A letter to Mrs. Baker

Dear Mrs. Baker*,

I doubt you will remember me over the thousands of students that you taught at your years of WUHS. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to write.

My senior year was memorable for many reasons. I had finally gathered my courage and tried out for the cheerleading team and made it. I had a date to Senior Prom and I had you for English.

Here it is, over 20 years since I graduated, and I still, immediately, give your name as the teacher that influenced me the most in my schooling. You pushed me to be a better writer, taught me to enjoy plays and American writers, and taught me more about life than any teacher I have ever had, before or since.

This past February, after a series of detours and two children, I started my graduate degree in education. My professor asked us to talk about the teacher that influenced our decision to become educators and I spoke about you. You are the reason I am struggling through graduate school as a single mother with two teenaged boys.

Because when I grow up, I want to be like you.

I want to spark curiosity in my students, give them a desire to question everything, the need to know more, read more, inquire more. I want them to learn from me what I learned from you: the world is a beautifully diverse and interesting place. Go out and experience it!

When I was going through my divorce a couple of years ago, I started a blog as a therapy to help me through what was becoming an increasingly bitter and hard time in my life. As I wrote my first few posts, I wondered if they would pass muster in your class. But whether they would have or not, I continued writing, knowing that the joy I found in using words to express myself had first been discovered under your tutelage.

You are the reason that I minored in English for my B.A. I wanted to have the opportunity to pass the knowledge I had gained from you to a new generation of students.

You were also the reason that I was well prepared for the rigors of college writing and the high expectations of my college instructors. In fact, I’ve never had an instructor as hard to please as you were.

I wanted to take this moment, as I work on a project preparing my first lesson plans, to thank you. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for the lessons you taught me all those years ago.

Thank you for being the most memorable teacher I ever had the joy of learning from.

Thank you.

This is the letter that I wrote to my high school English teacher today. I will be mailing it tomorrow. A huge thank you to S.F. for finding the address for me! I so appreciate it!

Mrs. Baker,

Here’s younger me and “oldish” me 🙂

Senior Year 1991

Senior Year 1991

This is me, 2014

This is me, 2014

Honesty to the extreme

I read an article on the Daily Mail UK by a woman who said that the biggest regret of her life was having her children. She was very honest and forthright about the fact that she disliked the children taking up her alone time and that she never felt any bond with them as they were growing up. Quite paradoxically, she devoted her life to them. Her feeling was that if she had children she was going to raise them and not have nannies or other caretakers do the job for her. Having decided to have them, she was going to be the best mother she could be.

Not that she was demonstrative, but they were well cared for and wanted for nothing. She always knew that she didn’t want children, but her husband did and she decided that it would be selfish to deny him of that opportunity. They worked out a life that worked for them and her children grew up to be productive and loving adults. Somewhat ironically, her daughter was struck by MS in her 20’s and has had to return back home where her mother must tend her every day. But, as she states, she would take on that tragedy from her daughter if she could. Because she is her mother and that is her job.

The comments under the article are as rude and horrible as you would think. Some call the woman selfish, self-centered, horrible, awful.

But I don’t see it that way.

This was a woman who seriously thought about what she was doing before she did it. She knew that she would not bond with the children the way that other mothers would. Was she a demonstrative mother? Absolutely not. But she was nothing more than fully attentive and giving to her children.

She states:

“I cannot understand mothers who insist they want children, then race back to work at the earliest opportunity after giving birth, leaving the vital job of caring for them to strangers. Why have them at all if you don’t want to bring them up, or can’t afford to? And why pretend you wanted them if you have no intention of raising them? This hypocrisy is, in my view, far more pernicious and difficult to fathom than my own admission that my life would have been better without children.”

I have to admit, I was one of those mothers. Or would have been if the opportunity had been afforded to me. When my oldest was 2, and my youngest was just born, we lived in a foreign country where I couldn’t get a job due to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). If I could have, I would have run off to have a job and left my children with strangers to raise them.

