I could not make this up.

Date January 10, 2013

Room 406 was chaos today.

The pencil sharpener broke.  The stapler stapled a finger.  That boy got on this girl’s nerves and that girl had an earache.

P.E. was canceled.  It rained at recess.  The cafeteria ran out of chicken nuggets and “no one’s even LISS-A-NING to me!”

I honestly thought that the day would never, ever end.

Oh, but it did.

It ended with, “Lady, you’s makin’ me sick” and a splattering puddle of puke on the floor.

Robin and Me.

Date January 9, 2013

Aren’t we cute there on the end?  I’m sure my mom told me to sweep that pony right over my shoulder.

I was all about it.

Her mom probably told her to smile and act like a lady.

We were better behaved back then.


We got older in years and younger at heart.

She moved north.

I moved south.

She came to see me.

robin and me

We ate.

We drank.

And we were merry.

And now there’s this:


Welcome to the world, little man.

Your mom sure is something extraordinary.

A dreamer.

A friend.

A storyteller.

A muse.

Oh, what a future there is for you!

The things they teach me.

Date January 7, 2013

“Well, my deddy says I ain’t always gonna get what I want, but I’m always ‘on have what I need.”

don’t fence me in.

Date January 4, 2013

She was sitting on her haunches, a ragged bundle of white fur surrounded by chain-link.  I saw her across the gravel drive on Church Street, the summer sun hot and fierce and her without any shade for respite. 

I had to have her.

So, Daddy went to pick her up for me and she got to ride in the Wonder Bread van.


I think she’s happy here.

She has to be, I guess. 


She and I just aren’t meant for fences.


Why not, right?

Date January 2, 2013

I’ve always been a commuter, if that’s what you call it.  The ride has never been an hour or anything, but I reckon anything over eleven minutes (i.e. the amount of time it took to get from Momma’s to the Sonic) counts as a commute.  In most of the places I’ve lived and worked I’ve had the pleasure of a carpool buddy.

Sweet Betsy who rode on two wheels more often than four.  A passel of Colombians.  Mrs. Nicosia– her husband always fixed her coffee and mussed her hair.

Now I live four miles from my mailbox and 42 minutes and 38 seconds from work.  There’s no cell phone service on the drive and I’ve forsaken country radio for another.

I am married to the audiobook.  Blessed assurance, the audiobook.

In the short time that we’ve lived here– here in the middle of the greatoutnowhere– I’ve cycled through trashy romance.  I know, I know.

And the slasher thriller — What was I thinking?

And the self-helpers– You’re just a change away from your best you!

And at long last, I have discovered the western.

Hondo did it.  He won my heart.  The language was beautiful and slow like the drawl of the man who read it, the story was magical like fairy dust on angels’ wings, and there at the end I had to pull over.

Because the end?  The end was a hailstorm- a hailstorm of relentless, mascara-trashing tears.  I was pulled over on the shoulder or the road for all to see.  I was pulled over and I was a blubbering, squalling, snot-oozing mess.  And I didn’t even care.  Not at all.

I’m onto Telegraph Days now and Annie Potts has never been more divine.  Her voice suits Nellie and I am enamored.

Maybe I’ll get a perm and dye my hair red.  Why not, right?

Top ten (characteristics of mature fifth graders)

Date March 31, 2011

When I went to pick my kids up from art today, there was purple paint everywhere.  They were covered in what looked like Barney beside a hand grenade– and the art teacher was, too.  Purple on her face, blood red in her cheeks, and thick black smoke coming out of her ears.

And I did not laugh.  Not at all.

Where any of them could see it.

So, we marched single file and “I SAID SI-LENT-LEE, boys and girls!” back to our classroom.

And then I went old school on those heathen chi’ren.

Twenty lines by twenty students entitled, “Characteristics of Mature Fifth Graders.”

Spelling and word choice unedited for your reading pleasure!  You’re welcome.

1.  Mature fifth graders now how to work.

2.  Mature fifth graders will keep their hands and feet to others.  (he really got the gist of that one!)

3.  We show respect when no one’s watching.

4.  Mature fifth graders stay by each other side.

5.  We never bagout.  (what?)

6.  Mature fifth graders walk with pride.

7.  We always post to be a team.

8.  We now not to panek ina kriset.  (That’d be “we know not to panic in a crisis.”)

9.  We never never never be a big gark (jerk) to won another.

10.  We always post to be rollmodlles.

Happy Friday!

this is what i’ve been doing

Date March 30, 2011

I remember when I worked in Oxford (back in da day).  I was a blubbering-first-year-teacher-mess the biggest part of the time.  The sweet lady at Handy Andy even started giving me free banana pudding by sometime in late September– I mean, things are getting ugly when you’re going to a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint to pig out at 3:30 in the afternoon—It must’ve been obvious; I NEEDED that banana pudding.

Anywho, while I was teaching there, Ms. Peggy and Ms. Sherry– two teachers I forever want to be like when I grow up–were always talking to me about:  THE BOX.

This year I met THE BOX for myself.

I’ve spent the last year of my life writing about the students I teach, reading about what I teach, watching horrendous videos of myself as I teach, and writing– you guessed it– about the way that I teach.

All of this in the hopes of obtaining The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification.  Big whoop to most of you, I’m sure, but I’ve got my fingers crossed and my thumbs up anyway!

the box 1

That’s me and the mentor I nearly drove mad through this process.  Cute, right?

And here’s the picture of us that I wouldn’t be embarrassed for my daddy to show to his friends.

Pictuer with the box 2

Now, I just have to wait until November to see if I passed!  Y’all cross your fingers, too, okay?

(‘Cause if I fail, I’ll have to pay Sweet Husband back for all of those little white donuts and Diet Cokes he bought to keep me happy!)

and who is raising her?

Date January 25, 2011

She is absent again today.

No eager hand raised at table one.  No sweet, patient spirit to work with Quinn at table two.  No look-at-these-new-earrings-I-got greeting at the door this morning.

Because she isn’t here.

She’s at home with her baby sister.  Her brother is there, too.   “He just turned four!” she told me one day last week.

Her mother got called into work.  She’s doing all she can to feed them– Angel and her six siblings– days at the cleaners, nights at the Quick Stop down on Eighth.

She’s feeding them and Angel’s raising them.

“I just turned twelve!” she told me one day last week.

On what writers need

Date January 11, 2011

I just finished reading House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.  It’s been on my to-read list forever and I finally scratched out some time to make it happen.  It didn’t take much; the book is a collection of short stories, some of which aren’t even a full page long.

The stories were easy to read and passed the time quickly and I was grateful that I got some of the cultural references that other readers undoubtedly miss.  Here’s the thing though, the stories were the second best part of the book.

The introduction was killer.

It starts with a picture of a young Cisneros sitting at her desk– a desk where she doesn’t write.  Cisneros goes on to describe what life was like as she was writing the vignettes that ended up in House on Mango Street.

And about what she learned in the process of putting them there.

One thing that she includes is learning that “writers need long stretches of solitude”.

I guess I’d never considered it, but I think it must be true.

You should read it.  (Especially you, Ames.)


Once I ran away.

Date January 7, 2011

Once I ran away and found one million songs.

Of hurts and joys and memories

of loves who’ve come and gone.

Mountains in the mist

and rivers running free.

Crashing waves and ebbing tides

and trails that climb on endlessly.

Open pastures, fields of green,

shifting sands, and tinkling streams.

All the sights and sounds that play

in the songs I found when I ran away.