Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day Three

"Longing for Gravity

You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?"

If I left Earth, never to return, what would I miss most about it?  I would miss the air, the water, the fire, and the earth.  Driving with the top down, the sun just warm enough on my face, and the wind rushing over my skin.  The sound and sight of the surf moving, waves kissing the beach, or water giggling over rocks in the creek, and the feel of it tickling my toes before I plunge, head first, into the surf.  Being outside is my oxygen.  I can breathe in freely, deeply, and openly, suddenly overwhelmed with the (mostly) beautiful smells held in nature.  

I am renewed when I step outside, away from my desk, my chair, my kitchen.  I am strengthen and energized. I am now reminded to take more time to go outside.  Mars trip or not, I miss the wind, the water, the fire (light), and the earth.  I miss the balance that the four elements offer me when I take time to accept their gifts.  I need to step outside now.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day Two

"Unsafe Containers"

"Which emotion(s) — joy, envy, rage, pity, or something else — do you find to be the hardest to contain?""

I have to be honest, I was not a fan of this prompt at first.  It frustrated me that an answer didn't immediately spring to mind.  In fact, I fought against every possible answer that popped into my head. I didn't want to do it.  But the whole point of a challenge is to, well, challenge oneself, so I decided to examine my reluctance more closely.

Which emotions do I find the hardest to contain?  After chewing on this for a while, I realized why I had been so reluctant to touch it.  I find ALL of them diffficult to contain.  When I am happy, everyone knows it.  I will tell total strangers how amazing everything is.  I feel like I am exploding  with joy, so I have to share it.  The same, I have found, is true when I am unhappy.  Whether it is sadness, frustration, or anger.  On me there is no hiding it.  

Through my students this year (middle school girls) I have learned that I actually wear the way that I feel in the way that I dress.  I was stunned by this realization.  I am a pretty happy person, and I typically dress for work in bright, vibrant colors, putting together accesroies that will add just the right pop of color.  I came in to school one day wearing khakis and a grey shirt, and my girls thought something awful had happened.  I was mindboggled.  I was just having kind of a blah day, a little down, but nothing earth-shattering.  I was told, in no uncertain terms, by my girls that I should never dress like that again unless something was really wrong because it scared them.  I have worn black to work twice since then, first when we lost Nelson Mandela, and more recently when my very dear friend lost his mother.  Both times I explained to the girls the reason behind my choices, and they understood that grief sometimes comes in darkness, and it is okay to feel that pain.

It seems that even when I don't mean to, when I don't think I am wearing my emotions on my face, I am wearing them on my body.  So it seems that the "unsafe container" is me.  I feel everything, and I show it.  I'm fine with that, and don't consider it unsafe at all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Day One

