Every year that I deal with tweens or teens, I give them the same talk.  It’s not quite advice so much as a world view I would like them to accept.

I tell them sincerely.  I’m not the prettiest woman, the sweetest, the kindest, the skinniest, or even the smartest.  However, with all that, I know that my husband is not the first or only person to be in love with me.  He’s just the best person to love me.  I remind them that, just sitting there, they have been considered crush-worthy by someone else.

Then I point out that if someone likes them just sitting there, being who they are, then who they are is worthy of love.  And that maybe being in love is always focusing or seeing the best parts of a person.  Therefore, the best person to love them will accept them as they really are.  Hence, not so important to change who you are to please someone else.

I can only hope they take to heart that they are worthy of love and who they are is loveable.


45 Things/People I’m Thankful Are In My Life

  1. My husband.  We both rock our own brand of crazy, but we make it work.  I can’t imagine being loved more, or being loved better than I am by Taed.  More than that, I’m a better person with Taed.
  2. Keb.  If I had known I was going to love being a mom as much as I do to him, I would have had more and started sooner.  He’s just a cool kid, with and without our input.
  3. My relationship with my mom.  When I was a teenager I was convinced I would move away and *never* talk to her again.  Here I am 30 years later, and I talk to her at least once a week.
  4. All of my surrogate mothers.  I was so fortunate to have older women who took me under their wings and gave me many a “Come to Jesus” talk.  The love they offered me, when I couldn’t give it to myself, was invaluable.
  5. My childhood friends — Jolene, Kristin, Cassie and Cindy.  Not too many people have friends from kindergarten, middle school, and high school.  Even fewer do more than just Facebook or Christmas cards with their friends.  I am blessed to have these women in my life because they all knew me when and can take me down 1,000 pegs if I get too big for my britches.
  6. My “grown-up” friends: Carol, Tracy, Diane, Julie, Erica, Pam and Erin.  We’re all teachers, but we’ve come to be more than teacher friends.  We are friend-friends who support each other as we grow in our profession.
  7. Hot water.  I love having a hot water heater. I am blessed to be able to scorch my skin, come out looking like a lobster, and not be considered a “princess” for it.
  8. Diet Soda. I know it’s not good for me but a girl’s gotta have a legal drug. 🙂
  9. My siblings.  We don’t always share time with each other, but I am better for having had them.
  10. Starbucks.  I’m not a HUGE coffee drinker, but I like to have one a couple of times of week as a treat.
  11. Electricity.  What a wonderful gift from the gods.  I mean, it can be 32 degrees outside and 94 and a sauna inside.  We are spoiled.
  12. Cars.  Not because I can’t walk, but because sometimes I don’t want to.
  13. Teaching.  After years of not really having a purpose or direction, I found one with teaching.  It’s a calling, a frustration, a blessing, and a curse.
  14. Education. I’d never be here if it weren’t for wonderful teachers, supportive parents, and my fairy god parents who all insisted that education was the most important thing I could ever receive.
  15. Ex-boyfriends (or somebodies that I used to know).  The only way I can appreciate everything Taed and I have is to look back and see the messes and failures that came before.  We may not be perfect, but we’re better than all that.
  16. My niece.  She is much more than a niece.  She is one of my bonus sisters.  She tells it like it is.  She’s funny.  She shares herself with me.  I’m blessed to have her in my life.  She brings smiles to my face.
  17. Health Insurance.  So many people don’t have this in their lives, and I know that we are so fortunate to have access to the care we need.  I never want to take this for granted because it truly has made my life better.
  18. Orchids
  19. Books.  Yes, I’m a book junkie and I don’t read everything I buy.  Still, I love being transported when I get there.
  20. Gossip magazines.  It’s like candy for the mind.
  21. Relatives.  They teach you so much about who you are, where you came from, and hold onto history.  Close or not, they are the glue.
  22. Target.  I just love Target.
  23. Sushi.  The Japanese have a way with beautiful food.  Tasty too.
  24. Thai.  Not just for the delicious yumminess of it, but also because it’s a bond I share with Julie and Erica.
  25. The Internet.  How else could I avoid work?
  26. Students.  They teach me something new every day.  It’s not just me to them, but them to me.
  27. Alone time.  One hour a day does wonders.
  28. Washing machine and dryer.  I can’t imagine pounding on a rock, hand washing, or that old crank machine.
  29. Garbage and sanitation.  🙂
  30. Online shopping.  Because I really don’t enjoy shopping by myself in public.
  31. Big girl shops.  I hated shopping because there were never stylish clothes for people my size.  Now there’s a whole new world.
  32. Whimsy.  It rules a great deal of my life.  I find it joyful.
  33. Catholic churches.  No where else can you see what love, devotion, fear, and artistry can do to promote religion.
  34. The Constitution.  Because I don’t want to be told I have to believe or that I can’t speak my mind.
  35. Health.  Without it, there’s nothing but waiting to die.
  36. Patience.  It’s come to me late (and still isn’t there when I drive), but it’s tempered me.
  37. Loyalty.  I am a very loyal friend.  I am thankful to have this characteristic because I think it’s been key to keeping so many friends over the years.
  38. Forgiveness.  I am so very, very fortunate that my friends, family, colleagues, and students have been willing to forgive me my ignorance, intolerance, the need to be right, judgements, and general obnoxiousness.  Without that gift, I’d be alone.
  39. Computers.  Without this one, I couldn’t share my warped world view with any one else.
  40. All kinds of bedding in general.  Is there anything better than crawling into cool sheets on a warm day and snuggling into the blankets?
  41. Cookies, candies, cakes and ice cream.  They make me well-rounded.  Literally.
  42. Fast food.  I’m not a planner, and this makes life easy.
  43. My parents in general.  Without them, I wouldn’t be here.  I’m lucky I came around when I did.
  44. Phones.  I talk all the time, and it’s my favorite way of keeping in touch.
  45. Love.  It doesn’t make the world go ’round, but it make the trip so much happier.

