31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 31

Favorite Hobbies & Ways to Spend Time

~Music soothes my soul. If I’m doing something solitary, I put on my favorite music.



~Board games

~Arts & Crafts

~Swimming, if there’s a pool available.


~Horseback riding, if there’s a horse available 😉

~Cuddling with Daniel or Baby, or both!


31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 30

What’s something not many know?

My pet peeves, apparently. Here are the big ones:

It drives me crazy when I – or any one else – had a strand of hair on the clothing I or they are wearing.

It also drives me crazy for the edges of my sleeves or bottom of my shirt to be turned or flipped up. Daniel will sometimes flip up his sleeves on purpose to incite me to fix it. And then he’ll do it again.

Don’t act like something everyone knows you’re not. And don’t expect me to play along and pretend right along with you. I ain’t no dummy.

Why do people act like they don’t know how to write a complete sentence? Or spell common words? Come on people, at least try! All I can think of when I see this in social media is: what do potential employers think?

Snobs. I grew up with several of them, and have experienced them even in the workplace as an adult. It is not becoming.



31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 28

Memories: Top 5 Moments in Your Life

1. The day my grandmother died. January 22, 2003.

This is the calendar that hangs in our kitchen to this very day, and always will. We never changed it, removed it or replaced it. It is a piece of our home, for all the love she put into it and into us.

My grandmother died at 10:22 AM on Wednesday, January 22, 2003.
my grandmother's grave
my grandmother’s grave

2. The day I graduated high school. May 25, 2007.

I thought the world was full of possibilities, and I was going off to college with my three closest friends.

Sissybear & Manda-Pandala

3. The day I learned my cousin committed suicide. September 29, 2011.

I got the phone call just as I arrived to work. My entire purse dropped to the floor, spilling everywhere. My attorney boss was dumbfounded. I don’t know how I made it all the way back to my car, against the flow of students trying to make it to campus, let alone how I drove. Nothing can ever stop the pain and the doubt and the questions.

he was a character
poem my ex-aunt wrote

4. The day I graduated from college. December 15, 2012.

I made a promise to my grandmother before she died that I would go to college and get my degree, as did all of her grandchildren who were old enough at the time. That was her one wish, since she was not able to provide that opportunity to her children. I am the only one who has fulfilled my promise.

graduation portrait
graduation portrait
We graduated!
We graduated!
I did it.
I did it.

5. The day I encouraged my best friend to keep pushing, and saw her son come into the world. November 23, 2013.

the turkey is born!
the turkey is born!

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 26

Share: A difficult time in your life

In January 2003 we lost my grandmother. She had tied up all of the loose ends, signing the necessary paperwork with her doctor so that he could not release any information to us. She knew that she was dying, and she just wanted to live out the remainder of her life as if nothing was different…

But we all knew life was different. She had been progressively getting more and more sickly, and then very forgetful, and then very weak. It was an odd thing for me to witness, as my grandmother had been my primary caretaker all my life.

I remember the day it happened. It was a Wednesday, the 22nd. I had received a message from the front office not to ride the school bus home, that one of my aunts would pick me up.

I waited out in front of the school for my aunt. All of the buses left. The bustle of parents picking up their kids dissipated. The teachers went back to their classrooms. I was standing in front of the school by myself.

It was getting rather cold, so I walked across the street to my mom’s cousin’s house. I asked if I could call somebody because I thought my aunt had forgotten about me. This particular relative has always been a bit eclectic and odd, but on this day she was acting even stranger. She didn’t want me to call anyone, my aunt would be along to get me real soon.

Finally my aunt showed up, with my younger brother and older cousin in tow, as well as her kids. She was suspiciously quiet the entire ride. She took us to my mom’s older sister’s house, and whispered to her.

The whole way there, I got the distinct feeling that something was wrong. As we turned the final corner to the house, my aunt reached back behind her seat for my older cousin’s hand. Then I knew. I knew.

The driveway was flooded with cars.

We got out and ran in. I think I was already crying, and I was asking over and over again where my grandmother was. My uncle (husband to the aunt who picked us up), had this vacant look on his face, rimmed red around his eyes and nose.

We sat on the linoleum tile floor of the walkway from the kitchen to the back bedroom, where my grandmother’s room had been. They told us, all of us grandkids that were there. My older cousin called her brother. He thought she was joking.

It was awful. I sat there, teeth clacking together as if I was standing naked in a blizzard, mindlessly shredding tissues in my lap, crying. I huddled up with my brother, and another cousin.

My mom made my brother and me go to school the next day. I told my mom I couldn’t do it. I got to school late since we’d stayed at my aunt’s, and walked into Spanish class. We were supposed to be writing entries in our journals. I sat with my head close to my paper, my hair all in my face, hiding my tears. One of my friends spoke to the teacher and took me to the rest room. I stayed there for most of the period after she left.