The challenge today is to just write, whatever comes to mind, just write freely for twenty minutes, then publish what you have written.  I have my students do this all the time.we call it "Clearing the Clutter" and it always seems to help them immensely.  I, however, rarely participate. Today that changes. This is the start of another new habit for me, on this day of firsts. 
took my first yoga clas today at the most beautiful, relaxing, inspiring studio called The Lotus Pond. It is a lovely log cabin on a pond with a little waterfall in it.  What could be more relaxing? I am painting tonight in one of my mom's classes with a dear friend.  That should be fun.  I always enjoy my mom's classes. Wine, music, Mom, a paint brush and a canvas, what's not to love? And I am also starting a thirty day blogging challenge today.  I haven't posted to the blog since the fall, so that changes today, too.  So far, I love this day!
We are in the middle of The Great Purge of 2014 here, so if I don't need it, use it, or love it, it is out the door! The goal is for everything to have a place, a home, somewhere it belongs in the house.  Closet is already done: two garbage bags full of clothes for donation, and two garbage bags full of shoes to donate.  Still need to do bags, but there is time.  Books have been collected from the overflowing bookshelves and only the essentials were kept.  The ones we released went to gain credit at the used book story so I can continue building my classroom library, and the rest were donated to the Hospice thrift store.
Busy seems to be the name of the game. I picked out a yoga class for every day this week, then I have things going on every afternoon and evening.  People to see, celebrations to enjoy, work to do.  It has long been my practice to put all of those things ahead of taking care of myself, but no more.  I realize that if I always feel awful, I am of no help to anyone.  I will find time for yoga classes.  I may even work in time at the gym.  Wouldn't that be crazy? It is just time to feel better and focus on wellness.  I have had a headache or migraine almost every day for at least the last month.  Now we work on changing that.  It is time.  This is the time to do one thing for myself every day.  That will be my yoga class. 
We have seen so much loss this year, dear friends, parents of dear friends, spouses of dear friends, it is time to grab life by the shoulders and make the most of every day.  It is crazy how quickly it can all be gone.  I want to do whatever it takes to be healthy enough to stick round for the long haul.
My sweetheart and I celebrated eight years together last night.  Eight more will not be nearly enough.  We talked at dinner last night about what have been the best things, most surprising things, and most enjoyable things in the last eight years.  What is all comes down to is that we both feel so damn lucky to have found each other.  Have the last eight years looked like I expected them to? Not even close, but that have looked outstanding! I wouldn't trade a minute of them.
So now we begin the next phase with ridding ourselves of clutter, making time to reenergize, and to reflect every day.  But we do this one day at a time.
That's twenty minutes of writing! Wow, the kids are right, it helps a lot!
Peace and Namaste.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Autumn Ketchup

In celebration of the changing of the seasons, Michele and Mel have tossed us a new prompt this week.
In 57 words or less ... what for you personally 
signals the coming of Fall? 

Driving around town
With the car top down,
Music cranked up high, 
not a cloud in the sky.
Refreshing, cool breeze,
Rather than the sweltering blistering, 
Blazing, intense unmistakable Florida summer sun.
Finally making a trip from Point A to Point B, 
Top down, without sweating out half my body weight.
First sign of Autumn in Florida.

Thank you, to our lovely hosts for allowing me to play feature blogger this time! I felt like I won the lottery!  Y'all are the best!
Ketchup again soon!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Heaven, My Movie, My Food Fight, My Love : Ketchup #26

Guess what time it is, kids!  That's right, it's Ketchup time again! Mel and Michele are back again with a new and exciting prompt for us.

I have to say, as a movie lover, this was a tough one at first.  Then, once I thought about it, it was a no-brainer.  This is one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies.

Dad and I actually got to visit the Whistle Stop Cafe, where it was filmed, on our road trip two years ago, and the Fried Green Tomatoes were the best I've ever tasted!

Ketchup With Us - Prompt 26

In 57 words or less...if you could reenact one 
scene from a movie, what would it be?

To play in the kitchen, my favorite place, with my best friend, my love,
Preparing our favorite food, making a mess, devolving into ridiculous fits of uncontrollable laughter,
Slipping in the disaster we have created, 
For once, not caring about the clean-up.
Forgetting the world outside our kitchen.
Forgetting the world outside our love. 
My Heaven.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Forty Was Fabulous! Ketchup #25

Our beloved friends, Michele and Mel are at it again, this time celebrating the first birthday of their #KetchupWithUs series, so it is time to celebrate!


In 57 words or less, tell us about an incredible, disastrous or otherwise memorable birthday in your life.

"The ruby is the stone of the fortieth year," declared My Sweetheart, planning my celebration.  
Ruby slippers, 
Ruby chalice,
Guests dressed in shades of red.
Fantastic photo retrospective set to my favorite music. 
Delivery the Legend of The Hundred Year-Old Burmese Eye of the Guinea Pig, 
And most beautiful ruby I've ever seen. 
Forty was fabulous!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Filling the Void

It is amazing to me how aromas can blast us back decades in time in a single instant.  Today was my grandfather's birthday.  He died in 1999, but I still miss him like it was yesterday. 