There are so many blessings in life.  We’re lucky to get this time to be with others, share our lives, and create small pockets of joy.  Some feel a reward follows a life well-lived.  I don’t.  I feel that this is the only time you have to make an impact, to leave a legacy, and to do it right.  I am so lucky to have many people who have helped me, and will continue to help me, along the way.

I don’t say it often enough, but I love you.  Dearly.  Truly.  Deeply.  Madly. Passionately. Without reservation.

Rok Bistro

Last night, Carol and I went to Rok Bistro to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  I’d known that they do chocolate fondue, but aside from that I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I didn’t really understand the whole “volcanic rock” part.  OK, duh, I should have figured out I’d be cooking my own meal — something I’m not even good at when I’m at home.

We got there around 5:45 (I’d made reservations just to be safe), and it was pretty empty.  Since they had a special for two four-course meals for $60, we decided to go for it.  I think we both thought we were going to be overpaying.  For that we could select any entrée under $20, a salad, then our cheese and chocolate fondues.

We decided on citrus salad (no cheese for me, cheese for Carol); Gruyère/onion cheese fondue; steak for Carol and chicken for me; and then dark chocolate fondue.  Truthfully, it wasn’t cheap, but it was such a good time.  The salad was very refreshing.  The cheese fondue was gooey and yummy (I found it a bit too onion-y, which is odd because I LOVE onions).  It actually was fun to enjoy finishing my chicken on the hot rock.  Plus the zucchini wasn’t awful!  Finally, the dark chocolate fondue had me wanting to lick the pot.

Dinner took us about an hour and a half.  The whole time we got to enjoy each other, hang out, interact with the staff, and truly savor the meal.  I really thought it was not going to be worth it, but it really was.  When we finally left, we knew we’d had a great meal, but weren’t overstuffed.

Perhaps this will become our tradition — a long fondue meal and time to just hang out.

Is there ever going to be a better birthday gift than time with a friend?

Happy Monkey Day!

Yesterday I got some wonderful surprises at work.  First, Ms. Vicki who is just a cool human and a great colleague (I swear she knows everything about every kid in that school), gave me a bag (with a monkey on it).  It had a sock monkey in it.  She said she couldn’t find one “tacky” enough, so she made it.  SHE MADE ME A SOCK MONKEY.  How cool is that?  Then she added silver rick rack around the arms, legs and tail and created a purple (with glitter) ruff for its neck.  It is so darling.  Of course, I loved it.

Then I walked into my classroom to a bag on my desk.  It had TWO sock monkeys.  One is rainbow and the other is pink striped and plays Rhianna. It kind of dances too.  I had the biggest smile on my face.  How glorious is that?  It was from Julie.

They both had done it for my birthday next week, but I had also gotten two sock monkeys from Pam on Valentine’s Day.  One is rainbow and the other is grey.  I love them too.  They are happy, cute, cuddly, and remind me of the people who bought them for me.  Vicki actually told me later that they had been searching for sock monkeys for a while. Isn’t that just sweet?