Why? Because I was miserable. I was not hardwired to have small children around. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I do. I get more enjoyment out of them now that they are grown a bit. But when they were little, I was absolutely miserable. I missed my alone time, I missed my time with my own thoughts. I missed having a name, instead being known as “A’s mom” or “J’s mom.”

Even now, while I love to coo over babies, I love, even more, to hand them back to their mothers when I leave. I appreciate that I am not the one that has to give that amount of time to them that they require. I appreciate my independence, what little I have, now that my children are older.

I wouldn’t say that they are the biggest regret of my life, because THEY ARE NOT. I love my children and I am proud of them each and every day.

I guess I am saying that I understand, partially, where this woman is coming from. And I appreciate her honesty, with herself, her husband, her children and the world. I also appreciate her single-minded objective of raising her children, giving herself to them fully when they needed her. I appreciate that her and her husband worked out a way of life that worked for them, with the husband being fully attentive to the children when he was around instead of it all falling to her.

I’ll admit, and always have, that I cannot wait for my children to grow up. When my youngest started school full-time, I remember standing there with the other parents, dutifully waiting for school to start. Giving my son kisses and hugs and telling him that he was going to have a great time. I meant every kiss and every hug, from the bottom of my heart. I wanted him to succeed in school. As he turned the corner with his class and walked out of sight, I actually let out a whoop of joy. All of the other parents were crying and upset that their babies were growing up. For me, it was a sign that there was light at the end of the tunnel. That I would, eventually, have my life back.

Does it make me a horrible person to say these things? Maybe. I have enjoyed every milestone that my children have reached. I have fought hard for my oldest and I have worked hard with my youngest, to make sure that they have every opportunity that can be afforded to them. I love them and hug them and give them kisses and support. Because I do love them. I do support them.

But I don’t think that I could characterize my parenthood as a labor of love. More a labor of responsibility. I have said many times, and will say it many times again: I chose to bring these children into the world and I have a responsibility to mold them into productive members of society. I have a responsibility to make sure that they are polite and well socialized. This is my responsibility.

My heart bursts with pride when someone tells me that my children are polite and very sweet. It means that I have done a good job. My children say “please,” and “thank you.” They call ladies, “ma’am,” and men, “sir.” They do well in school. They have friends. They can read and write and do ‘rithmetic.

But I am counting down the days until my youngest graduates. I want to go live my life while I am still young. I will always be there for them. I will love any grandchildren that they bring me. But I won’t ache for it. I won’t itch for it. I won’t be that mother that continually asks them when they are going to have a child. I won’t be that grandmother that hopes she can babysit all the time. I just won’t.

To be honest, I don’t think there is anything wrong with anything I have said here. Will it sit well with everyone that reads it. Absolutely not. Will there be some that will think I’m a horrible person? Yup. Will there be some that think that I’m selfish. Oh, hell, yes.

But I don’t see it that way. I don’t see myself as selfish. I see myself as someone that has two children, whom I love, that has sacrificed and given, and continues to give, to make sure that they have a top notch education and want for absolutely nothing. Are my children spoiled? Mildly. But they also understand the word, “no,” and that mom uses it liberally.

I do love my children. I don’t regret my children. They have enriched my life in ways that it could not have been enriched without them. Do I want them to grow up and am I looking forward to that day? Absolutely.

But I can understand where the author of the article is coming from. I can sympathize, and even empathize, with her. I don’t think she is a bad mother. I don’t think she is a bad person.

Any more than I think those things about myself.

Any more than my children think those things about me.

Am I good mother? I think so. Whether or not you agree with me actually doesn’t matter. Time will tell how good of a mother I was. I think it already does.

I think I have two terrific kids who light up my life. But…..I still can’t wait for them to grow up! 🙂

How did a booty call turn so bad?

I don’t have a dating life.  I don’t date. 

I have sex.

I have sex with people I find attractive or funny or smart.  I don’t sleep around, per se, but I’m also not monogamous.