I stopped at his favorite bakery, Housewife Bake Shop, on my way home from work this evening before dinner at my parents' house.  Pop Pop and I used to stop at the bakery on the way home to my house from his at least once a week while I was growing up.  As I pushed open the door this afternoon, l was hit with the old, familiar smell of sweet, fresh, deliciousness that I hadn't encountered in years.  I was overcome.  

As I battled the lump that instantly formed in my throat, I had to fight back tears.  I knew that I missed him, but damn!  Of course the first thing I saw were his favorite creme horns staring back at me from behind the same old shiny glass case.  I found myself stammering am apology to the sweet clerk behind the counter and trying to explain.  She said she had just lost her grandfather and now I was making her cry!  I tried to tell her that it gets easier, but I'm afraid I didn't look all that convincing. 

Thirty dollars, two white boxes, and one bag later I made it to my car. I closed the door, turned the key in the ignition, turned on the air and music, told Pop Pop how much I missed him, and let the tears fall. 

Yes, it gets easier.  Life goes on, just as it should.  But some days, the empty space feels cavernous and no bakery treat, no matter how sweet, will ever fill that void.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I'm a Goner!

Trifecta Writing Challenge’s thirty-three word weekend trifextra is "tooth.” 

Wasn't it just yesterday that first tooth furiously fought its way screaming to the surface? Today a giant smile full mischievously, lovingly, innocently, adorably strums the strings of my heart.  
Time does fly! 

Baby Boy and his sweet, soul-stealing smile!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

BRF Ketchup With Us #23

Our dear friends,  Mel and Michele have recently returned from BlogHer13 in Chicago and, after watching the most hilarious video there, created this super easy #KetchupWithUs prompt. Be sure to push play only when the kids are in the other room, or the sound is turned down fairly low, as it deals with the age old affliction of "Bitchy Resting Face."


Easiest link-up ever. All we want is a picture. Give us your best bi***/a**hole resting face. Blog-less? Email it to 

and we'll create a post of these entries. Want to remain anonymous? Find one in a magazine. Models are notoriously plagued with this disease.

Being the oh-so-friendly Betty that I am, I had to go way back to when I had hair to find a good picture for this one, but I think it does the trick. Why, you may ask, did I not just take a new photo? Good question! I asked myself this, too. The answer is that it is Sunday, and my back is spasming, and a big, heavy cat is sleeping on my lap, so clearly I am lazy, and vain, and it was easier to find an old one. Geeze, I should take a picture now! I bet I am making a bitchy face with all that going on in my head! 
Anyway...thanks Michele and Mel! I always love to ketchup with y'all!

My bitchy resting face back when I had hair.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

And This Is Why I Never Slow Down

Like most of us today, I tend to overcommit.  On any given day I have more to do than I have hours in the day, and I am kid-free.  I have no idea how all of you moms do it.  Beyond teaching, I can't even imagine adding my own offspring to the mix!  Inconceivable!  I have enough trouble getting myself together every day, let alone another human.  The thing is, when I have a responsibility to the girls I teach to be there to teach and learn with them every day, and I have a responsibility to the cast of whatever show I am working on to show up ready to work every night, and whatever else happens to be on my plate at the time, I am going to do everything in my power to be there.  I am going to show up.  I am going to pour every ounce of energy, blood, sweat and tears I have into making sure I am there to give my kids and my cast, and anyone else in the mix whatever they need to be successful.

 Our production of
Good Evening, by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.

That said, I am operating at full speed from the minute I finally forfeit the battle with the snooze buttons on the three, (yes, three) alarms I set in the morning, until I crash head-first into bed at night.  Of course, as soon as my head hits the pillow I start making To Do lists for the next day.  I have to work to make myself sleep.  Does this happen to everyone, or just me?  I am exhausted to the point of collapse, and my damn head won't shut the hell up!  So I read or surf Pinterest, until my iPad falls and knocks me in the nose.  That's my signal that I am sleepy enough that I can finally close my eyes and go for it.  How sad it that?  Sleepmaker thunderstorm noise playing softly in the background, I drop off into Dreamland.  Then, before I know it, the first of the three alarms goes off, and I flail into the fight all over again.