While these don’t fall under “sock monkey”, they fall under love and friendship.  I was blessed enough to get a HUGE fortune cookie from Cassie.  Unfortunately it was smashed, but life is like that.  She emailed the company for a replacement, which was so kind.  It’s more that I want to see it than I had to have it.  It was chocolate-covered with pink and red candy hearts and white sprinkles.  It was damned tasty too. 🙂

PLUS!  I got Lindt chocolate from Julie AND a Starbucks card from Erica.

I am so blessed, and so loved, and so thankful, and so happy.  More than Happy Monkey Day, it was Happy Monkey Week.

Love Languages

I apologize right off the bat to Cassie, whose love language I’ve already forgotten, but who brought this to my attention a while ago.  I’ve been thinking on it, but didn’t actually think to address it until now.  What’s interesting is that this has been around for 20 years, was a best seller, and I had no clue. (Laughing). Apparently, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages.  There’s also a quiz. 🙂

The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  Apparently I’m into words of affirmation, quality time and physical touch.  Then again, most of the pairs didn’t make much sense to me. I wouldn’t have selected either option.

I can say that I’ve taken reading this page as a way to reflect upon  my own marriage.  I think knowing what I like is less important than knowing what Taed likes.  After all, if this is a partnership then it’s my job to feed our relationship with the love that is important to Taed.

I can tell you right away I screwed up at Christmas when I didn’t go to the post office for him.  I was being lazy and, well, really lazy.  I didn’t put his needs above mine, especially given that mine wasn’t important.  It wasn’t that I don’t love Taed, it’s that I wasn’t willing at that point to make my love for him paramount. What would have cost me little to do, cost me a lot in my marriage.  I angered and hurt him — never good things. But I learned.  Will I fail again, sure.  Hopefully, though, he can continue to forgive me.  So I learned that acts of service are important to Taed.

I know that quality time is important to Taed.  He wants us to do things as a family.  He wants company even if it’s just running an errand.  He made a point of telling me that he feels unimportant and unloved when he arrives home and we don’t acknowledge him.  I know for two weeks I was good about making that a priority, but now I’m wondering if I’ve made it a point lately?  I think that’s a good task for this week’s list.  After all, if he doesn’t feel valued, will he continue to come home on time?  I know his presence is important to me because I worry when he’s not home by a certain time.  The least I can do is to get off the computer, phone or whatever, and give him time to be with us.

While I don’t put huge amounts of stock into such “pop psychology”, I do put stock into my marriage. I don’t want to get divorced ever.   I adore my husband and don’t want to live without falling asleep next to him.  Sure, I get annoyed like anyone else, but I realize that I ain’t easy (as Jerome says).   My real life goal is to be going on 90+, sitting with Taed, having the same arguments, and realizing a life of love and togetherness. I want true death, not the death of love, to do us part.

Imagine, being in love and making it work your entire life. Isn’t that the most romantic thing of all?


Little Things

It’s no secret that I’ve been all over the place emotionally for the past 3-4 months, with no sign of letting up.  There’s just been a lot going on personally and professionally, with many adjustments to make, plus my own apathy/depression to deal with.  As such, I tend to spend a good part of each day reviewing my many errors.  Fine tooth comb and minute details are my expressed interest.

It goes without saying that praise is in short supply for me.  It often feels to me that what I do is of no consequence because, whatever manages to happen, it will still be wrong and it will most definitely be my fault.  The few “good words” are combined with backhanded compliments, sly judgements, and sometimes even direct insults.  My ego is battered, bruised, torn, and ragged.  I suppose it’s no wonder I tend to spend a lot of time alone analyzing how I got here and what to do next.

Yet, on December 15th, out of the blue, in the midst of one of the lowest hours I’ve had in the past 6 months, Taed sent me an email.  The subject line: “I love you!”  The text: “I love you!”

It’s always in my mailbox.  I read it daily.  It’s one of the small things keeping me going at a time when I doubt my use, value, and impact.  It’s good to know you’re still worthy of being loved, especially when you’re not even sure you’re worthy of being liked.

It’s the small things.  Sweat them.  Truly.  You’ll never be sorry that you did something small and wonderful for another person.

In Love/Lust with This & I Can’t Get It Out of My Head

The very first time I head this song, it was as if I’d known it my entire life. There was just something so compelling about it for me. Then I watched the video. Sigh. I am crushing on him. I really am. But as much as I like looking at him, I want to be HER. This woman is just gorgeous with an amazing voice.

Because I’ve shared this on every other avenue I can find, I’m posting it here too. Taed will be annoyed ’cause he thinks it’s just “eh.” However, Keb is with me. He loves it too. 🙂

Gotye — Somebody I used to Know (with Kimbra)