Because I’m single and I enjoy having fun.  I mean, I spent 16 years eating really bad vanilla….time to taste what other great flavors are out there!

So, there’s this one guy that I have a standing sex date with at least once a week.  I wish it were more, but our schedules are such that we can only usually manage once a week.  I look forward to it every week.  I never, ever miss a sex appointment with this guy.  EVER.  Why? Because he’s funny and smart and AMAZING in bed.  Very, very amazing in bed.

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy being with this man in bed.

He lives a half hour away, but I gladly make the drive to his house at least once a week (at his invitation…a lady never goes where she isn’t invited) so that we can have racous, yelling, screaming, moaning, orgasmic sex.

And because I won’t have him in my house with the kids there because that’s a complication I don’t want or need.  Just cause mama wants to have fun, doesn’t mean she has to tell her kids about it.

I also don’t have him over when my kids are there because I am, quite simply, ahem….vocal during sex.

Very vocal.

Anyhoo…..

To get to this gentlemen’s house, I have to drive 30 minutes along some very back roads in New Jersey.  I’m talking “don’t stop for hitchikers cause they’re almost certainly axe murderers” back roads.  The kind that the movie producers look for when creating Scream XX or whatever number they’re up to now.

The road I take follows the perimeter line of a military installation through an area that the locals call the Pine Barrens.  I follow the permiter line for a goodly amount of time on my left when I’m heading out to his house, and on my right when I’m coming home.  I also find that I ride nearer to the center line when I’m driving to his house, because I think it will buy me a little bit more reaction time if a deer comes bounding out of the woods to my right when I’m headed out to him. 

Last night, I was driving out for my weekly sex appointment (it’s like an apple a day….good for the body and soul) and I noticed that a car pulled out behind me from my left.  Now, I figured that this was a cop and it wasn’t a big deal because I don’t speed on this road at night.  I have horrid night vision and my depth perception is almost nil at night, so I only do the speed limit.  My car is in good repair, with all tail lights and everything working so I wasn’t worried about the cop behind me.

However, I was smoking a cigarette in my car (no, haven’t quit yet….yes, I know) and I thought to myself, “Do I really want to toss the lit butt out the window with a cop behind me in the Pine Barrens?”

See, a couple of years ago there was a huge fire up in the Pine Barrens that had been caused by a cigarette being thrown out the window of a car.  I figured I’d play it safe and I would put the butt out in a water bottle.  So, I reached behind my seat and grabbed a half empty water bottle to put the butt in.  When I looked up from completing my task, I noticed that I had gone just a smidge over the center line and I pulled myself back into my lane with little fuss.

About two miles later, I make my left turn to head over to Amazing Guy’s place.  That’s when the cop flips on the lights.  Well, sheeeeeeeit….

He walks up to the window, just polite as can be, “Ma’am, license and registration, please.”

I say, “Sure, Officer,” and start digging in my large purse for my wallet.

He says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

I say, “Was it because I went over the center line a little bit?  I was putting my cigarette butt in the water bottle here because I didn’t want to start a wildfire.”

He says, “I appreciate that,” and then goes on to explain that he thought I was a drunk driver and had turned on his camera a ways back so that he could tape me driving. 

The whole time he is talking, I’m digging in my purse for my wallet.

No wallet.

No license, no identification, no nothing.

Well, damn. I look at the officer with a shocked look on my face and tell him that I left it at home, about 4 towns over.  I then hand him my registration and write my address (which is not the same address on my driver’s license….hadn’t changed it yet) on the back of the registration so that he can look me up.

He takes my stuff back to his car and comes back in about 5 minutes.  During those 5 minutes, I contact Amazing Guy and tell him I’m gonna be a few minutes late.  No worries, I’ll maybe get a ticket for not having my driver’s license on me.  Money I can’t really afford, but I’ll take it cause I should have it on me.

Oh, no.  That’s not what happened at all.