All My Stuff in My Classroom
Thursday Afternoon...Lots of Work to Do!
Notice the two cups - caffeine in both!
I'm not normally a coffee drinker, I could mainline tea, but coffee has never been my thing.  However, when I started my new job on a Thursday afternoon, after being at my old job Thursday morning, I realized that, to hit the  ground running, I might need to up the caffeine intake.  I had to get up earlier and drive farther, so I arrived at school every morning triple-fisting a giant iced coffee, a giant iced tea, and a giant water.  (One does have to stay hydrated, after all.)  The girls thought I was nuts, but I stayed awake! It became a big joke:
Students:  "We thought you didn't drink coffee." 
Me: "So did I."

I went on like that, usually refilling the coffee as soon as I got to school, dumping a bunch of stuff into it to make it taste like something other than coffee, through the entire three weeks of the summer session.  The inevitable afternoon crash was a hurdle I learned to jump, too, with more caffeine and water.  I spent those weeks working in my new classroom until the absolute last minute possible, then driving straight to the theatre for rehearsal.  Luckily we have a sandwich shop and a pizza place in the same plaza as the theatre, so I could grab food there and eat during rehearsal.  Of course our show had to open during the summer session.  How could it be any other way?

Did I mention that my grandmother had emergency brain surgery that first weekend, too? Yeah, that happened.  She's doing much better now, but still.  I was also lucky enough to by asked to write a guest post for her blog by the amazing HotMessMom who just happens to be a rock star and the founder of the MillionMILFMarch!  So I needed to write something stellar because her blog is phenomenal and has about a bazillion readers, so no pressure.  My stomach is still in knots.  That post will go up on her site on August 15th!  I had another really special writing assignment to complete, as well.  See?  It's not like I've been busy lately or anything.  Exhaustion just seems to be my natural state of existence.

The Beach Betties
When, suddenly it all came to an end, the show closed and school recessed for the summer, I got to escape to the beach with my Betties for four whole days, and I didn't know what to do with myself!  My body was so confused!  With my Betties I felt relaxed for the first time in at least a year.  We floated in the Gulf, sipped cocktails, took mid-afternoon dance breaks, walked the Road to Hell, planked, laughed until our sides hurt, shopped, ate, napped, laughed some more, sunned, even tried paddle boarding.  It was ridiculous, relaxing, amazing fun!    For the first time, in a long time, I took some time to just lie still and listen to the sounds around me.  The Betties enjoyed afternoons on the beach.  I enjoyed afternoon naps on the couch with the balcony door open so I could hear the beach, but not fry in the sun.  I enjoyed just being still.

Mid-afternoon Dance Break
Paddle boarding Betty!

Then I came home and still had time to be still, my body finally realized it, and it caught up with me.  I came home from #BettyBeachWeekend on Monday afternoon.  I woke up Wednesday morning with all signs pointing to a Hellacious sinus infection. Throat on fire, head so full I thought it would burst, pain everywhere, sonofabitch!  Thursday I spent in bed, but made a doctor's appointment for Friday, then Thursday night broke out in the most irritating rash on the back of my neck.  And then it spread.  By Friday morning I was itching and had welts all over my torso and neck.  The doc was impressed.  My sinuses were bleeding and my body was attacking itself!  A steroid shot and prescription for antibiotics and some kind of Benadryl-on-crack later I've lost a day to being drugged into sleep, and I'm still itching and covered in welts.  My throat and head still hurt, and I want to scratch my skin off!  If I take the meds again, I'll be asleep again... Ugh!

This is after the meds!
If I was just running around like a crazy woman, this would never have happened.  I slowed down long enough for all of this crap to catch up with me!  If you never stop moving, it can never catch up to you.  And this is why I never slow down, until I have to.

How do you do it?  How do you do everything all the time and still maintain your sanity and your health?