I remember the funeral. After everyone had filed out they gave my family one last opportunity to be with my grandmother before closing the casket and putting it in the hearse. I stood rooted to the ground, I couldn’t move. I literally could not move, my body was in such shock. My uncle and oldest cousin’s husband had to physically carry me out of the funeral home to the car.

After my grandmother’s death, my mom’s siblings started fighting like rabid animals. The glue that held our family together was gone. My mom’s youngest brother wanted everything thrown away. My mom’s two sisters fought over what items of my grandmother’s they wanted. Feelings got hurt, and items went missing. Our house was ransacked once when we were gone. The ugliness came out, and it has not really disappeared in the decade since.

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 25

Your Favorite: recipe and comfort food

I suppose I have to share a recipe? The funny thing is, my family doesn’t really live by recipes. We pass down our family culinary secrets by growing up watching, helping, and then doing ourselves. Instead, I’m going to share with you the secret to great pasta, great spaghetti, which is my favorite food. It’s really quite simple.

Cook the spaghetti longer! Everyone I know rushes spaghetti. No! Let it sit there and absorb. To keep it from sticking, add a hearty dash of salt prior to adding in the noodles, a small chunk of margarine, and while it’s cooking add a splash of virgin olive oil. It will keep the spaghetti from sticking to the pan as much, and definitely from clumping afterward.

I use a store-bought pasta. I haven’t yet worked up to making my own; I’m not at that level yet. But instead of just plopping the sauce on, I heat it slowly on the stove while adding in an array of flavorful ingredients, but that’s a secret. 😉

my favorite food
my favorite food

My comfort foods?

Bread, in some form or fashion. The easiest one is biscuits, even toast on a lazy day.

buttery and flaky biscuits
buttery and flaky biscuits

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 24

Two Truths & A Lie

  1. My father is a Swedish immigrant.
  2. The men in my family (on my mother’s side) all inherited the sleek, slender look of our Cherokee ancestors, while all the women* inherited the short, plump figure of our Italian ancestors. *except my mother,
  3. I am semi-secretly engaged. It is a very strange, confusing thing.

Now, it is your job to determine: Which two statements are the truth, and which statement is the lie?

I want to hear what you think! In the comments, please tell me which you think is the lie.

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 23

What’s your schedule like?

I usually wake up at 5:30, get ready, feed and let Baby out, and leave for work.

I drive 45 minutes to the school where I teach. Depending on when I leave the house, traffic, and my lead footedness, I arrive anywhere between 6:30 – 7:10.

I work in my classroom answering emails, setting up lessons, planning, grading, entering grades holding tutorials, etc.  until the first bell at 8:25 (unless I have morning duty, then at 7:45 I’m in the hallway monitoring). I teach my first class, and then I have an intervention class. Then I plan with my counterpart during our planning period, which is often interrupted by last-minute meetings, ARDs or 504 meetings. Then I teach my first Pre-AP section.

At 11:39, we line up for lunch. I walk my students aaaaall the way down the 6th grade hallway and into the cafeteria. I return and gather my lunch, go next door to my neighbor’s and have lunch with all of the other sixth grade teachers. Usually I get back to her room at 11:45 and have until 12:05 to eat.

Then it’s back to teaching, four classes back-to-back. The final bell rings at 3:40. If I have hall duty, I shoo out my straggler kids and go to my duty station.

Depending on the day, I may have tutorials after school, a meeting after school or need to plan with my partner, work on things in my classroom, get items printed out, update my attendance and discipline logs, call and email parents, and grade work.

I usually leave about 5:30 to go to my chiropractic appointments, and arrive there right before 6 pm. I go in for my adjustment and then I’m on the road home.

When I get home I may have to take care of Baby if Daniel isn’t there yet, eat dinner (usually by myself), and then clean up all the dishes from dinner. (Daniel and I live with his parents.) This usually takes an additional 30 minutes to get all the dishes washed, dried and returned to their proper places.

By the time this is done, it’s after 7 pm. Then, I try to grade and enter grades until I’m exhausted. I try to take a shower, but most times put it off until morning (which then requires getting up at 5 am).

I have gotten back into the habit of trying to read before bedtime and work on this book blog.

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 22

Tell me: what you want to do for a living?

Let me digress before getting to what I really want to do for a living…I believe in the importance of numbers, as they have appeared in my life with heavy significance. The number 22 is my birthday day, and also the age my mother was when I was born. So, it tickles me that this topic is asked on the 22nd day of this blog challenge.


What do I want to do for a living?

I want to be a literary, like men could be in days of olde: Shakespeare, Thoreau, Whitman.

I want to write. I want to read. I want to teach literature courses. I want to engage in literary conversations about writing.