My registration had expired in July and I had never gotten the notice because I hadn’t changed the damn address on my license!  The officer tells me that he can impound my car (OH SHIT!) for this, but he’s feeling a bit benevolent and allows me to park it in the Wawa parking lot about 50 yards from where he pulled me over.  He then goes on to list the tickets he could give me:

1) Driving an unregistered car (impound offense)

2) Driving without my license (points offense)

3) Failure to maintain lane (points offense)

4) Failure to change address on driver’s license (points offense)

There were two more he could have given me tickets for, but he only gave me the one for having an unregistered car.  Thank goodness!  I absolutely shook his hand when he handed me the ticket cause he was nice enough to save me a butt load of money and hassle.

I contacted Amazing Guy and had him come pick me up and take me back to his place for some “stress relief.”  Then, he had to give me a ride to my friend’s house because she (amazing woman that she is) agreed to loan me her car today……

All in all, that was about a $250 booty call.

And I don’t get my car back until Friday cause it’s two days before payday and I can’t afford to get my car back on the road until then.

At least the sex was awesome! 🙂

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

 

Do a great job and get fired. Huh?

I am an advocate of public schooling.  I don’t believe in home schooling as I don’t believe that it is regulated enough. I speak from experience.  I knew some folks who “home schooled” their children but the dad could only count to 21 with both shoes off and his pants down.  His wife could manage 22, but she had to be shirtless.

You guffaw, but I’m not kidding.

I have also known parents that are amazing home schoolers and they do a terrific job with their kids.  But it’s seriously hit or miss.  And here, in New Jersey, there is almost NO regulation on who teaches their children. 

I have serious issues with that.

However, this post isn’t about that.  It’s about the public school system that is in serious need of an overhaul.  I’m not stating that I think that the public school system in this country (and especially in some states) isn’t in dire trouble. 

I know it is.

In fact, this story out of California illustrates this very fact.

*Before we start with the bashing of California, I wish to tell you all that I graduated High School out there and that my senior English teacher, Mrs. Baker, was responsible for my being able to write pretty well.  I’ve honed that talent since then, but she was my basis.  So, no bashing my public school education, K? (A little shout out to all my Wheatland High peeps~*muah*)

Everyone is broke these days, and I understand fully that budget cuts mean that jobs have to be cut.  I don’t agree with it and in a perfect world our schools would be a number one priority for everyone.  But this is just the reality of our country right now.

So, last hired, first fired, right?

Why?

This woman, Michelle Apperson,  was named Sacramento’s Teacher of the Year and she got FIRED.

Ready for why our schools are failing?  I’ll give it to you in a direct quote from the school district spokesperson:

School spokesperson Gabe Ross told News 10 that who gets laid off is mandated by state law and is based on seniority, not performance.   *underlining mine*

What the hell kind of thing is this?  Why is the person that performs the best laid off?  I understand it, but it logically doesn’t make any sense. 

Now, don’t start screaming about unions and stuff.  I don’t want this to devolve into a political discussion.

I just wanted to point out the absolute, utter lack of logic applied to this situation.

And there are laws to make this happen.

Wow.

The injustice of this, to the teacher and to the children that she could have been shaping, is palpable. 

I seriously have a bad taste in my mouth.

The fact is, the education system needs an overhaul.  And that won’t happen until the politicians in every single state house and in Congress understand, fully, that public school is where 90% of their country is being educated and assign it the importance that they seem to assign to my uterus or my BMI.

We need to make them hear what we are saying.  They need to understand that not all of us can afford to send our kids to the schools that they are sending their children on my dime.

I want my dime to go to MY children and to MY community for their education and their future.

I want teachers like Ms. Apperton to keep her job and influence so many little, maleable minds.

This is a disgusting shame.  Truly.

 

 

Waiting for a response and musicals

Good afternoon.  How is everyone?  I’m bored out of my skull.  Seriously.  I have had to turn to the WordPress world to entertain me.  I have read some amazing posts today and some that I should definitely not read at work, especially on a day when I had to attend 2 hour sexual harassment awareness training.

Yeah, not conducive to not committing sexual harassment at all.

