I use brownie mix that I buy when it's on sale, and half the time I use applesauce instead of oil, so they are more cake-like than chewy. If I have them, I add chocolate chips, and I always add cinnamon. (Miss June adds cinnamon to her cake, too. Try it!) Sometimes it's Brownie Wednesday and sometimes it's Brownie Thursday, but whatever day it is, I'm a hero. I find joy in bringing a few moments of joy during a hectic week, and my colleagues appreciate a few moments to sit back and enjoy something special between lesson plans and grading.

Sometimes the brownies are shared in the back room, but usually they are wrapped in a napkin and carried out to be eaten alone in peace. Yet, somehow, the brownies still bind us together. Strange, isn't it?

What foods bind you with your friends and family?

July 3, 2010

No Food and Drinks!

My sweetie traded in his car for a brand-spankin' new one a few months ago. And then he proclaimed that there would be no eating or drinking in the car. That rule is meant for the kids, of course, unless he ever stops wearing his shoes in the house, and then I might consider following his rule. Just kidding. I know the rule is for the kids.

Just look in the back seat of my car to see how this is an excellent rule. I am very careful about what the kids can eat (nothing sticky, messy, or staining) and drink (clear liquids), but it is still gross. I guess it's not sticky, but the stains on the seat, especially where the youngest one sits, make me wonder, "What has been going on back there?"

Our first big road trip in the car is coming, and I'm wondering how it will go. Hours and hours driving across the desert. Just looking at the desert makes me thirsty. And the kids, well, with a few granola bars and fruit roll-ups, they can last a lot longer without a regular meal, which is a good thing since rest stops and towns are few and far between where we're going.

We'll see how long this no food and drinks rule lasts. My sweetie is no pushover, and in fact, he's a tough dad, so he won't have much sympathy for kids saying, "I'm huuuuunngrrrrrryyyyy! I'm thiiiiiiiirrrssssssttttttttyyyy!" Over and over. This a bottle of water and a baggie of healthy treats, I've rarely heard this chorus, but that might all change.

We're going to have to stop more often, or I'll will have to murder some children. And maybe a husband. This new rule is going to change the way we travel. But at least I won't be embarrassed by my dirty car.


As much as I freak out about the kids and the messes they leave behind, read about the time I made a big sticky mess in the car. It still gives me nightmares.

July 2, 2010

Lemonade Out of Lemons

"Hun, do you think you could take the car in for a service on Thursday? We can take care of that recall issue, too."

Hell no! Not having to deal with car stuff is one of the perks of marriage. Crap! I have nothing better to do, and he has to work, and I need the car to be in good shape for my travels in the next few weeks. "Okay. Call and make an appointment."

This appointment was slated for mid-morning, and the service was suppose to take "half a day." I asked my sweetie exactly what that meant, and he said he wasn't sure, but that's what the service tech told him. Great. Half a day.

I psyched myself into a long wait and picked an interesting book to delve into, but this morning, I woke up thinking, "Don't I have any friends who could come rescue me from a day of misery?" Oh course! In fact, my walking/bird watching/photography friend lives less than a mile from the dealership, so I called her to see if she was free for a few hours.

In fact, she was free for a few hours before she had an appointment of her own. We set out for the mall, which is not my favorite place, and is a completely foreign place to her. I had a little errand to run, and then we stopped for iced chai tea.

And then we just sat and chatted.

During the summer, I have recluse tendencies. It's hot outside, and if I leave the house, I just spend money, so why not stay inside where it's cool and save my pennies? Unfortunately, I forget how much I enjoy visiting with my friends. I forget how much I appreciate the connection. Sure, in the evenings, I have my family to connect to, but it's different. None of them are conversationalists, except for my 9-year old and he has the bad habit of just talking to hear himself talk, so half of what he says makes no sense. (Maybe it would if I were a young boy?)

Apparently, I'm not the only one who becomes reclusive in the summer, so the visit was particularly welcome when my friend and I both realized that as nice as it is to escape from work and the world, it's nice to come out and play sometimes, too.

I know myself well enough to know that I probably will continue to hide out in my home this summer, not wanting to be bothered with socializing with people outside my family, but perhaps I should seize the moments when I do have to go out to reconnect with my friends. It makes those errands of drudgery tolerable, and it will probably keep me from becoming too socially inept.

July 1, 2010

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

It's my five-year blogiversary this month! Now, technically, the exact blogiversary day isn't until the end of the month, but that's okay because I'm celebrating for the whole month! Afterall, I have only celebrated one blogiversary at all during those five years.

Part of that reason skipping during the past is that I kind of think that blogiversary is a weird word. Oh, and not to mention, there are a lot of celebrations that others recognize IRL that I don't, so what's the big deal about a virtual one?

What's the big deal?


That's a long time for someone who did not even have a crystal clear vision about why she was doing this blogging thing. But then, I'm not in this to make money, so I've done quite well just saying things I wanted to say and gathering about five people who didn't mind listening.

In life, if one can gather a few people--friends--who can bear to listen to them through the good and bad times for five years, it's a pretty good life. I only have a handful of friends who have stuck with me that long, and I have no complaints. Although I have not risen to some great blogger status in five years is okay with me. I have met some pretty amazing people whom I would never have met without this crazy blog.

I've had some years where I was not a strong presence here. Honestly, in the past few years, while I was overloading myself with work, family, and professional knowledge, I was hardly a strong presence in my own life. Oh, what a strange feeling to go through life so detached!

At one point, I thought about pulling the plug on HappyChyck and maybe come back as someone else--maybe even just myself. I just couldn't do it, though. HappyChyck is too much of an extension of who I am. Bah! That sounds so sappy! I just wasn't ready to quit.

And now we're ready to party! But, uhm...how does one have a party on a blog? I am not good at parties. (Hmm...that's a story I haven't blogged yet.) Well, we'll do something. It will be fun. I promise.

So, BYOB, and stop by often this month!