Do y’all ever post something and then wait for a response?  I mean, I can’t be the only person that does this, right?  You write something, a poem/story/lyrics to a song, and you send it out into the ether.  But you take a moment and maybe, just maybe, send it to someone in particular.  I mean, you take a moment and email the link because you want to make sure that a certain person sees it and it doesn’t get lost in the other electronic traffic that they receive every day.  You figure, “Hey, an email from them makes me take notice.  So it should work the other way, right?”

You email the link and you wait, eagerly anticipating their response.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Yup, still waiting.

I truly hate waiting.  I am impatient and I start to fidget when I have to wait.  And then I’m assaulted with the doubts.

Maybe they read it and they don’t like it.

Maybe they didn’t bother to read it cause I’m not really that important to them.

Maybe they just don’t give a shit and they deleted it from their cache.

Yeah, I don’t do waiting well.

So, I’m going to move on and think about other things.

Like the movie ticket I just bought.

Yes, I just bought a movie ticket to see the 60th Anniversary, digitalized, on-the-big-screen-for-one-day-only, release of “Singing in the Rain” on July 12th.

I am EXCITED about seeing this on the big screen.  Seriously, hands down, one of my favorite movie musicals of all time.  The only one I like better is “The King and I.” 

Yes, I am just that big of a nerd.

I mean, who doesn’t want to see this on the big screen:

Or this:

I mean, this movie is terrific!  I’ve seen it numerous times and I have loved it each and every time.

Now, I get to see it on the big screen.  The ticket is residing in a place of honor on my refrigerator, half covering up the “Perfect Homework” certificate my son brought home.

Yes, it rightfully deserves a place of honor.

The movie is, obviously, the cat’s meow!

Nope, not really smiling today

Man, I’ve been depressing to be around lately.  I can feel it coming – the dreaded depressive episode.

Being bipolar totally sucks.

I apologize for not being my cheery self lately, but so many things are going on and the weather surely isn’t cooperating.

Rain does not a happy me make.

Yes, I am bipolar.  No, I am not medicated.  I tried medication about 6 years ago and it was horrible.  Horrible.

How to describe it?  Hmmmm…..

Imagine being blind and then being shown a rainbow.  Or being deaf and then taken to a Pearl Jam concert.

Yeah, that’s how the meds made me feel.

Oh, and they made my hair fall out.

Always a bonus, right?  Don’t feel happy?  Great!  We’ll give you these medications that totally overwhelm you and then, as an added bonus, your hair will fall out in huge, fat hunks like a chemo patient.

No, I’m not medicated.  Thank you, very much.

I actually don’t have the depressive episodes very often.  An hour in the sun or doing some kind of exercise helps to stave them off.  Watching my darling animals play together, or sleep….

 

Spending time with my kids….

These things help me snap out of a funk.

I mean, who could look at any of those faces and not smile?

See, it’s working already.

There are things that I have learned NOT to do when I feel a funk coming on:

– Don’t listen to Barry Manilow.  Now, I love me some Manilow (I can sing along with him), but most of his songs are tear jerkers (“Mandy” anyone?).  Unless it’s “Copacabana” or “Band Stand Boogie.”  Those are the only two exceptions.

– Don’t watch any of the following movies:  “Terms of Endearment,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Old Yeller,” or “marley & me.”   The only exception:  You can watch “marley & me” but you have to turn it off before they move into the country.

– Don’t “sad dial.”  This is worse than drunk dialing cause you’re not under the influence of any kind of illegal chemical.  This would also cover “sad letter writing,” and/or “sad blogging.”  These are no-gos.

– Don’t ask yourself any “what if” questions.  Examples of these would be, “What if I said (whatever) to (whomever)….would my life have been different?” Or, “What if I had actually (done this) at (this time)….would I be here?”  These are useless, pointless questions and will not change your situation at all.

What you can do:

– Listen to upbeat music. I highly suggest upbeat, meaningless music with a driving beat and something you can at least lip-synch to.  For example, Victoria Justice “Freak the freak out.”  Good one to dance to.  Stay away from Adele – all of 21 is a break up album.  Not a good choice.

– Do watch a kick-ass/funny/horror movie that will take you out of your current situation.  I would highly suggest a mindless summer blockbuster of years past like “Men in Black,” “Independence Day,” and/or “Battlefield L.A.”  These movies are so far outside the realm of possibility (right now) that you can’t help but enjoy yourself.  Caveat – You MAY NOT, at any time, watch “E.T.”  That is another one of those that falls in the list above.

– Do call someone that loves you unconditionally who will know how to cheer you up without too many questions asked.  Maybe they’ll offer a shoulder for you to cry on for the moment, maybe they’ll offer a hug, maybe they’ll offer a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Whatever they offer, they offer it unconditionally and will help you out of your funk.

– Do ask yourself, “What do I want/need.”  Then set about getting them.  If you’re focused on something bigger than yourself, a dream or some such, then that will help.

See, y’all have helped and you didn’t have to do anything but read my ramblings.  I’m sitting here smiling again.

Thank you for hanging out and listening to me go on….

Oh, and I’m sure Aerosmith “Walk(ing) This Way” helped, too!!! 🙂

Wow – awesome!

I’ve picked up some new subscribers in the past week or so and I want to give them a big warm Welcome and Thank you for coming over here to check out my crazy life.  I truly, truly appreciate you being here!

I just checked out my stats and realized that I have hit over 500 followers and over 7500 hits.

I’m totally thrilled!

I started this blog as a place to come and talk about the frustrations, fears and anger I had over my impending divorce.  I kept it secret for many months, as I didn’t want the soon-to-be-ex (and always asshole) to find it.

It has turned into so much more than that.

It has turned into another place where I can turn for support and for me to meet amazing new people.  It’s amazing and it’s wonderful and I enjoy being here.

Thank you to everyone here on WordPress who has made blogging such an enjoyable experience.  Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and for being ready with words of support or critique.  I have found that the blogging community is one I am proud to belong to.

And that’s because of all of you.

I was given three awards this week and I wanted to accept them here.

First, and foremost, I received the Beautiful Blogger Award from Reading Pleasure.  I came across this wonderful blog through Madison Woods and her weekly Friday Fictioneers.    Reading Pleasure is a prolific reader and a lady that knows her mind and writes from the heart.  I highly suggest that you head over to her blog and take a look around.  You won’t be disappointed.

I received my second Kreativ Blogger award from a terrific blogger, Hello, My Sin is….   I absolutely love his page!  He writes straight from the heart and it gets you right in the heart every single post you read.  I love reading his posts and I definitely think that you should head over and check out Hello, My Sin is….  Again, you will NOT be disappointed.

I received my second Versatile Blogger award from a new blogger Better Than Yesterday.  I guess he’s been reading me for a bit, but he isn’t following yet and I would have probably never stumbled upon him if he hadn’t come here.  I’m so glad he did!  I have been reading his posts and I am impressed with his writing and I feel for his situation, which is so like my own.  Except, of course, he’s a guy.  Head over to Better than Yesterday and read a spell.  You will quickly see what a talented writer he is.

Each of these awards come with rules, but I’m gonna buck those.  I’m not following them for the simple reason that it is so hard to nominate just 7 or 10 amazing blogs.  Each one of the blogs that I read is one that I look forward to daily.  I love to open my email and see that the bloggers I follow have posted again.  I can’t wait to see what they have written.

So, I give each of these awards to all of you.  Every single one of you.  You can pick one or you can pick two or you can take all three.

Because each one of you is amazing.

Each one of you is helping me to become a better person, a better mother, a better writer.

I can’t give them to just some of you.

So, I give them to all of you.

Thank you, to each and every one of you, for bringing smiles to my face, and tears to my eyes.  And for, most of all, bringing joy and laughter to my life, especially when it seems the darkest.

You are all amazing!

With that, I hope that you all had a terrific weekend!

I’ll see you all tommorrow 🙂